Business Travel to Tijuana/Tecate/Ensenada

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Flux
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Business Travel to Tijuana/Tecate/Ensenada

Post by Flux »

Hello all. I am considering applying for a position within my company that requires 50% travel to Tijuana/Tecate/Ensenada. I would appreciate your opinion if I should apply for the job. I would be based out of Colorado Springs, CO (relocating there from Indianapolis), and travel a couple weeks a month to Mexico. I am 27, American, white if that matters.

I’ve been told that I could stay at hotels in Ensenada, but when working at Tecate/Tijuana, I would most likely be commuting back to the US each evening. I’ve heard the border crossing can have long waits, plus I’ve read countless stories (including some from colleagues that travel there) about corruption among the police. The position would be a huge step for my career (both experience and financially), which is why I’m considering it. I have never been there but can likely be flown down for a week before accepting an offer (if I get one).

Any thoughts?
awval999
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Re: Business Travel to Tijuana/Tecate/Ensenada

Post by awval999 »

I'd do it. But that's me.

Why are you asking the question? Because Mexico is kind of so-so in safety? Because of the drive back to San Diego from Tijuana?

I would see what safety precautions the company has. I would expect a business class hotel. I would expect a driver when landing by airport. I personally wouldn't want to drive in Mexico. That would be my only issue.
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Flux
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Re: Business Travel to Tijuana/Tecate/Ensenada

Post by Flux »

awval999 wrote:I'd do it. But that's me.

Why are you asking the question? Because Mexico is kind of so-so in safety? Because of the drive back to San Diego from Tijuana?

I would see what safety precautions the company has. I would expect a business class hotel. I would expect a driver when landing by airport. I personally wouldn't want to drive in Mexico. That would be my only issue.
Safety is my main concern. Also, long waits for border crossings would get old quickly. I read it is one of the most crossed borders in the world.

Good point about having a driver, I will see what type of "amenities" my company offers.
jlawrence01
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Re: Business Travel to Tijuana/Tecate/Ensenada

Post by jlawrence01 »

Flux wrote:I’ve been told that I could stay at hotels in Ensenada, but when working at Tecate/Tijuana, I would most likely be commuting back to the US each evening. I’ve heard the border crossing can have long waits, plus I’ve read countless stories (including some from colleagues that travel there) about corruption among the police. The position would be a huge step for my career (both experience and financially), which is why I’m considering it. I have never been there but can likely be flown down for a week before accepting an offer (if I get one). Any thoughts?
First,Tecate is a small town in Baja California that is between Tijuana and Mexicali. In my one visit there, I do not remember there being much in terms of a hotel on the Mexican side and nothing on the US side.

Second, if you are in Tijuana, it is pretty much a sister city of San Diego and there are some large hotels on both sides of the border. We used to stay in the Holiday Inns but there is a small chain, Hotel Lucerna that has a number of hotels around BC that we all preferred.

I spent the better part of the year in Mexicali which is further east and is adjacent to Calexico and El Centro, CA. I really preferred to stay on the US side as my staff felt more comfortable safety wise and they like the restaurant options better. Also, it was easier to communicate with friends and relatives when staying on the US side.

You need to make sure that you always travel with Mexican auto insurance. That serves as a "get out of jail" card and provides you with an attorney if you have an accidents. You will always be at fault.

As for the corruption, well it depends on how you want to call it. If I get pulled over for a ticket in Mexico, the police officer will usually accept $30 to resolve the issue. If I cross the border and get stopped by CHIPs officer, It will cost me $300+ and my insurance will go up.

Personally, I would NOT accept the position without a clear picture of what security that they are going to provide for your safety. My last trip to Mexico in 2007 was to meet with the economic development officials of Nuevo Laredo and state of Tamaulipas. They spent at least an hour of five emphasizing how safe the city was despite all of the bad press. While we were meeting at a local hotel, five police officers were gunned down while eating lunch.

Most large corporations with a lot of business in Mexico have all this planned out and well documented so that they know where the location of their personnel at all times. If the future employer is NOT well prepared, I would NOT do it. PERIOD.
mac808
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Re: Business Travel to Tijuana/Tecate/Ensenada

Post by mac808 »

I wouldn't take the job. I have friends who work in Mexico and I've heard a lot of horror stories about the cartels and increasing levels of indiscriminate violence, to the point where some friends have quit going down there and others are looking to move on to safer jobs. I used to go down to TJ in the mid 90s when I lived in San Diego and it wasn't too bad, but apparently in the last few years, it has gotten really, really bad.
chaz
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Re: Business Travel to Tijuana/Tecate/Ensenada

Post by chaz »

A big safety issue versus a pay raise.
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SteveB3005
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Re: Business Travel to Tijuana/Tecate/Ensenada

Post by SteveB3005 »

Too many people seem to disappear down there, wait for a Canadian job opening.
Calm Man
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Re: Business Travel to Tijuana/Tecate/Ensenada

Post by Calm Man »

Not a chance in the world. I was in the country once and was happy to get out unscathed.
harrychan
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Re: Business Travel to Tijuana/Tecate/Ensenada

Post by harrychan »

Been there a few times in college. My friend has a story of getting busted for urinating in public and scrapping together $7 to pay off a police! Personally, I wouldn't do it. Too much unknown in unfamiliar territory. You just don't want to get caught or framed becoming an unwilling mule. Word gets around quick of Americans and their cars who crosses the border daily. Time waiting to cross the border shouldn't be an issue. YOu can easily get some fast pass thing where you can go through automated checkpoint once you prove your credentials. As others have said, it is the safety issue.
This is not legal or certified financial advice but you know that already.
YttriumNitrate
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Re: Business Travel to Tijuana/Tecate/Ensenada

Post by YttriumNitrate »

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Topic Author
Flux
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Re: Business Travel to Tijuana/Tecate/Ensenada

Post by Flux »

YttriumNitrate wrote:On the plus side, Colorado Springs is nice area and if the move is confirmed soon you can still get a good deal on the Epic Pass for the 2013-14 ski season.
I'm huge into the outdoors so that's another thing that draws me to this position. Every time I travel there for business I add a few days to play.

I did talk to HR today and they said a driver could be provided for me.
WHL
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Re: Business Travel to Tijuana/Tecate/Ensenada

Post by WHL »

I personally would do it. I don't have fear of things happening to me (if I could explain my current position, it would show that :)).

On quite the opposite side, my boss said when he travels to Mexico to meet my counterpart (I handle Canada & USA, maybe Mexico in the future) he does not leave the airport - not even the security area. He makes the Mexican employee enter security and meet him inside the airport.
seldomseen
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Re: Business Travel to Tijuana/Tecate/Ensenada

Post by seldomseen »

I've lived in mexico (6 years ago now) and have travelled/driven through a lot of it. It's an amazing and beautiful country. I think the drug war stuff is a bit overblown--the vast, vast majority of related deaths are locals, especially those involved in the drug trade. it is very, very rare for any american (especially one there on legitimate business) to be in danger due to that. However, there are risks of more random violence and petty crime and you have to be certainly careful there and generally wary. I would be careful driving there, and a driver would be worth pushing for. Take a chance, experience a new culture, learn some spanish...
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kramer
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Re: Business Travel to Tijuana/Tecate/Ensenada

Post by kramer »

seldomseen wrote:I've lived in mexico (6 years ago now) and have travelled/driven through a lot of it. It's an amazing and beautiful country. I think the drug war stuff is a bit overblown--the vast, vast majority of related deaths are locals, especially those involved in the drug trade. it is very, very rare for any american (especially one there on legitimate business) to be in danger due to that. However, there are risks of more random violence and petty crime and you have to be certainly careful there and generally wary. I would be careful driving there, and a driver would be worth pushing for. Take a chance, experience a new culture, learn some spanish...
Yes, I agree. Statistically speaking, safety level almost shouldn't enter into the equation the risk is so tiny. Tijuana has improved a lot safety-wise in the last 3 years or so, the homicide rate has been literally plummeting. I would be a lot more worried about border crossing times which can be not only long, but unpredictable. There is a program you can join (which entails a security check, among other things) to decrease wait times.

In fact, I wouldn't even want a driver after getting used to driving there (which is not very difficult, at all -- it not *that* different). Having or not having a driver is not going to affect your safety level once you know your way around.

If you were working multiple days in a row in Tijuana or Tecate, I don't see why you would return to the USA each evening (unless you lived there just across the border somewhere and were going to your home).

I liked Ensenada, but besides that this really is not a very pretty part of Mexico and I felt like there was not as much Mexican Culture there in Northern Baja -- I have enjoyed traveling in the interior of Mexico much more. Many Mexicans lament that Tijuana is the first and most lasting impression of Mexico that Americans have and consider it the armpit of Mexico (I hope I did not offend anyone, just conveying what has been told to me).
eddiejov55
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Re: Business Travel to Tijuana/Tecate/Ensenada

Post by eddiejov55 »

I've travelled internationally quite a bit for my job and have loved every minute of it. As long as you are responsible and understand the safety measures provided by your company then I think you will be fine. "Random violence" is hard to mitigate because it is random - but you can be smart and not put yourself in position to be a victim. Don't venture down dark alleys at night, don't use drugs, don't get drunk, and don't use prostitutes!!! A great deal of "random violence" finds people who stray into those territories!

Go for it. You might find it opens great doors for you down the road.
l2ridehd
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Re: Business Travel to Tijuana/Tecate/Ensenada

Post by l2ridehd »

Do it. I have traveled all over the world on business including most of Mexico and South America with minimal issues. Always keep a low profile, make sure your company has a "travel safety insurance" set up with a company like SOS, and make sure someone always knows where you are. As someone else mentioned, stay away from drugs, sex and don't drink the water. Having a driver is good but not always a requirement. (a must have in India and China, nice to have in Malaysia, Brazil and Mexico) It can be a very rewarding experience and you will expand your view of the world. Go to Passport health and get all your required shots and medicines. Once doing one country or area of the world, it opens so many doors for other places. It's a great ticket to have punched. Not everyone is willing to go to all these places so your resume becomes very valuable to companies that do business in these places.
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Re: Business Travel to Tijuana/Tecate/Ensenada

Post by Call_Me_Op »

I traveled with a small group of co-workers to Tijuana about 30 years ago. I felt very unsafe. Not sure how things have changed since then.
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supersharpie
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Re: Business Travel to Tijuana/Tecate/Ensenada

Post by supersharpie »

Lot's of scaredy cats in this piece!

Please provide links to Americans (not of Mexican origin) who were killed while visiting Mexico. Mexico is probably safer for Americans than most American urban areas.
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Re: Business Travel to Tijuana/Tecate/Ensenada

Post by supersharpie »

All of those victims have Mexican origins and therefore potential family/friend ties to the cartels.

Again, I see no evidence that Mexico is any more dangerous for Americans without Mexican connections than major urban areas in the US.
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Re: Business Travel to Tijuana/Tecate/Ensenada

Post by Dougroseville »

Flux wrote:Any thoughts?
I would be very inclined to do it.

IF you are offered it, you might want to do some due diligence on how it might impact your lifestyle.
  • Find out whether your company has any Cultural Orientation resources (workshops, books, etc.) for Mexico.
  • See if you can talk to, stay in similar accommodations, and commute across the border one day with another US employee (ideally from Colorado since they will be aware of specific issues related to flight schedules and taxes). Ask about any surprises (positive or negative), benefits and drawbacks.
  • Get a clear understanding about how you will be reimbursed for expenses (e.g., per diem or with receipts, and related limits). Understand if they are covering all of your meals and expenses when away from home. Get an idea if they have any allowances for border wait time (e.g., leave early...).
  • Find out if you have an option to have a company paid apartment in San Diego as opposed to using hotels. Each have their own benefits and drawbacks. Hotels may be better initially, but an apartment gives you more freedom to cook for yourself, store a bike or sporting equipment, hopefully have in unit washer/dryer, etc.
  • Get a clear understanding about whether you will be expected to travel from Colorado on personal or company time.
  • If the situation is likely to complicate your income tax situation, try to get the company to pay for your tax preparation (and protect you from any penalties).
  • Also, think about how long of a commitment the company wants for this position.
I am assuming you are single, or I would probably say forget it.
Random Poster
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Re: Business Travel to Tijuana/Tecate/Ensenada

Post by Random Poster »

Flux wrote:Any thoughts?
Habla espanol?
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Steelersfan
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Re: Business Travel to Tijuana/Tecate/Ensenada

Post by Steelersfan »

Do a "Find" for Tijuana in the latest State Department Travel Warnings for Mexico and this is what they say.


Baja California (north): Tijuana and Mexicali are major cities/travel destinations in the state of Baja California -see map to identify their exact locations: You should exercise caution in the northern state of Baja California, particularly at night. For the one-year period ending July 2012, the number of murders in Mexicali increased by 43%, from 127 to 181, over the preceding year. The number of murders in the city of Tijuana was 351 for the same period. In the majority of these cases, the killings appeared to be related to narcotics trafficking. Targeted TCO assassinations continue to take place in Baja California. Turf battles between criminal groups resulted in assassinations in areas of Tijuana frequented by U.S. citizens. Shooting incidents, in which innocent bystanders have been injured, have occurred during daylight hours. Twenty-five U.S. citizens were the victims of homicide in the state in the 12-month period ending July 2012.

http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_t ... _5815.html

I travel all over Europe alone for weeks at a time staying in non-tourist hotels in and near downtown areas. I wouldn't want to spend time in Tijuana.
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Re: Business Travel to Tijuana/Tecate/Ensenada

Post by Grt2bOutdoors »

Friend of a friend was in Tijuana on business - saw one Mexican slice another Mexican open like he was slicing a piece of watermelon in broad daylight. He's never going back to Mexico, ever! It's the wild west down there - do you wonder why American companies operate just over the Mexican/US border - it's fast to pull out.

I would avoid going to Mexico.
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supersharpie
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Re: Business Travel to Tijuana/Tecate/Ensenada

Post by supersharpie »

Time and again people reference the horrific Mexican on Mexican crime going on south of the border. However, I have yet to see a reference to the murder of a non-Mexican-American US citizen.

If you don't have Mexican roots and don't get involved with illegal activities it is highly unlikely that you will be in any danger while conducting your business in Mexico.
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Noobvestor
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Re: Business Travel to Tijuana/Tecate/Ensenada

Post by Noobvestor »

Walking from Tijuana to the US with a normal passport: up to 3 hours.

Walking from Tijuana to the US with a Sentri card: less than 3 minutes.

Seriously. We are talking multi-block lines at peak times vs. maybe 1 to 2 people in line.

As for safety ... meh, it's safe down there if you're smart. Just like it's safe in Philly if you're smart. I've walked all over both. I've felt both safe and unsafe in both.
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Re: Business Travel to Tijuana/Tecate/Ensenada

Post by Occupier »

I have been to all the places you mention in the last year. I travel by motorcycle. You can cross the boarder in Tecate in a flash and then it's a nice rural two lane road to Ensenada with one or two checkpoints. I have never felt unsafe on the road or in either cities but I would not be out late at night. Tijuana is a big city and like any big city has some rough neighborhoods. Like others have said most of the violence in Mexico revolves around the drug trade, i.e. crooks killing other crooks, or corrupt police. Vigilantes killing crooks etc. If you not a crook you will be as safe as in any urban area in the US. I would take the job. There are a lot of very nice law abiding people down there. Dave
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Steelersfan
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Re: Business Travel to Tijuana/Tecate/Ensenada

Post by Steelersfan »

The comparison with Philly is very apt. Here are the comparable stats:

Philadelphia population: 1.5 million, murders in 2012: 334

Tijuana population: 1.3 million, murders in 2012: 351
Topic Author
Flux
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Re: Business Travel to Tijuana/Tecate/Ensenada

Post by Flux »

Thanks for the thoughts. I have applied for the position and will be learning much more in the interviews.
Dougroseville wrote: IF you are offered it, you might want to do some due diligence on how it might impact your lifestyle.
  • Find out whether your company has any Cultural Orientation resources (workshops, books, etc.) for Mexico.
  • See if you can talk to, stay in similar accommodations, and commute across the border one day with another US employee (ideally from Colorado since they will be aware of specific issues related to flight schedules and taxes). Ask about any surprises (positive or negative), benefits and drawbacks.
  • Get a clear understanding about how you will be reimbursed for expenses (e.g., per diem or with receipts, and related limits). Understand if they are covering all of your meals and expenses when away from home. Get an idea if they have any allowances for border wait time (e.g., leave early...).
  • Find out if you have an option to have a company paid apartment in San Diego as opposed to using hotels. Each have their own benefits and drawbacks. Hotels may be better initially, but an apartment gives you more freedom to cook for yourself, store a bike or sporting equipment, hopefully have in unit washer/dryer, etc.
  • Get a clear understanding about whether you will be expected to travel from Colorado on personal or company time.
  • If the situation is likely to complicate your income tax situation, try to get the company to pay for your tax preparation (and protect you from any penalties).
  • Also, think about how long of a commitment the company wants for this position.
I am assuming you are single, or I would probably say forget it.
Thanks for the ideas. I will be sure to clarify these.
Random Poster wrote:
Flux wrote:Any thoughts?
Habla espanol?
Not currently, besides the basic words retained from my high school courses a decade ago. I would like to learn it to help me not only in business, but also in understanding the Mexican culture.
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Noobvestor
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Re: Business Travel to Tijuana/Tecate/Ensenada

Post by Noobvestor »

Steelersfan wrote:The comparison with Philly is very apt. Here are the comparable stats:

Philadelphia population: 1.5 million, murders in 2012: 334

Tijuana population: 1.3 million, murders in 2012: 351
Wow, nice data - far more apt than I even realized when I made it :)
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Re: Business Travel to Tijuana/Tecate/Ensenada

Post by Grt2bOutdoors »

Noobvestor wrote:
Steelersfan wrote:The comparison with Philly is very apt. Here are the comparable stats:

Philadelphia population: 1.5 million, murders in 2012: 334

Tijuana population: 1.3 million, murders in 2012: 351
Wow, nice data - far more apt than I even realized when I made it :)
Those were the reported and recognized murders. How about the ones that go unreported - they are just listed as "missing".
"One should invest based on their need, ability and willingness to take risk - Larry Swedroe" Asking Portfolio Questions
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Steelersfan
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Re: Business Travel to Tijuana/Tecate/Ensenada

Post by Steelersfan »

Grt2bOutdoors wrote:
Noobvestor wrote:
Steelersfan wrote:The comparison with Philly is very apt. Here are the comparable stats:

Philadelphia population: 1.5 million, murders in 2012: 334

Tijuana population: 1.3 million, murders in 2012: 351
Wow, nice data - far more apt than I even realized when I made it :)
Those were the reported and recognized murders. How about the ones that go unreported - they are just listed as "missing".
The figure I used was from the State Department bulletin I posted. I have no reason to think they'd distort the numbers to make it sound safer.

Certainly for Americans, it's highly unlikely missing persons would go unreported.

For an American businessman traveling there I'm not sure the number of missing natives of Tijuana is relevant.
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widestance
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Re: Business Travel to Tijuana/Tecate/Ensenada

Post by widestance »

You can get a SENTRI pass if you're going to be crossing the border frequently.
It's a bit of a hassle to get, but worth as you get access to speedier crossing lanes.
http://www.mexadventure.com/MexicoTrave ... I_pass.cfm

I used to travel quite a bit in the Ensenada and more southern baja locations. But frankly, the escalating crime has pretty much turned me off to Mexico as a place I'd want to frequent anymore.
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Flux
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Re: Business Travel to Tijuana/Tecate/Ensenada

Post by Flux »

UPDATE:

I went through the interview process. It went well although being drilled with behavioral type questions for nearly 4 hours straight was exhausting.

I've decided I do not want the position. My instinct tells me it's in my best interest to let them know before an offer is made (if they make one). Is there any reason I should hold out and see if they make an offer?
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frugaltype
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Re: Business Travel to Tijuana/Tecate/Ensenada

Post by frugaltype »

Steelersfan wrote:
Grt2bOutdoors wrote:
Noobvestor wrote:
Steelersfan wrote:The comparison with Philly is very apt. Here are the comparable stats:

Philadelphia population: 1.5 million, murders in 2012: 334

Tijuana population: 1.3 million, murders in 2012: 351
Wow, nice data - far more apt than I even realized when I made it :)
Those were the reported and recognized murders. How about the ones that go unreported - they are just listed as "missing".
The figure I used was from the State Department bulletin I posted. I have no reason to think they'd distort the numbers to make it sound safer.

Certainly for Americans, it's highly unlikely missing persons would go unreported.

For an American businessman traveling there I'm not sure the number of missing natives of Tijuana is relevant.
I also suspect the number of missing is high. They probably never get reported to the corrupt Mexican police, so how is the State Department going to get the data.

I would not accept the job, and I'd tell them now, Not safe. Waiting until they make an offer is putting them in an uncomfortable position and looks strange, like you were okay with wasting their time to get the offer approved and put together.

I don't think a murderer is going to ask, Excuse me, but are you American? You look kind of Mexican to me. Oh, you just saw me murder someone? No problem, I'll let you go since you're an American. Oh, since you're an American, I'll just hold you for ransom. Maybe send a few body parts along with the ransom note.
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Rob5TCP
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Re: Business Travel to Tijuana/Tecate/Ensenada

Post by Rob5TCP »

From the San Diego Red: Tijuana is much safer than Chicago.

http://www.sandiegored.com/noticias/327 ... n-Chicago/

Would I go there with a bunch of kids; probably not.
As a single, I would definitely go.
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