Traveling to Tijuana
The conference Tijuana Innovadora will be held at the Tijuana Cultural Center in heart of the city’s financial district, called the Río zone.
The center is known as the “Cecut,” at 9350 Paseo de los Héroes Boulevard, about a mile from the San Ysidro border crossing. This boulevard is a main thoroughfare lined with office buildings, restaurants, hotels and supermarkets.
There are hundreds of bilingual volunteers at the Cultural Center that are trained to assist conference-goers with their questions and concerns.
Tijuana is a bilingual city. Many residents and merchants speak English, so you will not have any problem getting the information that you need.
TO GET THERE
By bus: Special shuttle buses will provide round-trip transportation from downtown San Diego to the conference venue twice a day for a total of $15. The buses will depart from the Santa Fe train station at 8 a.m. and 1 p.m., returning at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. These buses will have facilitated crossing at the port of entry.
Reservations may be made through conference website, tijuana2012.com.
Driving: You can drive there within a few minutes following the ‘Zona Río” signs just after you cross into Mexico at the San Ysidro crossing. The center is a sand-colored complex with a signature spherical building known as “La Bola,” or the ball.
The boulevard where the center is located has traffic circles. You have to observe the traffic to orient yourself where you want to go.
Taxis: The Centro Cultural is about five minutes from the San Ysidro border crossing. You may hail a cab at two locations immediately after you cross the border on foot. The ride should not cost you more than $5. You may hail a taxi for the return trip to the border crossing at the shopping center across the Centro Cultural.
Parking: The center will be on your left if you’re approaching from the border crossing but there likely will not be any space available in its parking lot on a side street. There is a shopping center in front of the center, called Plaza Rio, which has a lot of low-cost parking. You may pay with dollars as well as pesos. Please follow the traffic lights as you walk to the Cultural Center.
The conference ends around 9 p.m., and most of the center will be closed. However, many restaurants and cafés will remain open until after midnight. Many of these are offering discounts to customers who have a ticket stub from Tijuana Innovadora. Look for the conference sticker in the entrances.
Crime in the city has dropped dramatically since its peak in 2008, a trend that has been well documented in the U.S. news media. Homicides dropped about 50 per cent from 2008 to 2011, according to authorities. And tough new rules crack down on police corruption.
“Millions of U.S. citizens safely visit Mexico each year for study, tourism, and business, including more than 150,000 who cross the border every day,” according to the U.S. State Department.
“The Mexican government makes a considerable effort to protect U.S. citizens and other visitors to major tourist destinations, and there is no evidence that transnational criminal organizations have targeted U.S. visitors and residents based on their nationality,” the department said.
Still, visitors should take precautions in Tijuana, as they do when visiting any urban center: Stay within the commercial and tourist areas, keep close tabs on your valuables, do not go to isolated places with people who you do not know, particularly late at night, and do not engage in behavior that would be illegal at home.
Hotels and restaurants
There a several hotels and a wide range of restaurants can be found near the Centro Cultural. A sampling of those that are supporting this event can be found in the Spanish-language page tijuanainnovadora.com, under “Guía Tijuana” in the navigation bar. They are offering discounts to people with ticket stubs from the conference.
To return from Mexico
U.S. citizens and lawful U.S. residents should become familiar with the process of traveling to Mexico and returning to the U.S. before leaving the country.
To return to the U.S. from Mexico by land, sea or air, U.S. citizens must present a U.S. Passport, U.S. Passport Card or enhanced driver's license (available in some states). Citizens can no longer use just proof of U.S. citizenship, like an embossed birth certificate, with a government-issued photo ID.
More information is available from the U.S. State Department:
Lawful U.S. permanent residents can use their Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551), issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, or other evidence of permanent resident status to apply for entry into the United States.
Detailed information is available from the publication: “Know Before You Go”
This publication details what items you may bring into the United States. This list changes frequently so you should consult the guide often.
Help for tourists
Baja California has a special uniformed police force to help tourists. It’s called the Metropolitan Tourist Police and its officers operate in traditional tourist areas in Tijuana, Rosarito Beach and Ensenada.
The officers are bilingual and respond to any domestic or foreign tourist who calls to report a crime or ask for emergency assistance.
There is also a bilingual visitor assistance hotline, 24 hours a day: 078
To report emergencies: 066 or 911
To make an anonymous crime report: 089
U.S. citizens visiting Baja California and Baja California Sur may also contact the U.S. Consulate in Tijuana for assistance: Paseo de Las Culturas and Camino al Aeropuerto in Mesa de Otay. From Mexico dial 011.52.664. 977-2000.
In case of an after-hours emergency involving U.S. citizens, you may contact the U.S. Consulate Duty Officer. From Mexico dial 001.619. 692-2154.
The U.S. Consulate’s site: http://tijuana.usconsulate.gov/service.html