The US / Mexico border crossing between San Ysidro (just south of San Diego) and Tijuana is the busiest border crossing on the planet. Vehicles leaving the United States southbound on the Interstate 5 freeway spill into Tijuana and then head to variety of directions in Mexico. Many of these vehicles head west a few miles to the coast and then travel south on Baja's Toll Road.

Although there are two roads that run south from the border, most visitors take the toll road which is faster and more scenic than the free road that heads south. Both of these roads provide access to the many destinations along Baja's main Tourist Zone between Tijuana and Ensenada.




The first of the 3 toll station along this 75 mile four lane road is located just 5 minutes south of the border. The toll to enter this road changes from time to time, but usually runs around $2.50 for cars. The toll stations have signs showing the exact amount of the toll, showing the amount in both U.S. dollars as well as Mexican Pesos.

Most of the time the line to the toll stations is short, and rarely takes more than a few minutes. On busy weekends the lines can be longer (traveling either north or south) but additional toll booths are usually opened up to help speed up the process. The personnel in these toll booths are generally pleasant, and provide change and a receipt quickly.

When preparing to pay the attendant at a toll station, it is best to avoid paying with large denomination bills. It is also a good idea to avoid paying with a combination of U.S. dollars and Mexican pesos. These keeps the lines moving along and avoids any confusing with the attendant providing travelers with proper change.

Traveling south on the toll road there are several places to get off the highway to access Baja's Tourist Zone. Some of these off ramps include access to Real del Mar, Baja Malibu, Rosarito Beach (4), Puerto Nuevo, La Mision, La Salina and BajaMar. There are also off ramps to access the visitor lookout at just south of BajaMar.

Baja travelers looking for a fun way to diversify a Baja adventure sometimes choose to take the toll road in one direction and the free road in the other direction. This technique works well for both short trips along the coast as well as longer trips all the way to Ensenada. Taking the free road south works best for most people because folks can be a bit tired on the northbound route home and don't want to hassle with the stop and go traffic on the free road just before heading home. The fast moving traffic on the toll road is a great way to wrap up a Baja drive at the end of a road trip to Baja!

It is also possible to mix and match the toll road and the free road when traveling this coastal route. For those want to taste a bit of the Baja outback, taking the toll road half way down to Ensenada and then getting on the free road for a tour though the Baja countryside can be a real treat.

The three toll stations along this popular 65 mile drive all offer bathrooms and tourist information.




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