Friday, 1 December 2017

MEXICO: Tijuana Gateway to Mexico But Hotbed For Criminals,Tourists Targeted,Legal Prostitution In Strip Clubs And Streets

Tijuana is the dominant focal city of Northwestern Mexico, in Baja California, Mexico and right across the border from San Diego, California, USA.

Tijuana is the largest city in Baja California and on the Baja California Peninsula and center of the Tijuana metropolitan area, part of the international San Diego–Tijuana metropolitan area.

As an industrial and financial center of Mexico, Tijuana exerts a strong influence on economics, education, culture, art, and politics. As the city has become a leading center in the country, so has the surrounding metropolitan area, a major industrial and paramount metropolis in northwestern Mexico.

Currently one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in Mexico, Tijuana maintains global city status. As of 2015, the city of Tijuana had a population of 1,696,923.

Tijuana is located on the Gold Coast of Baja California, and is the municipal seat and the cultural and commercial center of Tijuana Municipality. Tijuana covers 70% of the municipality but contains over 80% of its population.

A dominant manufacturing center of the North American continent, the city maintains facilities of many multinational conglomerate companies. In the early 21st century, Tijuana became the medical-device manufacturing capital of North America.

Tijuana is also a growing cultural center and has been recognized as an important new cultural mecca. The city is the most visited border city in the globe; sharing a border of about 24 km (15 mi) with its sister city San Diego.

More than fifty million people cross the border between these two cities every year. This metropolitan crossing makes the San Ysidro Port of Entry the busiest land-border crossing in the world.

It is estimated that the two border crossing stations between the cities proper of San Diego and Tijuana account for 300,000 daily border crossings alone.

Tijuana is the 45th largest city in the Americas and is the westernmost city in Mexico.

According to the 2010 census, the Tijuana metropolitan area was the fifth-largest in Mexico, with a population of 1,784,034, but rankings vary, the city locality itself was 6th largest and the municipality administrative 3rd largest nationally.

The international metropolitan region was estimated to be just over five million in 2009 and about 5,105,769 in 2010, making it the third largest metropolitan area in the former Californias region, 19th largest metropolitan area in the Americas, and the largest bi-national conurbation that is shared between US and Mexico.

Tijuana is becoming more suburbanized like San Diego; during the 2000s the drug violence had residents moving out of the congested urban core into isolated communities within the municipality and beyond, as evidenced by 2010 Census figures and growth patterns.

Tijuana traces its modern history to the arrival of Spanish explorers in the 16th century who were mapping the coast of the Californias.

As the American conquest of northern Mexico ended with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, Tijuana's new international position on the border gave rise to a new economic and political structure.

The city was founded on July 11, 1889 as urban development began. Often known by its supposed initials, T.J., and nicknamed Gateway to Mexico, the city has historically served as a tourist center dating back to the 1880s.

Tijuana is the western-most city in Mexico, and consequently in Latin America, and the 2nd largest city of northern Mexico.

Located about 210 kilometers (130 mi) west of the state-capital, Mexicali, the city is bordered to the north by the cities of Imperial Beach, and the San Diego neighborhoods of San Ysidro and Otay Mesa, California.

To the southwest of the city is Rosarito Beach, while to the south is unincorporated territory of Tijuana Municipality. The city is nestled among hills, canyons, and gullies. The central part of the city lies in a valley through which flows the channeled Tijuana River.

Housing development in the Tijuana Hills has led to eradication of many seasonal mountain streams. This lack of natural drainage makes places within the city vulnerable to landslides during the rainy season.

The varied terrain of Tijuana gives the city elevation extremes that range from sea level to 790 metres (2,590 ft).

Tijuana is noted for its rough terrain, which includes many canyons, steep hills, and mesas. Among noted canyons in Tijuana are Canyon K and Canyon Johnson. Large Tijuana hills include Red Hill or Cerro Colorado and Hill of the Bees or Cerro de las Abejas) in the eastern part of the city.

The city is located near the terminus of the Tijuana River and within the Tijuana River Basin. The Tijuana River is an intermittent river, 195 km (121 mi) long, on the Pacific coast of northern Baja California in Mexico and Southern California in the United States.

It drains an arid area along the California–Baja California border, flowing through Mexico for most of its course and then crossing the border for the last 8 km (5 mi) of its course where it forms an estuary that empties into the ocean.

The river's lower reaches harbor the last undeveloped coastal wetlands in San Diego County, and some of the last in Southern California, amidst a highly urbanized environment at the southern city limits of Imperial Beach.

As Downtown Tijuana was built at the bottom of the river valley, the district is subject to seasonal flooding created by drain-off from the Tijuana Hills. During this time, east-bound portions of the Via Rapida at east-west highway may be blocked off by the Tijuana Police due to hazardous conditions.

The city's skyscraper history is relatively recent. Some of the first highrise building complexes constructed in the city were the twin towers of Grand Hotel Tijuana. Tijuana experienced a building boom that was brought to a halt by the Great Recession.

Among buildings that succumbed to the time period was the Trump Ocean Resort Baja Mexico that would have been located in Playas and reached 98 m (322 ft). Currently the tallest building, and soon to be the largest complex in footage, New City Residential reaches 102 m (335 ft).

Overall, the city maintains 33 completed structures with other proposed and under-construction skyscrapers.

The Tijuana skyline is the fifth largest skyline in Mexico and is located in the Zona Rio and to a smaller extent, Playas de Tijuana. In the Zona Rio the buildings are concentrated on the Tijuana River, lined parallel to the river; and on the edges of the Tijuana Country Club.

In Playas the high rises are currently focused on the coast. Recent construction on high rises has begun in the aforementioned areas, as buildings such as New City Residential and Grand Hotel Tijuana have been developed and taken prominent places in the skyline as the tallest buildings. From Tijuana's skyline the San Diego skyline can also be seen.

Tijuana has a diverse cosmopolitan population which includes migrants from other parts of Mexico, and immigrants from all over the globe. Tijuana has one of Mexico's largest Asian populations, predominantly consisting of Chinese immigrants, and to a lesser extent, Koreans and Japanese.

Tijuana also has a large and rapidly growing population of United States citizens, mostly from Southern California, who have moved to the city to avoid the higher cost of living in Southern California, while still being able to work there.

Many Latin Americans, notable Argentines, Cubans, and Guatemalans, have made Tijuana their home, especially people from Central America and Andean nations. The city is also has many Italian, French, Spanish and Lebanese citizens.

There is a large transitory population in Tijuana due to border aspirations or deportations.

The majority of Tijuana's migrant Mexican population hail from Sinaloa, Michoacan, Jalisco, Oaxaca, and the Federal District. Because of the diversity of Mexico and the influx of immigrants from almost every region in the country, there are no accurate estimates on ethnicity or race of the current population.

The heavy influx of immigrants to the city and municipality of Tijuana has led to job creation in the form of over 700 twin-plant maquiladora factories, which serve as the basis of employment for the majority of the working-class people in northern Mexico.

The high poverty level in Tijuana is attributed to the city's magnet status for people who have come from the poorer south of the nation and citizens from other nations seeking to escape from extreme poverty.

Tijuana holds a status that provides the possibility of employment as well as higher education and the dream of crossing the border. Tijuana and Baja California in general have much stronger economies and higher incomes than other Mexican cities along the United States border, as well as more moderate weather.

Tijuana today is one of the fastest growing cities in Mexico with an average of 80,000 people moving to Tijuana yearly. In terms of area, the city grows by approximately three hectares a day, mostly east and south as the city is mostly built out to the beach already with the exception of some canyons.

Along with settlements separated from Tijuana proper and other communities unimproved land, big business moves in providing supermarkets and retail to marginal areas, along with paved roads.

The city experiences the construction of 26,000 new settlers a year that has led to the unregulated, illegal squatter homes that takes place in the hills and valleys of ever expanding Tijuana, most of these areas are yet to be served by city services, including the addition of sidewalks, paving, streetlights, public transit and other services.

However this is an ongoing process; as older and existing squatter areas are brought into the city services, more marginal areas become occupied by squatters.

Squatter areas are home to displaced and uprooted people, among them the indigenous and poverty stricken, migrants deported from the USA, many of whom are also without Mexican citizenship.

In recent years, working class suburban housing estates have sprung up in the fringes to provide safe homes and a sense of land ownership, to escape and isolate their families and young ones from the violence of the drug war and squatter areas, these outlying communities tend to be much better equipped than their squatter counterparts.

Nevertheless, some remote areas are drug lords plantations for narcotics, and delinquency spreads to even areas that are considered safe havens, which periodically come to light in the newspapers.

National Population Council (CONAPO) data has estimated that by 2030, growth rates maintaining, the city will become the second largest in Mexico and anchor to the fourth largest metropolitan area in Mexico. The suburban sprawl observed in Tijuana leaves the downtown and beach areas relatively affluent.

While the INEGI Census 2010 counted the population of Tijuana to be 1.3 million, only two percent more than in 2005 Census, Tijuana City Council estimates from 2010 have placed the population closer to two million, at 1.6 million.

As funding for cities is based on the populace of the city, the Council worries about receiving adequate funds to provide for the needs of the city. The population discrepancies may be explained by a few factors.

Shanty towns which have not been rasterized and an undercount, people having left Tijuana for United States, and people leaving Tijuana for the interior of Mexico due to the intensification of the drug war, and suburbanization outside city limits but still inside the municipality.

Tijuana, because of the dreams of border crossers, and its relatively higher wages compared to the rest of Mexico, naturally attracts immigrants.

Since an improvement in security since 2011, the population of Tijuana as reflected in the 2015 Mexican census is expected to return to its normal growth curve; the great reduction in violence should make the settlement of Tijuana an attractive option again versus fringe valleys, nevertheless exact figures from the census await.

According to the Second Census of Population and Housing of the year 2010 conducted by the INEGI (National Institute of Statistics, Geography and Informatics) the municipality of Tijuana has 1,559,683 inhabitants within 879 km2, the city or settlement of Tijuana only covers ⅔ of that area.

While the metropolitan area of Tijuana (1392 km2), composed of Tijuana Municipality and Rosarito Beach Municipality, has 1,751,302 inhabitants.

Tecate Municipality, adjacent to Tijuana Municipality, has not yet been considered by the government as part of the metropolitan area. However, there is great economic and cultural exchange between the cities regions though there are still expanses of rural land.

As Tijuana grows, many of its suburbs have been built increasingly inland, and in the direction of Tecate; Valley of the Palms is a large planned city between the two.

Among the large majority of the city's population, 96%, adhere to the beliefs of Christianity.

The denominations are further divided into followers of Catholicism – 61% – and of Protestantism – 35%. While other beliefs occupying a 4% margin in the city include Taoism among other Asian and European religions, atheism and agnosticism is also found.

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.

Prominent tourist attractions include Avenida Revolucion in Zona Centro, shops and restaurants in Zona Rio, and nightlife entertainment, which is concentrated in several localities, including the commercial area around 6th and Revolucion St, as well as Tijuana's red light district.

With 910 murders in 2016 the most violent year in its history, the city is experiencing once again a criminal insurgency and travellers are advised take necessary precautions before heading to Tijuana.

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. Unlike San Diego however, Tijuana continues to be a hotbed for criminal activities and as of 2017, tourists continue to be routinely targeted by muggers and pickpockets.

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 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 illegal 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.

The high levels of crime in the city can partly be attributed to these glaring economic inequalities.

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.

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.

Mexicans rarely use the term to describe foreigners, preffering the ubiquitous gabacho or guero for white people.

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.

Tijuana is a large manufacturing center, and in addition to tourism, it serves as a cornerstone of the city economy. In the past decade alone, Tijuana became the medical device manufacture capital of the North American continent, surpassing previous leader Minneapolis - Saint Paul.

The city's proximity to Southern California and its large, skilled, diverse, and relatively inexpensive workforce make it an attractive city for foreign companies looking to establish extensive industrial parks composed of assembly plants that are called maquiladoras, even more so than other cities in the US-Mexican border zone, taking advantage of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to export products.

At its peak, in 2001 Tijuana had roughly 820 of these maquiladoras.Foreign and domestic companies employ thousands of employees in these plants, usually in assembly-related labor.

Such jobs are not demanding but typically offer above average although not high paying salaries for Mexico, with most maqiladoras jobs beginning at Mex$100 per day about 5 US dollars, significantly above the Mexican minimum wage of Mex$57.46 about 3 US dollars.

Companies that have set up maquiladoras in Tijuana include Lanix, Hyundai, Sony, Vortec, BMW, Vizio, Toyota, Dell, Samsung, Kodak, Matsushita/Panasonic, Bimbo, GE, Nabisco, Ford, Microsoft, Cemex, Zonda, Philips, Pioneer, Airbus, Plantronics, Siemens Mexico, Jaguar, Pall Medical, Tara, Sanyo and Volkswagen.

Many of the maquiladoras are located in the Otay Mesa and Florido sections of Tijuana.

There are also some high-tech firms and telemarketing companies in the city, drawing people with technical trade and college degrees to Tijuana. One example is Telvista, a Texas-based telemarketing company which maintains three call centers along Blvd. Agua Caliente.

This makes Tijuana a popular city for migrant workers as well as college graduates from other parts of Mexico as well as other countries to the south.

Economic development has its central business district at Zona Rio, which together, with the corridor along Blvd. Agua Caliente the extension of Avenida Revolucion, contains the majority of the higher-end office space in the city.

Binational economic development along the US–Mexico border is key to the development of Tijuana going forward. Multiple regional such as San Diego-US/Tijuana-MX think-tanks exist on both sides of the border that promote such regional collaboration and innovation

Tijuana possesses a diversity of shopping malls. Plaza Río Tijuana is the largest mall and is located just a few minutes away from the U.S. border between Paseo de los Heroes and the Tijuana River.

The mall hosts a Cinepolis and a Cinepolis VIP movie theater, a Sanborns restaurant and a variety of shops, including the large department store Sears. Plaza Mundo Divertido is off of Tijuana's main east-west highway with arcades and rides for the whole family.

Plaza Monarca is on a north-south artery Gato Bronco and is anchored by the Cinepolis and grocery store chain Soriana. Plaza Carrousel, so named because the mall contains a children's merry-go-round, is minutes from the Cinco y Diez retail hub centered around a former five and dime store.

The beach community of Playas de Tijuana saw a burst of construction in 2004, which yielded the Plaza Coronado complex next to the existing Comercial Mexicana-anchored Centro Comercial Playas.

Tijuana was the headquarters of 14-store Dorian's department store chain until its demise in 2009.

Tijuana is also known for its red-light district Zona Norte also referred to as La Coahuila after one of the main streets in it, which features legal prostitution in strip clubs and on the street.

The strip clubs are typically full-contact, meaning the dancers will allow patrons to fondle them. Many dancers also sell their sexual services, which are expensive at $US 72 more than those of the street prostitutes.

People filling up prescriptions for drugs classified in the US as Schedule II or Schedule III have found it more difficult to locate such medications, and the purchase of pseudoephedrine also has become restricted by Tijuana pharmacies, as it is in the United States.

For a prescription to be filled in Tijuana and brought legally to the United States, any drug covered by the US Controlled Substances Act would require a prescription from the United States for re-import.

Americans are allowed to import up to a 90-day supply of non-controlled medications for personal use back to the USA from Mexico and other countries.

Tijuana, along with the nearby Valle de Guadalupe, has recently become a culinary hotspot due to its Baja Med cuisine, including chefs such as Javier Plascencia, but also for its tacos, other street food, food trucks, coffee houses and artisanal beer.

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 Revolucion, as well as by some 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 Revolucion.

Tijuana has a mild climate due to its proximity 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.

Districts of Tijuana

Zona Centro — The old downtown including Avenida Revolucion

Zona Rio — Downtown (Business district)

Playas - Beaches and hills West of downtown

Zona Norte - Tijuana's red light district

Zona Libertad - Bedroom zone east of River

Zona Otay - Bedroom zone behind and 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.

Tijuana also relies on tourism for a major part of its revenue. About 300,000 visitors cross by foot or car from the San Ysidro point of entry in the United States every day.

To lessen the strain on the border crossing, the Otay Mesa Crossing has been boosted to support more traffic and 6-lane highway 905 built in 2012, as well as rapid bus transit coming in the future.

Restaurants and taco stands, pharmacies, bars and dance clubs, and shops and stalls selling Mexican crafts and souvenirs are part of the draw for the city's tourists, many located within walking distance of the border.

The city's tourist centers include Downtown Tijuana including the nightlife hot spots around La Sexta, Avenida Revolucion, souvenir shopping at the Mercado de Artesanías and Plaza Viva Tijuana, Tijuana's Cultural Center (CECUT) and neighboring Plaza Rio Tijuana shopping center, and the city's best known vices, in the form of its legal Red Light District and gambling (Agua Caliente).

Mexico's drinking age of 18 and 21 in the United States, makes it a common weekend destination for many high school and college aged Southern Californians who tend to stay on Avenida Revolucion.

Tijuana is also home to several pharmacies marketed toward visitors from the United States, which sell some medicines without prescriptions and at much lower costs than in the US. Many medications still require a Mexican doctor's prescriptions, available from adjacent doctors' offices.

Businesses such as auto detailing, medical services, dentistry and plastic surgery are heavily marketed and are usually cheaper than in the U.S.

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 either a passport, a ready lane card, a US birth certificate, or a US green card.

Many foreigners travel to Tijuana to drink and dance, buy prescription drugs, purchase bootleg brand-name clothing, timepieces, and other personal accessories found globally, as well as manufactured and hand-crafted local curiosities.

Locals and regular tourists avoid hassles by visiting the clubs at Plaza Fiesta or other areas of the Zona Rio without the crowds, heavy marketing, and occasional tourist misbehavior or outright lawbreaking common on the Revolucion strip.

However, Avenida Revolucion has been known for its proliferation of nightclub shows, primarily catering to casual tourists.

While still an entertaining town with an enjoyable atmosphere, locals and tourists alike would agree that it has lost its anything goes mentality which it had once acquired, a mindset that was dangerous to tourists, locals, and the tourism industry as a whole.

Tijuana was famous around the time of World War Two for donkey shows where a woman would have sex with a donkey.

Tijuana's nightlife scene is one of the city's strongest attractions. The area surrounding La Sexta, the intersection at Calle Sexta and Av. Revolucion, is now a major hub of new bars and dance clubs.

Zona Rio, Tijuana's new Downtown, is home to some of the city's finest restaurants and bars. Another capstone of Tijuana's entertainment offerings is its adult nightlife industry, which includes the city's red light district as well as less conspicuous adult entertainment venues.

The Tijuana International Airport (General Abelardo L. Rodriguez IA) is the city's main airport, one of the busiest in Mexico, and serves eleven airlines with destinations across Mexico and Shanghai, China.

Tijuana Airport is also a second main airport for the San Diego area for passengers heading south into Mexico and Latin America, who may use the airport's Cross Border Xpress terminal located on the U.S. side of the border in Otay Mesa and connected to the rest of the airport on the Mexican side by a pedestrian toll bridge.

U.S. and Canadian destinations can be reached via the San Diego International Airport, located about 35 kilometers (22 mi) north of the international border.

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 (1.6 km) 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 quicker and more direct crossing between the Tijuana Airport and the U.S.

Airlines flying to Tijuana:

Aeromexico, Aeromexico Connect (Culiacán, Ciudad Juárez, Ciudad Obregón, Chihuahua, Durango, Guadalajara, Hermosillo, León/El Bajío, Mexico City, Monterrey, Shanghai-Pudong (onward connections to the Asia/Pacific region from Shanghai Pudong with Aeromexico's Sky Team partners such as China Airlines, China Eastern, China Southern, Delta, Garuda Indonesia, Korean Air, Xiamen Airlines and 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 Juarez, Ciudad Obregon, 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.

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 Aeromexico 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.

Also 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.

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.

San Diego International Airport is 15 miles/24km 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 for 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 in downtown. 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 grey border gate.

Go through the 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 take the airport Fly Away Bus from under the green Flyaway, Buses, & Long Distance Vans signs in front of each terminal 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.

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.

A new policy in effect is 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.

As of July 2017, pedestrians crossing back and forth between San Ysidro and Tijuana now have two ways where they can enter/exit each country: PedWest and San Ysidro Port of Entry (SYPE).

Each station has an adjacent Mexican immigration center on the south side of the border that processes foot traffic into Mexico. The newest facility, PedWest, on the US side, is located on Virginia Ave directly across the street from Outlets at the Border.

SYPE is to the east of the 5 at the end of E San Ysidro Boulevard near the trollies.

In general, US Citizens and Permanent Residents can now expect 0 to 20 minutes crossing each way. Foot traffic into Mexico is usually quick for anyone, regardless of nationality.

If you are not able to use the Ready Lanes or if you are not a US Citizen, Green Card, or Border Crossing Card holder wait times to reenter the US can vary drastically depending on the time of day and the facility you use.

During rush hour, the All Travelers lanes can take up to 1 hour or more while there is hardly ever a wait during other times of the day. Crossing back into the US is usually much longer at SYPE even though it is only walking distance from PedWest.

Android and iPhone users can download the CBP Border Wait Time app to see which facility on the US side will be quicker.

At SYPE, there's a huge queue of people waiting on weekends and early morning weekdays, and you'll be approached by all manner of salespeople and vendors. Beggars and musicians line the queue, as well. Wait times generally subside to 30 minutes or less in the late evening, after 10pm.

You will not see this standing in line to PedWest as the pathway is a skybridge above the streets, heavily guarded by Mexican authorities, you can see this very clearly on Google Earth/Maps in satellite mode if you type in PedWest.

If you arrive at the main bus terminal it will cost between USD 12-20 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.

Locals call it la linea or the line instead of the literal translation of border or 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$2.50 for a one-way pass.

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 Permanent 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 USD5-10 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. 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 or 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

Autobuses Aguacaliente. 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

Grupo Estrella Blanca. 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.

They also have less frequent presence at the old bus station central camionera antigua, downtown.

Greyhound, Crucero USA, 731 E San Ysidro Blvd. 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.

Peninsula Executivo.

TAP (Transportes y Autobuses del Pacifico). 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

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, etccan 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. 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

Autotransportes de Aragon.

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). 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.

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). Goes from Tijuana, east to Sonora, Sinaloa, Nayarit, & Jalisco.

InterCalifornias, Ave Paseo Tijuana 9030, Col. Zona Rio. 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.

Mexicoach, Terminal Turístico @ Av Revolucion 1025, Col. Centro along Av Revolucion between Calle 6a & 7a. 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.

Transportes Suburbaja, Central Camionera Anitigua Old Bus Station at Av Francisco Madero 111, Col. Centro Ave. Madero esq. Calle 1a. 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.

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

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.

Uber is the newest addition to the transportation options in Tijuana. It is a technology company and transportation provider which offers passengers newer, private vehicles, summoned via a smartphone app.

The Uber app runs on both iPhones and Android smartphones, allowing travelers to request a professional, trained chauffeur on the spot. Uber is currently the safest mode of public transport in Tijuana, as drivers must adhere to high standards of safety and customer service.

In order to enjoy Uber's service in Tijuana, you must have access to a WiFi hotspot or mobile internet. You can learn more about Uber by visiting the company's website, note that the prices are in pesos.

Cabs are also 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 $5 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.

Red Light District in Tijuana's Zona Norte. Tourists, American Military, and locals alike have been venturing to this area for decades. Be aware that the areas surrounding the main strip can be somewhat dangerous, relatively speaking.

However, Tijuana's central Red Light District is perhaps one of the safest localities in the city due to its large police presence. Visitors should take caution just as they would visiting any unfamiliar area of a major city.

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 around 45 Mexican pesos or USD3$ but is always changing. 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.

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.

24 Hour Street Tacos, Calle Coahuila 1811, Tijuana, MX. This popular taco stand always has a crowd, even at 3am at night. They serve asada and adobada tacos and make authentic quesadillas with your choice of meat. If you're craving some tasty street tacos in the middle of the night, look no further.

Cafe 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.

Birrieria 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.

Taqueria El Takerito, It is an authentic taquería or taco shop on Diaz 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. Offers $1 (US) beers (Corona, Pacifico, Tecate) and 3 tacos for $1 various flavours. English in menus, mostly populated by locals.

El Mazateno on Avenida Tecnologico a few blocks away from Instituto Tecnologico 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.

Viejo Lobo in Tijuana's Red Light District, Calle Coahuila 8042, right across from Hong Kong Tijuana. Serving Argentinian specialties and a wide variety of other foods, including hamburgers, sandwiches, pastas, steaks, and other high quality dishes for dine-in and takeout.

This small eatery is a favorite among the locals in Zona Norte. Chef's recommendation- empanadas stuffed with shrimp and cheese.

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 remodeled 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 Fillet with Three Sauces is excellent.

Cien Anos, 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 Anos, 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 decor, 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. Sanchez Taboada No.10611-A Zona Río, between Blvd. Abelardo L. Rodriguez & Escuadrón 201. Excellent and innovative Mexican dishes, and great tamarindo margaritas. Moderately expensive by Tijuana standards but well worth it USD95 for 2 people, incl margaritas, wine, appetizer, entree & dessert. Highly recommended.

Mision 19, Mision 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. 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 Espadana, 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.

Bar La Perla, Calle Coahuila 7986, Zona Norte, Tijuana, Mexico. Full cocktail bar serving a variety of imported and national drinks. Beer is approximately $2 per bottle. Also serve seafood. Very nice interior decor.

New Body Bar or New Body Tijuana, Av. Miguel F. Martinez 7903, Zona Centro, Tijuana, MX, Take a taxi or Uber car: New Body is at the corner of Av. Miguel Martinez and Calle Octava (8th street), 3 blocks west of Av Revolucion 24/7.

This upscale sports bar plays american music and serves a wide assortment of premium alcohol, including imported and domestic drinks. New Body Tijuana also features pole dancers, smoking and non-smoking lounges, and takes reservations for bachelor parties.

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

Casa del Migrante (men & women), Av Hidalgo Int. #401, Col. Centro

Casa del Migrante en Tijuana (men only), Calle Galileo 239, Col. Postal CP22350

Casa Beato Juan Diego (men only), Boulevard Lazaro Cardenas, Fraccionamiento Murua,near bus terminal.

Casa Madre Asunta (women and children), calle Galileo 2305 Col. Postal.

Casa YMCA (children only), Boulevard Cuauhtemoc Sur 3170, Colonia Chula Vista.

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 Tijuana's 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. 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 Revolucion 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.

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.

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 Montejo on Mutualismo in this area is $150MXN a night, has very fast internet and private rooms. There is a criminal element here, and cops keep an eye on the place, but you'll be fine if you keep your head down and don't carry drugs.

Hotel Ticuan, Calle Octava between Av. Constitucion and Av. Revolucion, Tijuana, Mexico, 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.

Hotel Nelson, Av Revolucion 720, Zona Centro 22000,Av Revolucion & Calle 1a Articulo 123 Fuente Mexico, at the big arch 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

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. 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.

Tijuana Marriott Hotel, Boulevard Agua Caliente No. 11553. The Tijuana Marriott is located close to the business district, the Rio Shopping Center, Tijuana International Airport and just 16 km (10 miles)AVENUR SECTOR from San Diego.

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. 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. Being renovated as of late 2014. The renovated rooms are beautiful, and you may be upgraded to them for free. If not, it's well worth the additional $20 or so.

Camino Real Tijuana, Paseo de los Heroes #10305, Col. Zona Río CP22320 NE corner of the roundabout at Paseo de los Heroes & Careterra Transpeninsular (Hwy 1), next to the Plaza Rio mall.

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.

Tijuana is well known for being the birthplace and base of the Tijuana Cartel. From 2007 through 2010, Tijuana experienced an unusually high level of violent crime related to gang violence, in part derived from the Mexican drug war and human trafficking.

Homicides peaked in 2010, when 844 people were killed, compared to 355 in 2004 and 349 in the first eight months of 2011.

Reportedly, the wave of violence resulted from a turf war as municipal President Jorge Hank Rhon allowed the crime to spread and the administration of President Felipe Calderon weakened the local Arellano Felix cartel; violence slowed when the larger Sinaloa cartel took control.

During peak years of violent crime in the city, gun battles between rival cartels, and between cartels and the police, erupted in public. In April 2008, police found 1,500 shell casings on various streets after one battle left 13 suspected drug traffickers dead.

In 2009 and depending on the source, Tijuana Municipality experienced either 556 or 1,118 murders, mostly as a result of the drug war.

There were 492 murders in 2013, a 48% increase in the homicide rate between 2012 and 2013. This is the highest number of murders since 2010.

Theft - Pickpockets can be found in certain heavy tourist areas. You are generally safe in areas such as the Zona Rio, Playas de Tijuana, El Hipodromo, 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 Revolucion. 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, and live animals.

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.



Tourism Observer