If you ever lived in California or the southwestern US, you may think of Tijuana as a place for underage drinking and partying over the border and not a foodie paradise. But things have changed in this Mexican border town which is now a not-so-secret culinary destination.
If you happen to be visiting Los Angeles or San Diego and would like to explore the food scene in Tijuana, the quickest and easiest way is with a food tour. Most tours actually originate on the USA side, making things easy for those who are lodging in the San Diego area.
Head to San Ysidro to meet your guides, cross the border on foot and continue on your tour. You can drive down to San Ysidro but we recommend public transport as parking is busy, expensive and you might be consuming alcohol on your tour.
How to get to the border from San Diego or Los Angeles without a car? Of course you can take Uber or a taxi, but consider taking public transport. You can catch the Amtrak train to San Diego from Los Angeles which follows the coastline. Then hop on the San Diego Trolley (blue line) for a short ride down to San Ysidro. Most tours meet on the USA side of the border to walk across as this is quicker than crossing in a vehicle. Note that you will need your valid passport! After walking across most tours hop in a bus or car to take you into the city for the tour and then return you to the border at the end.
Oh and just a side note, for some reason many gringos say Ti-a-juana. Notice that there is no “A”. It is pronounced Ti-hwana. ? Tia Juana would be your Aunt Jane.
Here are my top picks for food tours in the Tijuana area.
This culinary organization runs a few different tours in Tijuana. The most popular and extensive is called Tijuana Bites and is a full day food tour starting at 9:30 am and going until 6:30 pm. You’ll sample tacos galore, street food and fine dining, wine and craft beer.
Don’t have time or the space in your belly for an all day tour? Check out the shorter version titled Taste of Tijuana. This tour is about 3 hours shorter but still packed with fun and flavor.
Craft beer lovers might prefer the Craft Beer & Street Tacos tour, which visits a gastropub and three local breweries plus tons of tacos. Sounds heavenly, doesn’t it?
Take a culinary “daycation” with Club Tengo Hambre through the streets of Tijuana. These street food, craft beer and market food tours run on select Saturdays. Groups are small and friendly. In fact, Club Tengo Hambre eschews the term “food tour”, preferring to call their adventures “roving supper clubs”.
Tijuana tours start around 11:30 am and end around 6pm but you are free to continue drinking at the last brewery stop or explore more on your own. The groups meet in San Ysidro on the USA side.
Check out their website for more Baja culinary tours like wine tasting in Valle de Guadalupe and seafood tours in Ensenada. They even have Los Angeles street food tours. I’m originally from LA so I’d be curious to try that one!
Would you prefer a private tour? The above companies offer them as well but Tijuana Walking Tours specializes in custom food tours in the city. These are perfect if you prefer to ask a lot of questions of the guide, would like a custom itinerary or just prefer the privacy of your own personal tour.
Take their Tacos & Beer or Mezcal & Tacos tours to discover these tasty treats and libations. Perfect for couples or a group of foodie friends.
Get a taste of Tijuana with the wide selection on offer from Wild Foodie Tours. Try the Ultimate Mexican Seafood Tour and sample ceviche, shrimp cocktail, oysters, grilled sea bass and more. Or take the Tijuana Street Food Tour to try local street foods including desserts.
Did you know Caesar Salad was invented in Tijuana? Take the Caesar’s Restaurant and Downtown Foodie Tour to try the salad at its birthplace and then take a short walking tour downtown.
Vegans and vegetarians are sometimes left out of the fun on food tours – especially in places like Mexico where the cuisine can be heavy on the meat. Check with Turista Libre to see if they are offering their special Tijuana Vegan Street Eats tour when you are coming to town.
Other fun Turista Libre tours include the Craft Brewery Hop and other unique activities. Be sure to check out their website for the latest tours that change with the season.
I hope this guide to the best Tijuana food tours helped you plan your Mexican adventures. If you are staying in the San Diego area, be sure to check out our guide to fun things to do in San Diego, plus places to stay, hike and eat!
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