July 19, 2024
Explore Rich Culture And Delicious Mexican Food In The World’s Most Crossed Border City

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We already know that visitor numbers to Mexico are exploding right now, particularly with travelers flying into resort towns like Cancun.  

But the number of travelers choosing to drive across the border from the U.S. to Mexico is also soaring.  

Sunny day in Tijuana, Mexico

According to Heraldo USA, there were over 1.3 million people entering Mexico from the U.S. by car or on foot and staying within the border strip in April alone. That’s a year-on-year increase of 19.7%.  

The most popular border destination in Mexico, as well as the most crossed border city in the world, is Tijuana.  

Here’s why I think this fascinating, culture-rich city is worth jumping in your car to explore:  

Explore Rich Mexican Culture 

With 1.2 million residents, Tijuana is one of the most populous cities in northwestern Mexico.  

Tijuana is a gritty, no-nonsense city with a crime rate that can deter some tourists. But the reality is that travelers are rarely the target of crime here and tourism is embraced.  

That means Tijuana is a great place to explore Mexico’s rich culture, especially if you live close to the border and want to visit Mexico without air travel.  

View of the IMAX dome at Cultural center of TijuanaView of the IMAX dome at Cultural center of Tijuana

Take time to stroll along Avenida Revolucion, which is the city’s vibrant main street.  

Visit the Tijuana Cultural Center with welcomes more than a million visitors every year. This is cram-packed with fascinating exhibits and chronicles the early history of the region. 

And although Tijuana isn’t known for its beaches, perhaps it should be. Playas de Tijuana is the most popular beach in the city.

It boasts a vibrant boardwalk as well as a border wall that lends it cultural appeal.  

The north west corner of Mexico features a beach park next to the border fence separating Mexico from the United States in Playas de TijuanaThe north west corner of Mexico features a beach park next to the border fence separating Mexico from the United States in Playas de Tijuana

If you’re looking for local produce, or locally-made handicrafts then visit the El Popo Market.

This is the biggest and most well-known market in Tijuana and is considered one of its cultural hubs.  

Enjoy Delicious Authentic Cuisine  

If you only do one thing in Tijuana then please let it be to stop for something to eat! Tijuana is renowned for its delicious, authentic Mexican cuisine.  

Tijuana has a reputation for its lively bars, night clubs, and non-stop tequila shots. But it is the food you’ll find here that really stands out from the crowd.  

Sunny day in TijuanaSunny day in Tijuana

Head to Zona Río, the upscale commercial center that runs alongside the river, if you’re looking for the city’s most trendy, fashion-forward eateries.  

The best spot in the city for traditional cuisine is Mole Poblano House. You’ll walk into fun, colorful decor, live music and incredible-smelling dishes.

The enchiladas are epic!  

Where To Stay In Tijuana  

One of the best things about visiting Tijuana is that the accommodation options in the city are incredibly affordable.  

The outside of the Grand Hotel Tijuana, Tijuana, MexicoThe outside of the Grand Hotel Tijuana, Tijuana, Mexico

The Grand Hotel Tijuana (Google Reviews here) is an upmarket hotel with a spa, rooftop pool, and fine dining options but rooms start from as little as $110 per night.  

The Quartz Hotel and Spa (Google Reviews here) boasts modern and minimalist interiors, and also has an excellent in-house spa. You can get a room here with incredible views of the city from as little as $160 per night.  

On a tight budget? Simple hotels, such as the 3-star Hotel Ceasars (Google Reviews here), are comfortable and in great locations for as little as $75 per night.  

Is Tijuana Safe?  

It’s the first question many travelers will ask about almost any Mexican destination: Is it safe?

And the official answer to the question ‘is Tijuana safe’ is that the U.S. government has advised that its citizens ‘reconsider travel’ to the city.  

Crossing the Us - Mexico border to TijuanaCrossing the Us - Mexico border to Tijuana

Tijuana is in the Baja California state, and this has a level 3: reconsider travel warning due to crime and kidnapping. 

If you do choose to drive to Tijuana then you should remain on main highways and avoid remote locations. Stay alert and exercise the same safety precautions you would when driving in any foreign country.  

If you choose to fly to Tijuana, you’ll have a stopover unless you live in Phoenix, which is Tijuana’s only direct connection to the United States (Google Flights prices here).

However, despite its low safety rating with the U.S. government, it’s worth noting that Tijuana has a robust tourism industry and that tourists are welcomed in the city.  

People shop and walk below colorful hanging flags at Plaza Santa Cecilia, a historic Mexican square in the heart of the cityPeople shop and walk below colorful hanging flags at Plaza Santa Cecilia, a historic Mexican square in the heart of the city

Provided you stay in the main tourist areas, and avoid the areas considered most dangerous such as Reforma, Sánchez Taboada, Camino Verde, and Mariano Matamoros you should have an enjoyable vacation experience.  

Here are some additional tips for staying safe in Tijuana: 

  • Tell someone about your travel plans and itinerary before you go. 
  • Register with the U.S. Department of State’s Traveler Registration Program. 
  • Be aware of your surroundings and avoid walking by yourself at night. 
  • Don’t carry a lot of cash or valuable things with you. 

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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com

Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

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