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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Spring break destinations: Tijuana is a close escape from Tucson for students wanting to get away

    SFC Gordon Hyde
    A small fence separates densely-populated Tijuana, Mexico, (right) from the U.S. in the Border Patrol’s San Diego Sector. Tijuana is a popular place for UA students to vacation for spring break with beaches and good nightlife.

    It’s that time of the semester: school has just started, but you are already done. So done. Your zeal to learn and knock some common sense into your head with textbooks has waved you “adiós, muchachos,” as you find yourself getting distracted by random thoughts while reading about the history of positivism in social sciences.

    You space out during lectures and imagine laying out in the sun on a beach instead. Your brain keeps repeating, “I need a break,” and it’s right. You need a break: spring break.

    While a well-deserved vacation seems too far away, there is no harm in visualizing yourself relaxing in the near future to get through the assignments and readings piling up on your desk.

    In case you have a hard time picking a destination that combines delicious food, beaches, cheap Uber rides and—most importantly—a broke college student’s budget, hop into a car with your friends and head out to Tijuana, Mexico.

    A short drive from Tucson to San Diego and an even a shorter one from San Diego to the U.S.-Mexico border can get you into the former electronic music capital of Mexico and the city where—you won’t believe this—the Caesar salad was invented.

    Tijuana was once a party town for the more affluent Americans who wished to escape Prohibition. Thanks to Prohibition, tourism in Tijuana flourished, but so did drug-trafficking cartels. Nowadays, Tijuana gets its bad reputation for alleged drug-related violence. Moreover, strengthened border control that followed 9/11 repelled tourists. While violence is certainly a part of life in Tijuana—just as it is a part of life in any major U.S. city—there is nothing to be afraid of if you have common sense and have done some prior research.

    Some general tips that you should know before going are to exchange dollars into pesos beforehand and to learn some basic Spanish to at least be able to communicate to taxi drivers and to be more comfortable trying new things.

    Be careful about the roaming data charges while in Mexico and try to get a cell phone plan that prevents them. Therefore, not only can you call your less fortunate friends stuck in the cold and uninteresting places for spring break and boast your awesome vacation in Tijuana, but you can also use Uber, which is dramatically cheaper than cabs.

    You can save even more money by taking an Uber to all destinations that you wish to see. If you can’t get a new cell phone plan, you can take Taxi Libre right after you cross the border.

    Start off by going to the most tourist-y place in Tijuana called Avenida Revolución. It is the center of the historic downtown, which brings together restaurants, souvenir shops and lots of tourists. One particularly notable thing about Avenida Revolución is the restaurant at Hotel Caesar’s, where the well-known Caesar salad was born.

    Later at night, check out La Calle Sexta, which is filled with bars and loud parties.

    La Mezcalera bar serves a wide range of mezcal-based cocktails, buckets of beer and an interesting music selection ranging from gangsta rap to ABBA’s top hits.

    Mous Tache bar, located on the same street, brings in live bands and an unexpected hipster crowd.

    There are more things to discover in Tijuana, which cannot possibly fit into one short guide. Spring break is coming, and not in Eddard Stark’s “Winter is coming” kind of way.

    Follow Jamelia Rizatayeva on Twitter.

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