Resources for Renters
it is advisable to purchase auto insurance
If you are driving your own car my recommendation is to purchase your mexican auto insurance "on line". i have used this company for 15 years
and they are very reputable. the name of the company is: oscar padillalog on to www.mexicaninsurance.com
If you don't purchase your insurance "on line" then you can find auto insurance drive thru's on the way to the border. here's how!
From the 805, (just before the international border), exit at san ysidro blvd or from the i- 5, exit at via de san ysidro. At both off ramps there is a drive thru called oscar padilla insurance. Mexican authorities recognize only insurance policies issued by companies licensed to transact insurance in the republic of mexico. accordingly, motorists are strongly advised to purchase a separate insurance policy issued through a mexican licensed company.
AAA members may obtain this coverage at any office of the automobile club of southern california. Policies are written by the day. the auto club offers an inexpensive comprehensive medical plan which is recommended.
Check with your insurance carrier to determine if you have comprehensive insurance, tell them that you will be driving approximately 90 miles into mexico. If you do then only purchase mexican liability insurance, it's very inexpensive. let your carrier advise you however!
note: if you are renting a car the car rental company provides mexican auto insurance. (refer to "car rentals" below).
Renting A Car
Renting a car at the airport (in san diego) and driving into mexico. no problem! The airport is a 20 minute drive to the international border.
For better rates it is advisable to make a reservation in advance for renting a car. (you can also rent one at the airport). telephone avis for reservations on their toll free number, 1-800-331-1212. (check with your insurance carrier first to see if you have full comprehensive coverage before purchasing comprehensive insurance from the car rental company. Inform them that you will be traveling approximately 90-100 miles into mexico from the international border at san diego. Many policies will cover comprehensive, a gold credit card may also cover this, check with your credit card company.
If you have a corporate card or aaa card your rates will be less. In order to drive the rental car you must be 25 years or older, have a major credit card in the name of the driver. (avis's policy)
The weekly avis rate as of the date of this entry, (based on a aaa membership) is:
mid-size, (4-5 people) (aaa card), total cost for the week should be approximately $285.00 which will include mexican insurance, (liability only), vehicle license fee, and unlimited miles.
large size, (5-6 people) unlimited miles, total cost for the week should be approximately $315.00 which will include mexican insurance, (liability only), vehicle license fee, and unlimited miles.
Note: a corporate credit card will lower these rates . these rates are subject to change on a daily basis and the time of the year.
Note: there are other rental companies into mexico other then avis!
Below is an excerpt by avis that i copied from their web site.
"Below are some cities and the distance with travel times from the san diego airport. international border, tijuana mexico 18 miles 20 minutes, rosarito, mexico 40 miles 60 minutes, ensenada, mexico,78 miles,125 minutes. Speaking of mexico, our neighbors to the south, avis allows their rental cars to cross the international border only if the vehicle is protected by the mexico visitors auto insurance. The insurance is purchased at any of the 15 avis locations county-wide. there are some travel limitations, and vehicle restrictions. our avis agents will be able to explain what these are, along with the rates for the policy".
Firearms are not permitted in mexico except when brought into the country during hunting season for the express purpose of hunting and when accompanied by the appropriate documents.
Health conditions and medical emergencies. Health conditions in baja are good, there are good physicians and dentists in ensenada with well equipped hospitals, clinics and pharmacies.
The local red cross (cruz roja) can also be helpful.
If a traveler has an emergency in baja they may contact:
The binational emergency medical committee, located in chula vista at 619-425-5080 (available 24 hours), helps travelers due to illness, stranded due to accidents, legal difficulty or lack of money.
Emergency critical air transport services operates throughout baja with in-flight physicians and nurses. the following companies offer 24 hour emergency air service.
Air-evac international, located in san diego, (619-278-3822) outside california (800) 854-2569.
Critical air medicine, also in san diego (619- 571-0482) or toll free within mexico at 95 (800) 010-0268)
Trans medic in ensenada has phone numbers 01152-617-8-1400 and 8-2891.
A local physician who can be contacted through the homeowners association. dr. alba, his office is in estero beach. upon entering estero beach there is a large sign with an arrow directing you toward his office.
Gasoline, some vehicles do not run well on mexican gasoline and it is advisable to keep your gas tank at least half full . there are plenty of gas stations near the house and if you are going to purchase gasoline, their premium grade unleaded fuel called magna sin has an octane rating of 92 and is dispensed from green pumps. Regular grade leaded fuel called nova is dispensed from blue pumps with an octane rating of 80. older vehicles do not run well on mexican gas so fill up at the border while purchasing insurance. mexican gas may occasionally contain water and other impurities.
State Department Services.
The Overseas Citizens Services Office
Deals with such problems as notifying home if you are caught in a natural disaster or political disturbance, delivering emergency messages, making emergency money transfers, and providing emergency loans. In case of an emergency have your friends or family call the state department's citizens emergency center at this number, 202-647-5225, mon.-fri.-8:15 a.m.-10p.m., sat. 9-3. On sundays, holidays and after hours phone the state department operator at (202) 647-4000. For non emergency questions (202) 647-3444.
Visitors Who Encounter or Require Emergency Services While In Mexico :
Should contact the ministry of tourism, (sectur), a 24 hour hotline that can offer information regarding what laws protect visitors and where to turn for assistance. Operators are bi-lingual. phone 91 (800) 90-392 (toll free long distance within mexico) this hotline can be used to summon the green angels if you have car trouble.
It is not necessary to exchange american dollars into mexican pesos, most places take american dollars and give change in american currency. If it is necessary to exchange, there are places everywhere.
Telephone And Internet
if you have a cell phone contact telcel, from the u.s. call (800-4-telcel, et 5) or in mexico (111) at no charge using your cell phone.
Call your cell phone provider and set up an international option for the month. I use at&t and it's $2.95 for the month with international calling. it's worth it!
Also baja cellular is available, you will pass the office just before you turn onto the farm road. stop in and they will set you up in minutes.
There is a internet cafe a short drive from the house. please get the directions from the homeowners association.
There is emergency internet service at the homeowner's office for the guest to use.
Costco is now in ensenada
As you are arriving in ensenada from the states it is on the left hand side--your american costco card is accepted