Leaving Tucson we had a few days of easy driving ahead of us to reach Baja California. With no strict timetable, we were free to take in a couple roadside attractions. A gas station had some nice bathrooms and, of course, giant dinosaur sculptures. And you can rent a flying saucer retrieval truck. Who knew?
We decided to cross the Mexican border in Tecate over Tijuana because we heard it’s not as busy and it’s a much nicer city. The internet didn’t lie! Also, it’s home to the Tecate brewery which is a cornerstone of the city’s economy the same way Miller is for Milwaukee. Nothing makes us happier than driving through a beer town.
So we just ended up in Mexico. We took the “nothing to declare” line and it was too easy! Nobody even checked our car or searched us. We had to walk around the block to find the Instituto Nacional de Migración or INM so we could get our FMM or tourist Visas. A lot of people forget this step which can cause you some issues if they ask for it at a Military checkpoint. You’re better off driving in the line for declaring things so you can fill it out in your car. Our Spanish was terrible so we didn’t get any photos in the INM because we were so nervous. The INM officer helping us with our paperwork who was just as bad at English as we were at Spanish offered to sell us some hot sauce which we politely declined. You actually have to walk out of the INM office partway through the process to the banqometer booth so that you can pay for your visa (500 pesos each or about $24) and then bring back the receipt to show the INM officer which gets stapled Now off to drive the Baja Penninsula!