Tijuana, Mexico is a special place. Just saying its name out loud, you're bound to get an immediate reaction from people. Ranging from deathly afraid to excited and intrigued, the city's complicated past brings out fierce emotion in people. I've lived in San Diego since I was 15 years old and my high school days included frequent weekend trips down to "TJ" for family parties and quinceañeras. Flash forward to my 20's and Tijuana was completely off limits. Baja California, in general, became the wild wild west and only the most daring surfers were crazy enough to drive down in search of perfect, empty waves. In my mid-twenties, I found myself in a tribe of those crazed surfers who were obsessed with Baja. Strict travel warnings and horror stories of kidnappings were no match for their passion and dedication to the ocean. Still to this day, we road-trip down to Baja at least once a month for the past 7 years, and yet Tijuana remains only a pass-through, over-looked and not quite understood.
Until now . . .
With happy, nostalgic memories of hopping around Tijuana as a teenager fresh in my mind, I felt inspired and almost compelled now as an adult to give the city another chance. Baja's wine country, Valle de Guadalupe has recently received international acclaim and now, more people than ever are venturing south of the border. I've led 3 yoga retreats to Baja in the past 12 months and am always on the look-out, scouting the up-and-coming hot spots in Mexico that haven't quite been discovered yet. This past Friday, the stars aligned and the opportunity to explore the city presented itself. A little work, and A LOT of play led to one of the best trips of my life!
A quick break-down: we crossed the border around 2pm; went straight to Erizo Baja, a famous ceviche spot by superstar chef Javier Plascencia (everything was amazing!), followed by a stop at Cerveceria Insurgente (a tasting room & restaurant that carries tons of local and international beers on tap -- perfect for the cerveza lovers!), and then stopped into a gorgeous restaurant called Verde y Crema. Along the way, we heard that the season opener for beloved Tijuana soccer team XOLOS was kicking off at 7pm and we couldn't miss it. We grabbed a taxi over to Caliente Stadium and got the last few tickets available. At $45 a pop, the experience was worth every single pesos. Fireworks, mariachi, singing and dancing (even though we lost!) was the best way to celebrate on a Friday night. We grabbed late-night street tacos and tortas on the way back to the border and were back home in La Jolla by 2 AM. We felt 100% safe and are already planning the next trip down.
Side Note: I should probably mention that the "we" in this adventure is myself, and my 2 very blonde girlfriends Jenny and Leslie. 3 girls running around the city, eating like queens, dancing with strangers in the stadium and absolutely loving life. Ladies and gentleman -- I'm here to tell you that TIJUANA IS BACK and better than ever!
Here is a photojournal of our 12 Hours in Tijuana --
my favorite part?
creativity is just ooozing from the city. beautiful street art, interesting culinary creations and the use of all fresh, locally harvested fish and meats are super inspiring.
want to plan your own adventure in Tijuana?
bienvenida a Tijuana -- general info on the arts & culture scene
club tengo hambre -- a roving supper club with amazing guided tours
baja wine and food -- an expert in all things gastronomic, follow them on social media for the hottest spots and carefully curated experiences