I was in San Diego for a bachelors party and some of us walked to Mexico for a few hours to get some tequila.
Getting to Mexico on foot
There are 3 port of entries near San Diego.
Otay Mesa and San Ysidro are close to San Diego (Tecate is slightly far away), but Otay Mesa and San Ysidro can have very different wait times. It is a good idea to check the wait times online, they are very accurate. We decided to go via Otay Mesa instead of San Ysidro as the wait times were significantly shorter.
Ubers run on both sides of the border so getting from downtown San Diego to the border and then from the border to downtown Tijuana is pretty easy if your cell phone service also works in Mexico.
There were very short lines and we were through immigration in under 10 minutes.
Tijuana and Zonkeys
Tijuana is a touristy town in Mexico. One of the most popular things among tourists in Tijuana (other than waiting for H1B stamping) is to see the Zonkeys – (Donkeys painted like Zebras), that are really popular in Tijuana.
Most of the things to do and see in Tijuana is in Avenida Revolución, the main street in downtown Tijuana. There are many Zonkeys, souvinier shops and cafes on this street.
Tequila and other shopping
I found the liquor stores more exciting than Zonkeys.
There are many liquor shops in downtown Tijuana, that sell 100s of brands of tequila. We tried to find a store where prices are marked. Most places accept both cash and credit cards. A lot of them offer free tasting so you can taste a bunch of them before buying. The main types of tequilas are
- Silver / Plata / Blanco: Unaged
- Gold / Reposado: Slightly aged (less than 1 year, the wood from barrel gives the golden color)
- Anejo: Aged
- Extra Anejo: Extra Aged
We bought a few bottles and continued walking to check our the market.
Everything about Tijuana reminded me of India. Shop owners trying to overcharge tourists is something I haven’t seen as much in US.
I personally did not find safety to be an issue. There are lots of police cars patrolling the city at all times and overall Tijuana felt very safe. Although we were only in the touristy part of Avenida Revolución, and rest of the city might be different.
Since we had to be back in San Diego for dinner with rest of the group, we went back to the port of entry after a short but fun visit to the colorful town of Tijuana.