Is Tijuana safe to travel to in 2022?
Tijuana is a large Mexican city near the U.S border in the Baja peninsula with the most crossed border in the world.
It is typically known as the city that Californians reach when they make the drive down to Mexico.
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Is Tijuana Safe?
The quick answer: Yes!
The San Diego/Tijuana transborder conglomeration is the fourth biggest in the world! It has over 5 million people living close to the border – not just the Mexican stereotypes you may be familiar with.
It features a humungous urban landscape, making it the 11th largest urban area in the whole of North America.
However, most travelers are worried about its vicinity to the dangerous areas of Mexico.
Since Mexico itself is still ruled in a few areas by the cartels, there are parts of Mexico that the US and UK governments advise not to travel to.
However, there are some safe places in Mexico you can enjoy.
Tijuana itself has an infamous reputation for prostitution and crime, but is this all that Tijuana has to offer? Of course not.
Where is Tijuana?
Located at the most northern extreme tip of Mexico, Tijuana sits on the border with the USA, with the city of San Diego running adjacent.
Tijuana is situated within the Mexican state of Baja California, and the heart of the city is only 5 miles from the Pacific coast.
Due to its positioning, it can be somewhat difficult to reach Tijuana overland from the other major Mexican cities, with Mexico City for example being a sizeable 2760km away.
However as it’s a popular city, it can easily be reached with domestic flights arriving here throughout the day.
Is it Safe to Travel to Tijuana right now?
Since it’s such a heavily guarded border, Tijuana is incredibly safe to travel to. See this day trip to Tijuana guide if you are traveling soon.
Did you know: Over 50 million travelers pass through this border crossing every year, from both sides?
The cityscape is daunting when you arrive, but if you keep your wits about you, you’ll see how safe of a place it is.
Most visitors to this region describe the area as just as safe as most American cities. So many Americans regularly travel to Tijuana.
Many drive through Tijuana and drive south down the peninsula.
This is to reach the mountains of Mexicali and the end of the peninsula to vacation spots such as Cabo San Lucas and Todos Santos.
Mexican-American Border Safety
What do you need to bear in mind when crossing the border in Tijuana?
Below are some safety facts on border safety to bring you up to speed with what is happening.
Tijuana Border Crossing Tips
Despite all the scaremongering and hype, there are some things worth paying attention to for your own safety:
Carry all the relevant paperwork if traveling to Mexico by land and see these options on where to stay in Tijuana if you have limited time.
As well as getting travel insurance you can get more advice regarding the current safety situation and travel warnings in Mexico, here.
Is it Safe to go to Tijuana Alone?
Tijuana is perfectly safe to travel alone. If you stay indoors during the late hours and trust your instincts, you’ll have a wonderful holiday.
You’ll need to abide by the necessary precautions when traveling to Mexico such as staying within well-lit areas and don’t trust strangers.
Then of course, remember not to flash any expensive items while there.
💡Smart Travel Tip
It always helps if you know some basic Spanish conversation since Mexicans very much appreciate English speakers who learn it as a second language. You’ll find that a little goes a long way here!
However, the close vicinity to America means that many will speak English so there’s no need to worry if you don’t speak Spanish.
Common Scams in Tijuana
Even with some Spanish in your travel toolbelt, you can never be too careful. familiarize yourself with these common scams in Tijuana:
Tijuana Scam 1: Taxis Overcharging
This is common in most larger cities of Mexico, however Tijuana seems to one of the worst. It’s easy to make quick bucks off unsuspecting “gringos”, so always be sure to agree a price before setting off.
Tijuana Scam 2: Overcharged Bill
Although tipping is not mandatory, some waiters will add tips before consulting. If you’re not satisfied with the experience, politely decline the extra added on.
Tijuana Scam 3: ATM “Guidance”
Be wary when anyone approaches you near an ATM, and even more so if looking to give you advice. Nowadays criminals use card skimmers, able to collect your details without physically touching your cash cards.
Tijuana Scam 4: Extra Friendly Locals
In some bars you may get a few flirts. Other times you’ll be lead on to buy shots and then be confronted with a huge bill (and oversized bodyguards too). Be wary who you buy drinks for.
Backpacking Mexico Safety
For some travelers, Backpacking Mexico can be tricky since most of the bordering regions with other countries have a difficult reputation.
However, Baja California as a region is quite safe as compared to the rest of Mexico.
When backpacking down to the end of the Baja Peninsula, this is pretty much the best route to take.
If you’re looking to travel to other areas of Mexico other than the peninsula, a different and less busy border would be preferable.
A backpacking trip down the peninsula will be incredibly scenic, rustic, and highly enjoyable.
Many backpackers make the trip for surfing, but you could easily do the same for other reasons.
The peninsula is safer the further down you travel. The trip will also be longer than you expect it to be.
Where to Stay in Tijuana
Due to its location on the US border, it’s really important to state here that parts of Tijuana can be dangerous.
Drug trafficking and conflict are common here, so you’ll want to stay away from this as much as possible.
The area of Zona Rio is overall the best and safest, with lots of restaurant and good quality amenities here, with Zone Centro being another popular area. See Real Inn for one of the best stays while here.
Both you are fine to walk around in alone, just avoid being out late at night and wandering off into unknown streets.
Out of all the Mexican cities, it seems that Tijuana has gained the most notoriety internationally as the craziest in the country.
It’s great for a weekend out in town, with many crossing in from the USA to let loose. Some of the best bars in Tijuana to start the night are:
- Dandy del Sur
- Cervecería Norte.
El Alebrije is the place to head after if you love electronic music, and Las Pulgas is the best all-rounder for music tastes with four stages playing everything from bachata to Middle Eastern beats.
Tijuana: Travel Safety Tips
This region of Mexico isn’t the safest, so you’ll need to be cautious.
No matter where you travel in Mexico, follow the advice written in this Mexico City travel blog which contains some universal travel laws.
If you’re arriving by plane with lots of luggage or valuable items, consider taking a taxi shuttle from the airport direct to your hotel.
⤵️ Follow these helpful tips if you want to stay safe:
Finally, don’t just rely on this one page alone. Look for other useful information that you feel can support you along your trip.
Transportation in Tijuana
Most visitors to Tijuana use a rental car or bus to cross the border. Secured paid parking is available all across the city.
Colectivos are shared mini-buses that can transport you to and from the border as well as all around the city.
They are a safe, reliable, and cheap mode of public transportation that most citizens use.
The buses are operated by the city and the prices are fixed and clearly marked. See this guide to bus travel in Mexico for a primer on Mexican bus systems and services.
They generally charge 5-15 pesos (depending on the route). They normally set off when the bus is filled, so don’t expect a tight schedule.
Got Travel Insurance for Tijuana?
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Best time to visit Tijuana?
Unlike most coastal destinations in Mexico, Tijuana benefits in that there is much less rain throughout the year, which we’ll look at below.
Due to its location on the Pacific coast, you can expect decent temperatures year-round. The warm season runs from July until October, and is this hottest time to visit.
Average daily temperatures range from between 66-69°F, with highs of up to 79°F (August is the hottest month) and lows of 61°F.
Rainfall ranges from 0-0.5 inches, with June the driest month, sometimes recording no rain at all!
The cooler season runs from November until April, and is characterized by cooler yet still comfortable temperatures and a little more rain.
Daily averages are between 56-60°F, with highs of up to 70°F and lows of 48°F (December and January being the coolest months of the year).
Rainfall rises up to between 1-2 inches per month, with February the overall wettest month of the year to visit Tijuana.
Tijuana Safety FAQ’s
See these frequently asked questions about safety in Tijuana:
Is Tijuana Safe?
Tijuana, the gateway to the great nation of Mexico, is a great place to visit or make a stop at.
See this guide if looking for some unique things to do in Cabo San Lucas as you begin to work your way down to northern Mexico.
Exploring this region of Mexico should be high on your list and it’d be a shame if visitors were put off by perceptions driven by news media.
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