City of Tijuana
Cross Border Express, Otay Mesa, California. Photography by Harrison Photographic.jpg
Malecón de Playas de Tijuana (2012).jpg
Casa de la Cultura - panoramio.jpg
Buenos Aires Sur Tijuana.jpg
Centro cultural tijuana.jpg
Otay Mesa Port of Entry.jpg
Tijuana Zona Rio.png
From up to down and left to right: Zona Río district panoramic view, Playas de Tijuana, Otay Mesa Port of Entry, Tijuana City Hall, Tijuana Cultural Center y Tijuana's Culture House
Coat of arms of Tijuana
Gateway to Mexico
A Heart Between Two Seas
La Tía Juana
Aquí empieza la patria ("The fatherland begins here")
Tijuana is located in Baja California
Location of Tijuana within Baja California
Tijuana is located in Mexico
Tijuana (Mexico)
Tijuana is located in North America
Tijuana (North America)
Coordinates: 32°31′30″N 117°02′0″W / 32.52500°N 117.03333°W / 32.52500; -117.03333Coordinates: 32°31′30″N 117°02′0″W / 32.52500°N 117.03333°W / 32.52500; -117.03333
Country Mexico
StateBaja California Baja California
FoundedJuly 11, 1889
 • TypeAyuntamiento
 • MayorMontserrat Caballero Ramírez
(Morena Party (Mexico).png MRN)
 • City637 km2 (246 sq mi)
 • Metro
1,392.5 km2 (537.9 sq mi)
20 m (65 ft)
 • City1,922,523[1]
 • Rank2nd
 • Urban
2,002,000 (estimated)[3]
 • Metro
(in Spanish) Tijuanense[4]
Time zoneUTC−8 (PST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−7 (PDT)
Postal codes
Area code(s)+ 52 664/663

Tijuana (US: /tˈ(h)wɑːnə/ tee-(H)WAH-nə,[5][6][a] Spanish: [tiˈxwana] (audio speaker iconlisten)) is a city in Baja California, Mexico. It is part of the San Diego–Tijuana transborder urban agglomeration and the larger Southern California megalopolis. As the second-largest city in Mexico and center of the 6th-largest metro area in Mexico,[9] Tijuana exerts a strong influence in education and politics, in transportation, culture, art, and manufacturing and as a migration hub. Currently one of the fastest-growing metropolitan areas in Mexico,[9] Tijuana is rated as a "High Sufficiency" global city by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network.[10] As of September 2019, the city of Tijuana had a population of 1,810,645, with its metropolitan area containing a population of 2,157,853 as of 2020, an estimated 2,002,000 within the urban area.[11][12]

Tijuana is located on the Pacific coast of Baja California, and is the municipal seat and the cultural and commercial center of Tijuana Municipality. Tijuana covers 70% of the territory of the municipality and contains 80% of its population. A dominant manufacturing center of the North American continent, the city maintains facilities of many multinational conglomerate companies. In the early 21st century, Tijuana became the medical-device manufacturing capital of North America. Tijuana is also a growing cultural center and has been recognized as an important new cultural mecca.[13] The city is the most visited border city in the world; sharing a border of about 24 km (15 mi) with its sister city San Diego. More than fifty million people cross the border between these two cities every year. This metropolitan crossing makes the San Ysidro Port of Entry the fourth busiest land-border crossing in the world. It is estimated that the two border crossing stations between the cities proper of San Diego and Tijuana account for 300,000 daily border crossings alone.[14]

Tijuana is the 45th largest city in the Americas and is the westernmost city in Mexico. According to the 2015 census, the Tijuana metropolitan area was the fifth-largest in Mexico, with a population of 1,840,710,[15] but rankings vary, the city (locality) itself was 6th largest and the municipality (administrative) 3rd largest nationally. The international metropolitan region was estimated at 5,158,459 in 2016,[16] making it the third-largest metropolitan area in the former Californias region, 19th largest metropolitan area in the Americas,[17] and the largest bi-national conurbation that is shared between US and Mexico. Tijuana is becoming more suburbanized like San Diego.

Tijuana traces its modern history to the arrival of Spanish explorers in the 16th century who were mapping the coast of the Californias. As the American occupation of the Mexican capital ended with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, Tijuana's new international position on the border gave rise to a new economic and political structure. The city was founded on July 11, 1889 as urban development began. Often known by its supposed initials, T.J., and nicknamed Gateway to Mexico, the city has historically served as a tourist center dating back to the 1880s.



The city's name comes from the rancho that Santiago Argüello Moraga established in 1829 on his Mexican land grant, naming it Rancho Tía Juana.[18]

The first Spanish mission call the settlement variously as La Tía Juana, Tiguana, Tiuana, Tiwana, Tijuan, Ticuan, as well as Tijuana.[citation needed] While the Mexican city standardized to Tijuana, the American term for both the river and a U.S. settlement which is now part of San Ysidro remained Tía Juana until the mid-20th century.

The commonly accepted theory among historians is that Tía Juana, as Argüello named his rancho, is derived from the word Tiwan ("by the sea") in the language of the Kumeyaay—the First Nations people of the San Diego-Tijuana region. Urban legend, on the other hand, states that Tía Juana, which means "Aunt Jane" in Spanish, was a real person whose inn provided food and lodging to travelers. There is, however, no record of such an inn; in fact, the first building in the area was built by Argüello in any case, after naming his ranch Rancho Tía Juana.[19]


In Southern California, Tijuana is often referred to as TJ or T.J.[20] Baja Californians have adopted this pronunciation as Tiyei. In Spanish the demonym for someone from Tijuana is Tijuanense, while in English the demonym is Tijuanan. A very common slang term used for a person from Tijuana is Tijuanero.[citation needed]

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 phrase Yo Tijuaneo, ¿y tú? translates to I Tijuanate, 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.[citation needed]


Early explorers
Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo.jpg Junípero Serra.jpg
Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo Fray Junípero Serra


The land 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 Sebastián Vizcaíno mapped in 1602. In 1769, Juan Crespí documented more details about the area that was later called the Valley of Tijuana. Junípero Serra founded the first mission of Alta California in nearby San Diego.

Further settlement took place near the end of the mission era when José María de Echeandía, governor of the Baja California and Alta California, awarded a large land grant to Santiago Argüello in 1829. This large cattle ranch, Rancho Tía Juana, covered 100 km2 (40 sq mi). Although "Tia Juana" means "Aunt Jane" in Spanish, the name was actually an adaptation of the word 'Tihuan' or 'Tijuán' in the Kumeyaay language, the name of a nearby Kumeyaay settlement and whose meaning is disputed.[21]

In 1848, as a result of the Mexican–American War with the United States, Mexico lost Alta California. While the majority of the 1,000 Hispanic families living in Alta California stayed on the American side, some moved south to Tijuana to remain inside Mexico, which was now in Baja California as the division between the Californias moved north in between San Diego and Tijuana. Because of this Tijuana gained a different purpose on the international border. The area had been populated by ranchers, but Tijuana developed a new social economic structure. These were farming and livestock grazing, plus as a transit area for prospectors.[22]

1889–1915: Town established

Urban settlement began in 1889, when descendants of Santiago Argüello and Augustín Olvera entered an agreement to begin developing the city of Tijuana. The date of the agreement, July 11, 1889, is recognized as the founding of the city.[23] Tijuana saw its future in tourism from the beginning. From the late 19th century to the first few decades of the 20th century, the city attracted large numbers of Californians coming for trade and entertainment. The California land boom of the 1880s led to 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 took over the city for shortly over a month. Federal troops then arrived. Assisted by the "defensores de Tijuana", they routed the revolutionaries, who fled north and were promptly arrested by the United States Army.

The Panama-California Exposition of 1915 brought many visitors to the nearby California city of San Diego. Tijuana attracted these tourists with a Feria Típica Mexicana – Typical Mexican Fair. This included curio shops, regional food, thermal baths, horse racing and boxing.

1916–1935: Gambling and drinking destination

The first professional race track opened in January 1916, just south of the border gate. It was almost immediately destroyed by the great "Hatfield rainmaker" flood of 1916. Rebuilt in the general area, it ran horse races until the new Agua Caliente track opened in 1929, several miles south and across the river on higher ground.

Legal drinking and gambling attracted U.S nationals in the 1920s during Prohibition. The Avenida Revolución area became the city's tourist center, with casinos and the Hotel Caesar's, birthplace of the Caesar salad.

In 1925, the city by presidential decree changed its name to ciudad Zaragoza, but its name reverted to Tijuana in 1929.

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 Racetrack 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 Lázaro Cárdenas educational complex.

1935–1965: Tourism broadens

In 1935, President Cárdenas decreed an end to gambling and casinos in Baja California, and the Agua Caliente complex faltered, then closed. In 1939, it was reopened as a junior high school (now, Preparatoria Lázaro Cárdenas). The buildings themselves were torn down in the 1970s and replaced by modern scholastic architecture.

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

Established maquiladoras in Tijuana and the border towns with the U.S. in the mid-1960s[24]

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.

1965–2001: The city matures

In 1965, the Mexican federal government launched the Border Industrialization Program to attract foreign investment. Tijuana and other border cities became attractive for foreign companies to open maquiladoras (factories),[25] and the Tijuana economy started to diversify. Manufacturing jobs attracted workers from other parts of Mexico and the city's population grew from less than half a million in 1980 to almost 1 million in 1985.

In 1972, work began on the first concrete channeling of the Tijuana River; previously the river would flood across a wide plain east and southeast of downtown, inundating an area of wood, cardboard and metal shacks called Cartolandia (“Paperland”). The project removed the shacks and added 1.8 million sq. m. of usable land, on which the Zona Río was built. With the 1981 opening of the Plaza Río Tijuana mall and the 1982 Tijuana Cultural Center (CECUT), Zona Río became the new commercial center of a modern Tijuana, and with its new boulevards with monument-filled glorietas (roundabouts), reminiscent of the grand Paseo de la Reforma in Mexico City, the city created the new image and allure of a modern, large city, rather than just a border town focused on tourism and vice.[26][27]

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.

2001–2011: Violence and decline of US tourism

After 9/11, tighter US border controls resulted in hours-long waits to return to the US. The number of US visitors dropped sharply due to this factor, as well as subsequent drug violence.[28]

Around 2008, thousands of Tijuana's elite bought houses in and moved to Bonita and Eastlake in Chula Vista, California, to escape violence, kidnapping and other crimes taking place during that period. An article in The Los Angeles Times reported that the emigration to San Diego County has transformed the demographic and cultural character of some cities to a degree.[29]


In recent years, Tijuana has become an important city of commerce and migration for Mexico and US. In spite of the violence and border crossing issues, the city has received a large number of tourists from US, China, Japan and the south of Mexico. Thanks to the realization of cultural and business festivals, the city has improved its image before the world, standing out as a competitive city for investment. Currently, the commercial and business sector is committed to the boom in the gastronomic industry, craft beer, entertainment and real estate, as well as medical tourism, to attract visitors and investors.[citation needed]


Colorado Hill, the highest elevation of Tijuana

Tijuana is the westernmost city in Mexico, and consequently in Latin America, and the second largest city of northern Mexico. Located about 210 kilometers (130 mi) west of the state capital, Mexicali, the city is bordered to the north by the cities of Imperial Beach, and the San Diego neighborhoods of San Ysidro and Otay Mesa, California. To the southwest of the city is Rosarito Beach, while to the south is unincorporated territory of Tijuana Municipality. The city is nestled among hills, canyons, and gullies. The central part of the city lies in a valley through which flows the channeled Tijuana River.

Housing development in the Tijuana Hills has led to eradication of many seasonal mountain streams. This lack of natural drainage makes places within the city vulnerable to landslides during the rainy season. The varied terrain of Tijuana gives the city elevation extremes that range from sea level to 790 meters (2,590 ft).

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 Johnson. Large Tijuana hills include Red Hill (Cerro Colorado) and Hill of the Bees (Cerro de las Abejas) in the eastern part of the city.

The city is located near the terminus of the Tijuana River and within the Tijuana River Basin. The Tijuana River is an intermittent river, 195 km (121 mi) long, on the Pacific coast of northern Baja California in Mexico and Southern California in the United States. It drains an arid area along the California–Baja California border, flowing through Mexico for most of its course and then crossing the border for the last 8 km (5 mi) of its course where it forms an estuary that empties into the ocean. The river's lower reaches harbor the last undeveloped coastal wetlands in San Diego County, and some of the last in Southern California, amidst a highly urbanized environment at the southern city limits of Imperial Beach.

As downtown Tijuana was built at the bottom of the river valley, the district is subject to seasonal flooding created by drain-off from the Tijuana Hills. 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.


Zona Río, the main business district

The city's skyscraper history is relatively recent.[30] Some of the first highrise building complexes constructed in the city were the twin towers of Grand Hotel Tijuana.[30] Tijuana experienced a building boom that was brought to a halt by the Great Recession. Among buildings that succumbed to the time period was the Trump Ocean Resort Baja Mexico that would have been located in Playas and reached 98 m (322 ft).[31] Currently the tallest building, and soon to be the largest complex in footage, New City Residential reaches 102 m (335 ft). Overall, the city maintains 33 completed structures with other proposed and under-construction skyscrapers.[30]

Tijuana Arch

The Tijuana skyline is the fifth largest skyline in Mexico and is located in the Zona Rio and to a smaller extent, Playas de Tijuana. In the Zona Rio the buildings are concentrated on the Tijuana River, lined parallel to the river; and on the edges of the Tijuana Country Club. In Playas the high rises are currently focused on the coast. Recent construction on high rises has begun in the aforementioned areas, as buildings such as New City Residential and Grand Hotel Tijuana have been developed and taken prominent places in the skyline as the tallest buildings. From Tijuana's skyline the San Diego skyline can also be seen, although the reverse is mostly not true on account of the high hills surrounding central Tijuana.

Houses on a hill in Tijuana
Tijuana Lighthouse

Boroughs and neighborhoods

The municipality of Tijuana is divided into eight administrative boroughs, or Delegaciones. The Tijuana metropolitan area occupies all of borough seats. The boroughs are in turn divided into colonias or ejidos. These boroughs offer administrative services such as urban planning, civil registry, inspection, verification, public works and community development and are served by a delegado.

  • Centro — "Delegación Centro" includes the old downtown (Zona Centro), new business district (Zona Río), red light district (Zona Norte), and other adjacent neighborhoods ("zonas").[32] This is the historical midpoint of Tijuana; the municipal palace is located here as well as most of the tourist zones, such as Avenida Revolución and the business district. The Tijuana Cultural Center (CECUT for CEntro CUltural de Tijuana) is located here as well as the Plaza Río Tijuana, until recently the largest mall in the state, within the Zona Rio.
  • Cerro Colorado — The Cerro Colorado ("Red Hill") is located here and it is surrounded by houses. Because of its height many of the area's antennas for radio and television stations are located on its peak.
  • La Mesa — This is where the Morelos Park, the largest public park in the city, is located, as well as the retail and transit hub Cinco y Diez, Plaza Mundo Divertido, the new Macroplaza and the CETYS University.
  • Otay Centenario — This borough was created in 2014 by merging Mesa de Otay and Centenario boroughs.[33] In this borough sits the Tijuana International Airport. The Tijuana campus of the Autonomous University of Baja California and the Technologico are also located here as well as many maquiladoras. This is the borough with the largest number of factories and maquiladoras. Its largest colony is Ciudad Industrial ("Industrial City"). Three of the city's most important streets, Boulevard Bellas Artes, Boulevard Industrial and Fed 2, are located here. This delegacion contains the Otay Mesa entry to the United States and the Friendship Park (Parque de la amistad).
  • Playas de Tijuana[34] — This is the westernmost borough of the city bordered by the Pacific Ocean on the west and the United States border on the north. This is where the beaches of Tijuana are located (hence the name) and it is also one of the two exits to the south towards Rosarito and Ensenada.
  • La Presa — literally "'the dam'", this is the largest borough in size and the Abelardo L. Rodríguez Dam is located within its limits, hence its name. The new Corredor Tijuana-Rosarito 2000 and the Tijuana-Tecate freeways run through it.
  • San Antonio de los Buenos — This is mostly a residential area although it also has two industrial parks.
  • Sanchez Taboada — Like the previous borough this is mostly a residential area, but within its borders are located many "maquiladoras" specially at Pacific Industrial Park.


Tijuana's climate is a semi-arid (Köppen climate classification BSh),[35] with about 231 mm (9.09 in) of annual precipitation, and generally mild to warm weather year-round. It has characteristics of the Mediterranean climate (Csa) found to the immediate north, with most of the annual precipitation falling in the winter, between the months of November and March.[36]

Tijuana River Estuary with Tijuana Hills in the back

Between November and March, storms originate from fronts entering off of the Pacific Ocean. January is the wettest month of the year for the city and during this time a periodic event, similar to June Gloom, is observed created by marine layer. January is the coolest month, during which temperatures average 13.6 °C (56.5 °F). In the city April signifies the end of winter and the start of Santa Ana winds. Though the daytime highs are generally around 20 °C (68 °F), heat waves can reach up to 33 °C (91 °F). The hottest months in the city are August and September, during which temperatures average 22.0 °C (71.6 °F). Summers are by far the driest time of year since influences from the California Current and the North Pacific High suppress the formation of rainfall caused by the North American Monsoon. As in coastal Southern California, air pollution sometimes occurs during periods of temperature inversion, especially during summer and fall, but (unlike Mexico City) is seldom severe and in recent years has lessened due to cleaner car engines.[37]

Frost and snow are rare phenomena in the city as temperatures are usually well above freezing. Yet, in December 1967, snow fell in the city and in January 2007 feather light snow fell in the east of the city. However, excessive amounts of snow fall have never been recorded in the city. On February 14, 2008 a winter storm caused an unusual snowfall in the upper reaches of the hills of the city.

The record low temperature recorded in the city was −6 °C (21 °F), while the highest was 49 °C (120 °F).[38]

Climate data for Tijuana (Tijuana International Airport)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 34.5
Average high °C (°F) 20.3
Daily mean °C (°F) 13.6
Average low °C (°F) 6.9
Record low °C (°F) −3.0
Average rainfall mm (inches) 43.8
Average rainy days (≥ 0.1 mm) 5.9 4.7 5.9 3.1 1.4 0.5 0.4 0.2 0.7 1.7 3.9 4.3 32.7
Average relative humidity (%) 70 74 73 75 77 79 80 80 79 76 69 69 75
Mean monthly sunshine hours 217 228.8 248 240 248 240 310 279 270 248 240 248 3,014
Mean daily sunshine hours 7 8.1 8 8 8 8 10 9 9 8 8 8 8.3
Percent possible sunshine 68 73 67 62 58 56 71 68 73 70 76 80 69
Source 1: Servicio Meteorologico Nacional[39]
Source 2: Weather Atlas (sun).[40]


Historical population
1980 461,267—    
1985 584,267+26.7%
1990 698,752+19.6%
1995 966,097+38.3%
2000 1,210,820+25.3%
2005 1,410,687+16.5%
2010 1,559,683+10.6%
2015 1,641,570+5.3%
2020 1,922,523+17.1%
View from the tower of Agua Caliente

Tijuana has a diverse cosmopolitan population which includes migrants from other parts of Mexico and from all over the world. Tijuana has one of Mexico's largest Asian populations, predominantly consisting of Chinese immigrants. Tijuana also has a large and rapidly growing population of Americans, mostly from Southern California. Many Latin Americans, notably Cubans, and Guatemalans, have made Tijuana their home. The city also has many Lebanese, Italian, French, Spanish citizens. Recently, the city has received a large influx of Haitian immigrants.[43]

Tijuana's traffic near the Mexico–US international border

The majority of Tijuana's migrant Mexican population hail from Sinaloa, Michoacán, Jalisco, Oaxaca, and the Federal District. Because of the diversity of 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. The heavy influx of immigrants to the city and municipality of Tijuana has led to job creation in the form of over 700 twin-plant (maquiladora) factories, which serve as the basis of employment for the majority of the working-class people in northern Mexico. The high poverty level in Tijuana is attributed to the city's "magnet status" for people who have come from the poorer south of the nation and citizens from other nations seeking to escape from extreme poverty. Tijuana holds a status that provides the possibility of employment as well as higher education and the dream of crossing the border. Tijuana and Baja California in general have much stronger economies and higher incomes than other Mexican cities along the United States border, as well as more moderate weather.

Tijuana today is one of the fastest-growing cities in Mexico, with an average of 80,000 people moving to Tijuana yearly.[citation needed] In terms of area, the city grows by approximately three hectares a day, mostly east and south as the city is mostly built out to the beach already with the exception of some canyons.[citation needed] Along with settlements separated from Tijuana proper and other communities unimproved land, big business moves in providing supermarkets and retail to marginal areas, along with paved roads. The city experiences the construction of 26,000 new settlers a year[citation needed] that has led to the unregulated, illegal squatter homes that takes place in the hills and valleys of ever expanding Tijuana, most of these areas are still without city services like sidewalks, paving, streetlights, and public transit. This is an ongoing process: as older and existing squatter areas are brought into the city services, more marginal areas become occupied by squatters.

Squatter areas are home to displaced and uprooted people, among them the indigenous and poverty stricken, as well as migrants deported from the US, many of whom are also without Mexican citizenship. In recent years, working-class suburban housing estates have sprung up in the fringes to provide a sense of safety and land ownership. These suburbs enable young families to isolate their families from the violence of the drug war and squatter areas. These outlying communities tend to be much better equipped than their squatter counterparts. Nevertheless, some remote areas are drug plantations for narcotics, and delinquency has spread to areas once considered safe havens. These issues occasionally come to light in the newspapers.

National Population Council (CONAPO) data has estimated that by 2030, growth rates maintaining, the city will become the second largest in Mexico and anchor to the fourth largest metropolitan area in Mexico. The suburban sprawl observed in Tijuana leaves the downtown and beach areas relatively affluent.

Border fence between Tijuana (right) and San Diego's border patrol offices (left)

While the INEGI Census 2010 placed Tijuana's population at 1.3 million, only two percent more than in 2005 Census, Tijuana City Council estimates from 2010 place the population closer to two million, at 1.6 million.[44] As funding for cities is based on the populace of the city, the Council worries about receiving adequate funds to provide for the needs of the city. The population discrepancies may be explained by a few factors. Shanty towns that have not been rasterized[clarification needed] and an undercount, people having left Tijuana for United States, and people leaving Tijuana for the interior of Mexico due to the intensification of the drug war, and suburbanization outside city limits but still inside the municipality. Tijuana, because of the dreams of border crossers, and its relatively higher wages compared to the rest of Mexico, naturally attracts immigrants. Since an improvement in security since 2011, the population of Tijuana as reflected in the 2015 Mexican census is expected to return to its normal growth curve; the great reduction in violence should make the settlement of Tijuana an attractive option again versus fringe valleys, nevertheless exact figures from the census await.

According to the Second Census of Population and Housing of the year 2010 conducted by the INEGI (National Institute of Statistics, Geography and Informatics) the municipality of Tijuana has 1,559,683 inhabitants within 879 km2, the city or settlement of Tijuana only covers ⅔ of that area. While the metropolitan area of Tijuana (1392 km2), composed of Tijuana Municipality and Rosarito Beach Municipality, has 1,751,302 inhabitants. Tecate Municipality, adjacent to Tijuana Municipality, has not yet been considered by the government as part of the metropolitan area. However, there is great economic and cultural exchange between the cities regions though there are still expanses of rural land. As Tijuana grows, many of its suburbs have been built increasingly inland, and in the direction of Tecate; Valley of the Palms is a large planned city between the two.

As of 2005 the large majority of the city's population, 96%, adhere to the beliefs of Christianity. The denominations are further divided into followers of Catholicism – 61% – and of Protestantism – 35%. While other beliefs occupying a 4% margin in the city include Taoism (among other Asian and European religions), atheism and agnosticism is also found.


Tijuana is the birthplace and base of the Tijuana Cartel.[45] From 2007 through 2010, Tijuana experienced an unusually high level of violent crime related to gang violence, in part derived from the Mexican drug war and human trafficking. Homicides peaked in 2010, when 844 people were killed,[46] compared with 355 in 2004[47] and 349 in the first eight months of 2011.[46] Reportedly, the wave of violence resulted from a turf war as the administration of President Felipe Calderón weakened the local Arellano Félix cartel; violence slowed when the larger Sinaloa cartel took control.[46]

During peak years of violent crime in the city, gun battles between rival cartels, and between cartels and the police, erupted in public. In April 2008, police found 1,500 shell casings on various streets after one battle left 13 suspected drug traffickers dead.[48] In 2009 and depending on the source, Tijuana Municipality experienced either 556 or 1,118 murders, mostly as a result of the drug war.[49][50]

There were 492 murders in 2013, a 48% increase in the homicide rate between 2012 and 2013. This was the highest number of murders since 2010.[51] By the end of 2017, the number of murders in Tijuana increased to 1,744, which was almost double those in 2016.[52]

As of 2019, Tijuana had the highest per capita rate for homicides in the world at 134 murders per 100,000 people.[citation needed]



Palacio de Gobierno de Tijuana (Tijuana City Hall)

At present, the parties with the greatest presence in Tijuana are the National Action Party (PAN), Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), and Ecologist Green Party of Mexico (PVEM). The PAN has been the dominant party in the city for 20 years. Historically the PRI had been the dominant party in regional politics, until 1989 when the PAN began to dominate the city, until yet again, in 2004, PRI began regaining prominence and won the Mayor's Office.

Less prominent parties also maintain relations with the dominant parties. These other parties, with less presence include the New Alliance Party (PANAL), Social Encounter Party (PES), and Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD). Allied with the PAN at the state and local level under the Alliance for Baja California are the Social Encounter Party (PES) and New Alliance Party (PANAL). Allied with the PRI at the state and local level under the "Alliance for Better Living" are the Ecologist Green Party of Mexico (PVEM) and Baja California State Party (PEBC).


Tijuana's importance and rise to a global city has led to its recognition among countries worldwide. In addition to international cultural recognition, Tijuana has received political recognition and is a developing a political center currently host to eight consulates from European, Asian and North American countries.[53]



Building at Playas de Tijuana

Tijuana is a large manufacturing center, and in addition to tourism, it serves as a cornerstone of the city economy. In the past decade alone, Tijuana became the medical device manufacture capital of the North American continent, surpassing previous leader Minneapolis - Saint Paul.[54]

The city's proximity to Southern California and its large, skilled, diverse, and relatively inexpensive workforce make it an attractive city for foreign companies looking 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'.[55] Foreign and domestic companies employ thousands of employees in these plants, usually in assembly-related labor. Such jobs are not demanding but typically offer above average salaries for Mexico, with most maqiladoras jobs beginning at MX$100 per day (about 5 US dollars, as of September 2016), significantly above the Mexican minimum wage of Mex$57.46 (about 3 US dollars, as of September 2016). Companies that have set up maquiladoras in Tijuana include Medtronic, Lanix, Hyundai, Sony,[56] Vortec, BMW, Vizio, Toyota, Dell, Samsung, Kodak, Matsushita/Panasonic, GE, Nabisco, Ford, Microsoft, Cemex, Zonda, Philips, Pioneer, Airbus, Plantronics, Siemens Mexico, Jaguar, Pall Medical, Tara, Sanyo and Volkswagen. Many of the maquiladoras are located in the Otay Mesa and Florido sections of Tijuana. Economic development has its central business district at Zona Río, which together, with the corridor along Blvd. Agua Caliente (the extension of Avenida Revolución), contains the majority of the higher-end office space in the city.[citation needed]

Tourist economy and entertainment

Tijuana also relies on tourism for a major part of its revenue. About 300,000 visitors cross by foot or car from the San Ysidro point of entry in the United States every day. Restaurants and taco stands, pharmacies, bars and dance clubs, and shops and stalls selling Mexican crafts and souvenirs are part of the draw for the city's tourists, many located within walking distance of the border. The city's tourist centers include Downtown Tijuana including the nightlife hot spots around La Sexta, Avenida Revolucion, souvenir shopping at the Mercado de Artesanías and Plaza Viva Tijuana, Tijuana's Cultural Center (CECUT) and neighboring Plaza Río Tijuana shopping center, and the city's best known vices, in the form of its legal Red Light District and gambling (Agua Caliente). Mexico's drinking age of 18 (vs. 21 in the United States) makes it a common weekend destination for many high school and college aged Southern Californians who tend to stay on Avenida Revolución.

Tijuana is also known for its red-light district Zona Norte (also referred to as La Coahuila after one of its main streets) with legal prostitution in strip clubs and on the street.[57] The strip clubs are typically full-contact, meaning the dancers let patrons fondle them.[58] Many dancers also sell their sexual services.[59] In a 1999 estimation, there were 15,000 women engaged in prostitution in Tijuana outside of clubs and brothels.[60]

Tijuana has many pharmacies that target visitors from the United States, which sell some medicines without prescriptions and/or at much lower costs than in the U.S. Many medications still require a Mexican prescription, which can be obtained from adjacent doctors' offices. 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, just as in the U.S. To fill a prescription in Tijuana for any drug covered by the US Controlled Substances Act and legally bring it into the United States requires a prescription from the United States for re-import. Americans can import up to a 90-day supply of non-controlled medications for personal use to the USA from Mexico and other countries.

Businesses such as auto detailing, medical and dental services and plastic surgery are heavily marketed, and are usually much less expensive than in the U.S.

Tijuana is headquarters for Mexico's largest gambling concern, Grupo Caliente, which operates the only casinos in the city, more than twenty branches.[61]

Tourists are sometimes robbed by municipal police.[62]


Mercado Hidalgo is a traditional market with vendor stalls selling food.

Plaza Rio Tijuana is a large regional mall anchored by Cinépolis, Sanborns, Súper DAX and Sears.

All across the city, there are dozens of plazas comerciales, which may be strip malls or small enclosed or open-air centers, with a combination of any or all of the following anchors:

  • one of the 26 Tijuana branches of the small department store Coppel,
  • a supermarket or hypermarket,
  • a cinépolis or cinemex multicinema,
  • a branch of the electronics and motorcycle retailer Elektra

An important concentration of plazas is in the Cinco y Diez around an eponymous intersection, named for a former American-style five and dime store that was located there. It is also a major hub for public transit. Plaza Carrousel, with its namesake merry-go-round, is located here.

Costco, Sam's Club, and Walmart each have multiple branches across the city.

Traditional markets with vendors include the large Mercado Hidalgo in Zona Río, smaller neighborhood markets and the Mercado Municipal downtown.

Tijuana was the headquarters of 14-store Dorian's department store chain until its demise in 2009; most were converted to Sears stores.

Medical tourism

Tijuana receives 2.5 million medical tourists per year.[63]


Tijuana, along with the nearby Valle de Guadalupe, has recently become a culinary hotspot due to its Baja Med cuisine, including chefs such as Javier Plascencia, but also for its tacos, other street food, food trucks, coffee houses and artisanal beer.[64]


CITEC – Unidad Valle de las Palmas – Campus Tijuana
UABC Community Center

Tijuana is home to many private Primary Schools, Secondary Schools and High Schools as well as nationally high ranked colleges and universities. Notable primary and secondary schools include Metropolitan, Instituto México, Instituto Cumbres, President Lázaro Cárdenas School, Agua Caliente School Center High, Politécnico de Baja California(CLUB DE QUÍMICA), José Fimbres Moreno School and the State High School, and Ignacio Ramírez School located in Cerro Colorado. These schools maintain recognition for their demands and high standards.

Tijuana maintains multiple higher education institutions. These include the Autonomous University of Baja California (Tijuana campus), Instituto Tecnológico de Tijuana (ITT), Universidad Iberoamericana (Tijuana campus), CETYS Universidad, Universidad Xochicalco, and University of the Californias. Other colleges include Humanitas University, Tijuana University Center, Tijuana University of Technology, Graduate Center of the Northwest, and the University of Professional Development. The city is the seat of the Colegio de la Frontera Norte (COLEF), an institution of scientific research and higher education, specializing in the study of the problems in the border region between Mexico and the United States. In August 2009, Metropolitan UABC opened in Valle de Las Palmas, in the Tijuana metropolitan area.

Culture and contemporary life

Many foreigners travel to Tijuana to drink and dance, buy prescription drugs, 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, some locals and tourists[who?] feel it has lost an "anything goes" atmosphere, that was dangerous to locals, tourists, and the tourism industry.

Entertainment and performing arts

As Tijuana matured from a tourist-oriented border town into one of Mexico's largest cities, the 1982 opening of the Tijuana Cultural Center (CECUT) marked a milestone. CECUT's mission was to strengthening Tijuana's image, both to US visitors and to Mexicans, as a destination for culture and not only shopping and vice. The center includes an OMNIMAX cinema showing IMAX films, the Museum of the Californias, contemporary art exhibition halls, a restaurant, café, bookstore, and other cultural facilities.

La Casa de la Cultura cultural center comprises a school, a theater, and a public library, and teaches dance, painting, music, plastic arts, photography and languages.

Other cultural venues include the Instituto Municipal de Arte y Cultura (Municipal Institute of Art and Culture), the Tijuana Wax Museum, the Museo El Trompo (Trompo Museum), and El Foro, the former Jai Alai Palace, that is now a concert venue. Concerts are also held at the Estadio Caliente stadium, Hipódromo Agua Caliente Racetrack, and at the "Audiorama" at the Museo El Trompo children's museum of science and technology.[65]

The Tijuana Country Club (Club Campestre de Tijuana) has many affluent members and a famous golf course and also functions as an entertainment and events venue. Tijuana also has a large Rotary Club.

Parks and recreation

Parque Morelos has a small zoo and park space; Parque de la Amistad in Otay Centenario has a small pond, and a running and dirt-bike track. Parque Teniente Guerrero is a downtown park with a public library and weekend entertainment by clowns.


Tijuana's nightlife scene is one of the city's strongest attractions. The area surrounding "La Sexta", the intersection at Calle Sexta and Av. Revolución, is now a major hub of new bars and dance clubs. Zona Rio, Tijuana's new Downtown, is home to some of the city's finest restaurants and bars. Another capstone of Tijuana's entertainment offerings is its adult nightlife industry, which includes the city's red light district as well as less conspicuous adult entertainment venues.


Monument to Hope in Otay Mesa

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,[66] an exhibition of Tijuana's current art scene, is being curated by the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego and is traveling across the USA in 2006 and 2007.[67] 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. They 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 Salvador Dalí. 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 Tijuanan artists as well as visiting graffiti writers, especially from California. The Tijuanan art pieces show as much prowess and skill as those made by their more renowned U.S. counterparts, although illicit graffiti are strongly discouraged by the Tijuana government, as in other major metropolitan areas.


Since the decade of the 1920s, Tijuana has excelled in the musical field, thanks to the first groups of ranchera music that began to set the tourist establishments in the area with the visit of foreigners, including the former Casino Agua Caliente.

Rock music was very popular and popular among young people in the mid-50s, leaving the ranch rhythm aside years ago. Another event that added the arrival of Rock to Tijuana was the visit of the African-American pianist and guitarist, Gene Ross, who came to play at the Convoy Club on Revolution Avenue. The presence of this artist was the beginning of the rock scene in the region that marked a new style in the country.54 Some groupings of the nascent Mexican rock began, an example of which was "The Tijuana Five", who made some covers in Spanish of Anglo-Saxon successes.

Javier Batiz founded in 1957 he founded a group called "Los TJ's" with which he collected musical influences that were received in the Mexican border cities of black music, blues and R&B from people like T-Bone Walker, Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Chuck Berry, Howlin 'Wolf, James Brown, among others. Later he would start his solo career in the rest of the country and participating in some bands in Mexico City.

During the 60s, the American trumpeter Herb Alpert, in a visit to the bullfights made in the old Bullfight, found musical inspiration so after the recording of his single "The Lonely Bull", which was a radio hit in 1962. With the success, he decided to make a casting and formed "The Tijuana Brass", with whom he toured and had a presentation on television. It was a musical collaboration with artists from Los Angeles, with style called "Tijuana Marimba´s Brass". The band was dissolved in 1969 but they continued with some presentations under the name of T.J.B. 55

At the end of the 60s and during the 70s, rock and roll still had great acceptance in the public. In those years bands such as "The Moonlights" had national and international recognition, who achieved successes such as "Tijuana Funky" or "Are you"; the "Rockin Devils", recognized for their Spanish cover of "Bule Bule", which achieved international success. The Roble Cinema, La Cabaña club and Flamingos club, would be some of the main stages of the decade for musical performances in the city.56

In the 70s, rock groups and musicians experienced government rejection and censorship for the lyrics of the songs. Romantic music took a boom and from there came bands like "The Battle of Tijuana", "Los Solitarios", "Los Terrícolas", "Old Memories", "Tito Pantoja and his friends", "Ritmo 7", "Los Old Friends "," California Brass "and "Los Corazones Solitarios", among others.

In the late 80s, Antonio De Carlo, was recognized as a revelation artist at the OTI Festival, having a successful career during the 90s, with songs such as "In A Thousand Pieces", "A Pecho Discovery", "Revolution" and "Like It Hurts ". Lynda also gained national relevance in pop, achieving hits in songs like "Lost Heart", "Tell", "A Thousand for an Hour", among others.

Despite the downturn in rock artists for some years, in the 90s Tijuana No! emerged, returning a bit of the genre to the city. They also incorporated ska, punk and reggae. "No" would be the first album released, from which successes like "Pobre de ti", which had Julieta Venegas as a vocalist, would emerge. Later the singer began her solo career already in the 00s of the 21st century. Her musical career reached the recording of six studio albums, and she won two Grammys, six Latin Grammys, six MTV Latin America and two Latin Music Billboard.

The city continued to be a hotbed of important rock bands, among them, especially at the international level, Specimen, other bands and prominent artists could be Ohtli, Nona Delichas, Canseco, Sonoro 2 and Headlongs. Electronic music boomed in the 90s, Murcof and the Nortec Collective, entered the scene and began to gain worldwide recognition for merging electronic music with northern and band music. This group was enriched with the visual contribution of designers and videographers who, under the same concept, provided images to this musical proposal.

Regarding Mexican regional music, some groups of the northern genre were emerging, highlighting Los Tucanes de Tijuana, who since the 80s began their musical career until popularizing songs such as "La Chona", "El Tucanazo", "La Chica Sexy", among others. The Agua Caliente Band, Explosión Norteña, among others, would be a new generation of Mexican popular music artists.

Among other things, Tijuana has been the inspiration for the birthplace of Nortec music style and Ruidoson, resulting in a very large and active electronic music scene where groups and artists like Los Macuanos, Maria y Jose, Siberium, Hidhawk and Harpocrates emerged. Tijuana also enjoys a large base of support in many other musical scenes such as mexican hip hop, reggae, hardcore, punk, black metal and house music. Famous musicians are from Tijuana including the pop-rock singer-songwriter Lynda Thomas and Vanessa Zamora and international indie punk bands like Delux and Los Kung-Fu Monkeys.

To promote the cultural development in children and youth of Tijuana, since 1996 the Tijuana Youth Symphony (SJT) has been promoted, which promotes education and musical training through instrument practices, music reading and public concerts. In addition, Tijuana has an opera season. There are also several musical festivals throughout the year, among which the Latin American Guitar Festival, Mainly Mozart Binacional, and the International Exhibition of contemporary dance "Bodies in Transit" stand out.

Tijuana is home to the Baja California Orchestra, one of the most prestigious and solid artistic institutions in northwestern Mexico, which was nominated for the Latin Grammy in the category of best classical album by the Latin Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences Inc., with the album Tango kills Danzón kills Tango. This phonogram was distinguished as 'Best Classical Album of the year 2001' by the Mexican Union of Theater and Music Chroniclers. Currently, it maintains an annual season, offering symphonic and chamber music concerts in the most important forums of Tijuana and Baja California.

Already in the new century, many local bands have emerged, from all musical genres, some of them staying with local and national recognition. Highlights Nosis, High Slogan, Go Future, Ramona, The Children of the Saint, Among Deserts, Ziruela, Palos Verdes, Edwin, among others. Each of them have contributed and tried to revive the musical talent for which Tijuana has always been characterized.

Musical clubs along 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. Some European metal bands whose members cannot perform in the United States due to prior felony convictions in their own countries play music festivals in Tijuana for fans from both Mexico and the United States.


Club Sport Founded League Venue
Club Tijuana Association Football 2007 Liga MX Estadio Caliente
Toros de Tijuana Baseball 2013 Mexican League Estadio Chevron
Tijuana Zonkeys Basketball 2010 Circuito de Baloncesto de La Costa Del Pacifico Auditorio Municipal (Tijuana)
Atletico Baja Indoor Soccer 2015 Major Arena Soccer League Unidad Deportiva Tijuana

The city is home to the Tijuana Zonkeys professional basketball team of the CIBACOPA basketball league. The team is composed mostly of players from Mexico and plays from February to July in the Municipal Auditorium.

The city has a strong tradition of association football, Club Tijuana began playing in the Liga MX México Primera División on the 2011/12 season, winning the 2012 Apertura title. They play their matches at the Estadio Caliente, a new 33,000 seat stadium. The team's mascot is the Xoloitzcuintle, a famous Mexican hairless dog.

Tijuana also has a long history of producing many world champion professional boxers, such as Antonio Margarito and Erik Morales.


Estadio Caliente

Estadio Caliente is a multi-purpose stadium in Tijuana, serving as the match venue for Club Tijuana, a Liga MX México Primera División football team. It is mainly used for football matches and has a seating capacity of 21,000 spectators.

Estadio Chevron
The Chevron Stadium is the home of the Toros de Tijuana. It opened in 1977 and housed the Colts missing Tijuana Mexican Pacific League. Subsequently, the stadium was used for football matches. For 2004, professional baseball returned, now with a franchise LMB under the name of Toros de Tijuana, which, the following year, changed its name to Colts as it had been known previously. At first the facility was called Cerro Colorado Stadium, due to its location at the foot of the hill of that name. With the return of baseball, chain supermarkets Calimax bought the naming rights to the stadium. In 2004, the first season of Toros, the fans filled the stadium for most matches. On April 4, 2013, the stadium was remodeled, marking the beginning of a new era for Toros de Tijuana.[citation needed]


Excel Medical Center



The Tijuana State Commission of Public Services (CESPT) supplies the city with its water, while the city receives its electricity from La Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE).

In 2019, due to extremely low water levels at El Carrizo Reservoir, CESPT began a city-wide water rationing scheme. This rationing scheme would divide Tijuana and nearby Rosarito into 5 zones. Each zone would be cut-off from the water supply on a rotating schedule of 4 days with water and 1 day without water. This scheme was expected to last for at least 2 months until the water levels at El Carrizo Reservoir were improved.[68]


The International Boundary Wastewater Treatment Plant (IWTP) developed, as a joint project of the US and Mexico in the mid-1980s following substantial environmental studies,[69] treats 25 million gallons of water per day (mgd) from the Tijuana River; directly pumped across the border from the central collection point in Mexico. When the river is flowing, the diversion system of the plant begins operating and diverts up to about 12-13mgd to the IWTP. The total amount of water being diverted must not exceed 25 mgd, based on a monthly average decided upon by permit conditions, although the IWTP can treat sustained flows up to 45mgd daily and peaks of 70mgd for a short period. The diversion system regularly sends approximately six to eight million gallons of water daily to the IWTP. The plant is currently being upgraded to include a secondary treatment facility.

The city also four to five decentralize units that are part of the Tijuana/Rosarito Potable Water and Wastewater Master Plan. This plan was required as part of Public Law 106-457, put into order November 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 San Diego-Tijuana's needs for the next 20 years. The plants are intended to treat approximately 5mgd 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.


Tijuana's telephone system operates under area code 664, but it is not the same area code 664 that is part of the North American Numbering Plan (NANP) because Mexico is not one of the countries represented in the North American Numbering Plan Administration (NANPA), for which the country code is 1. So, to dial a phone number from San Diego to Tijuana requires an international access code and Mexico's Country Code, 52, before dialing the area code and the number. It is similar for anyone calling from Tijuana to the United States.

Landlines in Tijuana are provided by the company Telnor; other companies include Axtel, Izzi Telecom and Alestra. Popular cell phone carriers in the city-region include Movistar, Telcel, and AT&T Mexico. Many U.S. carriers such as Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile offer free roaming in Mexico and it is possible to connect to U.S. based cell phone towers in many northern parts of the city. Cell phones also have historic usage in Tijuana as the first cellular call in Mexico was made in Tijuana in 1989.


Fed. 1 towards San Diego and the Rio Zone

Tijuana is a major gateway to the interior of Mexico to which it is connected by air and road directly, and by sea via the ports of Ensenada and San Diego. Within Tijuana there are freeways and other roads, and buses, but no passenger rail.

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


The Tijuana International Airport (General Abelardo L. Rodríguez IA) is the city's main airport, one of the busiest in Mexico, and serves eleven airlines with destinations across Mexico and Shanghai, China. Tijuana Airport is also a second main airport for the San Diego area for passengers heading south into Mexico and Latin America, who may use the airport's Cross Border Xpress terminal located on the U.S. side of the border in Otay Mesa and connected to the rest of the airport on the Mexican side by a pedestrian toll bridge. U.S., European, Asian and Canadian destinations can be reached via the San Diego International Airport, located about 35 kilometers (22 mi) north of the international border.


Two important Mexican federal highway corridors start in Tijuana. One of them is Fed 1, which runs south through the Baja California Peninsula through Rosarito Beach, Baja Mar, and Ensenada before ending in Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur. From Tijuana to Ensenada, most travelers take Fed 1D (scenic road), a four-lane, limited-access toll road that runs along the coast, starting at Playas de Tijuana. Fed 2 runs east for 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) near the international border, as far as Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua.

Within the metropolitan area the Corredor Tijuana-Rosarito 2000 freeway connects Mesa de Otay in the northeast of the city with Rosarito Beach in the southwest.

Just north of the San Ysidro border crossing, Interstate 5 and Interstate 805 head northbound to San Diego and beyond. From the Otay Mesa border crossing, California State Route 905 takes drivers west to connect with California State Route 125 toll road, as well as both I-805 and I-5.

Intercity buses

The city's main bus station is in its eastern borough. A small terminal downtown serves a few Mexican bus lines, and U.S.-based Greyhound Lines and Crucero USA. Another bus station near the border provides frequent service to Ensenada, and other major cities—including Mazatlán, Culiacán, Hermosillo, and Guadalajara. Major bus lines operating in Tijuana include Azul y Blanco de Magallanes (Blue & White) and Transporte Efectivo Express de Tijuana – TEEXTI; modernizing system originally intended to phase out the other lines that partially introduced but ceased and merged with Azul y Blanco.

Local buses

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. Taxi lines operating in the city include Free Taxis, those that do not maintain a specific route; Economic Taxis; Diamond Taxis – black or yellow cabs; and regular taxis maintaining a set route. There are as many bus lines 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 inexpensive, with bus tickets at maximum, USD $0.75. Fixed-route taxis are somewhat more expensive, depending on the taxi route, reaching USD $2.00. Bus, taxi and calafia lines and routes are distinguished from one another by their vehicles colors. However there is no public record for these routes, set timetables, or fixed bus stops, making Tijuana's public transportation services very unreliable especially for lesser served areas. Locals generally transmit this type of information (routes) by word of mouth.

Bus rapid transit

Amistad station of the SITT bus rapid transit system in Tijuana
A SITT bus pulls away from the bus stop at Garita San Ysidro.

A bus rapid transit system SITT operates one route from Downtown Tijuana and Garita Puerto Mexico near the San Ysidro Port of Entry, southeasterly along the Tijuana River to Terminal Insurgentes in the southeast of the city. It is part of a planned system of main and feeder lines to replace other buses and minibuses.[70]

Light rail

Previously there have been plans for a light rail service, for example in January 2009, the City Council and the Ministry of Communications and Transportation announced such a system along the Tijuana River, however so far nothing has come of these plans.[71]

There is, however, a light rail connection via the San Diego Trolley's Blue Line to downtown San Diego and beyond, starting immediately north of the San Ysidro Port of Entry to the U.S. at the San Ysidro Transit Center, where municipal buses also operate.

Ride share

Ride share services Uber and DiDi operate throughout Tijuana and surrounding cities.

International relations

Tijuana has multiple sister cities and twin towns. These relations have been formalized by a variety of organizations as well as municipal governments. Currently twinned with the City of Tijuana are:

City Nation Since
Busan South Korea South Korea 1995
San Diego[72] United States United States
La Paz Mexico Mexico 2018
León Mexico Mexico
Mazatlán Mexico Mexico
Panjin China People's Republic of China
Havana Cuba Cuba
Cincinnati United States United States
Zaragoza Spain Spain
Medellín Colombia Colombia
Laredo United States United States
Słubice Poland Poland 1998
Wuhan[73] China China 2013

Notable people

See also


  1. ^ US English also uses /ˌtəˈwɑːnə/ TEE-ə-WAH-nə,[6][7] but this pronunciation, prevalent outside the San Diego area, is considered incorrect as it is based on the obsolete toponym Tía Juana.[8] The British pronunciations are /tˈwɑːnə/ tee-WAH-nə and /tɪˈ(h)wɑːnə/ ti-(H)WAH-nə.[5][6]


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  2. ^ "Tijuana, Mexico Population (2020)". Population Stat. Retrieved 2020-12-29.
  3. ^ "Demographia World Urban Areas 16th Annual Edition" (PDF). Demographia. June 2020.
  4. ^ "The Tijuanense Identity". Archived from the original on 2018-02-04. Retrieved 2018-02-04.
  5. ^ a b "Tijuana" (US) and "Tijuana". Oxford Dictionaries UK English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. n.d. Retrieved 29 May 2019.
  6. ^ a b c "Tijuana". Collins English Dictionary. HarperCollins. Retrieved 29 May 2019.
  7. ^ "Tijuana". Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Retrieved 29 May 2019.
  8. ^ Jenkins, Logan (4 August 2016). "Watch your mouth in San Diego". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Archived from the original on 31 March 2019. Retrieved 29 May 2019.
  9. ^ a b Walker, Margath (January 2011). "Knowledge production and border nationalism in northern Mexico". Nations and Nationalism. 17 (1): 168–187. doi:10.1111/j.1469-8129.2010.00461.x.
  10. ^ "The World According to GaWC 2020". GaWC - Research Network. Globalization and World Cities. Retrieved 31 August 2020.
  11. ^ "Tijuana, Mexico Population (2020) - Population Stat". populationstat.com. Retrieved 2020-12-29.
  12. ^ "Demographia World Urban Areas 16th Annual Edition" (PDF). Demographia. June 2020.
  13. ^ Piore, Adam (September 2, 2002). "How to Build a Creative City". Newsweek International.
  14. ^ "Tijuana, Mexico – International Cities of Peace". Retrieved 2021-04-18.
  15. ^ "Número de habitantes. Baja California". www.cuentame.inegi.org.mx. Archived from the original on 2018-01-23. Retrieved 2018-01-27.
  16. ^ "World Gazetteer – San Diego-Tijuana". Archived from the original on 2007-10-01.
  17. ^ "World Gazetteer – Metropolitan Areas of America". Archived from the original on 2007-09-30.
  18. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2016-12-28. Retrieved 2019-03-01.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  19. ^ Greg Niemann (2002). Baja Legends: The Historic Characters, Events, and Locations That Put Baja California on the Map. Sunbelt Publications, Inc. pp. 61–. ISBN 978-0-932653-47-5. Archived from the original on 2019-03-31. Retrieved 2019-03-01.
  20. ^ Khan, Sarah (6 February 2018). "Through a Tijuana Turnstile and Into Tacos and Tortas". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 May 2019.
  21. ^ https://www.sandiegohistory.org/journal/v50-1/rancho_tiajuana.pdf
  22. ^ Instituto de Investigaciones Históricas https://web.archive.org/web/20130117131949/http://www.tijuana.gob.mx/ciudad/CiudadHistoriaMinima.asp
  23. ^ As determined at the second Symposium of History, 1975.
  24. ^ Carruthers (2000), page 212
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Further reading

  • Kun, Josh, and Fiamma Montezemolo, eds. Tijuana Dreaming: Life and Art at the Global Border (Duke University Press; 2012) 387 pages; scholarly and popular essays including material translated from Spanish for the first time; topics include the city's image in fiction as a Prohibition-era "city of sin" for American visitors

External links

  • Tijuana Municipal Government
  • Tijuana Economic Development Corporation