Opinion: Tourists come to Tijuana for the food, the beer, the culture, the surgery — and more recently, the lodging
Saldana is in charge of binational affairs at the Tijuana Tourism and Convention Committee. He lives in Imperial Beach and Tijuana.
The word surely conjures up many images and ultimately it has to do with the information you have.
Allow me to provide some information about Tijuana that may be useful to the tourist or potential visitor. The first thing that comes to mind is the food. Tijuana is a city of migrants, and this is reflected in different aspects of its reality, such as the culinary offer.
In Tijuana you will find culinary styles from all over Mexico and the world. It was two Italians, Caesar Cardini and Livio Santini, who created the Caesar salad and, together with Wallis Simpson, Prince Edward VIII of Wales, Julia Child and others, brought the Caesar salad to the world. The salad is currently served at the table at Caesar’s, the restaurant that bears his name. Tijuana also holds the Guinness World Record for the largest Caesar salad, set in 2007 by Canirac, the city’s Chamber of Restaurants and Food Industry.
Tijuana is also one of Mexico’s top craft beer producers and the birthplace of Baja Med style cuisine. There are various reasons why Tijuana is a foodie destination, visited regularly by Anthony Bourdain before his death and by Rick Bayless, among others. Tijuana has well-established and recognized chefs as well as new blood coming out of its culinary schools. It also has access to seafood from the Pacific Ocean and Sea of Cortes, poultry, meats, and a variety of vegetables from nearby ranches.
If you’re more athletic, Tijuana is the only border town in Mexico with three professional sports teams.
In baseball, Tijuana has its Toros who are looking for a new championship title. The team plays at Chevron Stadium and the regular season ends August 7.
Tijuana’s Xoloitzcuintles is the city’s popular soccer team. Its season extends from July to May.
The Tijuana Zonkeys represent the city in basketball, and this team is seeking a fourth championship in a season that ends this month.
Art and culture are also elements of Tijuana’s tourism scene, represented in the Centro Cultural Tijuana, the largest such venue outside of Mexico City. There is also the Tijuana Institute of Culture which houses the city museum, the Baja California Institute of Culture, as well as private galleries and art venues.
Medical tourism in Tijuana dates back to the 1960s – when no one knew how far it would go. Today, Tijuana is one of the world leaders in medical services, with an impressive new infrastructure and certified professional specialists. Although various specialties are available, the most popular are cosmetic plastic surgery, abdominal and bariatric surgery, oral care, and eye care.
Tijuana is accessible by car and on foot to the border ports of San Ysidro and Otay Mesa. If you are traveling into the interior of Mexico, you can use the Cross Border Xpress single bridge that connects the Tijuana airport to the CBX terminal at Otay Mesa.
If you want to go beyond a day trip and have more time to take in the sights and flavors of Tijuana, the city offers excellent accommodation facilities to suit all tastes and budgets. For those traveling to Tijuana for medical purposes, some hotels offer specially designed rooms to help with the post-surgery recovery process.
Finally, there is a new trend in Tijuana, and it concerns Americans deciding to move to the city to live and commute to work in San Diego. The city is changing with the development of new condominium and housing projects, and the cost of living is significantly more affordable south of the border.
We invite you to visit and know Tijuana.