The largest city on the Baja Penninsula is TIJUANA, and it is difficult to imagine its mammoth size without viewing it from above. This growing city of over one million seems to creep into every nook and cranny of the hilly terrain on which this city is situated. The density of Tijuana is much more compact than that of any city north of the border.
The Tijuana / San Diego border holds the unique distinction of being “the world’s busiest international border crossing”. Travelers crossing this border who stay on the main roads, or immediately head further south into Baja, merely catch a glimpse of this facinating city. For individuals willing to take the time to explore this great city quickly realize that Tijuana truly has much to offer!
Looking for excitement? Tijuana offers wagering on greyhound racing and Jai-Alai, the fastest game in the world! There are two bull rings attracting locals and tourists alike on Sundays from May through September. Two very good golf courses near by, and after the sun goes down, a host of restaurants and bars keep the action alive well into the evening!
Big cities typically have one or more actvities or attractions which sets it apart from the rest, Tijuana is no exception. Tijuana’s claim to fame is shopping, blocks and blocks of shopping! Most of the shopping is centered around a ten block area on Avenida Revolucion, in the central tourist zone. If you can’t find what you’re looking for here, it probably can’t be found. At least not in Mexico!
Like most big cities, Tijuana has some congestion, and that big city ‘people in a hurry’ feeling to it. But if one takes the time to explore below the surface of this ever expanding metropolis, a proud people can be found who are optomistic as they head into the 21st century.
Tijuana is just a hop, skip, and a jump to the wide beaches of Rosarito, so most visitors interested in the beach scene head 10 minutes south. Still, there are some water sports possibilities here surfing, kayaking, and beach combing to name a few. Ocean access is via Playas Tijuana to the west. When the waters are calm it is sometimes possible to spot dolphins within fifty yards of the shore!
PLAYA TIJUANA, Exit main coastal highway at Playas Tijuana exit. Continue due west as you pass the ‘Bullring by the Sea’ on your right. There are a walking paths from the parking areas on the street down to the sand. The official monument dividing Mexico and the United States is located right behind the bullring.
CAMPING – RVs:
There is an abundance of hotels in the Tijuana area, but most camping and R.V. activity takes place in the Rosarito Beach area, and further south along the coast.
There is one campground just south of Tijuana.
Tel. 011-52 (66) 13-3305
* 7.5 miles south of the Tijuana Toll Gate, San Antonio exit.
U.S. mailing address: P.O. Box 430513, San Ysidro, California, 92143, U.S.A.
Mexico mailing address: Apardo Postal 2082, Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico.
40 sites / water / hot showers / laundry / dump station / small store / evening secured.
FISHING – BOATING:
The Coronado islands, directly offshore from Tijuana, are a short ride from the mainland. The waters around these islands are usually calm and offer excellent fishing. Fishing charters to the Coronado Islands are typivally booked through fishing companies in the United States, although reservations can be made in Mexico (see ‘Ensenada’ for additional fishing information).
HOTELS – LODGING:
Hotels in Tijuana vary from the quaint to first class.
The larger hotels usually will have staff who speak English and offer all the trappings and ambience of a world class hotel. However don’t hesitate to try one of the many smaller motels throughout the city. The smaller hotels enable you to soak up the local atmosphere and catch a glimpse of another culture. Inspecting a hotel room before you commit is an acceptable practice, and a good idea if you are not sure.
RESTAURANTS – BARS:
A culinry treat waits for travelers stopping in Tijuana. Restaurants here offer foods prepared in styles from around the world. Don’t be afraid to go off the beaten track, even the food on the street-side carts can be good.
What about drinking and dancing? The nightlife at Tijuana is everything you want it to be (and possibly a little bit more!). The drinking age in Mexico is 18 years old, so watch out. Drinking responsibly is good advice anywhere, but particularly so in Mexico.
You may not hear the words “Welcome K Mart shoppers” during your trek through Tijuana, but you will find a great variety of shops to choose from as you drive or walk through town.
Tijuana has many of the transportation options you would expect from a large metropolitan city (except subways). Most services are fairly efficient, but patience is sometimes required. For Baja travelers who commute the toll road from Tijuana to Ensenada on a regular basis the Mexican Government has established the IAVE FREEWAY EXPRESS. Members can fly through the various toll booth areas without getting stuck in line at the toll booths. A special lane accomodates IAVE members!
SIGHTS OF INTEREST:
There’s always something going on in Tijuana to keep the visitor entertained, much more than just the great shopping. Just driving around town can be interesting!
There is probably more culture events happening in Tijuana than recreation, but there are enough sports to keep the Baja traveler busy. In addition to two good golf courses, surfing and kayaking can be enjoyed along the coastal bluffs of Tijuana. Snorkeling and scuba diving are good off of the Coronado Islands.
TIJUANA COUNTRY CLUB
Telephone 011-52 (66) 81-7855.
Agua Caliente #1131, Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico.
18 holes / par 72 / 6,500 yards / clubhouse / carts / golf shop / restaurant / bar.
For more information on golfing TIJUANA COUNTRY CLUB, check it out!
REAL DEL MAR
Telephone 011-52 (66) 13-3401.
Main coastal highway at Km. 18 offramp.
18 holes / par 72 / 5949 yards / carts / golf shop / driving range / restaurant / bar.
From the U.S. border, it is advisable to paddle south. If you paddle north you will be entering the United States illegally, and you and your kayak are subject to search by the nice men in the green trucks.
Probably one of the most hair-raising races in the world is the annual big bike run from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas. It’s hard to believe, but the winner makes this thousand-mile mad dash in about 10 hours! Dubbed the CABO 1,000, this insane run on the Baja blacktop is the Mexican version of a Cannonball Run. Only crazier!
All of the surf along the coastal bluffs near Tijuana are beach breaks, with typical beach break shape. Waves do get large when there is a swell, but it takes a little research to find out where recent sand bars have developed creating longer rides. Shoulder hopping can be fun, but with a lack of a channel to get past the breakers, paddling out can be a real exercise when the waves are big. Wetsuits are advisable from October through May. Bring your own wax.