For La Jollans – and really anyone – looking to explore the broader reaches of Mexico without paying international fares, Cross Border Xpress (CBX) provides a new way to travel.
Cross Border Xpress is a 390-foot pedestrian bridge that exclusively connects the Tijuana International Airport with a base in San Diego for passengers who cross the border between United States and Mexico. It is the first building to connect the States to a foreign airport terminal.
“Crossing into Mexico the normal way through the Otay Mesa or San Ysidro border can be a chaotic and congested experience,” said CBX marketing and media manager Luisa Balderas. “I’m from TJ and I’m scared of the crossing sometimes.
“The traditional way was to cross the border by car, go into the city, drive to the Tijuana airport, park your car there and figure out where the boarding gates are. But people who are not used to the crossing don’t always know where to go. Then to come back to the States can take two hours or more, depending on the season. You don’t experience that with CBX. You park your car on the U.S. side, walk in, enter an air-conditioned enclosed pedestrian bridge, and about 10 minutes later, you arrive at the boarding gate.”
Single crossing tickets start at $16 one-way and $30 round-trip when purchased online, and packages are available for families, groups and commuters. Tickets can also be purchased on-site at CBX counters and kiosks. Or, those who purchase a flight ticket from Tijuana can add a CBX crossing ticket to their purchase.
Parking in the lot starts at $15 per day. Alternatively, there is shuttle service to San Ysidro, downtown San Diego and Los Angeles.
Those who depart from the Tijuana International Airport to any of the 30-plus locations in Mexico do not have to pay international rates. Flights to two locations in China also depart from the Tijuana Airport.
“Tijuana Airport flies to all beaches in Mexico, and maybe you are tired of going to the same beach,” Balderas explained. “You can explore somewhere new. That diversity of destinations opens up new opportunities for leisure. You can explore cultural destinations in Mexico that you wouldn’t be able to reach easily by flying out of San Diego. If you wanted to go to somewhere like Oaxaca and depart from San Diego, I don’t even know how many connections would be involved. Whereas Tijuana flies there directly.”
And by flying within Mexico, travelers can save up to 40 percent on airfare, she added. “When you think about going on vacation with children — maybe a family of four — you can do a pass and travel to a great beach destination. The flight is under two hours and the airfare would be maybe $100 per passenger. For residents of La Jolla, even if they have a higher purchasing power, no one is against saving money.”
Only Tijuana International Airport passengers can cross through CBX and they need a boarding pass, CBX ticket and official valid travel documents. Crossing to Mexico, passengers may only use the bridge within 24 hours of flight departure. Crossing into the United States, passengers may use the bridge within two hours of landing in Tijuana, and must have a passport.
More than 7 million people have used the bridge since its opening in 2015. And the terminal on the Otay Mesa side has been designed with very particular architectural style. “Designed by Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta, the building is purple and has different shades of pink that are the tones of Mexican culture,” Balderas said. “The building is the gateway to Mexico.”
<square_bullet> The Cross Border Xpress United States terminal is located at 2745 Otay Pacific Drive, San Diego. (888) 229-4636, 1 (888) CBX-INFO, crossborderxpress.com
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