Using the CBX Border Crossing to Fly Out of the Tijuana Airport

CBX border crossing

Last weekend, we flew with my sister’s family down to Cabo. We stayed in San José del Cabo for four nights and had the MOST amazing time. 

I’ll do a detailed post about where we stayed and what we did next week, but today’s post is all about how we got there. I mentioned on Instagram that we were flying out of Tijuana and had some people reach out with questions, so I thought I’d walk through it all. 

We crossed the border at the CBX border crossing location in Otay Mesa and flew out of the Tijuana Airport down to Cabo. The CBX walkway leads directly into the Tijuana airport, so you basically go through customs and cross the border on the walkway, go through security, and then hop on your flight! 

When my brother-in-law first suggested this, I thought it sounded like a major hassle. But the flights were SO much cheaper than flying out of San Diego, and he made the very valid point that airport customs are an actual nightmare in both San Diego and Cabo.

By using the CBX border crossing to pass customs in both directions, we were able to fly domestically within Mexico. This cut a ton off our total travel time. 

Our round trip flights from Tijuana cost $90 each, compared to almost $300 per ticket to fly out of San Diego. Even adding in the CBX ticket cost of $32 each, the Tijuana route was much more affordable.

We flew VivaAerobus and had a totally fine experience, lol. Kind of a barebones, charge-extra-for-every-little-thing type of airline, but you get what you pay for, I guess. 

Overall, I can’t overstate how much easier this was compared to flying internationally on previous trips to Mexico. The customs process at CBX–in both directions–went SO much quicker than airport customs. 

It felt totally safe, to us, and the CBX is actually only 30 minutes from our house which isn’t that much further than the 20 minute drive to the San Diego airport. I would absolutely recommend this route to anyone traveling from the San Diego area to Mexico. 

Location + parking

The CBX is located in Otay Mesa. We drove and left our car in the premium parking lot which cost $20 per day. This lot was really close to the entrance and made getting in and out very easy. 

CBX ticket prices

A single round-trip ticket to use the CBX costs either $32 or $35 depending on the season, and a 6-person family ticket pack posts $155 (low season) or $175 (high season). 

CBX border crossing requirements

US citizens need the following to use the CBX to get into Mexico: 

  • a valid passport (they are really strict about this)
  • CBX ticket (can purchase on the app or in person)
  • boarding pass
  • FMM immigration form (you can do this easily at the CBX entry point if you don’t fill it out ahead of time)
  • payment of migratory rights (only if your stay is longer than 7 days)

If you are traveling into TIJ, you can cross the CBX anytime within 24 hours of your flight departure. If you are traveling back into the US from TIJ, you must cross the CBX within 2 hours of your flight arrival. 

To get back into the US, you need the CBX ticket, your passport, and your boarding pass. 

COVID requirements for US Citizens

There are no COVID testing requirements to use the CBX border crossing. 

This alone took a big hassle out of our trip, as you do have to present a negative COVID test to get back into the US when you fly internationally. We didn’t have to worry about getting a test the day before we flew home which was amazing. 

Timing

The CBX website suggests arriving 2-3 hours prior to your departure time, the same as any international flight. Our flight from TIJ was at 11:40am, and I think we arrived at 9:20am. We made it over the CBX and through customs and security in about an hour, giving us plenty of time to let the kids run around before our flight boarded. 

Getting back into the US was even quicker, actually. 

It’s never easy flying to Mexico, but I have to say that overall this route was pretty simple and cheaper than flying out of San Diego. 

I hope you found this post helpful (or at the very least, entertaining). I send out a newsletter each Friday morning. I usually share the newest blog post, what I’m reading, and any products I’m obsessed with. My goal with it is to be the vibe of a friend dropping off a surprise latte in the morning–a little pre-weekend buzz to start your day off, know what I mean? Anyway, here’s the link to sign up if you haven’t already. And not to micromanage, but don’t forget to confirm your subscription! Sometimes it goes to spam. ALSO–I am sending out a pdf of all of my travel beauty tips and tricks to all new subscribers–it’s excessive in the best way.

More posts about Mexico:

Zihuatanejo travel guide

Cabo Travel Guide

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