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Algodones, Mexico - What You Need to Know About Visiting Los Algodones, B.C.

Part II - Alcohol and Tobacco Shopping and Crossing Back into the U.S.

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Alcohol and Tobacco

Interested in vices? There are some large liquor stores (they are purple) with a great supply of bargain liquors, chewing tobacco and cigarettes. Be sure and check on the limits before you load up. While in one of the stores, I noticed that they accepted cash and checks with ID but charged a fee for debit or credit cards.

Crossing the Border Back to the U.S.

If you are on a schedule be sure and watch the line at the border crossing. If it starts winding around the corner and back up the street, it might take you an hour or more to get through the crossing to the U.S. side. This is typical in the middle of the day during the winter when there are swarms of snowbirds. If you wait until later in the day or visit off-season, you might find no line at all.

Documents for Tourist Travel Across the Mexican Border

Passports and passport cards became the only accepted form of ID on June 1, 2009. Alternately, passport cards became available starting in spring 2008 for U.S. citizens wo don't travel by air or sea and just cross the border occasionally. The cost is $45 versus $97 for a passport.

When you approach the officials at the border, they will interview you one by one, examine your ID and ask you what you purchased. I was waved through with my straw hat and one bottle of tequila. They weren’t too interested in receipts or going through my tote bag. My friend who purchased medication was asked to show the package to the official.

Although the wait at the border can be long at times, Algodones has provided some benches and light shade. It is a good idea to carry a bottle of water with you for the time in line. Vendors often entertain you was you wait. Our hour went pretty fast although we were very glad it wasn’t much warmer out!

Recommendation

Algodones is a fun little border town with sparse shopping opportunities and some good Mexican food. It’s cleaner than many such towns. I say, “buyer beware” when it comes to prescription drugs and medical/dental care. Research your options carefully and listen to those more experienced. It’s worth a stop for the local color, Mexican food and border town experience.

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