Traveling in Mexico: Passports and travel advisories, oh my!

Several travel-related issues along the U.S.-Mexico border are sure to raise some questions on this blog (and they already have started doing so), so I’m going to see if I can address them in this post:

Is is safe to go to Tijuana? Tijuana’s name showed up again in a list of cities linked to drug trafficking violence by the U.S. Department of State under their periodically-updated  travel alerts. This time, the alert seemed to focus more on the Mexican border towns south of Texas, but Tijuana continues to smart from being on this “black list.” Tijuana’s mayor Jorge Ramos has criticized the advisories for being too inflamatory (he would like the wording to change).

A story by ABC News points out that overall violence appears to be in decline in Mexico when compared to a decade ago, and in explaining that much of the impact of violence is influenced by perceptions rather than reality. Tracking and defining border violence is a complicated thing, especially since it tends to surge up and down and shift back and forth between regions. I have found the alerts to have no impact on my own travel decisions, but that’s just me.

Is Mexico requiring that I have a passport to go to Tijuana/Mexical/other border cities? The Mexican government created some confusion over this when they said that visitors to Mexico who travel through the land ports of entry would need to bring their passports starting in March. It became clear that having passports checked at these busy border entry points would be a logistical nightmare. Since then, the Mexican government has clarified that people who travel as far south as Ensenada in Baja California won’t have to worry about bringing their passports after all. Read more in this KPBS report. and The San Diego Union-Tribune.

Of course, the issue of whether or not people need to bring their passports to get back into the United States through the land ports of entry  – despite a U.S. government passport “requirement” announced last year – continues to be hotly debated. For more on that, go to this blog post or start a new conversation thread below.

7 responses to “Traveling in Mexico: Passports and travel advisories, oh my!

  1. It’s becoming really a hassle to go over the boarder nowadays. Just too much traffic and time wasted especially over the weekend.

  2. Great advice on passport and travel advisers will get benefit to know traveling in Mexico.

  3. Though this is the worlds’ busiest border and with traffic that drives one insane I still believe that it is an error as to say one can go through this land border without a passport as you may never now exactly if the person is on a wanted list or not.

  4. hi i want to travel by cruise to rivera mexicana , i am a legal resident and i born in mexico what papers i need?i hace my green card

  5. hi i want to travel by cruise to rivera mexicana , i am a legal resident and i born in mexico what papers i need? i have my green card. thanck you.

  6. Hello there! I know this is kind of off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could find a captcha plugin for my comment form? I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having trouble finding one? Thanks a lot! – mein blog

  7. My son and I just did the park and walk to Tijuana on Oct 7, 2012. It’s a short (about a mile) walk into Mexico and goes like a walk in the park. It’s so easy that you’ve walked into Mexico with no delays or any kind of realiization that you’ve just switched countrys. Our only purpose was to walk in to scratch it off the bucket list and come back. This was happening at 11AM on a Sunday. We immediately noticed a blocks long line heading back for the USA. After reading other blogs, we decided to take a taxi back to customs to avoid the roughly 2 hour wait in line on the street. It turned out to be a bad choice. Taxi ride went fine until about 500 feet prior to the side door of the US Customs Building when we came to a stop and lengthy wait in a 15 passenger van. We made it up the the customs door 2 hours later. We had to stay with the van because there were numerous signs that along the edge of the street that said no walking. Anything that says that the best way to visit Mexico is by walking hasn’t been there recently. It’s going to take you 2 or more hours either by car, walking or taxi.

    The customs coming back to the US is described in many blogs as a Nazi like experience. I totally agree with that statement and will add that it is completely disfunctional. You go through the line and get to a unfriendly customs agent who scans your passport and hands it back. No words spoken, no metal detectors and no scanning equipment. The delay is for no apparent reason. US Customs needs to work on their attitude and the function as to why they are even there. Customs is a joke.

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