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Tijuana ( ; ), is the largest city of the Mexicanmarker state of Baja Californiamarker, situated on the U.S.-Mexico border adjacent to its sister city of San Diegomarker, Californiamarker. Tijuana is the westernmost city in Mexico, however, the westernmost population center is located in Isla Guadalupemarker. Tijuana is considered by the Mexican government to be the most dominant regional center in northwestern Mexico.

According to the 2005 census, the Tijuana metropolitan area was the sixth-largest in Mexico, with a population of 1,483,992, and one of the fastest growing cities in Mexicomarker. Tijuana forms part of the San Diego-Tijuana Metropolitan Area, the total population of which has been estimated to be just over 5 million in 2009, making it the 22nd largest metropolitan area in the Americas and the largest bi-national metropolitan area that is shared between US and Mexico. It is estimated that the two border crossings in Tijuana account for 300,000 daily border crossings.


The land where the city of Tijuana would be built was originally inhabited by the Kumeyaay, a tribe of Yuman-speaking hunter-gatherers. Europeans arrived in 1542, when the explorer Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo toured the coastline of the area, which was later mapped in 1602 by Sebastián Vizcaíno. In 1769, Juan Crespí documented more detailed information about the area that would be called the Valley of Tijuana. Junípero Serra founded the first mission of Alta Californiamarker in San Diegomarker.

More settlement of the area took place near the end of the mission era when Jos√© Mar√≠a Echend√≠a, governor of the Baja Californiamarker and Alta Californiamarker, awarded a large land grant to Santiago Arg√ľello in 1829. This large cattle ranch, Rancho T√≠a Juana ("Aunt Jane Ranch"), covered .

In 1848, as a result of the Mexican-American War with the United States, Mexico lost all of Alta Californiamarker.The majority of the 1,000 families living in Alta California stayed there, and the rest went south back into Mexico.

Because of this Tijuana gained a different appearance and reason on the International Border. The area was populated by ranches. After the Mexican American War, Tijuana developed a new social economic structure, as a consequence of the new border line the Valley of Tijuana acquired different uses. That were farming, livestock grazing, and transit area prospectors.

1889 marked the beginning of the urban settlement, when descendants of Santiago Arg√ľello and August√≠n Olvera entered an agreement to begin development of the city of Tijuana. The date of the agreement, July 11, 1889, is recognized as the founding of the city.

Tijuana saw its future in tourism from its inception. From the end of the 19th century to the first decades of the 20th, the city attracted large numbers of Californians coming to Mexico for trade and entertainment. The California land boom of the 1880s attracted the first big wave of tourists, who were called "excursionists" and came looking for echoes of the famous novel "Ramona," by Helen Hunt Jackson.

In 1911, during the Mexican Revolution, revolutionaries claiming loyalty to Ricardo Flores Magón attacked and took over the city for shortly over a month. Federal troops soon arrived and, combined with local loyal militia known as the "defensores de Tijuana," routed the rebels, who fled back across the line and were promptly arrested by the U.S. Army. This event is a source of much local controversy, and the "rebels" are almost universally reviled in Tijuana as "filibusteros".

In 1915, the Panama-California Exposition brought a great number of visitors to the neighboring California city of San Diego. Tijuana took the opportunity to attract these tourists south of the border with a Feria Típica Mexicana - Typical Mexican Fair. This fair included curio shops, regional foods, thermal baths, horse racing and boxing matches.

The first big professional race track was soon thereafter opened in January, 1916, a few meters south of the border gate, near what is now called Pueblo Amigo. It was almost immediately destroyed by the great "Hatfield rainmaker" flood of 1916. Rebuilt in the same general area, it ran horse races until the new Agua Caliente track was opened several miles south and across the river on higher ground, in 1929, one year after the famous casino and hotel complex.

Legal drinking and gambling attracted U.S nationals, especially during Prohibition in the 1920s. The Avenida Revolución area became the tourist center of the city with casinos such as the Foreign Club, and lodging such as Hotel Caesar's, birthplace of the Caesar Salad.

In 1928, the Agua Caliente Touristic Complex was opened, including hotel, spa, dog-track, private airport, golf course and gambling casino. A year later, the new Agua Caliente Racetrackmarker joined the complex. During the eight years it operated, the Agua Caliente hotel, casino and spa achieved a near mythical status, with Hollywood stars and gangsters flying in and playing. Rita Hayworth was discovered there. Musical nightclub productions were broadcast over the radio. A singer known as "la Faraona" got shot in a love-triangle and gave birth to the myth of a beautiful lady ghost.

Remnants of the Agua Caliente casino can be seen in the outdoor swimming pool and the "minarete" (actually a former incinerator chimney) nearby the southern end of Avenida Sanchez Taboada, on the grounds of what is now the Lazaro Cardenas educational complex.

In 1935, President Cardenas decreed an end to gambling and casinos in Baja California, and the Agua Caliente complex faltered, then closed. It was eventually reopened as a school. The buildings themselves were torn down in the 1970s, and replaced by modern scholastic architecture.

In 1925, the city attempted to shed its negative image of hedonism and lawlessness created by American mob empresarios by renaming itself Zaragoza, but its name soon reverted to Tijuana.

With increased tourism and the large number of Mexican citizens relocating to Tijuana, the city's population grew from 21,971 to 65,364 between 1940 and 1950.

With the decline of nightlife and tourism in the 1950s, the city restructured its tourist industry, by promoting a more family-oriented scene. Tijuana developed a greater variety of attractions and activities to offer its visitors.

In 1994, PRI presidential candidate Luis Donaldo Colosio was assassinated in Tijuana while making an appearance in the plaza of Lomas Taurinas, a neighborhood nestled in a valley near Centro. The shooter was caught and imprisoned, but doubts remain about who the mastermind might have been.

Over forty million people cross the border each year between Tijuana and San Ysidro, California, making it the busiest land-border crossing in the world. Although tourism constitutes a large part of this movement, much is also business related. Tijuana and its surrounding area have become a major industrial center, with numerous maquiladoras, particularly since the advent of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994.


In early documents ‚ÄĒ primarily mission records (baptisms, marriages, deaths) ‚ÄĒ there are mentions of "La Tia Juana", "Tiguana", "Tiuana", "Teguana", "Tiwana", "Tijuan", "Ticuan", "Tijuana". It is believed by some that name comes from the Yuman Indian language from the aboriginal Kumeyaay (Kumiai) inhabitants. They spoke a Yuman language, in which some have claimed "Tijuana" originated from "Tiwan", meaning close to the sea. Others say this is not certain, that there is no such word in Kumayaay, and that the name comes from another location of similar appearance (and name) in the south of the peninsula, and the name was brought north by Spanish and Mexican soldiers and mule-drivers.

Another foundation myth is that in the beginning there was an old Indian woman, "tia Juana" (aunt Jane), who provided travelers with good food and a place to rest. In spite of scholarly denunciation, this story continues to be very popular with residents of the city. It has particular resonance amongst those who like to imagine the city as a place of hospitality.

In Spanish, the name is ; in English, the pronunication is generally used. It is commonly called "TJ" in Californiamarker and "Tiyei" (matching the sound of the English initials "TJ") in Mexico. Mexicans from Tijuana typically refer to themselves as "Tijuanenses."

The nickname "Tijuas" is increasingly popular among residents and visitors alike.

Due to a recent increase in violence in the city, a new term is developing. The term "Yo Tijuaneo, y tu?" translates to "I Tijuana, and you?" This term comes from a new popular local verb "Tijuanear" meaning "to Tijuana" describing the cosmopolitan aspects of living in the city and frequently crossing the border. The term is becoming much more popular to help stop unfair and false criticisms of the city.


Boroughs (delegaciones)

The municipality of Tijuana is divided into administrative boroughs (delegaciones, in Spanish) of which the city of Tijuana occupies nine, which are in turn divided into colonias. These boroughs offer administrative services such as urban planning, civil registry, inspection, verification, public works and community development and are served by a Delegado Municipal (Municipal Delegate).

Tijuana River

The Tijuana Rivermarker (R√≠o Tijuana) is an intermittent river, long, on the Pacific coast of northern Baja Californiamarker in Mexicomarker and southern Californiamarker in the United Statesmarker. It drains an arid area along the U.S.‚ÄďMexico border, flowing through Mexico for most its course then crossing the border for its lower to empty into the ocean in an estuary on the southwesternmost corner of the United Statesmarker. Its lower reaches provide the last undeveloped coast wetlands in San Diego County amidst a highly urbanized environment at the southern city limits of Imperial Beach. The river has been the subject of controversy in recent decades regarding pollution, flood control, and U.S. border protection. Because Downtown Tijuana was built at the bottom of the river valley, it is subject to flooding from drain-off from the rest of the city in two rainy months of the year (typically December and January). During this time, east-bound portions of the Via Rapida (east-west highway) may be blocked off by the Tijuana Police due to hazardous conditions.


Tijuana is noted for its rough terrain, which includes many canyons, steep hills, and mesas. Among noted canyons in Tijuana are Canyon K and Canyon Jhonson (sic). Large Tijuana hills include Cerro Colorado and Cerro de las Abejas in the eastern part of the city, which many schoolchildren climb as part of annual field trips.


Tijuana's climate is semi-arid (Koppen climate classification BSh), with about 235mm (less than 10") of annual precipitation. It shows characteristics of the Dry-Summer Subtropical Mediterranean climate (Csa) found to the immediate north, with most of the annual precipitation falling in the winter (between November and March).


Tijuana has a vastly diverse population consisting of immigrants from all over Mexico and the world. The city is home to one of Mexico's largest Asian populations, mostly made up of Chinese immigrants, and to a lesser extent Koreans and Japanese. Tijuana is also home to a large and rapidly growing population of United States citizens, mostly from Southern California, who have moved to the city to avoid the higher cost of living in their home country while still being able to work in San Diego. Many latinos from outside Mexico hoping to enter the United States have made Tijuana their home, especially people from Central America, but also from Andean nations. A large transitory population exists in Tijuana due to border aspirations or deportations.

The majority of Tijuana's populations is made of immigrants from other regions of Mexico especially Sinaloamarker, Michoacanmarker, Jaliscomarker, Oaxacamarker and the Federal District. Because of the diversity in Mexico and the influx of immigrants from almost every region in the country there are no accurate estimates on ethnicity or race of the current population.

Tijuana today is one of the fastest growing cities in Mexico with an average of 80,000 people moving to Tijuana yearly, along with construction of 26,000 new homes a year. Many of the unregulated substandard sprawl take place in the hills of ever expanding Tijuana, leaving the downtown and beach areas for the affluent.

There is a high poverty level in Tijuana as it is a hub for people from poorer parts of the country and other Latin nations who are generally not well educated and to escape extreme poverty because of the availability of employment as well as higher education and the dream of crossing the border. Tijuana and Baja California state in general have much stronger economies and higher incomes than Mexican border cities across from Texas.


The Tijuana Cultural Center (CECUT) opened in October 20, 1982 with the goals of strengthening Tijuana's image, and to advertise cultural tourism from the US. The building was constructed by the architects Pedro Ramírez Vázquez and Manuel Rosen Morrison. The CECUT first opened as part of the National Fund for Social Activities then in 1983 it was part of the Ministry of Tourism. Later that year CECUT was joined into the Ministry of Public Education. Finally, in 1986 the CECUT gained its own independence, and was able to plan its own budget. In 1988 they changed their actions guiding themselves towards a comprehensive national cultural policy.

It is composed of lecture rooms, video rooms, a library, an exhibition hall, the Museum of the Californias, a futuristic planetary movie theater that displays IMAX films, and a restaurant. Since 1992, the CECUT has hosted the Orchestra of Baja California (OBC), it headquarters the Center of Scenic Arts of the Northwest (CAEN) and the Hispanic-American Center for Guitar (CHG). Since 2001, the CECUT receives about a million visitors per year, making it Baja California's most important cultural center. Another important culture center is La Casa de la Cultura, comprising of a school, a theater, and a public library. Dance, painting, music, plastic arts, photography and languages are taught there. The city also has the Instituto Municipal de Arte y Cultura (Municipal Institute of Art and Culture), the Tijuana Wax Museum, and the Museo El Trompo (The Trompo Museum).

Tijuana also has a very active and independent artist community whose internationally recognized work has earned Tijuana the title of "one of the most important new cultural meccas", according to Newsweek. Strange New World, an exhibition of Tijuana's current art scene, is being curated by the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diegomarker and is traveling across the USA in 2006 and 2007. Art collectives like Bulbo and film production like Palenque Filmaciones explore the use of film like the award winning Tijuana Makes Me Happy, media like television bulbo TV and print "bulbo PRESS", to show different realities of Tijuana out of Mexico. In 2004, Tijuana earned international acclaim for an art exhibition displayed on the cement banks of the Tijuana River and along the Mexico/U.S. border fence in Otay Mesa.

Graffiti is widespread in Tijuana. It can range from free-hand writing in spray can and marker form, often carrying social or sexual commentary in English or Spanish, pictures in wheatpaste and stencils, consisting of stenciled renderings of personalities crucial to Hispanic culture from past and present eras, such as television news announcers or stars, but also extending to images of artists like Salvadore Dali. Graffiti in Tijuana may seem at first to consist largely of simplistic tags and thus not as technically evolved, colorful, or accepted in the mainstream as the "pieces" of graffiti scenes of the United States, Europe, or Japan, but large, colorful graffiti murals adorn walls from both native Tijuanense artists as well as visiting graffiti writers, especially from California. The Tijuanense art pieces show as much prowess and skill as those made by their more renowned U.S. counterparts, although illicit graffiti is strongly discouraged by the Tijuana government, as in other major metropolitan areas.

Tijuana is home of the Nortec, a fusion of Norte√Īas or typical northern-Mexican music and electronic music, such as the music of The Nortec Collective and other electronic music artists as Eduardo Martinez "emc X" that is best known for his full of energy and fashion live acts, and Murcof, which have placed Tijuana in the international eye of specialized magazines and forums in recent years. Additionally, Tijuana also enjoys a large base of support in many other musical scenes, such as Mexican hip hop, hardcore, punk, black metal, Tijuana Brass and house music. Famous musical acts from Tijuana include the world known singer Julieta Venegas, Hip-Hop click Tijuana Rap, and bands like Delux.

Musical clubs in the Avenida Revolución area and others often cater to a diverse range of tastes by offering nightly variations on musical fare, such as New Wave music one night, and punk rock bands on the next. Interestingly, some metal bands from Europe whose members cannot perform in the United States due to prior felony convictions in their own countries will play music festivals in Tijuana so as to attract fans from both Mexico and the United States.

Although poverty is widespread throughout the city, a very affluent and prominent society has developed in Tijuana. Gentrification is evident throughout certain districts. The Club Campestre de Tijuana (Tijuana Country Club) has many affluent members and a famous golf course. A large sized Rotary Club is also located in Tijuana. The Grand Hotel Tijuana and many luxurious restaurants have been developed along Bulevar Agua Caliente (often called "El Bulevar" by locals) and in the Zona Rio. Around the country club and Agua Caliente, many developments of wealthy and luxurious gated communities have filled the hillsides, most of which have views similar to Mount Soledadmarker in San Diego or areas of Orange Countymarker. There are many amazing restaurants in Tijuana, attracting both locals and travelers. These four-star restaurants range from Argentine to Italian to Japanese food.


Tijuana's most prestigious entertainment center is the Club Campestre de Tijuana golf club, but the Agua Caliente Racetrackmarker would be the most notable that is open to the general public. Parque Morelos has a small zoo and park space; Parque de la Amistad has a small pond, and a running and dirt-bike track. Parque Teniente Guerrero is a park located downtown with a public library and weekend entertainment by clowns. El Foro was an attraction for being a jai alai venue, but now is commonly used as a concert venue.

The most popular tourist attraction is a nightclub show. Many foreigners travel to Tijuana to drink and dance, buy prescription drugs, illegal drugs (especially in and around dance clubs), purchase bootleg brand-name clothing, timepieces, and other personal accessories found globally, as well as manufactured and hand-crafted local curiosities. Locals and regular tourists avoid hassles by visiting the clubs at Plaza Fiesta or other areas of the Zona Río without the crowds, heavy marketing, and occasional tourist misbehavior or outright lawbreaking common on the Revolución strip. However, Avenida Revolución has been known for its proliferation of nightclub shows, primarily catering to casual tourists. While still an entertaining town with an enjoyable atmosphere, locals and tourists alike would agree that it has lost its "anything goes" mentality which it had once acquired, a mindset that was dangerous to tourists, locals, and the tourism industry as a whole.

Tijuana possesses a diversity of shopping malls including Plaza Río, Plaza Mundo Divertido, Plaza Monarca, Plaza Carrousel, and Centro Comercial Playas/Plaza Coronado. Plaza Río is the largest mall and is located just a few minutes away from the US border between Paseo de los heroes and the Tijuana River. The mall hosts a Cinépolis and a Cinépolis VIP movie theater, a Sanborns restaurant and a variety of shops, including the large department stores Mas and Dorians. Plaza Mundo Divertido is off of Tijuana's main east-west highway with arcades and rides for the whole family. Plaza Monarca is on a north-south artery known as "Gato Bronco" and is anchored by the movie theater Cinépolis and the grocery chain Soriana (formerly a Gigante Supermarket). Plaza Carrousel, so named because the mall contains a children's merry-go-round, is minutes from the Cinco y Diez retail hub centered around a former five and dime store. The beach community of Playas de Tijuana saw a burst of construction in 2004, which yielded the Plaza Coronado complex next to the existing Comercial Mexicana-anchored Centro Comercial Playas.

Tijuana also enjoys notoriety among Americans and other nationals for its red-light district Zona Norte (referred to as La Coahuila after one of the main streets in it) which boasts a large number of legal street prostitutes as well as, in parts, a selection of strip clubs offering at least one establishment per block. The strip clubs are typically full-contact, meaning the dancers will allow patrons to fondle them. The dancers in most clubs also sell their sexual services, which are pricier ($US 72 in early-2007) than those of the street prostitutes.

People filling up prescriptions for drugs classified in the US as Schedule II or Schedule III have found it more difficult to locate such medications, and the purchase of pseudoephedrine also has become restricted by Tijuana pharmacies, as it is in the United States. For a prescription to be filled in Tijuana and brought legally to the United States, any drug covered by the US Controlled Substances Act would require a prescription from the United States for re-import.

Recently numerous artists created an aura of freedom and pleasure regarding the life in Tijuana. The famous singer Manu Chao, author of "King of the Bongo", has a song called "Welcome to Tijuana" and the refrain goes: "Welcome to Tijuana/ Tequila, sexo y marihuana".


Club Sport Founded League Venue
Club Tijuana Soccer 2006 Primera División A Estadio Calientemarker
Tijuana Galgos Basketball 2005 Liga Nacional de Baloncesto Profesional Auditorio Municipal "Fausto Gutierrez Moreno-CASAS GEO"marker
Tijuana Dragons Basketball 2003 American Basketball Association Auditorio Municipal "Fausto Gutierrez Moreno-CASAS GEO"marker
Tijuana Potros Baseball 2005 (Called "Toros" in 2004) Mexican League Estadio de Beisbol Calimaxmarker

The city is home to two professional basketball teams. The Tijuana Dragons play in the American Basketball Association against teams from the United States. The team is composed mostly of U.S. players. Their season takes place during the winter months. The Galgos de Tijuana (Tijuana Greyhounds) play in the LNBP (Liga Nacional de Baloncesto Profesional) during the summer months, thier anthem well known for the hip hip influence was created by Tijuana Rap. The team is composed mostly of players from Mexico. Both teams play in the Municipal Auditoriummarker.

Former super featherweight boxing champion Erik Morales calls Tijuana his home.

The city has a strong tradition of football. It currently plays host to Club Tijuana of the Primera División A, the second tier of Mexican football, who play their matches at the Estadio Calientemarker, a new 33,000 seat stadium. The team`s mascot is the Xoloitzcuintle, or the famous Mexican hairless dog. The club has ambitions of becoming a top club.


Tijuana is home to many primary schools as well as several colleges and universities.

Notable primary, secondary and preparatory schools

Colleges and universities



Due to Tijuana's proximity to Southern California and the US border and its large, skilled, diverse and relatively inexpensive workforce it is an attractive city for foreign companies to establish extensive industrial parks composed of assembly plants that are called maquiladoras, even more so than other cities in the US-Mexican border zone, taking advantage of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to export products. At its peak, in 2001 Tijuana had roughly 820 of these 'maquiladoras' (today the number is closer to 550). Foreign and domestic companies employ thousands of employees in these plants, usually in assembly related labor. Such jobs are demanding but offer high pay for Mexico. Companies that have set up 'maquiladoras' in Tijuana include Hyundai, Sony, Toyota, Samsung, Kodak, Matsushita / Panasonic, Nabisco, Philips, Pioneer, Plantronics, Pall Medical, Tara, Sanyo, Volkswagen and vimay. Many of the maquiladoras are located in the Otay Mesa and Florido sections of Tijuana.

Service industry

In addition there are also some high-tech firms and telemarketing companies making their way into the city drawing skilled people with technical trades and college degrees to Tijuana. One example is Telvista, a Texas-based telemarketing company which maintains three call centers along Blvd. Agua Caliente. The nominal GDP per capita of the city is above the national average at about $35,000 per year, third only to Canc√ļn and Mexico City (source: INEGI). This makes Tijuana a popular city for migrant workers as well as college graduates from other parts of Mexico as well as other countries to the south.


From the arch hangs a sign saying "Bienvenidos a Tijuana" (Welcome to Tijuana)
Tijuana also relies on tourism as a major revenue. About 300,000 visitors cross by foot or car from the San Ysidromarker point of entry in the United States every day. Restaurants and taco stands, pharmacies, bars and dance clubs are part of the draw for the city's tourists. Many shops and stalls selling Mexican crafts and souvenirs are also located in walking distance from the border. Mexico's drinking age of 18 (vs. 21 in the United States) make it a common weekend destination for many high school and college aged Southern Californians who tend to stay within the Avenida Revolución. Tijuana is also home to several pharmacies marketed toward visitors from the United States. These pharmacies sell some pharmaceutical drugs without prescriptions, and at much lower costs than pharmacies in the US. Many medications still require a Mexican doctor's prescription though several accessible doctor offices are located near the border as well. In addition Tijuana has a legal "red-light" district known as the Zona Norte which also adds significant revenue to its economy. Tijuana is also home to many businesses selling products and services at a much cheaper rate than in the United States. Such businesses as auto detailing, medical services, dentistry and plastic surgery are heavily marketed and located near the city's border with the US.

Economic research and development

Economic development has its central business district at Zona Río, which with the corridor along Blvd. Agua Caliente (the extension of Avenida Revolución) contains the majority of the higher-end office space in the city. Binational economic development along the US-Mexico border is key to the development of Tijuana going forward. Multiple regional (San Diego-US/Tijuana-MX) think-tanks exist on both sides of the border that promote such regional collaboration and innovation.




The International Boundary Wastewater Treatment Plant (IWTP) was developed as a joint project of the USAmarker and Mexicomarker in the mid 1980s following substantial environmental studies; the plant currently treats 25 million gallons per day (mgd) directly pumped across the border from the central collection point in Mexico (Pump Station #1). When there is any flow in the river, the river diverter kicks in and diverts up to about 12-13 mgd to the IWTP. The totals from either must not exceed 25 mgd, based on a monthly average (permit conditions) although the IWTP can treat sustained flows up to 45mgd daily and peaks of 70 or so for a short period. The diverter is regularly sending approximately six to eight mgd daily to the IWTP.

Japanese credit plants

The plants (a total of 4-5 decentralized units in all) have been planned for some time as part of the "Tijuana/Rosarito Potable Water and Wastewater Master Plan". This plan was required as part of Public Law 106-457 (Nov.7-2000) which was written to allow the Bajagua project to move forward. The master plan was a binational collaborative effort by EPA and CESPT and addressed those cities' needs for the next 20 years.

The plants are intended to treat approximately 5 mgd each, to tertiary levels and provide the reclaimed water to the surrounding areas for agriculture, industry etc.

There are several issues that they are facing: no infrastructure to convey the reclaimed water to customers and inadequate groundwater recharge infrastructure.


Comisi√≥n Estatal de Servicios P√ļblicos Tijuana, (State Commission of Public Services Tijuana) better known as CESPT, is Tijuana's water supplier.


As with all of Mexico, Tijuana's electricity is supplied by Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE).


Land lines in Tijuana are provided by Telnor, other companies include Axtel and Alestra. Popular cell phone carriers include Movistar, Telcel and Nextel. Nextel is popular among businessmen, students, and professionals. The first cellular call in Mexico was made in Tijuana in 1989. The area code of the town is 664.


Tijuana's crime problems are often blamed on drug trafficking and human trafficking rings which smuggle drugs and people into California. In 2004, nine kidnapping cases were reported to authorities in Baja California. However, that number is believed to be low because many cases are not reported to police. In the first four months of 2005, there were 151 homicides and in 2004, there were 355 homicides. According to Francisco Castro Trenti, an administrator of the homicide investigation teams in Tijuana, Rosarito Beach and Tecate, at least 20% of Tijuana's homicides were related to organized crime groups in the city.

In recent years, gun battles between rival drug cartels or between cartels and the police have erupted in public. In April 2008 police found 1,500 shell casings on various public streets after one such episode that left 13 suspected drug traffickers dead. For 2008, the city has confirmed 843 murders (56.8 murders per 100,000 people, and more than twice as much as 2007), most a result of the escalating drug violence that has gripped the city. The main reason for the outbreak has is due to president Felipe Calderón cracking down on drug cartels.

Many auto theft crimes that occur in Southern Californiamarker end in Tijuana. The proximity of Tijuana to the U.S.marker border allows thieves to get them across the border for resale or parts.


Air travel

The General Abelardo L.marker Rodríguez International Airportmarker is the city's airport, with eleven airlines serving destinations across the nation and Asia. It is one of the busiest airports in Mexico. Aeromexico introduced intercontinental air travel between Tijuana and two major cities in Asia, Tokyo in 2007 and Shanghai in 2008. With several private road lines, U.S. and selected Canadian destinations can be reached via the busy San Diego International Airportmarker, located about north of the international border.

Public transportation

Mexico is served by a network of bus transportation, reaching virtually all parts of the country. The city's main bus station is in its eastern area. There is also a small terminal downtown which serves a few Mexican bus lines and US-based Greyhound Lines and Crucero USA. Another bus station is near the border, with frequent services to Ensenadamarker, and other Mexican states, like Sinaloamarker, Sonoramarker, and Jaliscomarker, to major cities like Mazatlanmarker, Culiacanmarker, Hermosillomarker, and Guadalajaramarker.

Local transportation

Local public transportation in Tijuana is run by semiprivate companies, and has one of the most complex, or perhaps unorganized networks.

Major bus lines:
  • Azul y Blanco de Magallanes (Blue & White)
    • Transporte Efectivo Express de Tijuana (TEEXTI; modernizing system that was intended to phase out the other lines, partially introduced, now ceased and merged with Azul y Blanco)
  • Verde y Crema (Green & Beige)
  • Transportes Urbanos y Suburbanos S.A. de C.V.
  • Sociedad de Transportes Urbanos y Suburbanos Tijuana S.A. de C.V.
  • U.N.T.I.M.A

Major taxi lines:
  • Taxis libres (Spanish for Free Taxis, meaning that they have no route)
  • Taxis Economicos (yellow cabs)
  • Taxis Diamante (similar to Buenos Airesmarker black & yellow cabs)
  • Fixed-route taxis

  • Calafias (short bus-like vans, common in the eastern part of the city or lower class city areas; several owner companies exist)

There are as many bus lines (the companies) and routes as fixed-route taxi ones or calafias, and new routes for buses, taxis or calafias are frequently created, due to high demand of public transportation. Public transportation service is cheap, with bus tickets at $8.00 Mexican Peso (about $0.75 U.S. dollar) the maximum; fixed-route taxis are somewhat more expensive, depending on the taxi route, reaching $15.00 Mexican Peso. Bus, taxi and calafia lines and routes are distinguised one from another by their vehicles colors.

All means of transportation within the city accept both Mexican Peso and U.S. dollar as payment currencies, but no other foreign currencies.

Major bus (also served by some fixed-route taxi lines) routes by destinations include the following:
  • Mirador-Miramar-Soler-Centro-Plaza Rio-Otay-Aeropuerto (reaches Tijuana International Airportmarker)
  • Altamira-Villa-Centro-Plaza Rio-20 de Noviembre-Otay Modulos (reaches Zona Rio and the UABC Tijuana campus)
  • Playas 2-Soler-Centro-Linea-Palacio-Hospital-Buena Vista-Central Camionera (reaches Playas de Tijuana, the city bus station area, the Tijuana-San Ysidro border, the Municipal Palace, and the city's General Hospital)
  • Centro-Linea-Palacio-Postal-Otay-UABC-Corredor 2000 (reaches the Tijuana-San Ysidro border, the Municipal Palace, the UABC Tijuana campus and new Corredor 2000)
All bus, fixed-route taxi and calafia routes reach Centro, and most of them reach or reach nearly Plaza Rio (at Zona Rio) and Otay areas.

In 2006, Tijuana underwent a major overhaul of its existing system of guayines, or shared fixed-route station wagons, forcing the replacement of the guayines with new models of vans, serving as fixed-route taxis. Major transit hubs include Centro (Downtown Tijuana), Otay, Soler, and the Cinco y Diez avenues.

Tijuana-San Ysidro

From the US side, San Ysidro is the southern terminus of San Diego's municipal bus and trolley systems, providing public transportation to and from the Mexican border with Tijuana. The newly-rebuilt San Ysidro trolley station is located directly next to the US Customs facility.

Both cities are served by the MEXICOACH and Gotobus buses.


Tijuana is home to the world's busiest border crossing with about 300,000 people crossing the border between San Diego and Tijuana every day. Queues take anywhere from a few minutes to an hour or more to cross to the United States, on non-US holidays, with wait of a few hours on US national holidays or some Mexican holidays. Expect street vendors during the wait. However, after clearing customs and immigration formalities, Interstate 5 is a major 8-10 lane freeway from San Ysidromarker to downtown San Diegomarker, Los Angelesmarker, and north to the Canadian border. Interstate 805 branches off from I-5 just north of the border, and takes a more easterly route which bypasses downtown San Diego, rejoining with I-5 in the northern part of the city. From the Otay Mesa border crossing, Otay Mesa Road takes drivers west to connect with both I-805 and I-5.

Two important Mexican federal highways end in Tijuana, one of them is Federal Highway 1, which runs south through the Baja California peninsula, ending in Cabo San Lucasmarker, Baja California Surmarker. From Tijuana to Ensenada, most travelers take Highway 1-D (scenic road), a four-lane, limited access toll road that runs by the coast starting at Playas de Tijuana. Mexican Federal Highway 2 runs east for 1,000 kilometers near the international border, currently as far as Ciudad Ju√°rezmarker, Chihuahuamarker.

International relations

Twin towns ‚ÄĒ Sister cities

Tijuana is twinned with:

Notable people

See also


  1. Tijuana, entry in the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 4th ed., 2000. Transcribed into IPA.
  2. World Gazetteer ‚Äď San Diego-Tijuana
  3. World Gazetteer ‚Äď Metropolitan Areas of America
  4. Instituto de Investigaciones Históricas
  5. As determined at the second Symposium of History, 1975.
  6. [1] Massive traffic cripples Tijuana border crossing.
  8. Historia
  9. Algunos datos de la industria maquiladora de exportación
  10. C.Michael Hogan, Marc Papineau et al., {1985} Preliminary Assessment of Environmental Effects of Sewage on San Diego Beaches (EIS). Prepared by Earth Metrics Inc. for the U.S. EPA, Region IX.
  11. Kidnap fears causing some to leave Tijuana on
  12. Days are grueling and grisly for Tijuana's homicide cops on
  13. 13 dead in Tijuana shootouts on

External links

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