Located in northwestern Mexico, the city of Tecate is one of Baja California’s most popular towns. Situated east of Tijuana, Tecate also receives considerable border traffic from the U.S. and is a well-known tourist destination. Perhaps most famous as the original brewery site of Tecate Beer, the city is a friendly place to chill in northern Mexico’s regional charms. If you plan to explore Tecate, here is some info on this town.
Founded in 1892, Tecate has a population of 64,764 people. The connection to Mexican Federal Highway 2 connects Tijuana and Mexicali. With a location forty miles from the city of San Diego; however, the mountainous route is not preferable to tourists than the crossing at Tijuana. However, for some, it is the best place to enter the country.
Like other regional municipalities, Tecate is mountainous and hilly (nestled in the Sierra de Juarez). In fact, the mountains are the reason why Tecate is less accessible from San Diego than the entry at San Ysidro. Tecate is situated in the Sierra de Juarez and is celebrated for its comfortable temperate climate. With its elevation of 1,775 feet, the city enjoys a unique maritime desert climate fed by ocean breezes and some rains that keep the locale greener than other northwest Mexico locations. The region’s highest peak, Mount Cachuma, is on the border with the U.S. The small Tecatito River also flows through the city adding to its picturesque charm. The closest peak is Mount Chuchuma lying on the border. The small city enjoys mountain spring water, a geographical perk that encouraged the founding of the Tecate Brewery and the city’s famed Rancho La Puerta Health Spa. The valleys around the city are known for their fertile grounds, and there is a considerable agricultural flavor to Tecate as opposed to its more industrialized neighbors like Tijuana and Mexicali. Tecate is known for its fresh spring waters as well as its fresh air. Many visitors to Tecate liken it to an oasis.
History of Tecate
Like other Baja California areas, Tecate was part of the roaming grounds of various indigenous peoples that practiced a semi-nomadic life largely dependant on hunting and gathering. Archaeologists continue to find and study artifacts relating to these early Mesoamerican people who made the region their home more than a thousand years ago. The Spanish began to explore this region of Baja California in the 1530s, but their efforts to settle the land were thwarted by extremely difficult terrain and hostile Native American’s who refused to submit to Spanish rule and assimilation for centuries.
Tecate was not founded until 1892. At that point, it has been discovered by various farmers and ranchers who transformed the settlement into an agricultural marketplace. Aside from cattle, the city was well known for its production of grapes, grain, and even olives. One notable event occurred in 1911 when a band of insurgents temporarily took over the town from the Mexican government. Eventually, the people began processing both coffee and beer. The famous Tecate Beer was first brewed in the city in 1944. The brewery drew many people to the city and is today a popular tourist attraction. Although not its own independent company anymore, its beer is distributed to more than thirty countries worldwide and is additionally celebrated as the first beer to be paired with a wedge of lime.
Tourism in Tecate
Tecate is well known for its spas and ranch resorts. Visitors come for its enchanting mountain atmosphere that is different than other cities of Baja California. Tourism is a more relaxed affair in Tecate than in more crowded area cities like Tijuana; however, many visitors come to experience outdoor activities like hiking and camping, shopping, or to experience Tecate’s unique charms. Further south on route 3 you will run into the vineyards. Click here to read more about the Baja California vineyards known as Valle de Guadalupe. Regional cuisine is famous here where grilled meats are the specialty.
More Things to See and Do
Rancho La Puerta: With its luxury spa treatments and healthful activities that boost fitness, Rancho La Puerta is a popular destination.
Mount Chuchuma: Once revered as holy, this peak attracts hikers and eco-travelers of all sorts who come to catch a glimpse of the dramatic topography and the flora and fauna of the mountain.
Parque Hidalgo: Also known as the main square of Zocalo, Parque Hidalgo is named after the Father of the Mexican Independence Miguel Hidalgo. This attractive square also features a monument of Benito Juarez and is a popular city destination known for its particular charm. It is a beautiful part of the city that is a mere few blocks from the border. Elegantly landscaped and home to various restaurants and shops, the square is a must-see attraction of the town.
Guadalupe Hot Springs: well-known for its rock-rimmed pools of spring water. Also, the caves filled with ancient paintings and breathtaking landscapes that famous for hikes. The ancient caves, waterfalls, and the hot springs of this site make it a must-see destination when exploring Tecate. It’s regarded as one of the state’s most enchanting bits of paradise and popular with hikers and nature lovers.
Cuauhtemoc Brewery: One of Mexico’s largest breweries and where the famed Tecate Beer continues to be brewed, Cuauhtemoc Brewery is a major tourist attraction of the city and offers tours and beer tastings to visitors.
Cave Tours: Visitors enjoy exploring the caves and witnessing their ancient cave paintings that were created by some of the first Mesoamericans in the region.
Horseback Riding: Although spas like Rancho La Puerta offer horseback riding, some of the campgrounds also provide horses. Horseback riding is one of the most popular pastimes among the outdoor set in Tecate.
Wineries of Guadalupe Valley: This celebrated wine region should not be missed by anyone exploring Tecate. The vineyards are enchanting and winery tours and wine-tastings are famous for their charm and immense quality.
Off-Roading Fun: Like other areas of Baja California, Tecate is also famous for off-roading in certain regions. Races like the Gran Carrera and SCORE Baja 500 are major tourist events for the city.
Golf at Rancho Tecate: This gorgeous golf course is well worth a trip across the border. Among the picturesque mountains, this eighteen-hole golf course is located just outside of town.
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