The Mexicali border crossing has two ports of entry. You have the Calexico/Mexicali West and East options and each has different hours and slight variations in the directions. Overall, the documents and process required for crossing are the same at each however. They vary in terms of traffic and can both be fairly congested going from Mexicali to Calexico.
For convenience, we have instructions for both crossings here.
Mexicali – Calexico West Border
Border Location – Calexico West Border Station
Mexicali Border Hours – 24 hours, Every Day
Calexico Border Wait Times
Calexico West to Mexicali (into Mexico)
The crossing is pretty simple here but it’s narrow and not well suited for RV’s. Passenger vehicles and vans are fine here however.
- Follow Imperial Ave south in Calexico. You will pass the friendship park just before reaching the border crossing.
- Follow the signs through the border crossing. Pay attention to the signs and stop for inspection if flagged. The aduana for your TIP is located on the left after you clear the covered awning area.
- Hop on Zorilla Street then Ave Reforma to reach Highway 5 South.
Mexicali West to Calexico (into USA)
Warning: The Sentri Lane is easy to accidentally take here. Do not use the Sentri Lane without a pass. A warning is the lightest punishment but significant fines may be imposed.
- The Google directions to the border crossing often confuse things and push you too close to the actual border or funnel you into Sentri. You want to get on Cristobal Colon, the road bordering the border fence a reasonable way to the east. When it’s busy, the line backs up a long distance on this road.
- Stay in the right two lanes and follow the traffic to the border. It can crawl along slowly on busy days. Carry small bills so you can buy snow cones and cold drinks on hot days.
- RV’s must stay right in the lane labeled as such. I’ve driven a full cabover camper through here and height clearance was fine.
- Have your passport ready as you near and follow the signs and instructions to the border guard station. Sometimes, an agent will be stationed ahead of the guard station to check passports as well.
- Answer the questions while they do the inspection. If you are cleared, drive through and stay left to enter Calexico. If they send you to secondary, enter the big covered area and park. You will wait outside the vehicle until the inspection is done.
Mexicali – Calexico East Border
Border Location – Calexico East Port of Entry
Calexico East Port of Entry Hours – 6 am to 12 am, Every Day
Calexico East Border Wait Times
Calexico East to Mexicali (into Mexico)
Parking big rigs is an issue after crossing the border here because of limited space. It is possible but many RVers walk across to get the FMM then go back and drive across, preventing the need to stop. You can get an FMM online but will still need to stop at the border so it’s best to do everything at once then drive across when the paperwork is completed.
- Take highway 7 south. It’s located to the east of the actual town of Calexico.
- Stay in the left two lanes for passenger vehicles. RV’s and trailers take the right lane. It’s labeled and easy to spot.
- Follow the instructions and stop at the signs labeled “Alto” so they can inspect your rig. They may do a quick search inside as well.
- The aduana and banjercito are located on your right. Park and enter the building to get your FMM and passport stamp.
- You enter the east side of Mexicali and while there are signs for the turns to San Felipe, have Google maps downloaded to stay on track.
Mexicali East to Calexico (into USA)
- Take Ave Rep de Argentina to the border crossing. You will pass the commercial truck point of entry before turning right into the border lanes. Stay on the right side as the far left lane is reserved for Sentri traffic.
- As you funnel closer to the guard stations, more lanes spread out, speeding up the final leg. Choose the nearest open lane that IS NOT Sentri and continue to the guard station with your passport ready. Answer the questions and either move to secondary as directed or pass through to Highway 7 north.
- Keep in mind, you are east of Calexico. Drive west to reach the city if supplies are needed.
There you have it. The Mexicali – Calexico border crossing is not the easiest and it can be busy but the convenience of being on Baja’s highway 5 makes it an excellent choice for quickly navigating up and down the peninsula. Always remember to get your Mexican car insurance online before crossing the border to stay protected and in compliance with the law while visiting Mexico.