What do you think of when I say the word Tijuana? Mexican zebras, cultural statues, jewellery markets and Mariachi bands? No? Well, let me see if I can change your perspective.
Is it OK to Take Kids?
Before we went I had a lot of questions about visiting Tijuana. Was it safe? Was it easy? Was it practical to take kids? What would the boarder crossing be like? I hadn’t heard of any positive stories about going over to Tijuana so I was apprehensive about the whole thing.
While we were staying in San Diego we asked a lot of people in our hotel and in the restaurants we went to about going to Tijuana to see if we could get some tips on the best way to do it and overwhelmingly the answer we got was, ‘ooooo I’m not sure about that’.
Even though we found the general outlook on Tijuana to be quite pessimistic, i’m so glad it didn’t deter us from going as we had a fabulous time, kids included!
How to Get There?
If you are heading down from San Diego, as we did, you need to make your way to the boarder crossing Ysidro on the I5
If you want to park your car and go over on foot you will need to come off the I5 on the exit that says LAST USA EXIT PARKING
After this follow the road signs and pick a car park. We parked in one of the first ones we saw and it cost $9 for 12 hours, which gave us plenty of time.
From here the boarder crossing is less than 10 minutes walk past the outlet shopping. If your unsure where to go, head for the silver arch, which is actually Tijuana’s clock tower!
Once you get to the boarder buildings walk through the door under the sign that says Mexico. It is through here that you will need to fill in your visa.
There are toilets, banks and ATMs available as you park up in the outlet shopping mall. You can also find these amenities inside the boarder crossing.
Once you are through in to Mexico you can catch a taxi to downtown Tijuana.
Arrange the price beforehand. We paid $5 each way, but be aware and don’t get ripped off. You could probably walk to downtown Tijuana via the footbridge but with the children and buggy I opted for an easy taxi ride.
The taxi dropped us off at Mariachi Square and it was here and Revolution Street where we spent most our time. However, if you explore the streets to the left and right of Revolution Street the shops are a little more traditional and they have more of a South American feel. On the right of Mariachi Square and you can also find and visit the cathedral.
The people in Tijuana were very generous and extremely friendly. One man taught the Little One how to say Unicorn in Spanish and a jewellery vendor in a lovely little side street market we found gave her a kids dress-up ring with a bear on it.
We stopped at a 7/11 type place and got a hotdog each and a coffee with the few Pesos we had left. Our Baby Bum had a little sleep in the buggy and we sat and listened to a table of people singing Mexican songs and playing the guitar.
We also witnessed the Mexican Zebra, the statues that line Revolution Street and lots of amazing street art. We felt completely safe and spent around 5 hours wondering around Tijuana before we caught a taxi on Revolution street (very easy to do) and headed back to the US boarder.
When you travel anywhere in the world make sure you don’t go to places that make you feel uncomfortable and trust your instincts. Keep the basics in mind and you’ll have a great day out!