Re-Entering the United States
Border wait and duty-free shopping

Getting into Mexico is one thing, but getting back into the United States is something else. The bad news is that the border wait to re-enter can be anywhere from 15 minutes to two hours.

To check current border traffic from San Diego, call (619) 690-8999. From Tijuana, call 01 (664) 700-7000. Or check border traffic online.

The good news is that all of Baja California is a duty-free zone. This means imported European perfumes and cosmetics, along with those expensive collectibles like Hummel, Lladro, Lalique, Baccarat and even Waterford crystal, are priced at approximately 20 percent less than in the United States. And there's no state sales tax.

You can bring back $400 per person duty-free, including 1 liter of alcohol. Mexican arts and crafts are duty-free and don't count toward your $400 limit. If traveling by common carrier (bus, cruise ship, plane or train), more than 1 liter of alcohol is allowed; however, only the first is duty-free.

Many U.S. prescription pharmaceuticals, from Premarin to Retin A to blood-pressure and heart medications, are available over the counter in Mexico at considerable savings. Most tourist areas have several high-volume pharmacies per block. Amounts purchased must be for personal use, not for resale.

Cuban cigars are legal in Mexico and readily available everywhere in the border area, but cannot be brought into the United States. Also legal in Mexico, but prohibited in the United states, are turtle products, switchblades, butterfly knives and fireworks.


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