I thought I would write a blog about visiting Tijuana. If you have not looked at Sonero’s food blog that is a great source of places to visit for some really good food.
So I won’t touch on food but just write a little about our city and about visiting our city. It seems like their are people that are scared to visit and they all have a story about a friend of a friend and his scary experience. First of all we are a huge city of maybe 1.6 million people with no freeway system like you are accustomed to. Many of our ladies travel close to 2 hours to get to downtown for their dates, and they ride in a van that is called a taxi de ruta. Those taxis are very inexpensive but stop about every couple of blocks to pick up and drop off passengers. They normally run less than a dollar to take, but the time can kill you. Some folks her ride those to work and home every day and an 8 to 10 hour workday can take 12 to 14 hours of their day, and they make less than $15 dollars a day in most cases..
I should touch on the violence. It exists and it is real. I don’t want to sweep that under the rug, but normally you do not see it in the tourist areas. I have not seen anyone shot at or shot in my 22 years here, but when I look at the local papers their are murders daily. Most of is related to the sale of drugs and because of that I don’t see it. It is a big city and crime is real like any other big city. So please do exercise caution while down here. Someone could easily see you taking on your cell phone and walking as if you don’t have a worry in the world and with the quickness someone snatches it out of your hand is gone before you realize what happens. This is not likely to happen on Revolucion, which is a street in the tourist district, but a block or so away it can happen easily .
If you are visiting Mexico from the United States you can cross on foot at San Ysidro Port of Entry (Ped East), at Otay Mesa, or at Chapparal (Ped West) You do need to get a permit and they are free for stays of less than 7 days. You show your passport or your passport card, and they issue the permit. Takes less than 5 minutes to get your permit in most cases. If you drive in the Mexican Government is not checking for permits and folks just drive through. You can be stopped and told to enter “secondary” but that is very rare and in many cases they just want to make sure you are not trying to sell your car down here. I cannot quote the regulations but the law does not allow sales of old cars to enter into Mexico. I think 10 years earlier and not allowed to be sold and then converted to Mexican cars. Now their are many old cars around her and some are legal and many are not. I would not use my blog to determine anything about the legal sales of cars as I am no expert on that.
Do you exchange your dollars to pesos? You for sure do not have to, but many do. Every place down here deals with both currencies. Many times having pesos can save you money, but sometimes a store will give a better rate for the dollar than you can get by purchasing and a “casa de cambio”. Strangely enough 99% of the time you can get a better rate at the San Ysidro border than you can get in Tijuana. I go into the US to buy pesos for some of my bills as the electric company and the water company do not accept dollars. The cable company does but at a terrible rate. If you are just coming for a day to look around, buy some souvenirs, or to visit a drinking establishment you are probably going to be fine using your dollars, but you may want to have your money in 10’s, 5’s and ones, as sometimes stores and taxis do not have much change. Now tipping is nothing like in the US. I tip very generous but often the locals don’t tip at all or only leave a few coins that come to less than a dollar. I don’t have the heart to do that, but tips are appreciated and not expected. Now a taxi driver may tell you $5 plus tip, as he wants to earn, but in all likelihood the $5 is more than he would ask of a local taking the same trip. If you are at a bar and buy a round of drinks, a one dollar tip is greatly appreciated. The exchange rate changes daily but at this date most place use 18 to 1 so 18 pesos is the same a 1 dollar. Restaurants and bars should have their exchange rate clearly posted.
Now I can write all day long but now I have you entering Tijuana, I should explain on what you need to do to go back. First of all I do not recommend driving into Mexico until you have been here a few times and have some familiarity with how traffic is different than what you are accustomed to in the US. Also the lines can often be 90 minutes or longer getting back to the US. On foot 30 minutes or less at all hours is doable in most cases. The Americans want proof that you are a US citizen so they ask for a passport, but they do accept a State issued Driver’s License or ID. Soon they will want the enhanced license but for right now you are ok with your DL.
I am sure there are tours that are offered, as I see buses coming down with Asian tourists often and I have to think they are offered for other people as well. One of our drivers does tours for $25 dollars per hour and a minimum of two hours. If you ever want to do that shoot me an e-mail a few days in advance and I will visit with Jesus about it. Jesus speaks English very well and will cater his tours to what you want to see.
I hope this was somewhat helpful but I am not the best source of this info and my opinions or views may be different than others, but it is a general guideline and is not to be taken as the gospel.
I think I will wrap this up now as I can talk about other aspects. Maybe tomorrow or someday soon I will write about a few things to do around Tijuana. Have a good weekend, be careful and I will be back soon.Posted on: June 22, 2019Lindo Barre