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Mexicali vs. Tijuana/Enenada?

k
khoiberg Aug 6, 2009 08:05 PM

I've got a two day trip to Baja coming up and I need some advice: should I visit Mexicali or take another run at the beloved Tijuana/Ensenada/Valle del G triangle?

I've never been to Mexicali. I've been to Tijuana/Ensenada/Valle del G multiple times and love it. I have, however, over the years missed a few key restaurants (Laja, Manzanillo).

Any thoughts? If I do hit Mexicali - any food/sightseeing recommendations?

Thanks to all these experts on these boards.

  1. dlglidden Aug 7, 2009 04:21 PM

    Good grief! Go back to Ensenada/Valle de Guadalupe and make damn sure you eat at all the great restaurants you've missed and do some serious wine tasting. There's nothing in Mexicali but an odd/interesting Chinese-Mexican community and extreme heat. You have to be a truly dedicated Baja lover who has been just about everywhere else several times before spending more than an hour or two in Mexicali.

    There's an accessible petroglyph site off Highway 2 near La Rumerosa and some picturesque hot springs and camping places in the mountains but they're slightly closer to Tecate than Mexicali.

    One thing you could do is go to Ensenada then head back home via Tecate and Mexicali (stopping there for lunch at almost any of the Cantonese/Mexican restaurants to have a taste of that eclectic cuisine) and then cross the border and head home. It's a very fun/interesting drive. Have you ever visited the remains of the old Russian colony (Colonia Rusa) between Ensenada and Tecate? If not, you should. The Russian cemetery is a great history lesson, showing the intermingling of the two cultures. There are also a couple of small interesting museums, 25 or so inhabited old Russian-style houses, and the small town, itself, still exists.

    In short, the history of Mexicali is extremely interesting but the city, itself, is not. The best thing there (besides Chinesca [Chinatown]) is the anthropology and natural history museum, Museo Universitario, which is the best on the Baja peninsula--which isn't actuallly saying much.

    Have a great couple of days!

    2 Replies
    1. re: dlglidden
      k
      khoiberg Aug 7, 2009 07:02 PM

      Thank you very much for this - incredibly helpful and my excitement is building. I'm going to do as you suggest!

      1. re: khoiberg
        streetgourmetla Aug 8, 2009 05:00 PM

        Yeah, whatcha thinkin'? In Mexicali you will have a feeling of history as you dine on the Chinese food there, apart from that it's American-Cantonese with Mexican chiles and beer. It;s cool, but get yourself to the places you've missed.

        I go to Mexicali for work, so I find myself there several times a year, but wouldn't make a special trip. Hit it for a minute before crossing the border.

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