This fast-growing city is a much quieter border town than Tijuana, but a center of regional commerce nevertheless. It is the only border town to share the same name as its U.S. counterpart (Tecate, CA). Immigration has increased dramatically in the last decade, as workers arrive from all over Mexico and Central America in search of factory jobs. The most famous institutions in Tecate are the Tecate Brewery and Rancho La Puerta wellness resort.
Although the city is definitely booming, it has retained much of its old-world charm (especially in the zocalo area, which is surrounded by little restaurants and shops). Most alluring is the fact that Tecate is also the northern gateway to the Valle de Guadalupe wine country along Mexico 3, which cuts through the heart of farmland and vineyards, providing access to more than 40 wineries, including LA Cetto, Dona Lupe, Domecq, Chateau Camou, Liceaga and others. .
Tecate is the oldest border town in Baja and the only one to share a name with its U.S. counterpart. The city’s history begins in 1831 with a land grant of 18 square miles to Juan Bandini, from Peru. Bandini established the city in 1833, and in 1892, Tecate became a municipality. In 1914, the San Diego-Arizona Railroad reached tecate, and in 1943, the Tecate Brewery opened. Later in the 20th century, NAFTA brought manufacturing to the region, and maquiladoras became the primary source of employment, with farming and tourism to supplement the economy. The promise of manufacturing jobs continues to lure immigrants from all over Central America, so Tecate has become a crossroads of cultures in a very short period of time. The population is 120,000 today and will exceed 150,000 by 2020.