Tijuana oh my Tijuana!
I must admit that during the almost 6 years that I've lived in Mexico, I traveled a lot due to my job as a stunt performer.
I've been to Leon, Manzanillo, Mazatlan, Acapulco, Villa Hermosa in Tabasco, Cancun, Puebla, Monterrey, San Luis Potosì, and the list goes on.
But the state and the city that took my heart forever are Tijuana and Baja California.
I was based in Mexico City because I used to work more often there.
I still remember the first time, back in September 2014, that I chose to visit Rosarito and Tijuana for the first time.
I left Mexico City to explore for a whole week in Baja California.
Little I knew back then that I would fall in love with that state.
And every time I was going back to Tijuana, the feeling was not leaving me.
I found a home. I felt in a place that made me happy.
Tijuana has everything: from the modernity of the five stars resorts, establishments, shops to the more authentic part where you can learn more about the great culture of the Tijuanenses, as are called the people living in Tijuana.
In the last years, Tijuana has become the home to a lot of United States citizens who decided to move from San Diego and neighborhoods, to come and live in Tijuana, Rosarito, and Playas.
People understood how the highly affordable cost of living in Baja California, was an enhancement to their lifestyles.
They switch from renting an apartment in San Diego or a small house to being able to afford a big residence on the beach, with probably half of the price.
Many people also decide to plan their retirement here.
A lot of people coming from all over the world, save money to be able to buy one of the luxurious apartments built on the shoreline and spend the rest of their lives facing the ocean and enjoying the laidback Mexican lifestyle.
Do you love Caesar salad? Come to eat the original one!
Image courtesy of Caesar's.
One of my favorite places in Tijuana is Caesar's restaurant in the old part of the city, on Avenida Revolucion.
For those unaware of the history of this place, we are talking about the restaurant that invented the world-famous Caesar's salad.
I went there two years ago, invited by a dear friend of mine, together with his friends and my boyfriend William.
The place is classic with its art decò style, the staff absolutely great at doing the job, and the food is exquisite.
This restaurant was first opened in an alley by the Italian immigrant Cesare Cardini in 1923, and his salad became iconic, the following year.
From the fanciness of Caesar's Restaurant to the good vibes of the fresh seafood restaurants in Playas de Tijuana, Tijuana is a foodies paradise.
If you have been to Mexico, you already know how delicious is the seafood over there.
Just writing about it, my mouth is already watering.
Vamos a la Playa.
Ten minutes away from the city, there is Playa de Tijuana, where the sad wall that marks the border between Mexico and the United States finishes into the sea.
At the beach, tens of street merchants sell their delicacies like mango with chile and lemon (try to ask it also with Miguelito and chamoy and thank me later for the tip), fresh oysters collected a few minutes before from the rocks nearby, at the cost of 50 pesos/2,24USD for 12, and coconuts opened right in front of your eyes, chopped in a glass.
On the main street that goes all the way down for kilometers, you can find small restaurants able to serve you the best cold Mexican beer and the best fresh seafood you will ever taste.
Playas de Tijuana is a paradise for foodies.
Last year, the day after the Xpilots Freestyle Motocross show at the Estadio Caliente, I went with Natalia, the kid I took under my own wings years ago, and her mom, to take a walk in Playas and relax a bit before taking my flight back to Mexico City.
We had a walk, and we bought the biggest brochetas de camarones / shrimp skewer you will ever see in your life.
Cooked on charcoal and served with lemon, and if you dare to, some mild or very spicy chile.
As you can see from the photos, we were satisfied with our 50 pesos skewers.
After that, we decided to stop in one of the restaurants I mentioned above, and we ordered some cocktails as well.
The cocktails and the beer arrived in big glasses, the beers with the typical vaso escarchado, which is when the border of the glass has salt on it or chile.
The food a few moments later and it was tasty and copious.
Riding horses in the wild.
Another great experience that you could enjoy a lot around Tijuana is going horse riding on the hills surrounding the cities of Tijuana, Rosarito, and Ensenada.
I did it back in 2014, and it is a breathtaking adventure.
I remember going to this stable in Ensenada, where the horses are all rescued, and you can donate in exchange for a guided ride.
Up and down the Cerro, we were able to visit not only the hills but also going all the way up to the top, where you could admire the ocean.
Sleep under the stars in your own bubble-room.
Not so far from Tijuana, for the fans of boutique hotels, there is the Campera Hotel Bubble.
As the name suggests, it is one of the famous bubble hotels around the world.
Don't miss the chance of sleeping under the stars, in a high-tech full optional bubble suite, while sipping a great wine: this hotel is inside a winery.
Wineries and lobsters.
Taking about wineries, Baja California is the reign of great wines.
Back in 2017, always after Xpilots, we went on a Sunday trip altogether, passing from the panoramic route from Tijuana all the way down to Ensenada.
We stopped in Porto Nuevo to have a great brunch made of fresh lobsters with butter and home-made tortillas.
The prices are astonishingly low for what you will eat: 15USD per person on average.
If you are lucky enough, you will be able to enjoy your food with the traditional sound of the Mariachis.
We went back on the road driving to the intern part of Ensenada, where we stopped to visit a winery.
A magical place.
We wandered around a bit, admiring the grapes growing, and we ended up under a wooden tower.
It was very tall, and from the top, you could have a glimpse of the surrounding area on a beautiful summer night.
We celebrated by drinking home-made wine and swinging on hammocks.
For shopping lovers, there are plenty of boutiques where to buy affordable clothing and shoes without ending up broke.
One of my favorites is Runway Boutique and Shoes.
With highly fashionable items and with prices that go as low as 10 dollars, Runway has become the best boutique among the fashion victims from Tijuana and San Diego.
The best sushi in Tijuana.
I couldn't miss talking about my favorite sushi restaurant in Tijuana, the Nigori Sushi de Autor, located in the shopping mall Galerias Hipodromo.
I visited last year, in the afternoon before the Xpilots show, and I was surprised by the prime quality of the food.
Both presentation and freshness were excellent and what I appreciated about them is the respect towards the traditional Japanese cuisine, but also the will of trying new combinations.
Shop 'til you drop at Las Americas Premium Outlets.
If you wanna go wild with shopping, say no more and book one of the tens of boutique hotels in Tijuana and cross to the San Diego side.
In twenty minutes, you will reach the shopping paradise Las Americas Premium Outlets, where 125 brands are waiting for you.
At Las Americas, you will be able to save from 25%OFF up to 75%OFF on brands such as Banana Republic Factory Store, J.Crew, Nike Factory Store, Michael Kors, and Tommy Hilfiger.
Ride an ATV like a pro and discover Los Arenales.
Another great do-not-miss-it point is Los Arenales.
Located a few kilometers away from Tijuana, more on the side of Rosarito, this place is a paradise for adrenaline junkies.
We spent a great afternoon with the Xpilots riders in this place.
We rented ATVs, and we had fun riding on the dunes of sand all the way down to the seashore.
I am well aware of the prejudices about Tijuana and surrounding areas.
Of course, like every city, there are zones where a tourist should not go, but this happens everywhere, from Barcellona to Milan, to Paris, to Antwerp to London.
During all of these years, I developed a healthy relationship with Tijuana and its people, a strong relationship made of very positive vibes.
I had the chance to discover places that built my best memories.
If there is one thing I learned by being a traveler, it is that we have to let places amaze us.
Tijuana is not Cancun with its boho vibes and yoga retreats.
Tijuana is the essence of Mexican roots with an international touch.
It is the desertic hills touching the ocean.
It is the wild night-life and the peaceful coffee place in the morning that will be the set of your next Instagram post.
Tijuana and generally talking, Baja California are places that you don't want to miss when it comes to exploring Mexico.