Just a few weeks ago, we had the glorious opportunity for a day trip to Tijuana, Mexico. Usually known for it's exquisite nightlife and one-of-a-kind college experiences, this town also has a deeply rooted cultural legacy.
We decided to play it more low key this round and take a day trip via TripAdvisor to see the awesome digs you can do during the day.
Booking our excursion
We wanted to select a day trip in the Los Angeles vicinity for our journey because we wanted to get out of town to shoot photo shoot content for our social media and blogs. We had narrowed it down to the Santa Barbara, Solvang and Hearst Castle Day Trip and the Day Trip to Tijuana. We covered the process of booking an attraction on Tripadvisor on a previous blog post about our Paragliding experience in Malibu.
We ultimately decided on Tijuana because of the we could incorporate the delicious food and colorful backdrops into our photo stories. Also, the Tijuana trip was an independent trip, meaning a tour guide would guide us down to Mexico and through the immigration process and drop us off at a meeting point and we were free to explore the city at our leisure. This was ideal for us as we were going to shoot as many fashion oriented photos as possible.
Why Did We Book Our Attraction on TripAdvisor?
Tripadvisor is pretty much the most comprehensive place to book anything travel. The website features 2,500 destinations with over 56,000 experiences that you can book directly from the website. Also awesome are that you can reference tons of reviews on the website, use Tripadvisor's free mobile app to book attractions, have access to 24 hour support, take advantage of the low price guarantee and so much more.
Our Day Trip to Tijuana
Our journey began right on Hollywood and Highland at Starline Tours. We hopped into our almost private shuttle of awesome (only one extra passenger who happened to be a monthly regular) and startec on our 3 hour journey to the border.
When we arrived at the border, we had the opportunity to cross by foot (since driving takes WAY too long through border patrol). Our guide then dropped us off via taxi on the main Avenida Revolución. After exploring the touristy area for a brief moment, we found a local market that many tourists raved about.
In the market place, a delicious restaurant that specializes in birria (goat) was calling our name. The food was remarkably delicious and reasonably priced.
After our lunch, we explored all the fresh fruits, dried beans, nuts, meats, and native foods in the market. The warm and exotic scent of spices filled our noses and we walked wide-eyed in the crowds of people.
Afterwards, we headed back to the touristy area for a little more exploring and shopping. Our guide recommended that we had a margarita (booze-free), and we did not complain. We went to El Torito Pub and devoured some of the most delicious Mango, Strawberry, and Lime Margaritas we've ever tasted on this planet.
Also, there are so many different types of kitties and dogs that live in the city as well. As cat lovers, we wanted to take them all back home with us!
If you've ever been to Tijuana, you'll know about the donkeys with stripes. For us, we were a bit puzzled and confused by the phenomenon. Before Instagram selfies and Facebook likes were a thing, regular photographs were taken with the "burros" by many vistors. However, since most of the burros were white, the photos didn't seem to turn out so well in black-and-white. That's why locals paint the donkeys with stripes so they show up in photos. You can read more about the legend here.
Overall, we had an absolutely INCREDIBLE time! We would love to come back and visit again soon.
We really shot some unbelievable photos in Tijuana, highly recommend this trip for any one look to create a great fashion shoot for their lookbook!
Is Tijuana Safe?
In general Tijuana is safe as long as you are acting like a responsible visitor and are being respectful during your visit. Stay away from the red light district and other more unsavory parts of the city and use your common sense. We traveled there as three girls and walked off the typical tourist area of Tijuana Avenida Revolucion to the Mercado Hildagom which was a 10-15 minute walk. We weren't bothered during our walk even though we were obviously not local and we felt totally safe. Here are some great travel tips for visiting Tijuana.
Park and Walk to Tijuana
Navigating the border to Tijuana via car on your return can be a nightmare! On a good day it can take 30 minutes or 2 hours or more during weekends. You'll want to take the 5 south and exit at the "Camino de la Plaza" exit. Once you exit, you'll see plenty of parking lot options offering all day parking at about $7 per day. Walk to the overpass and then you can simply choose to walk across or grab a taxi.