The idea of medical tourism may be appealing to many people, based on the lower cost and lack of waiting. However, most people probably wouldn’t know who to see, where to go and how to arrange it all, and this would likely keep them from seriously exploring the available options. This is where The Firm comes in. Our experience will be your guide.
Which probably sounds great in theory, but you may still be wondering, “Why Tijuana”? We were nervous traveling there the first few times, simply because of Tijuana’s reputation as a dangerous city. However, we soon discovered that the Tijuana of today is not the city we expected it to be. Having traveled there on a regular basis for the past few years, we know Tijuana is a large, modern city that offers several key advantages for medical tourism.
Tijuana is the largest city in the state of Baja California, Mexico with over 1.3 million residents. It is directly across the USA/Mexico border from San Diego, and the combined metropolitan area is the third largest in the Californias. This thriving and growing metropolis is a short 20-minute drive from the San Diego International Airport, and the San Ysidro Port of Entry between the two cities is the busiest land-border crossing in the world.
Much of Tijuana’s less-than-savory reputation was earned during the prohibition era, when it was a border-town where gambling and alcohol were legal. Now, it is a vibrant and growing city, and a leading industrial, financial and tourism hub. As a result, Tijuana is considered a true “global city”, according to the Globalization and World Cities Research Network, which established a comprehensive ranking based on economic, political and cultural factors.
Is It Safe?
For tourists, Tijuana is generally very safe. However, it is important to understand that every major city has crime problems and dangerous areas, and Tijuana is no different. It is also important to understand that for most Mexican people, the standard of living is lower than it is for most Canadians. So there will be more areas of Tijuana that are less affluent when compared to typical Canadian and American cities.
As a tourism hub, Tijuana has its fair share of hucksters, con-artists and thieves, and as a border city there is more drug crime (trafficking, gang-violence) as well as cross-border human smuggling. There was an especially intense eruption of drug violence during the period 2007-2011, however, it has since dropped significantly due to an intense crackdown by the Mexican government and local police. The authorities recognized that the adverse impact on tourism warranted a significant investment of resources into cleaning up the region.
Drug gangs are still active in parts of Tijuana, including the east side and Zona Norte. However, most of the drug violence is targeted at competing gangs. Tourists are rarely targeted and are unlikely to see any evidence of gang activity unless they actively seek it out.
Most tourist sections are generally safe, such as the heavily patrolled Avenida Revolucion, Playas de Tijuana and Zona Rio (where our professional contacts are located).
So yes, Tijuana’s reputation is partly deserved but we all know that a city’s reputation does not tell the full story. Travelling to Tijuana is just like traveling to any other major city in the world. If you use common sense, avoid traveling alone (especially at night and in isolated areas) and follow the advice of experienced guides, you are unlikely to encounter any problems. For more information on traveling to Tijuana in general, visit: http://wikitravel.org/en/Tijuana
You are also encouraged to visit http://travel.gc.ca/travelling/advisories for the latest travel advisories issued by the Government of Canada.
Advantages of Tijuana
Cost and quality are the driving forces behind Tijuana’s emergence as a preferred destination for medical tourism. While it is true that the medical profession has — in the past — been less well-regulated overall in Mexico than in Canada, it is also true that Tijuana is home to many world-class specialists providing state-of-the-art care in modern medical facilities. One simply needs to know how to find them, and The Firm will help you steer clear of the seedy practitioners.
Another key advantage to Tijuana is its proximity to San Diego, making it a relatively easy and cost-effective destination. For Canadians there is an added bonus: Tijuana’s Pacific coastal location means that its climate is very moderate for most of the year, with average temperatures during the daytime ranging from 20°C in January to 30°C in August. The rainy season is short and tame (usually from late winter to early spring), with yearly averages close to only 254 mm (10 in) of rainfall.
As a thriving tourist hub, Tijuana boasts plenty of entertainment and excursion options. Obviously, mobility and patient safety may limit the types of exploration available to medical tourists, however, the hub of Tijuana’s medical sector is located in the Zona Rio, a fashionable neighborhood of Tijuana famous for its shopping, night life and restaurants. So even those who spend most of their stay recovering and relaxing can enjoy some of the best Tijuana has to offer right outside their hotel.