Tijuana: tacky, treacherous, terrific
While certainly not the most attractive scrum in the history of human clustering, it is a vortex of border hubbub,
an unruly street theater, sprinkled with hit-and-run pleasantries.
To make sure this city of 3 million does not fuse with Northern culture, there's a fence, a "new and improved"
Berlin Wall, actually the most heavily militarized border between friendly neighbors anywhere in the world, just short of
the shrapnel and mine fields.
Sounds overly sardonic? The excess that is easily had in Tijuana comes at a price: one US citizen per day dies in Tijuana
and the surrounding area of Baja California, according to the American consulate in TJ. Another three Americans per
day are reported missing. It is the most active and perilous tourist destination in the world. At the same time, an equal
number of Mexicans die each year, attempting to sneak into the land of plenty.
If you were to visit Tijuana, and you should at least once, there's lots of action for the egotourist.
Shopping is a sport in San Diego and Las Vegas, here it's an adventure. You'll weave through fabulous kitsch, dodge jewelry vendors and sometimes encounter unique art.
Revolucion Avenue strikes like a "Mini-Me" Vegas Strip, without a planning and design committee: it's rowdy, fun and frivolous at 99 decibel.
There is also a quiet and sophisticated side to Tijuana. One of fine dining, a high quality professional services offering and not to forget: refined burlesque.
Several levels of accommodation are being offered in Tijuana, from world class to underworld:
The same applies to food:
La Casa del Mole
Misión San Diego 1501 (corner Paseo de los Héroes), Zona Río, (52-664) 634-6920
A typical Mexican dish, mole (moh-leh) is served on chicken or enchiladas.
The sauce is rich and mildly spicy, sprinkled with sesame seeds. Choose from
a variety of flavors like mole-cinnamon, cilantro or chocolate. With drinks ~ $15 pp.
Tour de France
Gobernador Ibarra 252. Elegant but informal, attention to detail, yet moderately priced.
Competent service, culinary finesse = a singular TJ experience.
Avenida José Maria 1407, Zona Río, (52-664) 634-3039, a Spanish Colonial-style restaurant,
offers new and traditional Mexican dishes, such as crepas de huitlacoche, chili-tinged crepes wrapped around a black
corn fungus. Dinner for two with beer or wine, about $70.
Paseo de los Héroes 1535, Zona Río, (52-664) 634-6899; platters of carnitas and
accompaniments, with beer, about $10 pp.
in a below-ground arcade at Avenida Revolución 718; (52-664) 685-6654.
This Tijuana version of an old-fashioned diner is 50 years old. Dishes run $5 to $10 per person.
Mariscos Don Pepe
Consistently excellent food, friendly, professional service
Aqui es Oaxaca
Ever wonder what Southern Mexico tastes like?
Quality Spanish plates
Miguel Alemán has been an editor for baja.org since 1988