Tijuana: A Hip Tourist Destination
Forget about everything you heard about Mexico being backward. This city with a population of over 1.3 million - at coordinates 32°31′30″N117°02′0″W - is the 29th largest in the Americas. It has everything going for it, including dental services at great rates. You could get your dental implants, laminates and cosmetic work done for half the price you might expect, and even be back in the United States the same day.
Three hundred thousand people make the American-Mexican crossing every day through the San Ysidro and Zona Otay border points. San Ysidro is twenty minutes from San Diego and three hours by freeway from Los Angeles. To save time, leave your car on the US side for $5 to $10 a day, and take a taxi to your nearby dental appointment. Alternatively, cross at Zona Otay in Tijuana (near the US Consulate) but be aware that it is the busiest entry point in the world. You can also choose to fly in through Tijuana International Airport (TIJ).
With this activity ahead of you it helps to plan. Your first step should be to obtain your US Passport Card that allows holders to enter Mexico, Canada, Bermuda and the Caribbean (but not by air). San Ysidro driving lanes can take anywhere between thirty minutes and three hours to get through. You can get online information from Traffic Calit, or get the phone number of a real person from Maths UCR. If you don’t like what you hear, consider using Zona Otay where you may find the driving easier, or even Tecate.
Most Mexicans that dental tourists make contact with in Tijuana speak English fluently, for it has been a compulsory school subject for ages. Many locals also get to practice it when they cross the border to go shopping in San Diego. More than a few dentists are American expatriates, or Mexican citizens who trained in America. In fact, chances are your dental service provider may have an American accent!
Downtown Tijuana – or TJ as Americans call it – is a hip tourist destination in its own right, where the people love to dine and dance the night away. It has an active musical and arts culture, and benefits from fine shopping malls and some of the best hotels in the region - especially in Zona Centro along the Avenida Revolucion. Shops, bars and restaurants line eight whole city blocks, and at night the place really comes alive.
Zona Rio adjacent to Zona Centro is the Tijuana business center, where banks and corporates have their bases. Boulevard Agua Caliente is a legendary gastronomic corridor, and presents fine opportunities to explore local cuisine including tacos, tortillas and chile con carne. If that’s a little spicy for you, try taming it with a Caesar Salad. After all, Caesar Cardini was in Tijuana when he invented his famous blend of cos lettuce, olive oil and garlic, coddled egg yolks, Worcester sauce, parmesan and croutons that we enjoy everywhere today.