How to get from Cancun to Tijuana
Tijuana is Mexico’s most significant border city to the United States. It’s located in the Mexican state of Baja California, right next to the city of San Diego in the US.
The border crossing of San Ysidro is one of the most transited in the world. Many travellers going to the US prefer to fly into Tijuana and then cross the border by land because flying from Mexico to San Diego or Los Angeles directly is often 1,5 times as expensive.
The border crossing between Mexico and the USA isn’t the only reason people visit Tijuana. The city is a thriving cultural hub with a well-known and vibrant nightlife centred mainly in the downtown area around Avenida Revolucion. Or as Manu Chau would put it: Welcome to Tijuana, Tequila, sex and marijuana.
Tijuana also claims to be Latin America’s capital for craft beer and FYI, the place where Caesar salad originated.
2 ways to get from Cancun to Tijuana
|Direct Flight||6 hours||2 MXN ($110.00)||Check Flights|
|Indirect Flight||8 hours 15 minutes||1 MXN ($85.00)||Check Flights|
As you are basically crossing the entire country, the flight is the only option to travel the 4,440 km (2,758 miles) from Cancun to Tijuana. You can take a 6-hour direct flight (including transfers) with fares from 2 MXN ($110.00) or an 8-hour-15 minute indirect flight (also including transfers) with rates from 1 MXN ($85.00).
Taking a land transfer from Cancun to Tijuana would take around three days, so understandably, direct buses are not available.
Flying from Cancun to Tijuana is actually the longest flight you can do within Mexico. It takes a little more than 5 hours to fly directly or around 7.5 hours with a layover in either Mexico City, Guadalajara or Monterrey. Keep in mind that you’ll need extra time to get to and from the airports.
For travellers who prioritize time and convenience, a direct flight from Cancun Airport to Tijuana will be your best option. On the other side, booking a flight including a layover can reduce the price of the flight significantly. For the best flight deals, book your airline tickets early.
Something to consider about flying is the impact on the environment. We recommend adding a carbon compensation fee to reduce the impact of your flight.
Cancun to Tijuana by Flight
Travelling from Cancun to Tijuana is quite a journey as you’re going from the eastern tip of Mexico to the most western part of the country. There are both direct and indirect flights and the travel time is around 6 hours for direct flights and 8 hours 15 minutes for indirect flights, inclusive of airport transfers.
Your departure airport is Cancun International Airport, located 30 km from Cancun city centre.
Tijuana’s airport is conveniently located next to the border with the United States and you can actually cross the border without leaving the airport. If you do want to visit Tijuana, the city centre is just 15 minutes away by car.
Step 1: Getting to Cancun Airport
To get to Cancun Airport, you can use a taxi, a shared minivan, or the ADO buses departing from Cancun’s Central Bus Terminal. All options take about 30 minutes and drop you off at any of the airport terminals.
The bus offers the lowest fares from the city centre to Cancun Airport at 98 MXN ($5.50). You can book the tickets for ADO buses via ClickBus or directly at the bus station.
Alternatively, you can take a shared minivan for 157 MXN ($8.50) or a private transfer for 456 MXN ($25.50). Both can be conveniently booked beforehand through BookAway.
See our Cancun Airport page for a more extensive guide.
Step 2: Cancun to Tijuana by Direct Flight
Three airlines fly direct flights from Cancun International Airport to Tijuana: Viva Aerobus, Volaris, and Hahn Air. Flight time is around 5 hours 10 minutes.
With limited availability for Cancun to Tijuana flights, tickets can be quite expensive. Prices for airline tickets start from 1 MXN ($100.00). Make sure to check Skyscanner for the cheapest flights!
Check Direct Flights on Skyscanner
Indirect flights from Cancun to Tijuana
Indirect Cancun to Tijuana flights are cheaper. These flights depart several times a day and make a short layover in either Mexico City, Guadalajara or Monterrey. The total travel time is around 7.5 hours, depending on the layover. The rates for indirect flights start at around 1 MXN ($73.00).
Viva Aerobus, Volaris and AeroMexico are the three airlines flying indirect and cheap flights from Cancun to Tijuana.
To get the best flight deals, it’s always recommended to plan and book ahead of time.
Check Indirect Flights on Skyscanner
Step 3: Tijuana Airport to the City Centre
The arrival airport is Tijuana International Airport, situated on the northern side of Tijuana, next to the border with the United States. It takes around 15 minutes to get to the city centre by car/taxi.
Authorised taxi counters are located in the airport arrival hall and a taxi to the city centre will cost around 160 MXN ($9.00).
For cheaper rates, you can always book an Uber. They are available in Tijuana and a ride from the airport to the city centre starts from 110 MXN ($6.00). Both taxis and Uber are available 24/7.
Border crossing into the United States
If you want to travel into the United States, you can cross the border through CBX (Cross Border Express), which connects directly to Tijuana Airport and is located after the baggage claim.
To use CBX, you need to buy a special ticket through your airline for 400 MXN ($22.50), and you have two hours from the time of arrival to cross. Note that you must not exit the airport, or you will lose the right to use the CBX.
The paperwork takes around 15 minutes, significantly less than if you go through the San Ysidro crossing, where the waiting time is between 1-2 hours. As San Ysidro is the main crossing point where the rest of the travellers go, there are usually long lines and the vehicle inspection usually delays traffic.
After you pass through customs, you will arrive at the CBX bus terminal. There are different buses and shuttles departing constantly for cities in California like San Diego or Los Angeles.
Travelling this route round trip? You can also check out our guide for Tijuana to Cancun.
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Ela is a storyteller, content producer, solo traveller and a mermaid-in-training. When she’s not in front of her laptop, you will find her barefoot and living her best tan on some island in the Philippines… Or exploring the depths of its seas as a budding freediver. An island girl at heart, she’ll be happy anywhere there is sea, sand, sun and coffee.
Based in Bali, Maarten’s passion for travel is undeniable. In 2016, he decided to quit his job as a stock analyst and started doing what he always dreamed of: travelling through South East Asia and helping other people plan their trips. When he is not working on Gecko Routes, you’ll find him surfing in the ocean or exploring the best gems of Indonesia.