Five Great Things to Do in Mexicali

By Meghan Fitzpatrick

Photo of La Rumorosa by Angel Zaragosa


Unos suben, otros bajan

Mexicali is the capital of the state of Baja California and the northernmost city in Latin America.  Its proximity to the United States has made the city a tourist destination with Americans from Arizona, California and Nevada, and it also serves as a portal for visitors who are heading further south to San Felipe or even over to mainland, Mexico.   So what are the top things to do when you visit this bustling metropolis?

1) Mexicali is famous for its abundance of Chinese restaurants, which resulted from the migration of large numbers of Chinese workers to the area in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Mexicali’s Chinatown, or “La Chinesca,” is home to more than 100 Chinese eateries!  If you’re craving egg rolls or some orange chicken, then look no further.

2) Teatro del Estado is consistently ranked by both visitors and residents in Mexicali as one of the must-see things in Mexicali. The teatro, or theatre, has a 1,100 person capacity and hosts numerous productions, both theatrical and musical, throughout the year in Mexicali. The theatre also has a very popular café, Café Literario, that holds a regular film night, frequented by locals.

3) It is no secret that Mexicans love their beer(s), and that is especially true in Mexicali. The city is home to both Cerveza Cucapá, and to the famed Cerveceria Mexicali which was founded in Mexicali in the 1920’s by a German chemist who wanted to create a beer that would put the city in the international spotlight. Miguel Gonzalez and Heraclio Ochoa were the official founders of the brewery, which was the first-ever brewery in Baja, California. Today Cerveceria Mexicali is the proud producer of what is proudly called “Great Mexican beer.” Their motto?  “Complete Beers:  No Lime Required.”

Cucapa

4) Casa de la Cultura is a beautiful and historical landmark in the city of Mexicali. Formerly, this landmark was the Catedral de la Virgen de Guadalupe, a significant religious point of interest in Mexicali. Today the structure is simply referred to as Casa de la Cultura and is the host to regular art exhibitions in the city. This beautiful neoclassical structure is a must-see if you are visiting Mexicali.

Humberto Montemayor

Humberto Montemayor pitcher of Aguilas de Mexicali baseball team

5) Sports in Mexicali are very popular all year round. Mexicali boasts their own baseball team, “Aguilas Pacific Mexican League,” (aguila means eagle in English) and they have their own stadium with a 19,000 person capacity. The stadium hosted the Caribbean baseball series in 2009. Mexicali also has its own basketball team, The Soles de Mexicali. In the fall, head to Plaza de Toros Calafia (toro meaning bull) to see some traditional Mexican bull fighting. The nearby mountains, Cucapá and El Mayor, as well as the Mexicali Valley and Rio Hardy Valley all offer great hunting grounds for those so inclined. This area is especially noted for its dense population of pheasant – a favorite for hunters. Finally, if you are slightly more low-key and golfing is more suited to your taste, Mexicali is the home to the full 18-hole Club Campestre golf course.

So, now you’re in the know…why not go? For more information on activities in Mexicali, check out the Baja.com Mexicali activities directory.

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula, supported by a full-service tour operator staffed by Baja locals (our “Baja Travel Savants”). We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurants, hotels and vacation rentals, as well as guides, maps and articles about events, sports and activities. We provide bilingual customer support, information and sales seven days a week, 365 days a year.

Is Mexico Safe?

Keeping Travel Safety in Perspective: USA vs. Mexico

There’s been a lot of news coverage about violence in Mexico, very little of it bothering to note that Mexico is a huge country with thirty-some states and that a) almost all of that violence is narco-related and b) you can count the number of tourists affected on one hand.

Meanwhile, according to the FBI, “An estimated 15,241 persons were murdered nationwide in 2009″ in the United States of America.

Officially, 111 U.S. citizens were killed in Mexico last year, a third in just two cities. Almost all of them were involved in illicit vocations, usually the trafficking of guns, drugs, or people across the border. This is 111 out of close to 8 million visitors, with nearly 1 million of those being part- or full-time residents choosing Mexico over the U.S. or Canada.

You know who else had 111 murders in one year recently? Boston. And Las Vegas. And Orlando. Are any tourists scared of going to those places?

Meanwhile, almost 1,000 U.S. citizens died in Puerto Rico. Nobody running the news desks cares about Puerto Rico or has an incentive to make people scared of Puerto Ricans (by nature, they can’t be “illegal immigrants”), so this isn’t widely reported.

Then there’s the U.S. proper, which can’t get a State Department travel alert because it’s, well, not a foreign country. How’s your city doing in comparison to Mexico when it comes to the annual numbers?

Atlanta  - city, 80 murders. Atlanta MSA (metropolitan statistical area), 325 murders
Baltimore – 238 city, 298 MSA
Boston – 50 city, 111 MSA
Dallas/Ft. Worth – 210 city, 310 MSA
Detroit – 365 city, 447 MSA
Houston – 287 city, 462 MSA
Indianapolis – 100 city, 111 MSA
Jacksonville, FL – 99 city, 120 MSA
Kansas City – 100 city, 163 MSA
Las Vegas – 111 city, 133 MSA
Los Angeles – 312 city, 768 MSA
Miami  - 59 city, 377 Miami to Boca Raton corridor
New Orleans – 174 city, 252 MSA
New York City – 471 city, 778 MSA
Orlando – 28 city, 111 MSA
Philadelphia – 302 city, 436 MSA
Phoenix – 122 city, 302 MSA
San Francisco – 45 city, 292 MSA
St. Louis – 143 city, 210 MSA
Washington, DC – 143 city, 325 MSA

To put things in perspective, the murder rate in the Yucatan state of Mexico is 2 per 100,000. That’s about the same as Fond du Lac, Wisconsin or Evansville, Indiana. Mexico City’s is 8 per 100,000. Despite being one of the most populated cities on the planet, that’s on par with Albuquerque, NM. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never felt scared in Albuquerque…