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Tittering right on the very edge of the US/Mexican Border, Tecate is perhaps California’s last true town. A place that’s not a step or two from the frontier into a new country but right on the rim/gateway looking out.
Tecate is southernmost settlement in the state of California, directly adjacent to the Mexican City of Tecate, Baja California. The region is best known for its border crossing and its continuous state of alert in such a critical spot in the Nation’s security.
It is a mismatch culture of American customs and Mexican ways. The term Tex-Mex might very well be an axiom to easily describe the town and its odd assemblage of parts.
The area is dry with a small annual rainfall that usually occurs between the months of November and March. It is a desert terrain where the temperature oscillates between extremes. Nonetheless, the volcanic landscape. Temperatures have been known to climb in midday into the upper 90’s and even, crossing that threshold and hitting the 105ºF with ease.
Recreation in the Tecate area is reserved for two things. One: walkabouts and nature adventures. Excursions into the valley and Mars like environment. Hiking trails and bird watching a must in the area for any lover of sandy and desert terrains. Two: crossing the border and entering Tecate, Mexico, an immersing yourself in the insanity of the place.
Shopping is this area is a haphazard affair that may turn into an adventure. In the Mexican border everything is up for sale on the many faux/shanty markets. You won’t discover any shopping pavilions, nor a NIKE or Zara, but you will have a collection of General Stores and knickknack shops with the necessary artillery to swipe your credit card. Interestingly enough, the Payless Corporation saw a bizarre opportunity, no doubt ripe for the taking, and erected one of its many chainstores within the town; an odd fact and tidbit that does nothing but boggle the mind.
Restaurants in Tecate are rural and very homely. One of its most ingenious traits is booming food truck and street food scene; a quality and characteristic no doubt imported from it Mexican brothers. Mexico being internationally known for its eclectic and absolutely mouth watering delicacy produced on the backs of tricked-out jalopies. Still, you will find a few diners and cafe within the area, if tacos and enchiladas are not your cup of tea.
Submarina - 447 Tecate Rd - (619) 478-2700
Tecate’s nightlife is a strange affair. It is an off the books sort of activity, mostly reserved for drinking with your “amigos” on street corners and block parties.
Tecate has a small mixed population (of Whites and Hispanics) that borders on 90 since the 2000 Census. The average annual income in the area is of 20 thousand and the median age circles the middle thirties. 21% of the populace if College educated.
Tecate’s population is mostly compromised of INS officials and on duty personnel. There is little to no need of schools in the area, most of its residence having already graduated. Still, despite this glaringly obvious fact, there is a Christian Elementary School.
Tecate Christian School - 23945 Tecate Mission Rd - 619-478-5520.
Tecate manages to stay very clean an proficient as far as iconic places and landmarks are concerned. This is the sort of town that’s a way station between places. The equivalent of the immigration booth at the airport. Orderly and efficient to a fault. Aside from its natural points of interests, created by erosion and the passage of time, don’t expect find a museum erected by INS or the NSA anytime soon.
Tecate Mission International - 23945 Tecate Mission Rd - 619-468-3355.
Tecate is the sort of town between towns. It lives between places, caught among two cultures. On one span of the crossing, Miller light, on the other, the world famous, Tecate Beer; in this port city these two live in harmony. Tecate being the perfect example of true Tex-Mex living.
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