As promised the Otay Mesa border crossing was very quick, I got a green light and cruised right through. Immediately past the border I pulled into the office area trying to find the immigration office to get my Mexican tourist card. All of the official border offices are under construction, I ask a couple of people where to go to get the tourist card and they just point me down the road. After driving a ways I still don’t see any sign of the immigration office. There’s no way to get back to the border as cars are lined up for a mile waiting to enter the US, so I figure I will get the tourist card in Ensenada instead. I don’t have to import my vehicle until I leave the Baja peninsula, which will be on a ferry from La Paz to Mazatlan sometime in the future.
I go pretty much straight south out of Tijuana, stopping at a Policia Federale checkpoint on the way out. The very last guy waves me over and asks me (in Spanish) why I don’t have a front license plate. I don’t have enough Spanish to explain that Florida only issues a rear plate, and he doesn’t speak any English so he just waves me through.
It’s a nice drive to Ensenada, initially along the Pacific Coast then up through the hills.I’m keeping off the toll road and the speed limits are very slow. 80 kmh in the open, 60 on hills and curves, 40 through towns. Most people speed right past me but I try to keep to the speed limit as much as I can.
Checked in to the Hacienda Hotel for a couple of nights. It’s basic but clean with parking in an interior courtyard. Just one block off the main tourist street. $31US per night.
First order of business is the tourist card, I find the location of the Immigracion office near the port and am a little nervous to see that Google brings up a dozen or so posts by people who have been turned away with no tourist card by some sadistic government bureaucrat in the Immigracion office. Nothing to do but gather up my stuff and walk over there where I am pleasantly surprised to find a helpful young woman who speaks excellent English in the office. She tells me how to fill out the form, does some stuff with my passport, then sends me off to the Banjercito on the other side of the building. Another young woman takes my form and passport, asks for 390 pesos ($21) and gives me a receipt. Back to the Immigracion office with the form, passport, and receipt, then my passport is stamped in and I get my new tourist card with 180 days in Mexico.
Time to celebrate, stopped in the first taco stand by the port
Did not do too much else the rest of the day, there were two very large cruise ships in port and the downtown was crammed with tourists looking for tacos and trinkets. Since I’m in Mexico now it’s probably a good time to brush up on my Spanish and look at the route and places to visit in Baja .I have a rough idea but haven’t looked at the detailed description of all the places along the route until now. It’s a long skinny peninsula so there is pretty much only one way to go, Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas.
Next day the bigger of the two cruise ships leaves and it’s suddenly much less crowded. Walked along the malecon by the port.
Spent some time watching these sea lions. Most of them are just plopped down sleeping but the three on the end of the dock were barking and running round until they ran out of energy.
There is fresh fish everywhere, they take it right off the boats, chop it up and throw it on the counter.
Stopped in at the world’s smallest cupcake bakery, it was about 6′ by 6′ and the entire inventory was about 12 cupcakes. Chocolate Mocha, very tasty.
Celebrated National Taco Day in the US with some more tacos.