The History of Tijuana, Mexico’s Biggest Border Town

Tijuana, Mexico’s biggest border town, safeguards a long, colorful history that most people do not know. Many might even ask ‘where is Tijuana?’, upon hearing the name for the first time.
What few people know, however, is that this northwestern Mexican town originated as a ranch settlement on part of a land grant in 1862. And only later did urban settlement begin – at around 1889 – when descendants of Santiago Argüello and Augustín Olvera entered an agreement to begin developing the city.

However, Tijuana saw its future in tourism from the very beginning. From the late 19th century to the first few decades of the 20th century, the city attracted large numbers of Californians coming for trade and entertainment. The California land boom of the 1880s led to the first big wave of tourists, who were called “excursionists”.

And in the 20th century it became the main entry point to Mexico from California for American tourists, and tourism remains its most important economic activity. From 1950 to the mid-1990s Tijuana’s population increased more than tenfold.

In the new century, Tijuana established itself as an important city of commerce and migration for Mexico and the US. In spite of 9/11, and the violence and crime wave from 2008-2011, the city has received a big number of tourists from US, China, Japan and the south of Mexico. Thanks to the realization of cultural and business festivals, the city has improved its image before the world, standing out as a competitive city for investment. Currently, the commercial and business sector is committed to the boom in the gastronomic industry, craft beer, entertainment and real estate, as well as medical tourism, to attract visitors and investors.

Today, however, the things to do in Tijuana continues to expand and grow. From strolling along Avenida Revolucion, scouring the traditional markets, experiencing great white shark cage diving from its coast, or just savoring the authentic Mexican food, the real Tijuana always shines through.

Featured Tours in Tijuana