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Where can I find the best, safest, & cheapest place to live by the border on the Mexico side ( & park my newish car )? Or, do I even need to live by the border?


Mr. Garganta

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I apologize if this is a common question, I am a noobie, but I am trying to get in and have a place to stay immediately that isn't super shady.

Would be nice to know some fellow gringos down to chill nearby.

Do I even need to live right next to the border, or maybe just down the highway is a bit better?

Sorry if this is a dumb question but I am totally new to this, so please help me out.

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As you are a noob, and have barely even been to TJ, I think you'll need to approach this a bit more slowly and certainly more methodically.

Your first problem will be crossing. Unless you truly enjoy spending hours every day standing or sitting in line, waiting to cross, or if you enjoy crossing in the wee, small hours of the morning, you will want to apply for a SENTRI or Global Entry card. If you get GE you'll get SENTRI automatically. 

Once you have your crossing issues sorted, get a longer-term hotel room for a couple weeks, or a month, and test-drive the city. There are several new extended stay style hotels in TJ that are very comfortable. You can use that as your home base and check out various areas.

If you must be around other gringos you'll probably want to live near Rosarito. But prices will reflect that. If being near the border in order to cross quickly, i.e. you don't have to drive across town, then you'll want to check out something maybe in Centro, or Cacho, or perhaps Otay Mesa (the Otay crossing is a lot less congested than San Ysidro).

I think you'll get better responses if you check the place out a bit first, and then ask specific questions about specific areas. Also, do you have an approximate budget? That will be important.

 

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I few years ago, on another Mexico board, a girl wanted to and moved to Tijuana. She gained advice from members, hippies on the board. Most of these hippies are old people living on the Baja coast.

 

She moved some where in Tijuana and exited within a month. 

 

I was the only one that advised her to stay at hotels and get to know the city first.

 

White chicks.

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11 hours ago, sdcruiser said:

I few years ago, on another Mexico board, a girl wanted to and moved to Tijuana. She gained advice from members, hippies on the board. Most of these hippies are old people living on the Baja coast.

 

She moved some where in Tijuana and exited within a month. 

 

I was the only one that advised her to stay at hotels and get to know the city first.

 

White chicks.

Too many people have a romanticized vision of what life is like living in Mexico.

Reality often hits hard.

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I cruised through TJ once recently and some of the border areas really seemed like a shithole... especially all those freaks trying to sell shit at the San Ysidro crossing.. Which is why I really hope you guys can suggest a place in a decent hood.

Can you suggest some extended stay hotels by the border? I don't need to cross every day, but I have a fear of getting shaken down by the policia doing a regular highway commute, and if things get weird... I like the idea of being able to be in line to go back to the USA in like 5 minutes.

I have the US Passport Card so I can get in the middle lane crossing the border. I think that is the Global Entry Pass.

I speak Spanish like a Native so I won't be a total fish out of water. I am half Hispanic half Russian, and have lived in "third world" countries before. Mexico just seemed intense the few times I have been there, but the benefits I am going for outweighs the intimidating energy.

 

 

Edited by Mr. Garganta
Autocorrect
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1 hour ago, Mr. Garganta said:

I have the US Passport Card so I can get in the middle lane crossing the border. I think that is the Global Entry Pass.

The US Passport Card and the Global Entry are two different things. Global Entry/Sentri allow you to go to the front of the line. The US Passport Card will allow you to get back into the US. Get the GE if you can.

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Ya I am sorry the Passport Card is called a "Ready" Pass, at least it used to be...and it theoretically used to be a faster lane than just a regular ID, but slower than SentrI. Things might have changed under Trump.

However last time I tried to cross with it, the Border Guard told me I should have gotten into the middle faster lane.

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7 hours ago, Mr. Garganta said:

Ya I am sorry the Passport Card is called a "Ready" Pass, at least it used to be...and it theoretically used to be a faster lane than just a regular ID, but slower than SentrI. Things might have changed under Trump.

However last time I tried to cross with it, the Border Guard told me I should have gotten into the middle faster lane.

Crossing times vary a lot. The time it takes to cross in the vehicle Ready Lanes sometimes is longer than the Regular vehicle lanes. If you are eligible, Global Entry or Sentri are the only way to almost always insure a fast crossing.  Tons of people have a passport card to use the Ready Lanes. It is almost never quicker than 1-2 hours. This is not a "Trump" thing.

No offense, but your posts strike me as someone who really needs to take some time out and visit Tijuana more before committing to a move. 

As far as extended stay, Hotel Pacific might be a fit.

 

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Thanks for letting me know.

Yes, I do not know sh*t about TJ.

Just planning on moving down there for a number of practicalities.

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40 minutes ago, Mr. Garganta said:

Thanks for letting me know.

Yes, I do not know sh*t about TJ.

Just planning on moving down there for a number of practicalities.

What sort of practicalities? Assumed cheaper housing cost? Ready access to Latina poon? Hiding out from someone?

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3 hours ago, Mr. Garganta said:

Thanks for letting me know.

Yes, I do not know sh*t about TJ.

Just planning on moving down there for a number of practicalities.

There is nothing practical about living in TJ. TJ is loud, very dirty, and ugly. Yes, it's cheaper than SoCal, but you will still pay top dollar if you expect housing and amenities relatively on par with the States. The infrastructure is terrible, especially the public water and the roads. Traffic is a nightmare during rush hour. Far too many people living in an area designed for far fewer. People will steal any-damn-thing that isn't nailed down. (That's behavior endemic to Latin America, so TJ isn't unique in that respect). 

Many ex-pats live in TJ, but those who make the most successful transition went in with eyes open, fully knowing the advantages and disadvantages. The least successful ones moved without a good reason. Cheap beer and hookers isn't a good reason. Living near prostitutes is a VERY fleeting advantage.

Your comments of living near the border, wandering around, yet being close enough to hop back to the States on a 5-minute notice if the shit gets too heavy seem a bit odd, and, at best, from a pre-9/11 age. It's difficult and time consuming to just pop back and forth to Mexico without the proper credentials, i.e. SENTRI. As esteemed brother @Bubby has pointed out, it looks as if you need far more visits to TJ before you can make an informed decision.

An extended stay hotel in Centro would be Villa de Zaragoza. They have some kitchenette rooms. There is a new extended stay hotel, can't recall the name, in Otay Mesa. Google is your friend, as well as a trip or two exploring Otay.

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12 minutes ago, PhordPhan said:

There is nothing practical about living in TJ. TJ is loud, very dirty, and ugly. Yes, it's cheaper than SoCal, but you will still pay top dollar if you expect housing and amenities relatively on par with the States. The infrastructure is terrible, especially the public water and the roads. Traffic is a nightmare during rush hour. Far too many people living in an area designed for far fewer. People will steal any-damn-thing that isn't nailed down. (That's behavior endemic to Latin America, so TJ isn't unique in that respect). 

Many ex-pats live in TJ, but those who make the most successful transition went in with eyes open, fully knowing the advantages and disadvantages. The least successful ones moved without a good reason. Cheap beer and hookers isn't a good reason. Living near prostitutes is a VERY fleeting advantage.

Your comments of living near the border, wandering around, yet being close enough to hop back to the States on a 5-minute notice if the shit gets too heavy seem a bit odd, and, at best, from a pre-9/11 age. It's difficult and time consuming to just pop back and forth to Mexico without the proper credentials, i.e. SENTRI. As esteemed brother @Bubby has pointed out, it looks as if you need far more visits to TJ before you can make an informed decision.

An extended stay hotel in Centro would be Villa de Zaragoza. They have some kitchenette rooms. There is a new extended stay hotel, can't recall the name, in Otay Mesa. Google is your friend, as well as a trip or two exploring Otay.

Very true and it is why you cant compare apples to apples comparing TJ rental prices to San Diego or other parts of the US.

Many people will throw down $1,800-$2,500 in TJ to live in a nice condo or house on the beach or in a place like Cacho, Chapu or Hippodromo or an all inclusive high end condo like New City.  Sure $1,800 wont get you the equivalent in SD but you have to factor in terrible infrastructure, daily commute with border waits, inferior home construction, lack of appliances like dishwashers/garbage disposals and the need for heavy security or gated community in by far the most dangerous city in the world. Lastly, in the beginning, your budget for whores, alcohol and restaurants will be 3-4 times what it was when you lived in the states, thereby negating your savings.

If you are renting more than $1,800(TJ rent has skyrocketed) then you are missing the point entirely  and getting a great price by comparison in SD but an extremely poor value.

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18 minutes ago, Blazers said:

Lastly, in the beginning, your budget for whores, alcohol and restaurants will be 3-4 times what it was when you lived in the states, thereby negating your savings.

How do you discuss this budgeting item with your financial planner? That would be a cool job. Financial planner that specializes in Mongers/puteros. 

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It's good to know what you are getting into, but I don't buy this 'it all evens out' stuff.  Mexico, and TJ is part of Mexico, is WAY cheaper than the United States.  Yes, infrastructure, yes, utilities, that's all true.  But most expats who come to Mexico to save money do that.  And no, you do not have to pay the equivalent of a San Diego rent in order to get a decent place.  A lot of Mexicans live on $300-$700 a month total.  You can plunk down the average family monthly wage in Mexico (about $850) and get a very decent place with everything working, and the equivalent in San Diego would cost more than twice that amount.

With all respect to my very knowledgeable fellow amigos, I think if your gut is telling you to do this you should do it.  If TJ is too big and dirty, there are other destinations nearby that are perhaps cheaper and have less problems.  In another post I suggested Ensenada, but lots of possibilities.

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5 hours ago, PhordPhan said:

There is nothing practical about living in TJ. TJ is loud, very dirty, and ugly. Yes, it's cheaper than SoCal, but you will still pay top dollar if you expect housing and amenities relatively on par with the States. The infrastructure is terrible, especially the public water and the roads. Traffic is a nightmare during rush hour. Far too many people living in an area designed for far fewer. People will steal any-damn-thing that isn't nailed down. (That's behavior endemic to Latin America, so TJ isn't unique in that respect). 

Many ex-pats live in TJ, but those who make the most successful transition went in with eyes open, fully knowing the advantages and disadvantages. The least successful ones moved without a good reason. Cheap beer and hookers isn't a good reason. Living near prostitutes is a VERY fleeting advantage.

Your comments of living near the border, wandering around, yet being close enough to hop back to the States on a 5-minute notice if the shit gets too heavy seem a bit odd, and, at best, from a pre-9/11 age. It's difficult and time consuming to just pop back and forth to Mexico without the proper credentials, i.e. SENTRI. As esteemed brother @Bubby has pointed out, it looks as if you need far more visits to TJ before you can make an informed decision.

An extended stay hotel in Centro would be Villa de Zaragoza. They have some kitchenette rooms. There is a new extended stay hotel, can't recall the name, in Otay Mesa. Google is your friend, as well as a trip or two exploring Otay.

How much do these extended stay places cost per month generally?

My reasons are that I need to study stuff online to get a Cert to get a job in So Cal, and microdosing helps ALOT, as well as some other benefits related to weight training OTC... So obviously Mexico is the best spot to be for all of that as is legal. 

I can save alot of money doing my Certs from Baja, and then once or twice a week sneaking into Cali to either drive some Uber for extra money, or going for a job interview.

I have people in LA to keep valuables at but not to crash at their house.

So that is why i am heading down there.

If I like Mexico hopefully I can get a remote job and stay down there.

I believe everything I have stated above is a practical benefit.

Considering the ginormous prices of rent all throughout So Cal and the fact I don't even know where I am going to be working yet... Staying in Baja will be dirt cheap and allow me to apply the best job, without being tied down to a lease... all while living it up party time when I am not training my ass off.


 

Edited by Mr. Garganta
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4 hours ago, amosrolling said:

It's good to know what you are getting into, but I don't buy this 'it all evens out' stuff.  Mexico, and TJ is part of Mexico, is WAY cheaper than the United States.  Yes, infrastructure, yes, utilities, that's all true.  But most expats who come to Mexico to save money do that.  And no, you do not have to pay the equivalent of a San Diego rent in order to get a decent place.  A lot of Mexicans live on $300-$700 a month total.  You can plunk down the average family monthly wage in Mexico (about $850) and get a very decent place with everything working, and the equivalent in San Diego would cost more than twice that amount.

With all respect to my very knowledgeable fellow amigos, I think if your gut is telling you to do this you should do it.  If TJ is too big and dirty, there are other destinations nearby that are perhaps cheaper and have less problems.  In another post I suggested Ensenada, but lots of possibilities.

I agree, some people are just pessimists.

I am thinking about Ensenada after trying out TJ and getting comfortable might head down there.

I just don't want to have to do way too much driving in Mexico, because that is the number one way to get into trouble, aside from looking for it ( you know what I mean ).

I may give a whirl around Ensenada earlier on, but being that deep in the belly of the beast, especially when I have on-going job interviews, seems very difficult for me. Add 1.5 hour Mexico commute to a 1 hour bordering crossing time, and perhaps even more hours to drive into SoCal, doesn't make sense. If I am going to shave time off, then I will do it by living next to the border, there is nothing "pre-911" about that ( whatever the heck that means ), it is just a practical consideration.

Edited by Mr. Garganta
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I have a new-ish (2018 ) hybrid-electric car, would I have to worry about my car getting broken into much at an Extended Stay?

Have you guys had your cars broken into?

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3 minutes ago, Mr. Garganta said:

I have a new-ish (2018 ) hybrid-electric car, would I have to worry about my car getting broken into much at an Extended Stay?

Have you guys had your cars broken into?

The only Amigo-reported break-in that I remember in recent times was from someone who had parked on the street overnight in Centro.... and one or two at the trolley station on the San Diego side.

Make sure you have Mexican insurance on your car.

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8 minutes ago, Mr. Garganta said:

. Add 1.5 hour Mexico commute to a 1 hour bordering crossing time, and perhaps even more hours to drive into SoCal, doesn't make sense. If I am going to shave time off, then I will do it by living next to the border, there is nothing "pre-911" about that ( whatever the heck that means ), it is just a practical consideration.

An hour for crossing?  If you have SENTRI and are in a car, sure, that's doable most days.  Otherwise, plan for two hours at least.  Join this group on Facebook to get an idea of the crossing times and lines. https://www.facebook.com/groups/547917278583407

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10 hours ago, TJ Flyer said:

What sort of practicalities? Assumed cheaper housing cost? Ready access to Latina poon? Hiding out from someone?

I explained already, but all of the above... and more.

Edited by Mr. Garganta
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1 hour ago, Reuben said:

An hour for crossing?  If you have SENTRI and are in a car, sure, that's doable most days.  Otherwise, plan for two hours at least.  Join this group on Facebook to get an idea of the crossing times and lines. https://www.facebook.com/groups/547917278583407

I don't have SENTRI and don't think I will be able to get it in any reasonable time.
2 hours is alot but if I cross at odd hours, I should be able to make it 1 as I have seen.
Thank you for telling me it is 2 hours, but the fact it is 2 hours only intensified the need to live right by the border.

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9 minutes ago, Mr. Garganta said:

I don't have SENTRI and don't think I will be able to get it in any reasonable time.
2 hours is alot but if I cross at odd hours, I should be able to make it 1 as I have seen.
Thank you for telling me it is 2 hours, but the fact it is 2 hours only intensified the need to live right by the border.

If your record is clean, you might want to consider applying to SENTRI or Global Entry (both work the same for the border) right away.  A few Amigos have reported getting it in record time.  Others sit and wait for a year.... there is a thread on here about it.

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7 minutes ago, Reuben said:

If your record is clean, you might want to consider applying to SENTRI or Global Entry (both work the same for the border) right away.  A few Amigos have reported getting it in record time.  Others sit and wait for a year.... there is a thread on here about it.

I am technically unemployed, my wife is a foreigner and I have gotten in a shouting match with the Border Patrol recently. I think I should just kiss it goodbye.

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2 minutes ago, Mr. Garganta said:

 I have gotten in a shouting match with the Border Patrol recently.

Curious Amigos want to know the details on this!  I'm also wondering if this has caused you to go to secondary during visits since then.  A friend of mine got huffy with a CBP agent a few years ago in the Ready Line and for the next 18 months or so, every single time he crossed, he was sent to secondary.

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