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Tecate Mexico – a nice border town

Tecate - near the border

Tecate - near the border

Yesterday, on July 5th, Jim and I decided to check out Tecate, Mexico – it’s right on the border with California. In fact, across the border from Tecate, Mexico, is the small town of Tecate, California.

Tecate is about 80 miles due west of Mexicali. The drive, however, is not easy. The highway is modern and well-constructed, but the climb from Mexicali, at sea level, to Tecate is steep.

Shortly after leaving Mexicali, we hit the mountains. Highway 2, which we were on winds upwards through cliffs of rocky boulders until you are at a level of over 3,000 feet above sea level. With the Mexican busses charging up the highway, that part of the drive had its white-knuckle moments. Once at the top, however, we were on a huge plain, an an easy drive which descended slowly through green countryside downwards to Tecate which is at 1,700 feet.

Tecate is a border town that does not have the look or feel of a border town, but rather resembles a small village in the central part of Mexico. Tecate sits in a bowl-shaped valley surrounded by rocky hills, the city has hot, dry summers and cool winters with ocasional frost.

The center of town is surrounded by steep hills, a bit like a lesser San Francisco.

Jim and I had been tempted by Tecate as a possible move. It is a lot cooler in summer that Mexicali – everywhere is. In the winter, however, you might see a bit of snow in Tecate.

Jim and I drove around the town a bit to get the lay of the land. At one point, a car with rubber burning sped by and cut us off. No sooner had that car passed us, than a police truck came out of nowhere, an pulled the young kid driving the car over. Jim was really happy, and said, “Seeing that kid stopped is one of the best things I have ever seen in Mexico!” Soon after we saw four kids speeding on motorcyles – also followed by a police truck. “Whoppee!” said Jim.

A house in Tecate - not the $300 rental

A house in Tecate - not the $300 rental

Tecate followed the rule of all the border towns we had seen in that the best part of town was near the border.

Driving around the area, two blocks from the border fence, we saw a “for rent” sign.

Jim stopped the truck and got out to knock on the door. The owner, a retired fellow named “John,” said he lived there, but the house for rent was right around the corner. John had worked many years in Anaheim, California, and spoke perfect English. The house wasn’t bad at all. It had three bedrooms and plenty of space. The price – 3,500 pesos, or $300 – we could pay either way. The place was not bad, but, at our age, moving is pretty much out of the question, so we passed.

Still, Tecate is a quaint sort of town, and if you are looking for an affordible place to retire, only 40 miles from San Diego, you couldn’t do much better.

Driving around, we found a nice and very clean restaurant nearby on one of the main streets, Boulevard Benito Juarez.

Given the long drive up the mountains, Jim and I decided it was time to head back home. It was dark when we reached Mexicali, but we found our way home OK. The cats were waiting, and the lights were on.

Home, sweet home!

10 comments to Tecate Mexico – a nice border town

  • Mike Fields

    I always travel to Tecate by car, and because I’m always in a hurry, I need a car insurance policy in less than 5 minutes, the only one that can do that is BestMex, just need my data and I’m set to go.
    Another thing, make sure to only drink the beer brand “Tecate” or they gave you mean looks if you don’t (just kidding)

  • Becky Jo:
    It’s very unusual for folks in Mexico to say “no” to pets. Maybe the house is furnished or owned by Americans. Those who say Mascotes: No probably have “attitude” and be terrible landlords. Just move on.
    I don’t know of any English speaking groups in Tecate, or even in Mexicali. However, in all the border towns, a lot of Mexicans speak English – specially the young’ens.
    God Bless,

  • Becky Jo

    I’m sory for wining Mary Ann. You always answer everything in short order, and I really appreciate your help, and all the wonderful information your website provides us gringos.

    God bless,

    Becky Jo

  • Becky Jo

    I looked at the house for rent, it did have four bedrooms, but had “Mascotas: No”. And it was in Mexicali, and not Tecate. Is there an English speaking community in Tecate? If anyone out there lives in Tecate and can give me the scoop I would really appreciate it.

    God bless,

    Becky Jo

  • Becky Jo:
    We had shots for our cats in Calexico. I didn’t go into it in the blog, but we brought (smuggled) in a bunch of cats. I doubt that you will have any problem or even find anyone that is going to look for your health certificates, but it is still a good idea to have them. We got ours at VALLEY VETERINARY CLINIC, 485 BROADWAY, SUITE F, EL CENTRO, CA 92243, TEL: 760-352-1279.
    I can’t imagine that anyone in Mexico will object to renting to people with pets. It’s nothing like the US. Almost every house has a dog.
    There are tons of houses for rent. Take a look at this.
    God Bless,

  • Becky Jo

    I’ve looked for rentals but don’t seam to find any four bedrooms or thee bed with an office that let you keep your pets. We currently own, and don’t wantto buy before we live in a place. We also have three dogs, and will probably be moving with one cat. Does any one know of a cheep way to get critter shots that will pass for the Mexican border? Or a cheep place in the Pheonix are that gives international pet health certificats?

    All information is appreciated.

    God bless,


  • rosana

    hi im looking to rent a home in tecate for me and my husband. can you send some links thanks

  • lavonne

    Thanks for the nice write-up about Tecate. I’ve been looking for information about retiring there and haven’t found much. I live in San Diego and would like to find a safe, quiet, cheap place to rent that is close enough to visit family and shop once or twice a month. Tecate seems like the perfect location. If you have any more information or links, I would REALLY appreciate hearing about them!

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