Navigating Tijuana’s Route Taxis to Puerto Nuevo

Taxis start their routes from various points in Tijuana
Tijuana public transportation is....well, I'm still trying to figure out what it is. Despite its large population, Tijuana still lacks uniform transit. The city came close with the SIT bus, but it never really caught on.

First, let’s get the lingo right...
  • Taxi Libre - traditional metered taxi
  • Taxi Especial - non-metered taxi, so more expensive, but good for large group
  • Taxi - a group taxi that runs on a set route (aka “taxis de ruta” or route taxi. In Puerto Rico, we called them Carro Publicos)
The first stop of the taxi to Rosarito
Most locals use the last one to inexpensively get around the city. They work just like a bus, assigned to a fixed route, in fact some of the vehicles are buses, but most are large vans or even sedans.

Each route is known by its color and vehicles are painted to match. For example, dorado y blanco (gold and white) goes from Otay to Centro. Amarillo y crema (yellow and off-white) goes from Centro to Rosarito.

You can make sure you're on the right taxi by looking at the side of the taxi near the bottom right corner. It shows the vehicles ID number and approved route.

Like a bus, you may have to transfer to get where you need to go.

For example, after spending the day in Tijuana, we wanted to eat lobster in the famous Puerto Nuevo.
Fares are posted on the window

We walked to a small alleyway off Madero between 3rd and 4th (aka Carrillo Puerto and Calle Salvador Diaz respectively).

This is the first stop of the route. While many posters online claim the taxis will only leave when full, we found they left with a few open seats to pick people up along the way.

The van slowly made its way south, passing through La Gloria and eventually ending up in Rosarito. We rode to the very southern end (near Banco Santander) before paying the driver $22.50 MXP each and getting off. The etiquette is to generally pass the money up as you prepare to exit. The driver will give change. You'll see plenty of people doing this as you go and just follow their lead.

Puerto Nuevo lobster for $23
From there, we transferred to the White with Red and Blue stripes van heading south and hopped off at the entrance to Puerto Nuevo after paying about $15 MXP. Both taxis are MUCH cheaper than an Uber or Taxi Libre ($2 vs $25).

Across the street from the entrance is a small covered bus stop where you can catch a taxi back. I suggest getting off as you enter the southern end of Rosarito near where the yellow and white taxis start their route (call out “a los amarillos” as you see the mass of taxis waiting to go north). This will ensure you get a seat on the next taxi heading out.
Navigating Tijuana’s Route Taxis to Puerto Nuevo Navigating Tijuana’s Route Taxis to Puerto Nuevo Reviewed by Brandon on July 08, 2019 Rating: 5

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