Touristic Information [txt]
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West: To go to the beaches -- Playas de Tijuana -- go along 3rd street past the park and then zig-zag right a big block to turn left uphill into Benito Juárez. Return traffic comes straight onto Second street. Follow this road. It's about five miles to the beaches, the second half of the trip on the playas autopista freeway. The faster "via rapida" can only be entered near the river, and going that way means you must remember to take the ramp to the right after crossing the mountain.
There is only one exit from the autopista into Playas de Tijuana. Otherwise you're feeding into the start of the scenic tollroad to Rosarito and Ensenada, and must turn back at the toll plaza, or go on.
South: Get the toll road by going to the beach as described above. To take the free road over the hill from downtown Tijuana toward Rosarito, first you must head out along Agua Caliente Boulevard ("el Bulevar"), from the head of Revolution and the old tower. Go along, go along, go along, and before reaching the central bullring (oops you've gone too far) you turn right where the signs say ENSENADA LIBRE. You can also get onto the free highway by going along the Paseo de Heroes in Zona Rio, and turning at the Cuauhtemoc statue, and going past Mercado Hidalgo and then zig-zagging uphill til you cross over the bulevar and head up the canyon clinging free road.
East: The "bulevar" (Agua Caliente then named Diaz Ordaz) goes slowly east through urban sprawl of La Mesa all busy with business. Eventually the boulevard climbs up over the hill of La Presa and becomes a two-lane highway that actually tiptoes over the top of the Rodriguez Dam. This is the old old road east. Eventually you will join the new old road that follows Insurgentes.
Faster is to take the via rapida from zona rio. This also heads up the river valley through La Mesa but is just a weird fast road under the river levee. After several miles on the via rapida, near the Camionera Central, you take the bridges and ramps onto Insurgentes ("Tecate Libre" say the signs).
The toll road to Tecate -- a magnificent drive through the mountains -- starts up on Otay Mesa after Industrial City. Take the via rapida as above, but follow the "Tecate Cuota" signs. The toll is a couple bucks. The scenery, once you leave the city, is pretty & wild. Don't climb that mountain on your left covered with little trails unless you want to sneak into the U.S.!
Libramiento: The lands of central Tijuana are circled by a long bypass highway -- el Libramiento -- which twists and turns through the valleys behind the city hills. This road runs from 5&10 (on the east in La Mesa) all around the sprawling city to the playas beach autopista -- at that west turn described above. The free road to Rosarito Ensenada crosses it midway, up on the heights, as does Fundadores, another important road that runs up into the hills in the canyon that starts behind the old tower at the corner of Revolution and Bulevar Agua Caliente.
Gringo : Touristic Information [txt]