Tijuana is one of the largest cities in Mexico and an extremely popular destination for tourists, especially those in the United States who can travel to the city on foot. Home to the Avenida Revolución, the largest street in the city, Tijuana is a fantastic destination for its bustling street life, unique culture, and sandy beaches.
As with visiting any foreign city though, there are certain things you should know before you travel there, to ensure your trip is as smooth and safe as possible. Here are five things to keep in mind before you plan your next adventure to Tijuana, Mexico.
Traveling in Tijuana
Don’t Make Insensitive Jokes
As a large city in Mexico, Tijuana has many stereotypes attached to it that the locals may not appreciate tourists making fun of. It should go without saying that when traveling as a visitor you should be respectful and begin the experience with an open mind. You’re there to learn about the local culture, after all, not to confirm rumors you may have heard.
Sensitive political topics such as immigration or drug cartels should also not be brought up in poor taste. Don’t be surprised if the locals shoot you annoyed looks if you’re constantly making rude remarks in their presence.
Be Sure to Pronounce the City’s Name Correctly
Many tourists grow up thinking Tijuana is pronounced “Tee-a-wa-na.” Not so! The actual name of the city is pronounced “Tee-wa-na.” It would be embarrassing to spend your entire trip pronouncing the name of the city wrong, wouldn’t it?
Not sure where everyone else the extra syllable came from, but don’t fret, you can also call the city “TJ” if you’re afraid of a slip of the tongue bringing down a host of judgy stares your way. On that note, chipotle is pronounced “chee-poht-leh,” not “chi-pot-uhl” and jalapeno starts with an h-sound, not a j. You’re welcome.
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Appreciate Their Medical Tourism
Did you know that Mexico is the #1 destination for Canadian and American patients seeking medical procedures in a foreign country? There are many reasons why tourists come to Tijuana for medical services, though usually it’s because procedures cost 40-80% less than their American counterparts.
Don’t let the price drop scare you; this city is home to many cutting-edge procedures, including quality cancer treatment in Tijuana Mexico. Just be sure to do your research and find a reputable clinic in the city. Even without the express purpose of coming to Tijuana for treatment, it’s comforting to know the city’s healthcare is top-notch just as a regular tourist.
Try the Local Flavor
One of the best reasons to visit Tijuana is the local cuisine! Don’t be scared off by food carts and street food. With the city right on the coastline, some of the best dishes in the city are from street carts serving freshly caught fish in soft taco shells, and other delicious local delicacies.
The famous Telefonica Gastro Park is one of several collections of food trucks in the city, serving a huge variety of dishes to try for those who can’t make up their minds on what they want. Tijuana also has numerous top-class restaurants, if fine dining is more your speed.
The city is also famous for its variety of craft breweries if you’d rather drink than eat. There’s no time like a vacation to cut loose a little. Just be careful you drink responsibly to avoid possibly getting into trouble abroad. There’s something for everyone in the city, so take your pick.
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Although Tijuana is a wonderful place to travel, like all big cities, there are a few safety risks to keep in mind. Do your research beforehand to avoid less desirable neighborhoods, and always try to keep to the main streets where most people are. Be sure that you hold onto all your travel documents at all times, and double-check before you leave a hotel to make sure you don’t leave them behind.
When you first arrive in the city, you may be a little overwhelmed by the shop owners on large streets all calling for your attention. Although the merchants in the city usually have good intentions, it’s important that you learn to ignore them and to say “no,” unless you want to be bogged down the entire trip. Politely decline their invitations to examine their wares if you’re just trying to get through the street.
The Mexican travel authority also recommends that you don’t directly give beggars on the street cash. The Mexican government advises that tourists who want to help should consider donating to a local charity.
Another source of concern to keep in mind is a common scam practice in the city that involves a cute child who offers to sell you flowers while another person steals your valuables from your bag while you’re distracted. Be sure to invest in a high-quality backpack before you leave, and be extra cautious if it seems someone is trying extra hard to get your attention.
Are You Ready to Go to Tijuana?
With these things in mind, you’ll be all ready for your next great foray to Tijuana, Mexico. Just as long as you’re careful and exercise the same caution you should for any big city, there’s no reason why you won’t have a fantastic time traveling there. All sorts of stories and amazing experiences await in Tijuana, so what are you waiting for? Your adventure in Tijuana awaits you!
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