In Tijuana, schoolchildren get lessons on how to duck during gangland shootouts. Ciudad Juarez cops patrol with military escorts, and the morgue there is spilling over with gunshot victims. But here in Mexicali, people fear the desert sun more than drug hit men. The city ofhas a homicide rate comparable to that of Wichita, Kan. Mexicali is considered so safe that top law enforcement officials from Tijuana raise their families here, and are seen visiting restaurants and movie theaters without the phalanx of bodyguards that usually follows them everywhere else.
Customs and Border Protection. Some U.
Mexican authorities deny any relationship exists, saying the calm indicates that major traffickers have been driven out of the city. Indeed, the city of wide, treeless boulevards offers little evidence of narco-extravagance or violence. Outsized mansions are few. A corrupt police department, he added, would create dysfunction and upheaval, the exact opposite of the current situation. Officials in Mexico and the U.
Antonio Martinez Luna was taking payoffs. Martinez Luna has vehemently denied the accusation. The federal government, which leads anti-drug efforts in Mexico, has only about 20 agents in Mexicali, which in itself has raised eyebrows among U. But some Mexican authorities say the U. One recent undercover investigation suggests that U.
Traffickers have boasted publicly about how easy it is to slip drugs into Imperial County. I had never lost a car in the border.
The layout of the Calexico port offers an advantage to smugglers. The facility sits only about 30 yards across the U. And the cramped secondary inspection area provides little room to use the mobile gamma ray machines that can penetrate steel and help detect contraband.
Newer facilities lie farther inside U. Those obstacles were illustrated in a recent California state investigation in which an undercover officer penetrated a Mexicali-based ring. The eight-month probe revealed that traffickers sent about 40 loads across the border. Inspectors detected only one of them, according to Limon, the California Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement supervisor.
Beyond the border crossing, smugglers face relatively few obstacles. Drug enforcement duties have fallen to a task force operating at a bunker-like compound in nearby Imperial. A case against a Mexicali-based ring resulted in the arrest of more than people in the U.
Two years later, more than suspects from Los Angeles to Maine were linked to six distribution organizations in Mexicali. The trafficking rings seem to regenerate quickly.This system teaches you Spanish, the easy way - not the academic way.
With only words you will be speaking Spanish. She brings a comprehensive set of skills and expertise to assist her clients. She is licensed as an attorney both in Mexico and California, with her international practice in Imperial County and Mexicali. Her emphasis is family law, including cross-border custody and family support issues.
Christian is also experienced in cross-border contracts and bi-national litigation civil, commercial, family, and laboradvising several US companies in Mexico, including real estate development and maquiladora operations.
Rafael, the best veterinarian anywhere; he's close to the border, speaks English and has lived in Arizona! This post is prompted by a comment sent in by one of our readers. He is coming to Mexicali on business, and wonders if he will be safe.
Jim and I could only afford to move to a border town. The trip deeper into Mexico was well beyond our means. Mexicali, where we live, is a border town, and our house is just feet south of the big steel fence which divides Mexico from the U. Before moving to Mexicali, we checked out some other towns, either on the border, or nearby. In Agua Prieta, near Douglas, Arizona, we did not see any suitable places to live. We stayed in the Hacienda Motel. As soon as night fell, large black SUVs filled up the parking lot.
There was a lot of noisy coming and going, with the headlights flashing into our room, and voices talking in Spanish. At one point Jim actually stepped out in his boxer shorts to take a look. The Pacific coast towns, such as Rosarito Beach, have beautiful Southern California weather in the summer, and are bit milder than Mexicali in the winter. Rosarito Beach was a bit congested and touristy.
We had to settle up with an eighty buck bribe with that guy. We had to circle all through Tijuana to get back to the ramp again, and it was still sealed off with yellow tape. Jim pulled over to ask the police what was going on. Jim took two fifties from his wallet and handed them to the officer, who, without saying a word, walked over to the ramp and removed the tape. For us, Mexicali turned out to be the best.
Across the border is Calexico, a small town, but with all the shopping, and support such as flu shots that you could want. The downside to Mexicali is the weather. It is blistering hot in summer and a little cool in the winter. From what we understand, there is a turf war between drug cartels going on in Tijuana, Rosarito Beach, and even down to Ensenada.
We understand the turf war was caused by the arrest of some leading members of the Arellano Felix gang who controlled the area. Now, another gang is attempting to move into the vacuum, and take over the territory. Jim and I would not feel safe in Rosarito Beach or Tijuana.
Tijuana has a very long border fence, which is probably a help for illegal crossings into the U. Mexicali, on the other hand, has a short border fence — only a couple of miles long — and easy to monitor. On the other side of the border fence from us, there is constant patrolling by the U. Border Patrol cars, helicopters we hear them everydayand aircraft.Last Updated: April 14, The first question I got from anyone I talked to while planning my trip to Baja California was, is Tijuana safe?
Tijuana in many ways resembles a lot of other places in Mexico. She made a quick day trip across the border to sample lots of craft beer. If other bloggers were venturing to Tijuana and not just liking it, but loving it and all the craft beer on offerthen I had to check it out for myself. Most people thought I was crazy when I moved to Mexico City inand all of the claims that were made about that city were made by people who have never even been there. So I figured Tijuana was likely the same.
The cultural museum in Tijuana is perfectly safe and very beautiful! We questioned people a little bit more than we usually do and we took extra precautions like using Uber to get around rather than walking between places that were more than 15 minutes away by foot. What I noticed more than anything was that a ton of people spoke English, almost everywhere accepted dollars and Pesos, and a lot of signs were in English first and Spanish second.
The other thing that really stood out to me was how many dentists, doctors, and pharmacies are advertising around the city. There are so many pharmacies selling discounted prescription drugs to Americans who cross the border to save money. If you are going to stay the night in Tijuana, I recommend staying on or around Avenida Revolucion. There are plenty of these available around the center of Tijuana. I have no experience staying near Playa Tijuana.
I read bad reviews of the area after dark, so we decided to stay in the downtown area and just check out the beach during the day. However, I did visit the border, which is about a minute walk from Avenida Revolucion.
Tijuana is very easy to get around without a car. You can walk to most places in the downtown area or take very cheap Ubers to places like Telefonica Gastro Park or Playa Tijuana. Note that cross from the US into Mexico takes hardly any time at all, but coming back into the US will mean a solid wait time of about 45 minutes to an hour.
How safe is Mexicali for a wandering American...
It is particularly busy at rush hour times between 5 and 7pm. If you choose to bring your car across the border and drive in Mexico, just know that coming back into the US with a car can take several hours. It really is such a fun, lighthearted experience.
This is particularly true if you stick to Avenida Revolucion and to the hipster craft beer bars around this area. This is also true of the craft beer area of Plaza Fiesta. The nightlife scene consists mostly of young Mexicans and Americans by young I mean who are out enjoying the good beer on offer. There are a few clubs or cheaper bars along Avenida Revolucion, but even those were mostly people of the same age.
Like in any city after dark, only take what you need out with you. I brought a credit card, about Pesos of cash, and my phone in a cross body bag that has a zipper closure and flap over the top.
All of the craft beer bars along Avenida Revolucion are great after dark — busy and fun and they all serve up delicious and cheap craft beer! I use Uber everywhere in Mexico and I think it is a fantastic service. Drivers are polite and courteous.
I hope it goes without saying that involving yourself in any way with drugs in Tijuana is a very bad idea. Is anywhere? That is a surefire way to turn a fun weekend in Tijuana into a very dangerous weekend that could very much ruin your life.
There are people along Avenida Revolucion at night who may offer you Marijuana, Cocaine, or other drugs. Please say no. I still wore my favorite earrings and dressed exactly how I would dress everywhere else in Mexico. There are sidewalks everywhere.It is the capital of the state of Baja California and is located immediately across the border from Calexico in California.
It has a population of around 1. Mexicali is a large city, with some parts very safe for tourists, and others dangerous. Just in case, you should apply all possible precaution measures, to minimize the chances of anything going wrong. Be very careful when you ride on public transportation as this is one of the primary places where pickpockets operate. You should always try to call your reliable taxi driver instead of hailing one on the streets.
Pickpockets are a common occurrence here and bag snatching is a very common issue in Mexicali, especially in public and crowded places like bus and train stations and airports. Keep your belongings by your side at all times. Mexicali is somewhat prone to earthquakes.
They're not very common but you should still be aware of this and take necessary precaution measures in the off chance it happens. Muggings and kidnappings have been known to happen in Mexicali, but they aren't very common occurrences. In some states up in the north, the risk of this happening may be higher.
There haven't been any terrorist attacks in Mexicali's recent history, but they shouldn't be ruled out.
Is Tijuana Safe?: Safety in Mexico’s Famous Border Town
Remain vigilant at all times and aware of your surroundings. Mexicali is filled with people trying to trick you and scam you into paying them. You should be very vigilant, decline all drinks sent by strangers, double-check all information and negotiate everything in advance.
Women have traveled safely to Mexicali, without having any problems. Unfortunately, many women will have a problem with being cat-called on the streets, while they might find whistles and comments directed at the offensive. Avoid parts of cities that are filled with bars and clubs.
There aren't any more serious threats in Mexicali. Nonetheless, tourists are advised to stay in populated areas, avoid poor neighborhoods, and if they do visit them, not to go out at night. Most poor people in Mexican cities, however, opt for selling worthless trinkets or provide some kinds of services rather than beg for money.
Since there is a minor threat of an earthquake, in case it happens, duck and cover and stay where you are during the shaking, then go outside once the shaking stops. Mexicali us a popular dental services destination.
Worth the risk? Your call. I flew from Ireland to Mexico city,and the first thing I sniffed outside the largest airport I had ever landed at,was car exhaust.
After spending a whole night eating at a pizza hut there, I could not wait to get out with so many pairs of cops looking at me like I was on their radar. I soon learnt that they think of gringos as possible drug traffikers. Having flown over mostly desert I was one of three Europeans who stood out like you could not mistake us.How safe is Mexicali for a wandering American, and how do I get safe transportation from the border to your hotel?
Thank you :. Mexicali is a very safe city where you will have an excellent stay either for bussiness or pleasure. It would be a pleasure to serve you as you deserve in our Hotel. Please do not hesitate to contact us to help you with the taxi service you need.
Mexicali has been the safest border city I have visited. I guess the extra safe transportation you could get is by calling the hotel and ask for a cab to pick you up at the border. Make friends with some locals for any question. I've been to Mexicali twice and have never had any problems. Like anywhere, if you go looking for trouble you'll probably find it. Use common sense and be aware of your surroundings just as you would in any unfamiliar town. There's not a whole bunch of things to do there, but you could easily spend a few days exploring and relaxing.
I like the Real Inn Hotel.
Living in Tijuana as an American
It's a newer hotel with great service and a nice pool. There's a few restaurants and a grocery store across the street. I would say to go and have fun. There's some cool people down there. My husband and I felt safe. We had the misconception that most folks in Mexicali wold speak English just like other cities in Mexico that we've visted tourist destinations.
We were wrong. I am NOT complaining. I am just stating a fact.At this point, I have been living in Tijuana for over a year.
Initially, I decided to move here to save on living expenses. By now, I feel like I have gotten to know the city well enough to write about living in Tijuana as an American. In this article, I discuss the best neighborhoods to live, finding an apartment, monthly costs, the visa, safety, money, and much more.
This is basically a tourist visa for Mexico. This document is valid for days and allows you to live and travel anywhere in Mexico. This gives you a fresh days. To get your FMM visitors permit, tell the immigration official who checks your passport that you plan to stay for longer than 7 days. They will send you to a cashier to pay. If you drive across the border, you will have to park on the Mexico side and walk into the immigration office and pay for the FMM. Generally, passports are not checked when driving into Mexico.
You could do without the FMM if you will be crossing at least once per week and not traveling outside of Tijuana. This saves you time when entering Mexico. This happened to me when I exited through the southern border to Guatemala. If you plan to live in Tijuana long term, you can apply for a Temporary Resident Permit.
This document allows you to stay in Mexico for up to 4 years. It is renewable. There is an income requirement to be eligible for this visa. There are 2 border crossings in Tijuana. The newer crossing, which was recently renovated, is located to the east and the old crossing is to the west. I prefer to use the west crossing because generally, the lines are shorter.
This crossing is open from 6 am to 10 pm. The east crossing is always open. It is about an 8 minute walk from one crossing to the other. The wait is usually pretty short when walking across the border into the U. You do need to plan ahead though. During the holidays I was routinely waiting in line for over an hour to cross.
If you are driving across, there is generally a longer wait. I rarely drive to Tijuana but I have waited around 1. You can check the wait times on the US Customs and Border website here. When crossing into Mexico the wait time is usually much shorter.Since the city was founded by people that came from other parts of Mexico and the world, it offers an amazing diversity. Cheaper prices and excellent service are a very strong magnet attracting people from the U.
Tijuana is notorious for street crime happening in connection to the drug cartels located in this area, but residents insist that the situation is not that scary. Just in case, you should apply all possible precaution measures, wherever you're located in the city. Pickpockets mainly operate on public transportation and stations - whether it be bus or train stations.
You should always try to call your reliable taxi driver instead of hailing one on the streets. Pickpocketing and bag snatching is a very common issue in Tijuana, especially in public and crowded places like bus and train stations and airports. Keep your belongings by your side at all times and try to leave all your valuables in a security deposit box of your hotel. As for natural disasters, the biggest risk for tourists lurks at the beaches of the Pacific Ocean as there have been reports of swimmers drowning.
Monitor the news and the authorities' advice regularly. Muggings, kidnappings and similar street crimes have been known to happen in Tijuana, but they aren't very common occurrences, according to the residents of the city.
Tourists are still highly advised to leave all valuables at home and remain vigilant at all times. There haven't been any terrorist attacks in Tijuana's recent history, but they shouldn't be ruled out.
Remain vigilant at all times and aware of your surroundings. You'll easily get scammed in Tijuana. You should be very vigilant, decline all drinks sent by strangers, double-check all information and negotiate everything in advance. Be wary of people trying to distract you as it may be a scheme to try and steal from you. Even though nothing more serious than a cat-call will happen to you just because you're a woman, you should avoid parts of the city that are filled with bars and clubs, and visiting them alone, since there is a higher chance of running into intoxicated people.
Tijuana has had a bad reputation for years and was once considered among the most violent cities, not only in Mexico but in the World. Your Review. Title of your review.
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