Tecate is a small city in Baja California, Mexico and the municipal seat of Tecate Municipality. It is located on the border with Tecate, California, United States in the San Diego–Tijuana metropolitan area. There is a small port of entry between the sister cities that serves as a calmer alternative to the bustling port of Tijuana. Although the city is only 64 kilometres (40 mi) from San Diego, the road to the border crossing traverses mountainous terrain, reducing the viability of Tecate as an alternative to the San Ysidro Port of Entry.
Tecate has amazing weather. Tecate is known for its mild summers. Tecate’s altitude of approx. 1700 feet (550 m) above sea level and its proximity to the ocean afford an agreeable climate. It rains enough in the area for a thick ground cover of shrubs to grow; the change from maritime to desert climates is at a higher altitude a couple hours drive further east. The average Temperatures in Tecate in July and August are 72°F with highs topping out at 100° F. During the winter the weather in Tecate is comfortable with average temperatures in the 50’s with some frost in the mountains.
Coordinates: 32°34′20″N 116°38′25″W
Iglesia Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe: Tecate’s main church, the Iglesia Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe is not on the main plaza, unlike in most Mexican cities, but is situated further south.
Parque Hidalgo: The joy of Tecate is hanging out in Parque Hidalgo, the main plaza, where cowboy-hatted old timers play checkers on cement tables, children run around with balloons, and mariachi bands stroll bench to bench selling songs of love and death. The park is anchored by a band gazebo and ringed by well-tended gardens and café tables.
How to cross the border:
If you are avoiding Tijuana or driving from the east, then Tecate is where you catch Mexican Route 3 south to Ensenada. Tecate is not a tourist town. It takes almost 1 hour to 2 hours to cross the border depending upon the amount of traffic. The border crossing operates from 5AM to 11PM.
Paperwork needed to cross the border:
- Passport: US citizens can cross the border coming back from Mexicali with nothing more than a valid passport or a US passport card.
- Trusted Traveler Program Cards: US Customs and Border Protection also recognizes Trusted Traveler Program Cards.
- Proof of Citizenship: US citizens without passports or special documents also can return across the border from Mexicali with two proofs of citizenship. The most common documents include a driver’s license and birth certificate, though documents such as military identification also work. Travelers 18 and younger must have a birth certificate if they are crossing without a passport.
- Non-US Citizens: All non-US citizens must carry a valid passport as well as form I-94 and a multiple-entry visa. Legal aliens residing in the United States can cross over with a passport and their resident alien card.
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