If this is your first time traveling to Tijuana there are a few things you should know about for you to have the best experience.
Crossing the Border
You can cross the border from San Diego to Tijuana by car or by foot, but be sure you have your passport with you. Mexican authorities don’t usually ask for it but you will need it to prove your citizenship on your way back to the U.S. Take in consideration that San Ysidro border is open 24 hours but Otay Mesa border is open just from 6AM to 10PM. There’s also a cross-border bridge, between San Diego and Tijuana’s airport, to make U.S. residents easier to travel to other mexican destinations from A.L. Rodríguez international airport.
There are many parking lots on the U.S. side of the border where you can leave your car and then cross to Mexico by foot. Many people prefer to do that because crossing the border from Tijuana to San Diego can be a little bit annoying when the lines are really long and slow. If you are travelling for medical purposes you can ask your doctor to get you a Medical Lane Pass it will save you a lot of trouble on your way back.
There are some things that you can’t bring to Mexico, for example: It’s illegal to carry firearms or ammo and any kind of drugs. Also some over-the-counter medicines like some inhalers and allergy or sinus medications that contain stimulants are prohibited, so be sure before you go that your medication is ok. If you are carrying more than $10,000 dollars you need to fill a customs form, you won’t have to pay taxes but you need to declare it. And finally if you’re bringing a pet make sure you have its health certificate to prove it has all the necessary vaccinations.
A good thing about travelling to a mexican city in the border like Tijuana is that you don’t have to worry if you forget to bring mexican pesos. Every local business in this city will be ok if you pay with U.S. dollars, but I is not a bad idea to know what the exchange rate of the day is. Some businesses usually use a lower exchange rate that the current one. In that case is better to pay in mexican pesos, there are a lot of currency exchange places all around the city.
Tipping is customary in Mexico’s restaurants; you should usually leave a tip equal to 10 or 20% of the bill if you are happy with the service. Also, almost all restaurants, stores and clinics will accept credit cards.
Beyond the headlines news and what a lot of people think, Tijuana is a safe city to visit so don’t be afraid to explore it. Our advice is to take the obvious precautions you would take at any trip or even at home like:
*Don’t walk alone at night in a lonely or dark street
*Use ATMs preferably at malls or stores
*Don’t carry a lot of cash
*If you are in a crowded place don’t leave your things unattended and keep your wallet close
Tijuana has a great weather it is warm and sunny during summer and cool and partly cloudy at winter. The temperature in this city varies from 48 F to 80 F and rarely below 40 F or above 88 F. August is the hottest month of the year with an average temperature of 73 F and the coldest month is January with an average temperature of 55 F.
This is the best advice we can give to you, enjoy the city! This city has a lot to offer.
Food & Drinks
One of the main tourist areas in Tijuana are “Avenida Revolucion”; in this place you can find everything: food, drinks, art and culture. You should try some street tacos here, which are delicious and a really inexpensive meal.
Did you know that caesar salad was invented in Tijuana? Cesar’s restaurant is located on Revolucion Ave., where you can taste the original recipe with romaine hearts, egg yolks, lemon juice, anchovies and parmesan cheese.
Near boulevard agua caliente you will find Telefonica Gastro Park, it is a food truck park is and a great place to eat, you will find mexican food, seafood, craft beers, vegan options and more. And if you are a beer fan, don’t miss the opportunity to taste Tijuana’s craft beers, microbrew scene is growing fast in this city and there are a lot of taprooms around it.
Also in “Avenida Revolucion” you can enjoy awesome street art and some events such “Opera in the Street” that is an street fair combined with opera.
One of the most famous cultural space in town is The Tijuana’s Cultural Center; where you will find new great exhibitions all year long, reading clubs, conferences, restaurants, coffee shops, concerts, cinema, courses, etc. It also has a Domo IMAX, a bookstore and a lot of events during the year.
At Mercado Hidalgo you can find local products like candies, pottery, fresh fruit and vegetables, spices, souvenirs, clothes, shoes, and everything a traditional mexican market should have at amazing prices.
If you are looking for a shopping mall Plaza Rio is a great option it has restaurants, a movie theater, coffee shops and big stores.
If you feel like you need a little bit of sand there is also a beach in Tijuana, it is a small area called “Playas de Tijuana” the main attractive here besides their seafood is to see where the border wall ends inside the ocean.
Just 20 minutes ahead from this place you can find Rosarito an other Baja’s city and a great beach to relax or visit night clubs, it has a lot of restaurants and some hotels where you can stay. Locals sell every kind of food and snacks, sombreros and sunglasses right on the beach and you can also rent some chairs, tables and umbrellas to enjoy the day. And if you like surfing, this is a great beach to bring your wetsuit and surfboard.