- Tijuana is a huge city with several district articles containing sightseeing, restaurant, nightlife and accommodation listings — have a look at each of them.
Tijuana has a population of around 1.3 million people according to the last census and this figure expands to more than 1.7 million if its surrounding suburbs are included. The city has grown from a small border town with a salacious reputation during the Prohibition Era in the United States into a large, modern city with a sizeable middle class and ever expanding housing estates. Tijuana's proximity to the United States, along with Rosarito, has made the two adjacent cities a very popular tourist destination, especially for day-trippers from San Diego.
Tijuana is by far the largest urban metropolis of Northwestern Mexico, and is also its westernmost city. Tijuana and its US neighbor San Diego form the largest metropolitan area on the US-Mexican Border with a combined population of 5 million people. The two cities enjoy substantial social, economic, and cultural interactions.
Tijuana's environment is shaped by the agreeable climate of the Pacific Ocean and is adjacent to one of the the wealthiest and most populated sections of the United States with which Mexico shares a border. It has a sizeable middle class and is home to numerous manufacturers taking advantage of NAFTA. Despite (or perhaps because of) declines in tourism due to violence associated with the drug trade during 2008-2011, the social, cultural, and musical culture of the city have continued to develop, allowing the city to attract artists from all over North and Central America. Tijuana is home to every class, from the working class to the wealthy, from junkies to businessmen. Tijuana is particularly notable for the influence of fashion and trends introduced by Chicanos of the United States, including the development of a localized Spanglish. Tijuana is a major transit point for undocumented immigration into the United States, as well as a common destination for any illegal Mexican immigrants deported from the West Coast of the United States. As such, some areas are swollen with poor people with no roots in the city, who inhabit illegal, albeit tolerated, shanty towns. In sharp contrast to these shanty towns lie housing estates for the upwardly mobile, from maquiladora families, university students, to high class businessmen, reflecting Tijuana's status as one of the wealthiest cities in Mexico.
Tijuana has a growing cosmopolitan character, although lacking the scale and diversity seen in Mexico City. The city is home to many people who have migrated from within Mexico, along with native Mexican Indians, Asian residents (predominantly Chinese diaspora families, and Korean and Japanese factory managers), as well as many US citizens (predominantly Mexican-Americans including "cholos" and ex-cholos, with a sprinkle of retired American folk, though Rosarito is attracting more retirees in the past decade, cheaper life seekers, and Americans escaping law enforcement) and South Americans from Argentina and Uruguay, among others.
Frequent English-speaking visitors to Tijuana use the term "gringo-friendly" for a shop, bar, or restaurant in which a non-Spanish speaking customer will be at ease. A place is gringo-friendly if the staff is accustomed to dealing with American tourists, if they speak English and have English-language menus. Places that are not gringo-friendly may require use of Spanish, and patience. Just because a place is not gringo-friendly does not imply that the people there will not be friendly or that tourists will not be welcome.
While the Mexican peso is the legal currency, US dollars are widely used and accepted, even by locals. Tijuana observes daylight saving time (DST) the same way as the USA does. Money changers on the US side may offer better rates when buying pesos and worse rates when selling pesos.
Spanish is the dominant language in Tijuana, as it is in much of Mexico. However, English is spoken by almost everybody in the city's tourist hot spots (such as Avenida Revolución), as well as by taxi drivers and the Americans who live in the city. Having someone with you who can speak Spanish will be helpful when going away from Avenida Revolución.
Tijuana has a mild climate due to its closeness to the Pacific Ocean, with low humidity and pleasant temperatures year-round.
Due to its Pacific coastal location, the climate is very moderate for most of the year, with average temperatures during the daytime ranging from 20°C (68ºF) in January, to 30°C (86°F) in August. The rainy season is short and tame, with yearly averages close to only 254mm (10 in) of rainfall, and encompasses late winter to early spring.
- Zona Centro — The old downtown including Avenida Revolución
- Zona Rio — Downtown (Business district)
- Playas - Beaches and hills West of downtown
- Zona Norte - red light district
- Zona Libertad - Bedroom zone east of River
- Zona Otay - Bedroom zone behind (east of) Airport
- 'Zona Universitaria Technologica - urban zone
- Zona Camionera - Zone near bus station
- Zona San Francisco - sprawling suburban zone on perimeter of city.
- Zona Santa Fe - canyon to rosarito
- Zona CUT - hills west of downtown
- Zona Diaz Ordaz - busy main throughfare zone south of Zona Rio.
Most tourists enter Tijuana through the border crossing at San Ysidro, which is reportedly the busiest border crossing in the world. The crossing can be made by car, bus, or on foot.
Every visitor who plans to return to the United States must have a passport. A passport card will work too for US citizens.
From the Tijuana International Airport (From Mexico)Edit
Tijuana-General Abelardo L. Rodtríguez International Airport (IATA: TIJ)
The airport is located parallel to the USA-Mexico border line, 10km (6 miles) east of downtown Tijuana and the San Ysidro International Border Crossing, and one mile (1.6km) west of Otay International Border Crossing. The airport is used as a transit point for travelers wishing to visit San Diego and L.A. as well as to transit between Latin America and the Pacific regions without transiting through Los Angeles or San Francisco to avoid the extra bureaucratic hassles associated with entering the US (even for just transiting through American airports). Construction for a new terminal & additional parking in Otay Mesa, just over the American side of the border, with a pedestrian bridge going over the border and the main road, into the main terminal building is underway. The new terminal will house airline check in and US immigration and customs inspection to allow for a more quicker and direct crossing between the Tijuana Airport and the U.S.
The following airlines serve Tijuana:
- Aeromexico, Aeromexico Connect (Culiacán, Ciudad Juárez, Ciudad Obregón, Chihuahua, Durango, Guadalajara, Hermosillo, León/El Bajío, Mexico City, Monterrey, Shanghai-Pudong, Tokyo-Narita (onward travel to the Asia/Pacific region from Tokyo or Shanghai with their Sky Team partners at China Airlines, China Eastern, China Southern, Delta, Korean Air, Xiamen, or Vietnam Airlines or with other non-affiliated carriers available over there); To/from Mexicali & Ensenada by bus operated by EcoBaja Tours; to/from Los Angeles, Oxnard, Bakersfield, Fresno, Modesto, Merced, Stockton, San Jose, and several other cities & towns along I-5 & CA-Hwy99 in the US state of California by bus operated by Intercalifornias)
- Aereo Calafia (Los Cabos, Loreto and Hermosillo)
- Interjet (Guadalajara, Mexico City, Toluca)
- Volaris (Acapulco, Aguascalientes, Ciudad Juárez, Ciudad Obregón, Culiacan, Chihuahua, Guanajuato/Leon, Guadalajara, Hermosillio, La Paz, BCS; Los Cabos, Manzanillo, Mazatlan, Manzanillo, Mexico City, Monterrey, Morelia, Oaxaca, Puerto Vallarta, Tepic, Toluca, Uruapan, Zacatecas. To/from San Diego & Ensenada by shuttle bus )
Carriers such as Volaris and Interjet offer low-cost products similar to US-style low cost carriers which make the fares comparable or even cheaper than buses going over long distances such as to Los Cabos, Cualican, Guadalajara, Mazatlan, Mexico City, Tepic, etc (see above). From those cities passengers continue on another flight or an onward bus from the arrivals area (available in most Mexican airports) to get to additional destinations.
Previously international services were very limited until 2007, when Aeroméxico begin services to East Asia adding Tijuana as a stop on its Mexico City-Tijuana-Tokyo (Narita) flagship route. In 2008, this route was augmented by a Mexico City–Tijuana–Shanghai (Pudong) flight. The flights serve as routes not only as flights between four of the world's most populous cities, but also as the link for the significant East Asian-Mexican community in the northwestern areas of Mexico and as an alternative means of transit from the Pacific Rim to Latin America to avoid the extra bureaucratic hassles associated with entering the US and interacting with the US Department of Homeland Security (which is required even if you have no intention of ever leaving the transit lounge).
To get from the Airport (by ground transport) to your destination you have several options:
- You can take an authorized taxi cab, sedan or van, at the Airport. Buy the ticket in one of the booths at the exits of the airport.
- By public transportation, go outside the airport and take the blue and white bus, heading west along the main road. It has the legend: “Centro” or “Plaza Rio” displayed on the windscreen/windshield. US dollars are accepted.
There's also an airport bus station at the east side of the main terminal building, a right turn from the main exits, past the main building. From the airport bus station, Greyhound/Cruceros-USA, InterCalifornias, ABC (Autotransportes Baja California), Grupo Etrella Blanca, Volaris Shuttle (to San Diego & Ensenada), InterCalifornias & EcoBaja Tours go to San Diego, Los Angeles, Bakersfield, Mexicali, Ensenada, Guyamas, Tecate, Rasarito, and other nearby places on both sides of the border. (See below under " By Bus") US bound buses cross into the US at San Ysidro/El Chaparral (or 'la linea' as the locals call it) and continue to their next stop at E San Ysidro Blvd (behind McDonald's, just north of the American border inspection station. After clearing immigration & customs and re-boarding passengers, buses & shuttles continue northwards from there. The buses have a dedicated lane to bypass the long lines of vehicles waiting to cross to drop passengers off into the building for inspection and proceed after the vehicle itself has been inspected and cleared by US authorities to cross. See By Bus below for links and list of bus companies serving Tijuana from Mexico and the U.S.
From San Diego AirportEdit
San Diego International Airport (IATA: SAN) is 15 miles north of the international border and can be used as a transit point for travellers wishing to visit Tijuana (or continue southwards) from the U.S. You can take public transportation from the San Diego airport all the way to downtown Tijuana and it will only cost you USD$5. Go outside the airport and take the airport express bus, which is route 992. Buy a day pass from the bus driver for USD$5, which will also cover the trolley. Take this bus to the first stop on Broadway. From here, you should see the American Plaza Trolley station. Walk over to the west side, and you will catch the Blue Line trolley to the last stop in San Ysidro. Upon arrival everyone will get off the train. Follow everyone to the left towards the McDonalds building and go past the building to the parking lot behind it, before turning right onto a narrow sidewalk and up a hill to a ramp that leads to the border gate. Go through a one-way gate, which leads down into the Mexican immigration and customs office.
There are the more expensive solid yellow taxis driven by taxi drivers in yellow shirts. The fare for these taxis is USD$5 to Revolution Avenue. Sometimes a taxi driver will ask you to pay USD$6, but you can always get these taxis for $5 or even $3.
Alternatively there are the "Taxi Libre" or "Taxi Economico" in white & orange cars These cost USD$3 to get downtown and the prices are all listed on various boards. The other taxis (in sedans or mini-vans) of various colour combinations are operated on a fixed route basis like buses.
If it's during the day then you could walk to downtown. Follow the signs that say to Centro. You'll walk across a long bridge, and generally head toward the Revolution Arch.
If coming from Los Angeles (IATA: LAX) take the airport Fly Away Bus  from under the green Flyaway, Buses, & Long Distance Vans signs in front of each terminal (arrivals at lower level) to the downtown Union Station. From the downtown Union Station take a taxi to the the InterCalifornias terminal at 655 S Maple St or to the Greyhound terminal at 1716 E 7th St. Intercalifornias goes straight through to Tijuana while Greyhound requires a change of buses in San Diego (or transfer to the 'blue line' trolley in downtown San Diego see above).
By train and trolleyEdit
The Blue Line trolley runs from American Plaza in downtown San Diego to the start of the pedestrian border crossing at San Ysidro, from about 5 am until midnight.
American Plaza is across the street from the Santa Fe Depot railway station for "Coaster" commuter trains and Amtrak. Instead of negotiating heavy urban traffic and a spaghetti bowl of streets and freeways, visitors can take advantage of free parking at suburban commuter stations and relatively low fares on the Coaster line. In October 2013 a new policy went into effect that Amtrak's Surfliner trains will honor Coaster fares and stop at some of the same stations. This is an improvement in scheduling since the last Coaster train north left at 7pm and midday trains were somewhat infrequent.
While in the San Diego area, take I-5 or I-805 to south. Either park at the border and continue on foot or drive into Mexico. Driving from the US to Mexico often requires no stopping, but inspections driving south have become more frequent as authorities attempt to stop firearms trafficking into Mexico, resulting in long wait times during periods of heavy traffic. However, driving from Mexico to the United States will result in a long wait, even more so during evening rush hour or on holiday weekends.
If you are driving to Mexico, obtaining Mexican insurance with legal defense coverage is highly recommended, and can be bought immediately before crossing the border, or even online before your trip.
When coming into the US, the Otay Mesa and Tecate border crossings, also nearby, may sometimes be less congested. To get to the Otay crossing can be a little scary (not good for Gringos at night) and the border agents here don't seem as pleasant as the ones at the San Ysidro crossing.
If the pedestrian line returning to the US is long, it may be faster (in some cases) to take advantage of the numerous van and bus lines that cross the border. You will undoubtedly encounter agents for these services when approaching the pedestrian line back to the US, who will ask for USD5-10 per person to let you board the vehicles which are already in line. Generally, the closer the vehicle is to the front of the line, the more they will charge.
In general, crossing from the US to Mexico does not take very long for American nationals: expect around 20-30 minutes. To return or to cross from Mexico to the US, however, expect around 2-6 hours. On foot, there's a huge queue of people waiting and you'll be approached by all manner of salespeople and vendors. Beggars and musicians line the queue, as well.
If you arrive at the main bus terminal, it will cost between USD12-20 to take a taxi to the border but you can take a local city bus for about 10 pesos. Walk out the front entrance and turn left; at the end of the sidewalk by the food stand, you'll see where the buses collect to the left. You want the Blue & White bus line: they come pretty frequently and you just get on, get settled, and pay the driver after he's taken off (he'll make change if you need it). It takes about 25 minutes with all the starting and stopping for passengers. Note that locals call it "la linea" ("the line") instead of the literal translation of "border" ("la frontera").
Once you've crossed, there's a San Diego trolley station immediately in front of you. The blue trolley will take you downtown or to the airport. It cost US$2.25 for a one-way pass (as of January 2014).
If you are driving and stay at a fancy hotel or eat at a fancy restaurant, ask them for a "Fast Pass". If you find the fast pass lane you will save a lot of time (driving) .
The Fast Pass has worked well. Businesses in Tijuana buy them to give to their customers. Mostly used for medical tourists, hence it mostly functions as a medical line. Make sure and take a taxi to figure out the driving route first. Tell him you want to see and learn the route to the fast pass gate. Get the drive down before you attempt it yourself. There is only one Fast-Pass entry and it's on a one way street. It is always wonderful to legally "cut the line" at the border. With the border upgrades at San Ysidro, traffic patterns continue to change on the Mexican side of the border. It is not uncommon for the "fast pass" to only allow access to the Ready Lanes or the SENTRI lane.
You can also use the Ready-Lanes. These are entered from the right side of the Port of Entry and are used for those returnees that have an RFID enabled entry card (US Passport Card, newer Permenant Resident cards, Border Crosser cards, SENTRI cards, and enhanced driver's licenses).
Many people drive to the border, park on the US side, and walk across. There are many lots available for this, which charge USD4-10 a day. While there are many taxis waiting to take you to Avenida Revolucion, it's only about a fifteen minute walk; follow the other tourists.
The San Ysidro border crossing is being upgraded therefore the pedestrian route may change quickly. If you've crossed before, read about the crossing elsewhere, or have mapped your route on Google Maps, you will find the reality quite different. Basically, look for the McDonald's at the end of the Trolley Line (at left if facing south) go to the side street between two buildings (McDonalds on one side & Mercado Internacional on the other) towards a parallel street (E San Ysidro Blvd which is also the bus station too) in the back. Make a right towards the walkway behind the Mercado building and go up the hill, which goes by the historic customs/train station to the gate. The walkway continues down into the Mexican border inspection station.
The main bus station is 9km SE of el Centro (old downtown) at Calzada Lazaro Cardenas 15751, Fracc. Chapultepec Alamar, Delegacion Mesa de Otay which is just south of the airport (8.5km from the airport terminal). The main bus station can be reached by bus from Calle 3 or by taxi from the city centre and has direct coaches to most major cities in Mexico. The following bus companies operate buses to/from the central bus station and the airport. (Note: The 800 toll free numbers are for calling from within Mexico unless stated otherwise. Other numbers are regular or local numbers. From outside Mexico you will have to call the regular numbers):
- ABC (Autobuses de la Baja California), . operates mainly along the Baja California Peninsula. They have buses running from the main bus station, the airport and the 'Zona Viva' station edit
- Autobuses Aguacaliente, ☎ +52 664 621-2955, . travels to Ensenada and Mexicali on two separate routes. They also have an additional office at Calzada Lazaro Cardenas, No 14924'H, Esq, Calle Segunda, Fracc. Contreras, La Mesa edit
- Grupo Estrella Blanca, ☎ +52 55 5729-0807 (toll free: 800-507-5500 (Mexico)), . They operate the TNS, Pacifco, Chihuahuanese, & Elite brands going to other northwestern cities in Mexico and to Mexico City in the mainland. Their buses are at the main terminal, the airport, and the 'La Linea' Terminal (see below). They also have less frequent presence at the old bus station (central camionera antigua), downtown.. edit
- Greyhound, Crucero USA, 731 E San Ysidro Blvd (Behind the McDonald's building from the trolley plaza), ☎ +1 619 428-1194 (toll free: 1-800-231-2222 (USA number)), . Goes up to San Diego via San Ysidro (just over the American border) from the Tijuana central bus station and airport. Passengers transfer buses in downtown San Diego to get to additional (U.S.) cities. edit
- Peninsula Executivo, ☎ 0800-027-3646, . edit
- TAP (Transportes y Autobuses del Pacifico), ☎ +52 33 3668-5920 (toll free: 01 800 00 11 827), . goes to other northwestern cities in Mexico all the way to Mexico City in the mainland from both the main bus station and 'Terminal Zona Viva' (see below) edit
NOTE: Onward travel over longer distances in Mexico (Cualican, Mazatlan, Chihuahua, Cabo San Lucas, Pto Vallarta, Guadalajara, Mexico City, etc.) and the U.S. (San Francisco, San Jose, Sacramento, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, Phoenix, Tucson, El Paso, San Antonio, Houston, etc) can be accomplished by plane for the same price of a bus ticket or less, specially with Allegiant, Volaris, VivaAerobus, Southwest and US Airways. Buses are more economical for travel in the immediate area (Mexicali, Nogales, Puerto Peñasco, Ensenada, Bakersfield, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, San Diego, etc),
There's also another (smaller) 'Terminal de Autobuses por la Linea' (or 'Terminal Zona Viva') near the main border crossing w/ San Ysidro addressed at Via de la Juventud Ote 8800, Plaza Viva, Zona Centro 22000. However the main entrance is facing Av Frontera between Av de la Amistad and Via de la Juventud southwest of the big roundabout at Av Frontera and Av de la Amistad. The below are additional bus companies serving the 'Terminal Zona Viva'. There's a line of local buses in front of the station (going to various parts of the city), across the street, along Frontera and a taxi stand for the cheaper white & orange 'Libre' taxis along Frontera towards Via de la Juventud (right turn if coming out from the station)
- Estrellas del Pacifco, Via de la Juventud 8800, Plaza Viva, Col. Centro, ☎ +52 664 683-50-22. They also have their own terminal at the southwest corner of the intersection of Ing. Juan Ojeda Robles & Carretera Tijuana-Tecate (Hwy 2). They travel mainly in Baja California Norte, Sonora, Sinaloa, Chihuahua & part of Jalisco edit
- Autotransportes de Aragon. edit
A number of smaller companies have their own terminals in downtown (Zona Centro) and/or at the intersection of Ing. Juan Ojeda Robles & Carretera Tijuana-Tecate (Hwy 2) in Col. Gpe. Victoria in the SE part of town. They are:
- Autotransportes de Guasave, Ing. Juan Ojeda Robles 15419, Col. Gpe. Victoria (just west of the intersection of Ing. Juan Ojeda Robles & Carretera Tijuana-Tecate (Hwy 2)), ☎ +52 664 682-2404 or 607-1719 (toll free: 800 633 9396 (Mexico)), . Travels east to Nogales on Hwy 2 and then down to Guadalajara on Hwy 15 stopping at several cities along the Hwy 2/15 corridors. edit
- ACN (Autobuses Coordinados de Nayarit), Ing. Juan Ojeda Robles 114B, Col. Gpe. Victoria (Northwest corner of the intersection of Ing. Juan Ojeda Robles & Carretera Tijuana-Tecate (Hwy 2)), ☎ +52 664 299-04-87 or 607-1350, . Goes from Tijuana, east to Sonora, Sinaloa, Nayarit, & Jalisco. edit
- InterCalifornias, Ave Paseo Tijuana 9030, Col. Zona Rio, ☎ +52 664 683-62-81, . goes to/from Los Angeles, Oxnard, Bakersfield, Fresno, Modesto, Merced, Stockton, San Jose, and several other cities & towns along I-5 & CA-Hwy99 in the US state of California. edit
- Mexicoach, Terminal Turístico @ Av Revolucion 1025, Col. Centro (along Av Revolucion between Calle 6a & 7a), ☎ +52 664 685-1470 (Mexico) or +1 619 428-9517 (USA), . Mexicoach buses leave from the parking lots on the US side, cross into Mexico, and drop you off at their own bus station on Revolucion Avenue in the middle of the downtown tourist district. These buses run during the day, every day, and costs $5 one way or $8 roundtrip. The parking lot at Mexicoach is about $7/day. From their own downtown terminal they also have buses going down to Playa Rosarito as well. edit
- Transportes Suburbaja, Central Camionera Anitigua (Old Bus Station) @ Av Francisco Madero 111, Col. Centro (Ave. Madero esq. Calle 1a), ☎ +1 52 664 688-0082. runs frequent 2nd class buses down to Playas Rosarito and over to Tecate. Buses make multiple stops along the route to pick up and drop off people. There are also some infrequent services by Grupo Estrella Blanca to/from the old bus station as well. edit
- TUFESA, . edit
U.S. bound buses cross into the U.S. at the main border crossing at San Ysidro/La Linea or El Chaparral (near 'Zona Viva'). The buses have a dedicated lane which allows them to bypass the long lines to cross into the U.S. Passengers are dropped off into the customs building for inspection once the bus gets next to the building. Upon clearing U.S. immigration & customs, passengers are picked up at the San Ysidro bus station on E San Ysidro Blvd (behind McDonald's & Mercado Internacional to the right after coming out of the inspection station) for the onward trip north. If the passenger only paid to get to San Ysidro there is a trolley  going up to downtown San Diego via Chula Vista and National City ($5); local bus routes #906/907 for travel within the immediate area between here and the Iris St Trolley Station (third trolley stop up with connections to other routes); and taxis at the plaza just outside the immigration/customs inspection station. From the Otay de Mesa crossing SDMTS #905 goes from the American side of the border over to Iris St. Trolley station.
If going further south of from border there are immigration checkpoints 30-50km along the southbound roads. Be sure to have all documents ready or take the time to get the required FMM card when crossing the border going south.
Cabs are abundant throughout the city. If you are walking into Tijuana via the San Ysidro border crossing, you will be immediately confronted with a massive array of yellow cabs waiting to take you into downtown. This group of cab drivers are conveniently located, but be sure to negotiate a price before jumping into a cab. You should pay no more than $3 in normal traffic to get from the border to the downtown area.
Throughout the city, cab drivers stand on the sidewalks and solicit customers. It is almost impossible to avoid them, so finding a cab should never be a problem. Solid yellow cabs do not have meters, so agree with your driver in advance what the cost will be. 'Taxi Libre', white with orange stripe, cabs have meters and are cheaper than yellow cabs, though you might have to remind the driver to use the meter.
Be aware that when taking a Yellow Cab to a specific location, the drivers may tell you that the restaurant or bar you asked for is closed, and conveniently offer an alternative. This is almost always untrue, and the taxi driver is attempting to divert you to a business where he will receive a commission for delivering passengers. The driver may alternately tell you that "company rules" say that all rides to a given area can only take passengers to certain businesses, to achieve the same result. Taxi Libre drivers do not engage in this practice, as they are independent contractors, and do not have the commission structure that Yellow Cabs do.
Other cabs of different color combinations are actually routed colectivos running on a fixed route like a bus. 
- Avenida Revolucion in the Zona Centro - the main tourist area
- Bullfights - Tijuana has one bullring, which is open during the summer months, and has bullfights most Sundays. It is located in the Playas de Tijuana, adjacent to the US border. It is the only seaside bullring in the world. The older and more historic bullring near the city center has been partially demolished by the owner of the property in the past year, citing failed business practices of the bullring. However, there is a strong movement within the city to designate this site a historical monument, rebuild the bullring and have it serve as a municipal arena. Official bullring schedules and pricing are available at .
Tijuana is on the ocean, but is not known for its beaches, for boating, or as a seaside resort, mostly because its strip of ocean is foggy all year round, very similar to San Francisco in weather. However, it is in cabbing distance of Rosarito - the trip will cost $20, while Mexicoach will bus you there for around $10. Ensenada is further down the coast but easily accessible by car or bus.
- Visitors to Rosarito and Ensenada should note that the main road is a toll road, with small sedans and trucks being tolled at 27-30 Mexican pesos or USD2.18-2.41. Either currency is accepted generally.
- Visit the historical centers such as the Preparatoria Federal Lazaro Cardenas which is famous for being the central base of liquor contraband during the Al Capone days.
- Visit the world famous Zona Norte "Red Light District". Tourists, American Military, and locals alike have been venturing to this area for decades. Be aware that this is a dangerous area, relatively speaking, but perhaps one of the safest areas in the city due to a large police presence. Visitors should take caution just as they would visiting any high-crime area of a major city.
Tijuana has many souvenir and trinket shops near the border and on Revolucion, there is not much in the way of discounted items in comparison with US. Silver and leather products are allegedly cheaper than in the US. Many of the items sold in the souvenir shops are actually purchased in the San Diegan swap meets and brought into Mexico and resold to tourists.
- Alcohol sold in Mexico (of non-US origin) is cheapest at the duty free stores. Examples are rum, tequila, and vodka from Mexico and the Carribbean of local reputable brand names. at prices similar to or even less than the headache-inducing unknown and dubious quality brands in the US. There is a 1 liter duty free allowance to take back to USA.
- Cuban cigars are mostly fake, with the majority being of Mexican origin with a "Cohiba" or "Montecristo" brand name added. However, La Casa Del Habano  on Avenida Revolucion is a licensed dealer that sells genuine Cubans.
- Silver bracelets and necklaces are common, but may be fake. Don't pay more than than four dollars for fake jewelry.
- Vanilla is a bargain but highly diluted. Good place to buy is in any super market.
- Traditional Medicine or herbal medicine is still practiced in Mexico and can be found in markets. It is very similar to traditional Chinese medicine
Apart from the abundant, over-priced tourist traps, local cuisine ranges from world-class restaurants to locals-only eateries and street vendors selling tacos. Travellers' diarrhea is a risk anywhere, but will probably not be a concern. Some streetside taco stalls do not wash their dishes and vegetables. In many sit down restaurants, musicians will wander in and play for tip. A good price for a song is $1 USD per musician per song, but most musicians will try to charge $2 USD per musician per song. For example, if there are five musicians in a band then a good price is $5 USD.
If cuisine is an important factor in your visit to Mexico, be sure to check out the more locals filled taco shops, where you will be able to enjoy the best carne asada tacos in the world and for better price. Also delicious are Churros made by street vendors, and the "hot dog" imitations sold as well. Be sure to avoid vendors that are not being patronized by locals.
However, American establishments such as McDonald's, Burger King, KFC, and Carl's Jr. (As Carl's Jr., not Hardee's) are in many parts of the city. However there are some local chains, such as Cafe Sanborns, that prove to be more popular and interesting than the American ones.
- Café La Especial, Av. Revolucion 718, in the heart tourist district. Down the stairs in a pedestrian alley. This inexpensive restaurant is the opposite of the noisy, over-priced tourist traps that line Revolucion. Standard Mexican dishes served in a very relaxed, quiet environment. Gringo-friendly, though very popular with locals.
- Bol Corona , Any cab driver can direct you to one of the many franchises of this Tijuana establishment near the city centre. Bol Corona was founded in the 1930's and popularized the then little known "burrito" among the American tourists seeking haven from prohibition laws in the United States. Featuring very inexpensive yet high quality Mexican cuisine, Bol Corona is a must. Several franchises have opened on the San Diego side of the border as well.
- Birriería Guadalajara Pues Avenida Constitucion, between Calle Primera (First Street) and Callejon Coahuila (Coahuila Alley), Zona Norte. This restaurant serves awesome birria de chivo. Birria is a dish made from roasted goat with consomme poured over the meat, and is accompanied by onion, cilantro, limes and tortillas.
- Taquería "El Takerito" It is an authentic "taquería" (taco shop) on Díaz Ordaz Blvd., and located on one of the most crowded intersections of the city (5 y 10). It is not close form the border but any cab driver knows how to get to 5 y 10. They claim to have the best tacos in town at a very cheap price. (Expect to pay around USD 0.60 per taco).
- Taco Beel Art 123 Fuente Mexico, on the walk to the Arch from the border. The restaurant is famous for housing a chihuahua reminiscent of the Taco Bell mascot on a platform just above the door. There appears to be 2 adjacent places with this name, which is not part of the US chain of a similar name, but one doesn't look very open as of early 2010. Offers $1 (US) beers (Corona, Pacifico, Tecate) and 3 tacos for $1 (various flavours). English in menus, mostly populated by locals.
- El Mazateño on Avenida Tecnológico a few blocks away from Instituto Tecnológico de Tijuana and right across the street of Unidad Deportiva Reforma. You will find a wide variety of sea food and fish tacos at an excellent price. Expect to pay around $2 US for fish tacos to $10 US for a dish.
- Caesar's hard to miss on Avenida Revolucion in Zona Centro. Reputedly the birthplace of the famous Caesar's salad, in 1924. It is still served there according to its original recipe, mixed and served at your table in accordance to tradition. It has been recently remodeled (october 2010) and all decoration is similar to the original of the 1930's.
- Chiki Jai, corner of Revolucion and 7th in Zona Centro. Unpretentious, non-touristy quasi-Spanish taberna that has been open since 1947. Filled with bullfighting memorabilia, it is a slice of Spain in the heart of Tijuana. Their sangría and tapas have a good reputation.
- Sushi House, Zona Rio, right by the Office Depot on Paseo de los Heroes.
- La Cantina de los Remedios, Zona Rio, northeast corner of the Abraham Lincoln traffic circle on Paseo de los Heroes. Vast liquor selection, all of which is visible on the immense shelving along the wall behind the bar. Great menu of traditional and modern Mexican cuisine. Two features are of special interest - first are the quotations and pithy sayings in Spanish along all the ceiling beams. The second is the extensive use of Loteria cards to decorate the ceilings as well as the backs of the menus. Both are great for practicing Spanish while enjoying your meal.
- Negro Durazo, Seafood - Located near the Otay Mesa border crossing. Popular with families.
- Los Arcos - Popular local place with tasty lobster, mussels and fish platters. No English menu, but if you ask for Cesar, he can help you order. Owned by other members of the Sinaloa drug cartel but more mainstream than Negro Durazo.
- Albahaca - Restaurant inside Hotel Ticuan. Good mix of continental and traditional Mexican cuisine. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner 7 days a week. The omelets are great at breakfast, and at dinner the "Filet with Three Sauces" is excellent.
- Cien Años, Zona Rio, on a side street off Paseo de los Heroes, across from the big Pockets billiards bar (another place to visit). Open for lunch and dinner. Very famous. Supposedly every recipe on the menu is over 100 years old (hence the name "Cien Años", one hundred years). Some recipes supposedly date back to Aztec times. Menu includes a number of items such as corn fungus, and bone marrow soup. Gringo-friendly but Spanish is useful. Restaurant is small, with beautiful décor, and a relaxing atmosphere. Prices range from moderate to expensive.
- Italianissimo - , Blvd. Agua Caliente No. 10556-9AR, Centro. Com. Rocasa. Italian cuisine, a classic restaurant in Tijuana. Dishes from all regions of Italy. Moderate to expensive.
- La Diferencia, Blvd. Sánchez Taboada No.10611-A Zona Río, between Blvd. Abelardo L. Rodríguez & Escuadrón 201. Excellent and innovative Mexican dishes, and great tamarindo margaritas. Moderately expensive by Tijuana standards but well worth it (c. USD95 for 2 people, incl margaritas, wine, appetizer, entrée & dessert). Highly recommended.
- Misión 19, Misión San Javier 10643, 2nd Floor, VIA Corporativo, Zona Rio. It's the tall building with blue lighting, you can't miss it. Directly across the street from Hotel Lucerna. A culinary experience, known to be one of the best restaurants in all of Mexico. Expensive by Tijuana standards at USD40-80 a head depending on wine pairings and menu items, but well worth it.
- Villa Marina - Seafood, located in Zona Rio
- Villa Saverios, Escuadrón 201 3151, on the corner of Blvd Sanchez Taboada", ☎ +52 664 686 6502 Daily 13:00-02:00-2. Anywhere from USD5 to USD20 meals. Owned by the same founder of the other Italian restaurant chain in Tijuana, Guisseppis, this Tuscany style mansion/restaurant has excellent Italian food and atmosphere, aimed at both middle and high class customers. It's also a favorite because of it's unique menu which blends both Baja and Mediterranean flavours in it's food and wine selection. It is in the so called restaurant district on Blvd. Sanchez Taboada, right besides La Espadaña, T.G.I Fridays, La Diferencia and Cheripan. There are two other Saverios in the city; both are smaller café style ones.
There are many other great restaurants in the city, ranging from Mexican to Asian food. The city is also full of sushi bars, something that has caught on in recent years. Another favourite is Chinese food, and thanks to a large Chinese population in Baja, the locals tend to say that it's the best Chinese food in México or the region.
Beers, margaritas and tequila are available at numerous establishments starting at 10 to 15 pesos. Tourist places typically charge up to $5 per beer.
Migrant houses offer free or very cheap accommodation for anyone regarded as a migrant. Some are said to also accept backpackers.
- Ejercito de Salvacion (Salvation Army) (men only), Aquiles, ☎ +52 664 683-2694. edit
- Casa del Migrante (men & women), Av Hidalgo Int. #401, Col. Centro, ☎ +52 664 554-2662. edit
- Casa del Migrante en Tijuana (men only), Calle Galileo 239, Col. Postal CP22350, ☎ +1 52 664 682-5180, . edit
- Casa Beato Juan Diego (men only), Boulevard Lazaro Cardenas, Fraccionamiento Murua (near bus terminal), ☎ +52 664 621-3041. edit
- Casa Madre Asunta (women and children), calle Galileo 2305 Col. Postal, phone (664)6830575
- Casa YMCA (children only), Boulevard Cuauhtemoc Sur 3170, Colonia Chula Vista, phone (664)6861359 and (664)6862212
Although travel guides and taxi drivers insist that there is no cheap accommodation to be had in Tijuana, there is if you know where to look. Most of Tijuanas budget haunts are located in 2nd and 3rd Street, while the more outlying ones are probably less safe and certainly more difficult to reach. A number of them in Centro also rent by the hour too.
- Hotel Morelia, Calle 3a No 8310 (Btwn. Madero & Negrete), ☎ +1 52 664 685-3361. spacious rooms with shared bathroom from M$125 pesos. Safe location. A pleasant place to stay cheap in Tijuana, right in the midst of it all, but reasonably quiet. Only stay here if you need budget accommodations within the vincinity of Revolución and do not bring any valuables. Also note that the hotel does not require a deposit for the key, so if the clerk asks for a deposit, he is looking to pocket extra money from you. Do not bring any valuables, because the hotel clerk may steal it from you. edit
- More cheap hotels can be found within the turf of the drug vendors (around 5 de Mayo and Baja California) West of the red light district (Zona Norte) where you can stay for around M$100 pesos per night (and it's surprisingly safe as long as you stay away from drugs, do note that it's a notorious place for getting pinned by police officers because of all the drugs in the area so make sure you don't carry any)
- Hotel Astor Tijuana, Blvd Insurgentes 1000-14, Fracc. Los Alamos, ☎ +1 52 664 621-2611/2612 or 621-3234, . They offer affordable, comfortable, clean and functional rooms equipped with general amenities. Astor staff offers attentive friendly service. The Restaurant serves traditional International Breakfast. WiFi connectivity is available. Located in the 3rd stage in Zona Rio, only minutes from the Tijuana World Trade Center. Central Station , American Consulate and Tijuana International Airport. edit
- Hotel Nelson, Av Revolucion 720, Zona Centro 22000 (Av Revolucion & Calle 1a (Articulo 123 Fuente Mexico), at the big arch), ☎ +1 52 664 685-4302. At the north end of Zona Centro, directly adjacent to the large arch spanning Ave. Revolucion, is the Hotel Nelson. It is reasonably-priced and clean, and has a bar as well as a restaurant downstairs. The major drawback would be traffic noise from the myriad bars and clubs along this tourist-oriented street edit
- Grand Hotel Tijuana, Blvd. Agua Caliente #4500 Col. Aviación, C.P. 22420 (The prominent twin towers along Blvd Agua Caliente at Av Emilio Carranza next to a golf course), ☎ +1 52 664 681-7000 (toll free: 01 800 0266007 (Mexico) or 1 866 472-6385 (USA)), . A more luxury hotel is the Grand Hotel Tijuana. The Grand Hotel Tijuana is one of the most prominent feature in Tijuana's skyline, having (2) 33 story twin towers. It features several bars and restaurants, and an in house shopping mall. Adjacent to the hotel is the Club Campestre de Tijuana, Tijuana's oldest and most prestigious country club, which features an 18 hole golf course in very good shape designed by Allister McKenzie, who also designed Augusta National Golf Club(site of the masters professional championship). edit
- Tijuana Marriott Hotel, Boulevard Agua Caliente No. 11553, ☎ +52-664-6226600, . The Tijuana Marriott is located close to the business district, the Rio Shopping Center, Tijuana International Airport and just 10 miles from San Diego. edit
- Hotel Lucerna Tijuana, Paseo de los Heroes #10902, Col. Zona Río CP22320 (NW corner of the roundabout at Paseo de los Heroes & Blvd Abelardo L. Rodriguez), ☎ +52 664 633-3900 (toll free: 01 800 026-6300 (Mexico)), . Hotel Lucerna Tijuana is another very safe and clean hotel in the Zona Rio with a great pool, and service. It also has a very upscale bar, restaurant, and lounge area. Guarded 24/7 and valet parking. edit
Tijuana has a reputation for crime, though reputations do not reflect real conditions. Opportunism in the form of cons or misrepresentations can be found anywhere in the city, but from 2007-2011, drug violence had erupted and then waned in Tijuana due to intense crackdown by the Mexican government and Mexican drug cartels turning on each other. However, joint action between the government and the police severely weakened the Tijuana cartel, and now all that's left is the remnants of an uncontrolled group of renegades. The vast east side of Tijuana is particularly dangerous and prone to drug violence, though this also varies on exact neighborhood, there are many gated and planned communities which are isolated from it. Zona Norte can also be very dangerous if you are walking alone. Much of Tijuana's drug violence happens in these two parts of the city. Most of the drug violence is not targeted at tourists, but rather at competing drug cartels as well as Mexican police. However, it may be possible for tourists to get caught in the middle, so like anywhere it is best to stay alert, though as of 2012 there is little a casual tourist will see in the way of drug violence unless one specifically seeks it out. Most tourist sections (for the most part) are generally safe, such as heavily patrolled Avenida Revolucion, Playas de Tijuana, Zona Rio, and Tijuana's red light district in Zona Norte. As with any large city, use common-sense and street smarts when walking the street; especially in the red light district of the "Zona Norte" (North Zone), as streets get more isolated they become more prone to opportunists. Due to mexican drug violence, you still want to pay extra attention in any place with illegal housing and/or vice.
It is advisable to be very careful of buying anything that would alert suspicion from Mexican police, this would include any type of prescription medicine (with potential for abuse, or perhaps low overdose/extreme side effects), pornography, and weapons. The police are generally protective of tourists and the business they bring, but will not hesitate to act on their suspicions if they do stop you, so the less they have to go on the better. Laws differ from those in the USA.
Park in well marked parking lots with security guards. Police enforce the laws on foreigners who commit crimes such as pedophilia or buying illegal drugs, including pharmaceuticals without prescription. Corruption still exists among the Tijuana Police Department as it does in many Mexican cities (the Mexican Federal Police on the other hand is trustworthy), so beware. But this is usually done when you are alone after a night on the town, are slightly intoxicated, and your actions make you a potential victim. When speaking to an officer, stay calm and respectful. Typically, if you have done nothing wrong, stand your ground and they will eventually let you go. You can insist on seeing a judge, and explain what happened. If you do this, most likely the officer will try and save face, and give you a warning and send you on your way. Never offend or belittle the officer or the country of Mexico, as agitating the officer will never work.
For traffic infractions, you are entitled to a written ticket, and you can pay the fine by mail. In any case, these made-up charges are usually only a small fine, most likely less than the bribe you would offer; you do not go to jail. Remember that you are not immune from Mexican laws, if an officer pulls you over for speeding because you were speeding, it's not corruption. Illegal drugs and drunk driving are taken seriously in Mexico, as they are elsewhere.
- Theft - Pickpockets can be found in certain heavy tourist areas. You are generally safe in areas such as the Zona Río, Playas de Tijuana, El Hipódromo, and many others, just make sure to always be cautious when visiting alone. The best targets for theft are those who speak no Spanish, wander alone (specially at night), are intoxicated, and travel to the Avenida Revolución. If you find yourself being swarmed by small children who want to sell you something, be aware that they could be trying to pick your pockets.
- Drug-dealer informants - In many bars and on the street, it is common to be offered illegal narcotic drugs for sale. Some of these peddlers work with the police. They sell someone the drugs, then tell the police that person is carrying. The police shake the person down for cash, and confiscate the drugs, which they presumably return to the original peddler, who goes looking for another victim.
- Pocket Knives - Be aware, while in the United States it is usually legal to carry certain kinds of knives, this is not the case in Mexico. Carrying any kind of knife is illegal. It is considered possession by the police and legal system and you could very likely be taken to jail for carrying even a small pocket knife. It is best to offer the police some money (they will probably ask you) as it will cost you more if you are taken to jail and forced to pay the bail. If you cannot afford to pay the bail you will be taken to a Mexican prison where you could remain indefinitely for something that is not a crime in America.
- Strip clubs - There are a numerous clubs on Revolucion that offer nude dance shows. As you walk down the street, barkers will try to entice you to come in; if you are not interested, simply smile and walk on. If you do walk into one, most likely you will soon be approached by one or several ladies who will ask you to buy them a drink. Keep in mind that their "mixed drinks" are often nothing but soda or juice, but you will be expected to pay a ladies' drink price, whether they ask for beer, real mixed drinks, or non-alcoholic drinks. These drinks will typically cost you between $8 and $10, and the ladies get a commission for each drink you purchase for them.
- Prescription drugs - Though your prescription drugs may be much cheaper here, carrying large quantities or carrying them without your prescription can land you many "years" in a Mexican prison. Some foreign prescriptions may not be valid in Mexico, if in doubt simply get a Mexican prescription, doctor visit is dirt cheap. If you break the law, you will be dealt with accordingly. However, this does not include medications which often change in status in the USA from prescription to over-the-counter (e.g. Allegra, Claritin, Zyrtec, Pepcid AC, etc.) Such medications are readily available without a prescription in Mexico. Police are mainly concerned about prescription drugs which have the potential to be abused. Use common sense, you cannot buy drugs without a prescription back home, it requires one in Mexico too.
- Food and Alcohol Imports - Note when stopped at the border, U.S. Customs will confiscate any fruits, vegetables, and live or raw meat products in an effort to combat certain diseases or bugs from entering the U.S. food supply. Meat products confiscated can include pork rinds. Alcohol can be brought across the border if for 'personal use' with a limit of 1L duty and tax free. Importing more than 1L for personal use can be challenging - the amount you are allowed to import depends on whether not you live in California and if you are crossing on foot, in a private vehicle, or on a bus. For details, refer to the California ABC - and don't forget to declare your alcohol to Customs. Another note is the importation of abalone or conch meat, which are endangered species and not for sale in the US.
- Contraband items - Can be confiscated by U.S. Customs, they include weapons, drugs (illegal or without prescription), Cuban cigars, and live animals.
Be aware that honorary consulates are typically individual representatives of nations who represent the interest of certain business functions, and are not full-fledged national consulates you would normally seek to assist you with individual legal or official matters.
- Austria (Honorary), Ave. Revolution 1641, Zona Centro , Fracc. Del Prado, ☎ +52 664 638-6616 (email@example.com, fax: +52 664 638-6616), . edit
- Canada, Germán Gedovius 10411-101, Condominio del Parque, Zona Río, ☎ +52 664 684-0461 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +52 664 684-0301), . M-F 9:30am-12:30pm. edit
- China, Av. Lomas del Monte 1614. Frace. Lomas de Agua Caliente, ☎ +52 664 681-6771 (email@example.com, fax: +52 664 621-9762), . edit
- Finland (Honorary), Ave. Revolución, Edif. Revolución # 1650-M 2nd. Piso, Zona Centro, ☎ +52 664 683-5074 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +52 664 683-5293), . edit
- Germany (Honorary), Blvd. Agua Caliente 10611 - 1201 PH, Col. Aviación, ☎ +52 664 628-0183 (email@example.com, fax: +52 664 609-5017), . edit
- Guatemala (Honorary), Misión San Ignacio 10680, Zona del Río 22000, ☎ +52 664 900-7148 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . edit
- Japan (Honorary), Paseo de Héroes 9911-B, Zona Urbana, Río Tijuana, 22010,, ☎ +52 664 633-4261, 633-1265 (email@example.com), . edit
- Korea, Germán Gedovius 10411 Desp. 305 Zona Río C.P. 22320, ☎ +52 664684 - 2988 / 684 - 2995 (firstname.lastname@example.org). edit
- United States, Paseo de las Culturas s/n, Mesa de Otay, Delegación Centenario, CP22425 Tijuana, BC, ☎ +52 664 977-2000 (ACSTijuana@state.gov; TijuanaInfo@state.gov), . edit
Click | here for a list of foreign consulates in Tijuana.
Tijuana offers several Bus routes into Mexico. Updated Tijuana Bus routes are available online at. From Tijuana you can easily go to Rosarito, Puerto Nuevo, Ensenada, or further south to Guerrero Negro, which is a very popular destination for whale watching. It is a 12 hour bus ride to Guerrero Negro but well worth it. Other bus routes locations include La Paz, San Juan del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas at the tip of Baja.
Taxis from Ave. Revolucion to the Central Camionera cost about 60 pesos, or less by bus.
Tijuana -> Guerrero Negro: $945 Tijuana -> Mexicali $250 (3 hours) Tijuana -> Tecate $55 Tijuana -> Mexico City $1600+ (depends on class, 36 hours) Tijuana -> Hermosillo $600 (12 hours)
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