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“Delightful Tour” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Turista Libre Tijuana Tours

Turista Libre Tijuana Tours
727 East San Ysidro Boulevard, Tijuana, Mexico
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Ranked #1 of 11 Activities in Tijuana
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New Orleans, Louisiana
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Delightful Tour”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 23, 2013

We went on two tours with Derrick. The first was an art tour of Tijuana art and cultural spots, and the second was a taco tour of 3 great taco joints. We went on the tour because we didn't have any confidence in our ability to navigate the town, given that the last time we were in Tijuana was 20 years ago. Derrick met us on the US side of the border and walked us over to the Mexican side. We were met by a city bus with a very friendly driver who liked to play music from his boom box. The overall tone of the tour was festive and friendly. The food was superb and by the last place we were stuffed but happy. Derrick delivered the bus load of people back to the border and we crossed over to take the trolley back to San Diego. Can't recommend this tour enough.

Visited April 2013
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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
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English first
Ashburton, New Zealand
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“Great time, must do”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 6, 2013

Had never really had the desire to head down to Tijuana (didn't want to get harassed into the standard tourist traps etc...) until I stumbled across one of these reviews. Very glad I did.

Derrick is a great guy and knows what he's on about.

We went for a private tour (myself, wife and a friend) as we were only in San Diego for a few days mid week, but for what you got the price was very reasonable. I'd assume if you're traveling alone or on a budget the group tour would be a great trip as well.

We went for an afternoon/evening and took the trolley from the Gaslamp Quarter ($2.50 change to blue line or just walk 5-10min to the 12th & Imperial stop) to San Ysidro where Derrick met us at the stop. Walked through the border, jumped in Derricks van and headed to a local Market, have been to other markets in other parts of the world and was expecting to be swamped with pushy salesmen selling me stuff I didn't want but not the case here, very relaxed and laid back. After this we headed out along the border towards the beach, I had no idea how big Tijuana was, went for a wander around where the border fence runs into the ocean, lots of interesting stuff there. Then we headed back towards town and had dinner at a great Taco place before heading to a local bar for some beer and tequila. All the locals were very friendly and not once did I feel uncomfortable (which I thought would be the case). I only wish I spoke the language so I could have held a conversation with them.

Like I said we had a great time, saw some great local stuff and found out so much from Derrick about Tijuana that we would never have if we hadn't come across with him. We honestly could have sat in that bar and drank and talked the night away. Has also made me want to see more of the country if we get back over this way.

So forget anything negative you've heard about Tijuana and get hold of Derrick to show you around.

Visited February 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Coronado, California
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“I L-O-V-E Turista Libre!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 10, 2012

I have more fun on Turista Libre tips! I second everything the other reviewers say about the experience. Derrick is a fantastic guide and really cares about everyone. Depending on the tour the age range is from child to senior. I am a senior. Sometimes I've gone on the trips alone, sometimes with others. Although most of the turistas are 20 and 30-somethings, everyone is very friendly and interesting. I've never not had fun. TJ has SO much to offer and I highly recommend seeing it with Derrick.

Visited December 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego, California
Top Contributor
84 reviews 84 reviews
23 attraction reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
48 helpful votes 48 helpful votes
“A Great Way to Experience Tijuana and Beyond”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 4, 2012

I live in San Diego and honestly this attraction should be listed in San Diego because the experience starts here at the border. I went on a Dia de Los Muertos tour with a few friends and had a great time. You begin at the pedestrian border crossing in San Ysidro (you will have signed up for the trip in advance...not something that you can do last minute). Derrick, the American who runs the tours, is charming, knowledgeable, speaks perfect Spanish, and is genuinely interested to ensure everyone has a good time.

After walking across the border, we boarded the typical Mexican bus, consumed Jello shots and were on our way to a cemetery which was the burial place of Juan Soldado, a legend amongst Mexicans seeking miracles. After a lecture on Juan Soldado we were off to the oldest market in TJ. Lots of fun looking around and even bought some liquor and old school kitchen implements.

After the market, it was off to El Taller for mole pizza (our table mates also ordered an escargot pizza which they raved about) We all had a great time talking and getting to know our fellow diners,drinking Cadillac margaritas and enjoying the occasional strolling minstrel. After dinner it was off to some local dive bar for beer and pool. We decided to head back to the border and on a Saturday evening it took about an hour to get back (your passport is essential!)

I would definitely recommend Turista Libre, especially if you're by yourself and want to experience TJ while in San Diego. Lots of single people on the trip so easy to make friends. We were about 35 in all, young and older, but all with a sense of adventure. $35 included transportation, pizza (drinks are on you) and your first beer.

Will definitely go again!

Visited November 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
90 helpful votes 90 helpful votes
“See Tijuana Like a Local from a Chartered Tijuana City Bus”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 2, 2012

If you want a conventional tour with a rather deluxe motor coach, a restroom, air conditioning, a tour leader with a microphone, plush bucket seats, and typical group tour itineraries two established tour companies Grey Line or Five Star Tours provide these canned packaged tours with pickup from your hotel.

If this is not what you are looking for I think you will really enjoy a Turista Libre Tour. These tours meet on the US side of the border. You provide you own round trip transportation to the border and then once the whole group has met up you take an interesting walk through the turnstiles at the San Ysidro pedestrian border crossing into Mexico. Then you walk to a typical Tijuana city bus that has been specially charted for the trip.

The actual trip will vary depending on the theme but the three I have been on have all been very well done allowing some time to really experience whatever the theme of the tour is without seeming rushed. Some tours may be aimed at a younger set such as some of the nighttime music/club events or the El Virgel Waterpark tour on which the young or the young at heart will enjoy the large waterslides and variety of Tijuana style street food sold at the park along with both adult and non-adult beverages. Other tours such as the Guadualupe Wine Valley Tour, Progressive Food Tours, or Craft Beer Tours among others are great for most ages. Check his website at turistalibre.com for current tours that interest you. The tours depart almost weekly during the summer and somewhat less frequently during other times of the year. I think Derrick the owner and tour guide will also do private tours based on your specific interests upon request.

The way the tours are arranged a wide variety of ages can have a great time on the 3 tours I have been on ages have ranged from 18 years old to a repeat couple of adventurous seniors at 70+ who are able to climb stairs and walk distances. Frequently during the stops on the tour people will walk to get snacks, soda, beer, New Mix (tequila and Squirt), or other adult drinks at an OXXO-7/11 or other local store. These can be enjoyed while riding on the bus to the next destination. So, if you are adventurous, want to experience the real Mexican culture, want to ride on a typical Tijuana City bus, able to get to the San Ysidro border (can take trolley to last station), do not require an highly structured generic experience, will enjoy stopping at a cantina, enjoy new experiences, and have permission to renter the US, I highly recommend these tours to you. The people who seek out these tours are looking for a more authentic experience going to places where the local people from Tijuana would go and doing things the locals would do. If you want a "normal" sheltered 1st class generic group tour and are not open minded to experiencing what the real Mexico is like for people who live in Tijuana including some things being different from what you are used to then--àTHIS TOUR IS PROBALLY NOT FOR YOU AND YOU MAY BE DISSAPOINTED!

Suggestions for getting to or from the border meeting place information accurate as of July 2012 :

*Take the trolley from San Diego area to the last station San Ysidro Transit Center on the Blue Line the trolley runs every 7-30 minutes until 12:59am seven days a week from the border to downtown San Diego as of 07/2012. If you miss the 12:59 trolley next one is at 4:59am on Sat and Sun and M-F at 4:44am. A day pass is $5

*Drive to one of the trolley stops with free parking then take the trolley to the border to avoid parking hassles. List of last 9 stations in the US with parking info:
8th Street Blue 555 W. 8th St. 123 free spaces---
24th Street Blue 506 W. 22nd St. 156 free spaces---
Bayfront /
E Street Blue 750 E St. 267 free spaces---
H Street Blue 745 H St. 295 free spaces---
Palomar Street Blue 1265 Industrial Ave. 305 free spaces---
Palm Avenue Blue 2340 Palm Ave. 499 free spaces---
Iris Avenue Blue 3120 Iris Ave. 192 free spaces---
Beyer Blvd. Blue 4035 Beyer Blvd. 131 free spaces---
San Ysidro Transit Center Blue 700 E. San Ysidro Blvd. No free parking
* If you drive to the border after around 10 am on a normal weekend allow at least 30 minutes to find parking . The pay parking in San Ysidro on the weekends can be quite full and you may have to wait for some cars to leave before you are allowed to enter a given parking lot. There will be construction at the border removing many parking spaces by around 2014, which will make pay parking more difficult. Cost at many lots is currently around $5-10 for the day.
*If you have a SENTR/NEXUS cards with a registered vehicle or are already on the other side of the border you could park at a pay parking lot by the La Linea ABC bus station in Colonia La Federal right across from where you meet the bus. I would e-mail or call Derrick ahead of time if you do this to get the bus number plus most recent info on when, and where to meet the group on the Mexican side of the border . I would also take a cell phone in case you have questions on the day of the tour.

Some past tours include:
GUADULAPE VALLEY WINE TOUR, TIJUANA MUCHO MARISCOS PROGRESSIVE MEAL WITH LIFE & FOOD, EL VERGEL WATERPARK, GRAFFITI ART TOUR, TIJUANA PROGRESSIVE MEAL WITH LIFE & FOOD, THE CHINESE CIRCUS, TIJUANA AMUSEMENT PARK, FRANCISCO VILLA SWAP MEET 2.0, TIJUANA ROLLERSKATING PARTY 2.0,BEACH FOSSILS POSADA, LUCHA LIBRE ROUND 3, RETURN TO JUAN SOLDADO’S GRAVE, TIJUANA FÚTBOL GAME ROUND 2, ALL MY FRIENDS MUSIC FEST ‘11,RETURN TO THE TIJUANA FAIR, LA MESA SWAPMEET AND MERCADO DE TODOS, LOS MASTER PLUS CONCERT,RETURN TO LUCHA LIBRE, TIJUANA WATERPARK, TIJUANA CRAFT BEER TOUR, TIJUANA BASKETBALL GAME, TIJUANA ART TOUR, TIJUANA FÚTBOL GAME, TIJUANA ROLLERSKATING PARTY, HOLIDAY SHOP HOP,JUAN SOLDADO’S GRAVE, TIJUANA-TECATE TRAIN RIDE, TIJUANA FAIR, MEXICAN CIRCUS, STREET ART BIKE TOUR, FRANCISCO VILLA SWAP MEET, WORLD CUP SPECIAL, EL SEÑOR DE LOS MONOS & LA SIRENA, NORTEC MAKES US HAPPY, LUCHA LIBRE, A DAY AT THE TRACK, TIJUANA SHOPPING SPREE, INSIDE LA MONA

Visited June 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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