From the San Diego Airport to the border
The main reason why patients in the United States resort to Dental tourism is to save significant amount of money. Aside from the fact that you can get various dental procedures for fraction of the cost in Tijuana, you’ll be glad to know that there is an inexpensive way to travel from San Diego airport to the border as well. Here’s a complete step by step guide to find your way from the airport to Sam’s Dental Clinic by spending minimum amount of money on public transportation system. Follow this guide and you’ll be there in one hour.
Step 1: Look for the MTS City Bus Stop in San Diego airport – If it is your first time in San Diego airport, ask the information desk found on the lobby for the direction to the city bus stop where you’ll find the sign that says MTS, which stands for Metro Transit System. With its color, white trimmed in red, it is really hard to miss. These buses come every 15 minutes.
Step 2: Head to American Plaza. Get on the 992 bus, put $7 in the machine, and get an all day pass for the whole MTS system from the driver. Tell him you’ll get off at the American Plaza, which is a train station for the light rail system called the San Diego Trolley. The bus ride takes 15 minutes and you will be dropped off across the street in front of the train platform. Cross the street to the American Plaza.
Step 3: Take the train to Tijuana. There are two train lines that are going on different routes: the blue and the orange line. To get to Tijuana, take the Blue line, which says “San Ysidro/Tijuana” on the sign of the windshield. This ride, which takes approximately 45 minutes, will take you to the Mexican border.
Step 4: Take the trolley to the end of the line. This station is right in front of the exit from US Customs. Follow the signs to the new pedestrian path into Mexico, which can be found on the back side of the buildings with a McDonald’s.
Step 5: Enter Mexico, and walk into Mexican Customs. As a visitor, you will have to go to the line where you will have to present your passport, and get a tourist visa. If you are coming for a week or less, there is no charge. After they give you your tourist visa, continue through the exit of Customs, and walk down the sidewalk until you come to the street. Directly across the street you will see a sign of a pharmacy, “Super FARMACIA Milenio”. Cross the street and stand in front of this pharmacy, and that is where our white van, with the name “Sam Dental” on the door, will meet you. (Make sure you call us from the US side, before you enter Mexico, so that our van will get there to meet you).
Taking a taxi
Should you decide to take a taxi, the most important thing that you need to do is to write down the address:
Sam Dental, Paseo de los Heroes 10289, Suite 106
Pasando la Glorieta de Abraham Lincoln, a la derecha Edificio de NEXTEL
Several taxis are waiting at the next turnstile. Although most drivers can speak and understand English, it is recommended to write down the address and just give it to them. The fee is about $5-$6.
Reminder when taking a taxi
Some of our clients who took the taxi to our clinic were told by drivers that they know another dental clinic that charge less for dental services and procedures. Know that these drivers are not looking after your welfare. In fact, they are working with other dentists who pay them $20 for each patient that they bring in. The danger in accepting their offer is that most of these dentists are either not professional or can’t attract customers by themselves because of bad reputation. Going to these clinics is risky. When this happen, simply tell the driver that you’re not interested.
New Border Crossing Regulations:
1.- You must now have a US passport to cross the border:
Just like the US Government requires everyone crossing the border into the US to have passports, the Mexican Government also now requires all persons crossing into Mexico to have a passport. Things have historically been a little lax, but now they are tightening up on the regulations. Make sure you get your passport before crossing into Mexico, to avoid any delays or hassle, by the US Customs, as well as Mexican Customs.
If you haven’t yet gotten a US Passport, we strongly recommend that you get the “Passport Card”, rather than the “Passport Book”. You can actually apply for both, or either one. But the reason the Passport Card works better than the Book, is because it has the RFID electronic chip, which qualifies you to use the faster moving “Ready Lanes” either as a pedestrian or riding in a car. Here is a link to the government website: http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/passports/apply.html
2.- You will need to get a Tourist Visa at the border:
Pedestrian Crossing: If leave your car parked at the border, and are walking into Mexico, you will need to present your US passport, and fill out a tourist permit form. It will just take 5 minutes. However, make sure you keep your tourist permit on your person. In case you are stopped in Mexico for any reason, you will now have proof that you entered into the country legally. The cost of a tourist permit, to visit Tijuana for a week, is free. But, if you plan to stay for more than a week, plan to return for a second trip, or are thinking of going on to Rosarito or Ensenada, you will need to get the 180 day permit, costing $25.
Crossing the border by car: If you are stopped in Tijuana, you will need to show that you have legally crossed the border. So, even though you could just drive through Mexican Customs, and they don’t ask you for any documents, don’t neglect to first stop and get your tourist permit. The process will just take a few minutes.
When you first cross into Mexico, do NOT get into the lines of cars that are going through the lanes through for inspection. Rather, keep to the right, and go straight ahead to the area for Voluntary Declaration. Most of the cars going in here, and parking, are stopping to declare products that they purchased in the US, so they can pay the “Importation Tax”. But this is the same area where you will find the “Immigration” office, in order to get your tourist permit. Just park your car next to the others, and go into the building. Inside you will find the Immigration office, and tell them you want a tourist permit. It will be easiest if you just tell them you are coming to visit and shop, otherwise they will ask you for the exact address of the clinic, and hotel address where you are staying. Just a little less hassle.