There’s not much to see here — which is perhaps the reason to visit. The Otay Mesa Port of Entry is the third busiest along the U.S.-Mexico border and yet it’s lackluster. The most “beautifying” item when you reach the United States is this art piece:
The Otay Mesa POE was opened in 1983 to relieve congestion at the San Ysidro Port of Entry and its main purpose was to divert commercial truck traffic to this area. Today, Otay Mesa has the largest truck traffic at any U.S.-Mexico border crossing, so you’ll see vast truck lots.
If you drive around the area, you’ll also notice many industrial parks. This is where San Diego County’s industries congregate in large warehouses that straddle the border. Conspiracy theorists will love those warehouses, where the media has written about underground smuggling tunnels. Most of the industries here are more mundane, although some of the warehouses are known as maquiladoras that have their businesses on both sides of the border.
For pedestrians, this might be a better option than San Ysidro because Otay Mesa’s lines might be a bit faster. If you’re going into the U.S. from Mexico, make sure to admire the two statues at the inspection station. Once you’re on the U.S. side, three open malls have all sorts of shops, including the first legal medical marijuana dispensary and the excellent Greek eatery Erik’s Deli & Grill.
A few fun facts about the less known Otay Mesa Port of Entry:
- Congestion has gotten so heavy at this port of entry, that a new Otay Mesa East is being built about 2 miles away.
- The MTS bus station at this POE has the largest number of public transportation riders throughout the entire system with about 3,000 riders each morning.
- A bridge into the Tijuana International Airport opened very recently.
- Border X opened their first commercial beer tasting establishment very near this POE. (They are now a popular beer brewing house located in the hip Barrio Logan.)
- Rather infamously, facial scans of foreigners has recently been implemented at the Otay Mesa Port of Entry.
Otay Mesa has large plans to create 4,000 housing units near this POE. The County of San Diego owns much of the land and wants to attract commercial interests to this region as well. How can you know more about Otay Mesa’s businesses and plans for growth? The Otay Mesa Chamber of Commerce and the Otay Mesa Planning Group.