Mexicali: Wikis


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Motto: Tierra Cálida
(Warm Land)
Location of Mexicali within Baja California
Mexicali is located in Mexico
Location of Mexicali in Mexico
Coordinates: 32°40′00″N 115°28′00″W / 32.6666667°N 115.4666667°W / 32.6666667; -115.4666667Coordinates: 32°40′00″N 115°28′00″W / 32.6666667°N 115.4666667°W / 32.6666667; -115.4666667
Country Flag of Mexico.svg Mexico
State Mexico stateflags Baja California.png Baja California
Municipality Mexicali
Founded March 14, 1903
 - Type Ayuntamiento
 - Municipal President
Elevation 3 m (10 ft)
Population (2008)
 - City 1,000,010
 Density 81.94/km2 (212.2/sq mi)
 Metro Incl. Imperial Valley and SLRC: 1,155,399
 - Demonym Cachanilla
Time zone PST (UTC−8)
 - Summer (DST) PDT (UTC−7)
Area code(s) +52 686

Mexicali is the capital of the Mexican state of Baja California. Mexicali is also the seat of the Municipality of Mexicali. Founded on March 14, 1903, Mexicali is situated on the U.S.-Mexico border adjacent to Calexico, California and is the northernmost city in Latin America, located at 32°40′0″N 115°28′0″W / 32.666667°N 115.466667°W / 32.666667; -115.466667.

Mexicali proper has a population of 653,046, according to the 2005 census, while the population of the entire metropolitan area exceeds 900,000.



The Spanish arrived to the area after crossing the Sonora Desert's "Camino del Diablo" or Devils Road. This lead to the evangelization of the area and also the population collapse of the native peoples. Today Cocopah descendants inhabit a small government-protected corner of the delta near the junction of the Hardy and Colorado rivers. These people mostly work on agricultural ejidos or fish the rivers, although many have migrated to Mexicali.[1]

The early European presence in this area was limited to the Jesuits, who left in the 1780s. After this, the Spanish and later the Mexicans had little to do with the northeastern corner of the Baja California peninsula, perceiving it as an untamable, flood-prone desert delta.[1]

Rail tracks on Avenida Lopez Mateos leading north to the border crossing.

In the mid-1800s, a geologist working for the Southern Pacific Railroad came to the delta area, discovering what the native Yumans had known for centuries: that the thick river sediment deposits made the area prime farming land. These sediments extended far to the west of the river itself, accumulating in a shallow basin below the Sierra de Cucapá.[1] However, from this time period until the 1880s, the area was almost completely unpopulated, mostly due to its climate. In 1888, the federal government granted a large part of northern Baja state, including Mexicali, to Guillermo Andrade, with the purpose of colonizing the area on the recently-created border with the United States. However, around 1900, the only area with any real population, aside from the Cocopah, were concentrated in Los Algodones, to the east of Mexicali.[2]

In 1900, the U.S.-based California Land Company received permission from the Díaz government to cut a canal through the delta's Arroyo Alamo, to link the dry basin with the Colorado River. To attract farmers to the area, the developers named it "The Imperial Valley". In 1903, the first 500 farmers arrived; by late 1904, 100,000 acres (405 km²) of valley were irrigated, with 10,000 people settled on the land harvesting cotton, fruits, and vegetables. The concentration of small housing units that straddled the border was called Calexico on the U.S. side, Mexicali on the Mexican side.[1]

The Mexican side was named Mexicali (From "Mexico" and "California") by Coronel Agustín Sanginéz. Initially the area belonged to the municipality of Ensenada.[2] The town of Mexicali was officially created on 14 March 1903 when Manuel Vizcarra was named as the town's first authority and assistant judge (juez auxiliar).[1] Mayor Baltazar Aviléz declared the municipality of Mexicali on November 4, 1914 and called for elections to create the first ayuntamiento or district council, which was then headed by Francisco L. Montejano.[2]

Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe Cathedral in the city center

Another U.S. land development country set out to do the same with the nearby Valley of Mexicali. Led by Los Angeles Times publisher Harry Chandler, the company controlled 800,000 hectares of land in northern Baja California by 1905 and began to construct the irrigation system for this valley. However, instead of using Mexican labor to dig the ditches, Chandler brought in thousands of Chinese laborers.[1]

In the 20th century, the Colorado Riverland Company was dedicated to renting land here to farmers; however, these farmers were almost always foreigners, such as Chinese, East Indians and Japanese. The Mexicans were employed only as seasonal labor. This situation led to the agrarian conflict known as the "Asalto a las Tierras" (Assault on the Lands) in 1937.[2]

Agricultural production continued to increase during the 20th century. Cotton became the most important crop and with it developed the textile industry. In the early 1950s, the Mexicali Valley became the biggest cotton-producing zone in the whole country and in the 1960s, production reached more than half a million parcels a year. Currently, the valley still is one of Mexico's most productive agricultural regions, mostly producing wheat, cotton and vegetables. The city of Mexicali is one of Mexico's most important exporter of asparagus, broccoli, carrots, green onions, lettuce, peas, peppers, radishes and tomatoes to the world.[1]

The government of the municipality was reorganized when the Baja territory became the 29th state in 1953.[2]


View of the Civic Center Monument, designed by noted Mexicali artist, Francisco Arias Beltrán, to the four original municipalities in Baja California (Mexicali, Mexico)

The city itself had a 2005 census population of 653,046, whereas the municipality's population was 895,962. It is the 13th largest municipality in Mexico as of the Census 2005 with population estimates exceeding one million alone. The population is constantly growing due to the number of Maquiladoras in the area,lack of urban planing, and migrational aspects, like seasonal labor and the constant in-and-out flow of immigrants to the U.S. or into Mexico.


Chinatown, Mexicali

The city claims to have the largest per capita concentration of residents of Chinese origin, around 5,000. While this does not compare to U.S. cities like San Francisco or New York, early in the 20th century Mexicali was numerically and culturally more Chinese than Mexican. The Chinese arrived to the area as laborers for the Colorado River Land Company, an American enterprise which designed and built an extensive irrigation system in the Valley of Mexicali. Some immigrants came from the United States, often fleeing anti-Chinese policies there, while others sailed directly from China. Thousands of Chinese were lured to the area by the promise of high wages, but for most that never materialised.[3]

ABSA shopping center on Lopez Mateos Blvd and Mexico Street

Many of the Chinese labourers who came to the irrigation system stayed on after its completion, congregating in an area of Mexicali today known as Chinesca ('Chinatown'). During Prohibition in the U.S., many Chinese laborers and farmers came to the town to open bars, restaurants and hotels to cater their American clients, Chinesca eventually housed just about all of the city's casinos and bars, and an underground tunnel system to connect bordellos and opium dens to Calexico on the U.S. side. Bootleggers also used this route to supply the U.S. with booze purchased in Mexico.[3]

By 1920, Mexicali's Chinese population outnumbered the Mexican 10,000 to 700. A group of 5,000 single Chinese males started the Asociación China, a Mexicali's social organization at least partly devoted to finding Chinese wives from overseas, which remains active today. In 1927, a series of Tong wars here and other parts of Northern Mexico erupted over control of gambling and prostitution rings. Mexican alarm over the Chinese organized crime led to the government-encouraged Movimiento Anti-Chino. In the late 1920s, a wave of anti-immigrant sentiment that swept the country and led to the torture and murder of hundreds of Chinese in northern Mexico—similar to what happened on a larger scale in California in the 1880s. However, the Chinese in this city were numerous enough and politically strong enough to protect themselves. After anti-Chinese sentiment faded, more Chinese arrived here, and it became the Mexican headquarters for the Kuomintang, or the Nationalist Chinese Party. After events during World War II and the Communist takeover of China, a large number of Chinese refugees came to Mexico in the mid-century. The town was the site of the Taiwan consulate in the 1960s until Mexico withdrew its recognition of the island nation, ending immigration of ethnic Chinese to this area.[3]

Plaza de la Amistad (Friendship Plaza) pagodas, located just outside the border crossing to the USA

The percentage of Chinese was so high here that in the 1940s the town had only two cinemas, both of which played Chinese movies almost exclusively. However, in the latter half of the 20th century, steady influx of Mexican migrants here diluted the Chinese population, until once again they became a minority.[3]

La Chinesca, or Chinatown, still survives near the border close to the intersection of Avenida Madero and Calle Melgar,although it is much smaller than in the past. However, Mexicali still boasts more Chinese restaurants per capita than any other city in Mexico, more than 100 for the whole town, most with Cantonese-style cuisine. Local Chinese associations struggle to preserve the arts and culture of the homeland through the sponsorship of Chinese festivals, calligraphy clubs, and language classes. However, much of Chinese cultural life here has blended with local Mexican and American traditions to create a unique, hybrid culture.[3]

Like many Chinese restaurants outside of Asia, cooks here have adapted their native cuisine to local tastes. For example, restaurants here serve their dishes with a small bowl of a sauce that is similar to a generic steak sauce, common in Northern Mexico. In many of these restaurants, it is not uncommon to see Chinese men wearing stiff straw cowboy hats, meeting over hamburgers and green tea and speaking a mixture of Cantonese and Spanish. Along with burgers and chow mein, many restaurants here also offer shark-fin tacos.[3]

Boroughs (delegaciones)

The municipality of Mexicali is divided into 1 city area and 14 administrative boroughs (delegaciones, in Spanish) of which the city of Mexicali occupies 3 beside the city area. These boroughs offer administrative services such as urban planning, civil registry, inspection, verification, public works and community development and are served by a Delegado Municipal (Municipal Delegate).


In its beginnings Mexicali was an important center for cotton production for export until synthetic fabrics reduced the worldwide demand for the fiber.

Currently horticulture is the most successful agricultural activity with scallion (green onion), and asparagus being among the most important crops. Cotton and wheat are still cultivated but with government price guarantees and subsidies making wheat farmer protests an annual event. There is an annual agribusiness fair in March drawing interested people from all over Mexico and the United States called Agrobaja.

The current prospects for economic growth in Mexicali rely on in-bond and assembly plants, mainly for export, including companies like, Selther, Daewoo, Mitsubishi, Honeywell, Paccar, Vitro, Skyworks Solutions, Cardinal Health, Bosch, Price Pfister, Gulfstream, Goodrich, Kenworth and Kwikset. Mexicali is also home to many food processing plants such as Nestlé, Jumex, Bimbo, Coca-Cola and Sabritas.

There are joint efforts on behalf of the Baja California government and the private sector to attract more companies to Mexicali based on a cluster strategy focusing on the regions' strengths of qualified labor, abundant energy and water supplies, a pro-business environment and its location on the California border.

Mexicali is considered among the most prosperous cities in Mexico, although US tourists can observe the level of poverty in rural villages surrounding the modern, upper-middle class enclave of Mexicali proper.There's recent research that indicate a high level of desease prevalence like respiratory illness,asthma,and other medical issues in the local inhabitant. The North American Free Trade Agreement of 1994 that eliminated most trade restrictions between the two nations offers Mexicali an economic boom in the next decade.

Silicon Border

Silicon Border is a 10,000 acre development tailored to the specific needs of high-technology manufacturing and is situated in Mexicali, along the western border of the U.S. and Mexico.[1]. The aim of the manufacturing park, which began in 2004, is to transform Mexicali into the world's next semiconductor manufacturing center. The Mexican federal and Baja California state governments have committed more than $2 million to the design and manufacturing of the project. Former President Vicente Fox has also offered 10 years of tax-free status to any firms that locate in the park and invest $1 billion or more[2]. Silicon Border’s vision is to provide Mexico with an infrastructure that enables high-tech companies anywhere in the world to move manufacturing operations to the country and exploit its competitive advantages such as geographical location, human capital, research, legal and tax benefits, intellectual property, international treaties and logistics provided by the country for manufacturing high technology products while allowing research to develop processes, design, fabrication and testing able to compete with Asian operations and costs.[3]

Q-Cells, the world's largest manufacturer of photovoltaic cells, [4]has manifested its intention to develop a major thin film photovoltaics manufacturing facility at Silicon Border [5]. With the world economic depress of 2008, Q-Cells delayed its plans to settle in the park.[6] A variety of electrical and water facilities are already built at Silicon Border in addition to energy-saving lighting. [7] The infrastructure build-out, financed by ING Clarion, consists of potable water plant and distribution, fiber optic telephone and data cable, power substations, and waste treatment facilities. Silicon Border not only provides manufacturing space to companies creating "green" products, but does so in an environmentally conscious manner. [8]

The Autonomous University of Baja California, located in Mexicali, has started new programs such as Aerospace Engineering, Semiconductors and Microelectronics Engineering, Renewable Energy Engineering, Bioengineering, History and Sociology to create high tech human resources for potential semiconductor firms. [9]

California's Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has continued to promote cooperation with the project and has encouraged economic partnerships with Silicon Border in his radio[10] At the beginning of 2006, the California governor created the “California/Baja Silicon Border Work Group,” run by deputy secretary of the California Business, Transportation, and Housing Agency, Yolanda Benson. State officials promised to hasten the roadways needed to link up with those being built for Silicon Border in Mexico. [11]

Silicon Border is the only site in North America with abundant and inexpensive electrical power, natural gas and water, as well as a large labor pool of high skilled and motivated individuals. The area is supplied with water from the Colorado River and a major electrical sub-station supplied by three separate power plants. [12] Further infrastructure improvements associated with Silicon Border are to include a new highway (under construction) and an additional border > News > Mexico - Partners pushing 'silicon' center Silicon Border estimates that in the next ten years, the Silicon Border Science Park could generate 100,000 jobs, both within Mexico and the U.S.[13]

Natural resources

The New River, which runs north to the state of California from Mexicali is considered the most polluted river in North America, has toxic levels of lead and other heavy metals,fecal bacteria,pathogens and industrial waste;also air pollution is a problem during summer and winter months with dust and other particulate levels exceeding healthy levels and a long time issue. In spite of its arid desert location Mexicali is watered through a system of aquifers in the valley. Under a 1944 water treaty the city is "...guaranteed [an] annual quantity of 1,500,000 acre-feet (1,850,234,000 cubic meters) [of water] to be delivered..." from the Colorado River.[4] However, a proposed concrete lining in the United States on the All-American Canal would cut off billions of leaked gallons of water, which is used to irrigate onions, alfalfa, asparagus, squash and other crops in Mexicali.[5]

On the nearby Volcano, Cerro Prieto,[6] presides a geothermal plant, from which electrical energy is generated.[7]


Cars crossing the border station from Mexicali-Calexico

Mexicali also relies on tourism as a medium revenue, and visitors cross by foot or car from Calexico in the United States every day. Restaurants and taco stands, pharmacies, bars and dance clubs are part of the draw for the city's tourists. Many shops and stalls selling Mexican crafts and souvenirs are also located in walking distance from the border.

Many residents from California, Arizona and Nevada look for medical and dental services in Mexicali, because they tend to be less expensive than those in the United States. Mexicali is home to several pharmacies marketed toward visitors from the United States. These pharmacies sell some pharmaceutical drugs without prescriptions and at much lower costs than pharmacies in the US. Many medications still require a doctor's prescription, although several accessible doctor offices are located near the border as well.

Mexico's drinking age of 18 (vs. 21 in the United States) makes it a common weekend destination for many high school and college aged Southern Californians who tend to stay within the Calzadas Justo Sierra, Benito Juarez and Francisco L. Montejano.

Entrance to highway leading to San Felipe. The statues depict fishermen

Mexicali hosts Baja Prog, one of the world's most important events in Progressive Rock. Since 1997, Baja Prog has been in the eyes of the world for being an event gathering the best acts of the progressive rock scene. The event was created and is still organized by local musician and member of the band CAST Alfonso Vidales Moreno. Baja Prog attracts music fans from around the world.[citation needed]

Air travel

The city is linked to other Mexican cities by the Mexicali International Airport, which serve the city and the surrounding towns.


Mexicali's "House of Culture" decorated for Dia de los Muertos.

The residents of Mexicali (Mexicalenses) call themselves "Cachanillas" (due to a local plant, the cachanilla, used by the Cucapah tribe to build shacks) and are from culturally diverse backgrounds, and it is among the most ethnically diverse cities in Mexico, with people from various Native American, European, African, (east) Asian, and Middle Eastern origins.[8]

There is a very popular song called “Puro Cachanilla” also known as “El Cachanilla” that identifies people from Mexicali.

In 2004, there were 11 theaters[9] in the city:

  1. Teatro del Estado.
  2. Teatro al Aire Libre del Centro Comunitario Estudiantil.
  3. Teatro de Casa de Cultura de Mexicali. Idem.
  4. Teatro del CREA
  5. Teatro Universitario de Mexicali, it is mainly used for UABC ceremonies and occasionally for plays.
  6. Teatro al Aire Libre de Rectoría
  7. Teatro del Seguro Social that was inaugurated in the 1970s.
  8. Teatro al aire libre del Centro de Enseñanza Técnica y Superior CETYS unveiled on September 2006.
  9. Teatro del Centro de Enseñanza Técnica y Superior CETYS.
  10. IMAX Teatro in The Sol del Niño Museum
  11. Centro Estatal de las Artes with multiple theater and convention center
  12. Teatro del OXXO

Mexicali also has the Baja Prog festival, a series of progressive rock concerts that take place during four consecutive days in springtime. It is hosted by CAST, a progressive rock band from Mexicali.


Mexicali has many sites where people from all over the country visit, as well as visitors from United States and Canada, such as the bullfighting arena, Plaza Calafia, where many bullfights ("corridas") are organized along the year. Mexicali has also a professional 18-hole Golf Course "Club Campestre" where both national and international championships take place regularly. Beside the amateur leagues, there are a few professional sport teams which plays in different leagues.


Mexicali's basketball team is the Soles de Mexicali that plays in the Liga Nacional de Baloncesto Profesional (LNBP) of Mexico. They were the champions of the LNBP (2006–2007) season. Their stadium is the "Auditorio del Estado" located in the "Ciudad Deportiva de Mexicali".

Mexicali is also home to a 2007 Pacific Coast Basketball Circuit franchise, the Calor de Mexicali (The Mexicali Heat). Their stadium is the "Gimnasio de Mexicali" located in the "Avenida Reforma".

Mexicali is also home to a 2006 American Basketball Association franchise, the Centinelas de Mexicali (The Sentinels).


The "Ciudad Deportiva" also houses a football stadium where the Cachanillas de Mexicali, a Mexican third division football team plays.

The home of the Pioneros del Valle, also a Mexican third division football team, is located in the Mexicali Valley.


In addition, "Ciudad Deportiva" is the location of the "CasasGeo" stadium where the professional baseball team "Águilas de Mexicali" plays every season. The Águilas de Mexicali is a Mexican baseball team playing for the Liga Mexicana del Pacífico in Mexicali, Baja California. The team was founded in October 14, 1976. They have won the championship three times, 1985-1986 (coach Benjamin Reyes), in 1988-1989 (coach Dave Machemer), in 1998-1999 (coach Francisco Estrada). The team also won the 1986 Caribbean Series, played in Venezuela. The "Águilas de Mexicali" were formed in 1976 and have been a member of the Mexican Pacific League since. They are located in the border city of Mexicali, Baja California and have won three LMP pennants. Their brightest moment came when they won the 1986 Caribbean Series, only becoming the second Mexican team to take the title. Mexicali was the host for the Caribbean Series in 2009.

The Azules de Mexicali is a professional Mexican baseball team which plays in the North Sonora League, the main supporting league of the "LMP".

Mexicali young baseball players through the Little League program had played three times the Little league World Series in Williamsport, PA. USA. First time in 1985 Felix Arce Little league representing the West of United States and 2005 and 2007 the Seguro Social Little League representing Mexico.

American football

The team plays in the newly-built convention center, while local businessmen negotiate a deal for an American football team with the af2 under ownership of the Arena Football League in 2008.[citation needed] . The owners announced they made a new team, the Mexicali Borregos Salvajes but hasn't officially joined af2 but could play in the Mexican Pro American Football League in games against teams from across Mexico.[citation needed]


Mexicali possesses a diversity of shopping malls, the most visited being Plaza La Cachanilla, located just a few minutes away from the US border. The mall hosts a variety of shops, which sell a wide array of things, ranging from cheap Mexican curiosities to expensive imports. The Plaza La Cachanilla also represents a common place for people to socialize, especially during summer days when the weather reaches high temperatures, many families come and spend the day inside the air conditioned mall.

Just about everything for recreation can be found in Mexicali, including pool halls, bowling alleys, traditional cantinas, car clubs, full contact strip clubs, movie theaters, museums, a zoo, a state university, a convention center, supermarkets, and fast food restaurants.

The Galerias del Valle, anchored by WalMart Supercenter, 12-screen movie theater Cinepolis and Ashley Furniture is located by Boulevard Lazaro Cardenas and Calle 11. The mall's food court contains such eateries including Carl's Jr., Applebees, Starbucks and Burger King.


Climate chart (explanation)
average max. and min. temperatures in °C
precipitation totals in mm
source: [14]

Under the Koppen climate classification, Mexicali features a desert climate. Mexicali is well known for its extreme weather. The highest temperature recorded in Mexicali was 52°C (about 126°F) in July 1995. Average July highs hover around 42°C (107°F). On the other hand, winter normals are quite low, with average January lows of 5°C (41°F) and a record low of -8°C (18°F) recorded in January 1949.[10] The city received snow only once in recorded history, in December 1932.[11]

The climate in Mexicali is extremely arid, with average annual rainfall of less than three inches.[12]

Notable natives and residents

Sister cities

Cars lined up along border fence in Mexicali waiting to cross over to Calexico




Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Mexicali is a city in Baja California, Mexico. It is the capital of the state of Baja California, and is located immediately across the border from Calexico in California. Visitors can expect a very hot climate during the summer months while cool throughout the rest of the year, with average temperatures during the summer daytime ranging from 125ºF (51°C) from June to September. Mexicali is prone to many earthquakes throughout the year, especially during the change of seasons. Mexicali has a population of around 1.0 million people according to the last census, although it is believed that the number is now closer to 1.5 million. The city has grown from a small border town to a modern city with a sizable middle class and an even bigger upper class. The standard of living is the highest in Mexico. It is recognized in Mexico for its sizable investment in education and low unemployment. It is a progressive city with main industry that has gone from agricultural to industrial. Its proximity to the United States has made it a very popular tourist destination, especially for day-trippers. Recent violence has curtailed that traffic, however.


Mexicali has 14 boroughs, which are comprised of 1 city municipal seat and 13 other boroughs which are in the valley area. The city seat can be further divided by Colonias and Fraccionamientos.


Economically, a growing middle class disposable income has fueled Mexicali's transformation into a modern city with a vibrant culture, a characteristic that has attracted many national and international businesses which had largely ignored the city before and had turned to Tijuana. Aside from the middle class, in Mexicali you can expect to find areas filled with very rich people. Mexicali is considered among the most prosperous cities in Mexico, although US tourists can observe the level of poverty in rural villages surrounding the modern, upper-middle class enclave of Mexicali proper. The North American Free Trade Agreement of 1994 that eliminated most trade restrictions between the two nations offers Mexicali an economic boom in the next decade. Mexicali is a transit point for illegal immigration into the United States, as well as a common destination for any illegal Mexican immigrants deported from the West Coast of the United States. As such, some areas are swollen with poor people with no roots in the city, who inhabit shantytowns, mainly in the outskirts of the city. Apart from these poor migrants, Mexicali is one of the wealthiest cities in Mexico. Some areas of the city reflect the significant number of wealthy people who inhabit the city, in areas such as San Pedro, Villafontana, and Col Nueva. Mexicali's growing reputation as a cosmopolitan city is justified. Not only is the city home to many people who have migrated from within the same country, as well as some native Mexican Indians, but it boasts an important amount of Asian residents (especially Chinese), as well as Americans, Europeans, and South Americans.

Mexicali is known mainly as a business and industry town, but has an excellent reputation for hospitality and tourism in the country.

Mexicali is known as "the city that captured the sun". Its residents frequently joke regarding its extreme heat during the summer, reaching record desert temperatures. Mexicali's primary newspapers are La Voz de la Frontera and La Cronica de Baja California. It is served by three television stations (Televisa [with 4 analog and 2 digital signals], TV Azteca [2 analog and 2 digital signals] and Canal Once) along with the television stations in the United States in the Imperial County market (NBC, CBS, FOX, ABC, CW, MNTV, Univision, Telemundo, and Telefutura).

While the Mexican peso is the legal currency, US dollars are widely accepted. Mexicali observes daylight savings time (DST) and is in the Pacific Time Zone the same way as the USA did pre-2007, from first Sunday in April to last Sunday in October. Note there will be several weeks each year when Calexico is on DST, but Mexicali is not, causing a 1 hour time shift.


People in the city of Mexicali speak Spanish, as it is in most of Mexico. However, English is spoken at least marginally by the majority of the population and due to its international standing, other languages are used for business and are heard throughout the city, such as Chinese, Japanese, German, and French.

Get In

By Car

Mexicali is accessible from the United States through Calexico on Highway 111 (from El Centro and points north) and Highway 98 East (Yuma) and West (San Diego) via I-8.

Either park at the border and continue on foot or you drive into Mexico. Driving from the US to Mexico usually requires no stopping. Driving across the border from Mexico to the US may involve a long wait, especially during evening rush hour or on holiday weekends. Mexican insurance is required, which should be bought before your trip. Mexicali has two border crossings, Mexicali East (Newer) and Mexicali West (Traditional), which has a SENTRI lane.

Mexicali is the northern terminus for Mexican Highway 5 to San Felipe.

Mexicali can also be reached from Tijuana and Tecate on Mex-2. Though much of this highway is a toll road (the "Libramiento" aka Autopista), it is more scenic but will take longer than I-8 and is considered more hazardous, especially the "Rumorosa Grade". The toll either to or from Tijuana is around $14.

By foot

Many people drive to the border, park on the US side, and walk across. There are many lots available for this, which charge $4-$9 a day. While there are many taxis waiting to take you across, it's only about a five minute walk; follow the signs across.

View of the Airport
View of the Airport
Mexicali's International Airport, "General Rodolfo Sánchez Taboada", is located 20 km east of the city and offers services to all types of flights, private and commercial. There are daily flights out of the Airport to other major cities in México. In addition, Mexicali has access to the Imperial Valley Airport, 15 miles North across the border from Mexicali which operates commercial flights to different cities in the United States.

Get around

Public Transportation

Taxis are abundant in the city. You may either call for a site taxi (taxi de sitio) which are called beforehand and they can take you where you ask, or route taxis (taxi de ruta), which, like buses, have specific routes which they take.

There are also multiple public buses, which can range from old school refurbished school buses with no air circulation to brand new metrobuses with air conditioning and television screens, which are more expensive.

  • Museo Interactivo Sol del Niño - Scientific and Interactive Museum fun for children and adults. Interactive Science, Technology, Arts and Environment Center.
  • Plaza de Toros Calafia - Bullring with frequent bullfights with toreros from around Latin America and Spain.
  • Bosque y Zoologico de la Ciudad - Mexicali's biggest park along with its city zoo.
  • Parque Vicente Guerrero - Mexicali's second biggest park with lake.
  • Centro Estatal de las Artes - State Art Center: see art exhibitions, musical concertos and recitals among other things.
  • Instituto Municipal de Arte y Cultura - City Art Center: see art exhibitions, musical concertos and recitals among other things.
  • Teatro del Estado - The states theater with many shows throughout the year.
  • UABC Museo - The University of Baja California's Museum with exhibits throughout the year.
  • Casa de la Cultura - Mexicali's Culture House, with interactive art workshops and exhibitions.
  • Salon de la Fama - Mexicali's Hall of Fame, with notable figures from throughout the city and state.
  • Bellas Artes - Where Mexicali's fine arts groups are located.
  • Juventud 2000 Sport Center - Mexicali's newest and most modern park.
  • Morelos Dam You can admire the town and its surroundings from this beautiful natural setting. The dam was inaugurated on September 23, 1950 and has a capacity of 230 cubic meters/sec and has a height of 42.10 meters and covers 175,000 acres.
  • Sierra de Juarez Cañón Tajo, crowned by the “Trono Blanco”—the highest monolith in Mexico with a height of 1970 feet - provides majestic panoramic views and is visited by premiere mountaineers from around the world. It is ideal for rock-climbing, hiking, rappelling, canoeing, and panoramic photography. There are also the Laguna Hanson and the Cañón de Llanos, sites that offer a place for a variety of activities including kayaking, hiking, camping, mountain biking, rock climbing, and spelunking.
  • Vallecitos Here the past meets the present in an extensive display of prehistoric rock carvings and cave paintings, such as the famous “Diablito” (Winter Solstice). This place is also excellent for hiking, a photography expedition, and spotting a variety of flora and fauna.
  • Hardy River Everything necessary for freshwater fishing and small game hunting, as well as being the ideal site for kayaking in tranquil waters, hiking, panoramic photography, and birdwatching. Ideal for families, groups or individuals who enjoy the scenic outdoors.
  • Arroyo Hondo Pool, kiddy pool, sand volleyball court, basketball court, soccer field, children's playground, barbeque pits. Restaurant- bar with billiards, karaoke, space for events; bathrooms with showers. Lifeguard, security. Capacity for 1,500 persons. Open year round.
  • Sand Dunes Beautiful sand dunes that are the ideal place for riding motorcycles, ATVS, and sand buggy's.
  • Laguna Salada and La Rumorosa The highway coming down into the Mexicali Valley is an impressive drive. It is a steep 3000 ft drop on a new and well-designed highway. Two places unique in all the world that offer spectacular panoramas of natural beauty. Besides being ideal places for flying on a delta winged or a hang glider, cycling and off-road racing are also popular here.
  • [[San Felipe]] San Felipe is the closet beach to Mexicali, offering access to other beaches like Puertecitos and sites of extraordinary beauty, including the unique Valley of the Giants, where huge and imposing Sahuaro (saguaro) cactus greet all visitors and it has shops, restaurants, and bars.
  • Los Algodones During the winter season (October thru March), this picturesque small town (population 14,000) greets a considerable number of visitors known as "Snow birds", who come from the northern United States and Canada. Los Algodones is known for its ample variety of shops, Mexican folk art, laboratories and excellent medical and dental services which constitute the town’s main attraction.


Night Life/ Activities

Nightclubs in Mexicali tend to open and close throughout the year due to them becoming duds. Therefore, this list may not be the most updated of the best light life clubs.

  • Ultra"
  • Blu
  • Red Lion
  • Uni Irish Pub
  • La Salita
  • Los Barriles

Other Activities / Outdoor

  • Bol Bol Boliche - 21st century bowling with a club feel.
  • Caliente Sport Book
  • Cinepolis Movie Theaters (Centro Civico, San Pedro, Galerias, Nuevo Mexicali)
  • Cinemark Movie Theater
  • Cinemastar Movie Theater
  • IMAX Theater"'
  • Aguilas de Mexicali Go and see Mexicali's own baseball team in the Estadio Casas Geo.
  • Soles de Mexicali Come and see Mexicali's renowned basketball team.
  • Golf Club de Golf Campestre has an 18-hole course that features huge fairways, adorned by water hazards and sand traps that lead to excellent, quick greens, themselves often surrounded by more water and sand traps. During the year, major tournaments are held here, such as the Cotton Tournament in March, the City of Mexicali and Maquiladora Tournament's in April, the Father and Son Tournament in June, as well as the Bishops's and IAMSA Tournament's in November.
  • Racing Adrenaline junkies wont want to miss the tremendously entertaining off-road ATV races. Displaying their skills, experienced drivers race their machines at high speeds, roaring across the terrain, offering a grand spectacle for the crowds.
  • Hunting An extensive variety of birds and mammals such as the White Winged Dove, Huilota Dove, Cerceta, Black Branta, Goose, Pheasant, Duck, Quail, Black Tail Hare, Rabbit, Coyote, Wild Cat and Puma will put the skill of any hunter to the test. In the Valle de Mexicali, the season begins at the end of August and ends in February.
  • Fishing Freshwater: The municipality offers exciting places for fishing adventures. In addition to 1550 miles of canals, there are prime spots like Laguna Bogard, Rio Hardy, El Caimán, la Ciénega de Santa Clara, and el Bosque de la Ciudad, where you can participate in important tournaments all year long. A few of the species you will find while fishing are Lobina, Bagre, Carpa, and Tilapia. Saltwater: The coastline of San Felipe and spots like Roca Consag, Barco Hundido, Los Carros, Punta Estrella and Percebú, are well known fishig areas in addition to fishing out on the open sea. Catch-and-release tournaments allow fishing for shallow-water species as well as trophy-fish like Pez Vela, Marlin Dorado, and Jurel, among others.


This list is only a very small compilation of the major shopping centers in the city.

  • Plaza la Cachanilla Shops such as boutiques, hair salons, jewelry stores, food court, Coppel Stores, Ley Stores, Dorians Department Stores, etc.
  • Plaza Nuevo Mexicali Shops such as clothing, boutiques, cellular phones, funishings, and food court.
  • Plaza Fiesta Restaurants, jewelry stores and flagship store Sanborns.
  • Plaza Juventud 2000"'
  • Plaza San Pedro
  • Plaza Centenario
  • Centro Comercial Lienzo
  • Plaza Cataviña
  • Galerias del Valle
  • Plaza Mundo Divertido

Mexicali hosts most major national store chains such as: Soriana, Comercial Mexicana, FAMSA, Milano, Bodega Aurrera, among others. Mexicali also hosts international stores and shops like: Wal-Mart (3 Locations), Costco Wholesale, Blockbuster, Office Depot, The Home Depot, Gymboree, among others.

  • Fiestas del Sol Known as the biggest fair in the region, the Fiestas del Sol run from the end of September through mid-October. Practically all of Mexicali gathers together during this time for music and celebration, participating in popular dances while enjoying commercial, agricultural, and industrial expositions, carnival rides, regional food, and shows from national and international artists.
  • Baja Prog An international festival of progressive rock that brings together the most famous groups of this musical genre during the month of March.
  • Agrobaja Considered the largest and most important agricultural exposition on the northern Mexican border, held in March.


The selection of cuisine in Mexicali is very diverse. The Chinese contributed greatly to Mexicali cuisine with a very ample variety of dishes. Their food is as traditional to Mexicali as carne asada.

Good beer is another Mexicali tradition. World class beers have been produced in Mexicali since the early history. Today, there are small breweries that offer great varieties in terms of taste and characteristics.

However, Mexicali is not just about Chinese food, carne asada tacos, and beer. There is a wide selection of specialty restaurants-national and international. One sample the finest wines that are produced in the Mediterranean climate within Baja California. Mexicali has a large Chinese immigrant population, with many excellent choices.

Mexicali is also host to numerous international chains such as: Applebees, Starbucks Coffee, McDonalds, KFC, Burger King, Carl's Jr, Thrifty Ice Cream, Little Caesars, Dominos Pizza, Dairy Queen, etc.

The following lists of restaurants are only a few of the many located in the city

  • China House
  • Dragon
  • El Rincon de Panchito
  • Golden China
  • Chiangs China Bistro
  • Bon Apetit
  • Casino de Mexicali
  • Chalet Restaurant
  • El Acueducto
  • Heildelberg
  • La Cava
  • Las Villas
  • Tatoro
  • Fusion
  • Pampas do Brasil
  • La Carniceria
  • Fontana's
  • Trattoria La Piazza
  • Original Tony's
  • Mandolino
  • Mezzozole
  • Asian Sushi Restaurante
  • Sakura Restaurant
  • Sushi Barra
  • Villafontana Sushi
  • Yummi Kuu
  • Restaurant Las Campanas
  • Restaurant La Plazita
  • Cenaduria Selecta
  • Fonda de Mexicali
  • Restaurant Los Arcos
  • El Centenario
  • Mariscos Tijuana
  • Mariscos Laguna Azul


Visitors returning to the United States are allowed to bring back a limited quantity of alcohol, around 1 liter per adult (check regulations). Most foreign liquor is priced as in the US, but Mexican liquors such as Tequila, Mescal, and Kaluha, as well as Mexican beers can be great bargains.

  • Hotel Lucerna, 2151 Blvd. Benito Juarez
  • Crowne Plaza , Blvd. Lopez Mateos and Av. De Los Heroes 201
  • Araiza Hotel and Convention Center, Blvd. Benito Juarez 2220
  • Calafia Hotel and Convention Center", Calzada Justo Sierra 1495
  • Fiesta Inn Calz. Adolfo López Mateos No. 1029
  • City Express Blvd. Benito Juárez No. 1342
  • Hotel Colonial Blvd. Lopez Mateos 1048
  • Hotel Siesta Real Calz. Justo Sierra 899
  • Hotel Azteca de Oro, Calle de la Industria 600
  • Hotel Cosmos Posada, Calz. Justo Sierra #1943
  • "Hotel Del Norte', Ave. Madero 205
  • Hotel Hacienda del Rio, Blvd. Lopez Mateos Y Fresnillo # 101
  • Hotel Posada del Sol, Calle Calafia 400
  • Hotel Posada Inn, Blvd. Lopez Mateos y Torneros # 939
  • Hotel Regis, Blvd. Benito Juarez 2150
  • Hotel Samil, Blvd. Lázaro Cárdenas #1486
  • Hotel Villa del Sol, Blvd. López Mateos y Fuerza Aérea #133
  • Motel Aeropuerto, Carretera Mexicali Ledón km. 7.5
  • Motel Alves, Carretera Mexicali - Tijuana km. 1
  • Motel El Moro, Blvd. Aeropuerto 3598
  • Motel Liz, Carretera a San Felipe km. 1.5
  • Hotel Kennedy Calle Morelos 415-Altos
  • Hotel Mexico Av. Lerdo 476, Zona Centro


The country code for Mexico is +52, and the area code for the Mexicali Metropolitan area is 686. Phone numbers have 7 digits (XXX-XX-XX) and cellular phone numbers are dialed using access code 044, the area code, and the number (044-686-XXX-XXXX). Your mobile carrier will work if they have an agreement with either Telcel, Illusacel, Telefonica (Movistar), or Nextel. They may also work in the areas close to the international border with American carriers such as Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile.

Most hotels (all of the High-end) have high-speed internet access and are wi-fi enabled. This is the same for shopping malls and coffee shops. You may also find hot-spots at college and university campuses throughout the city.

Stay Safe

While Mexicali has saved itself from the severity and degree of violence along the US-Mexico border , there is still potential for it to become very dangerous, along with the violence that a regular metro city has such as petty theft, violence, and gang related incidents. The emergency number is 066. Please avoid giving out money to beggars and homeless people standing in the street or along sidewalks and avoid buying things off the street to avoid trouble later. Do not buy illegal drugs to avoid becoming part of the ongoing violence. Overstocking yourself with prescription drugs will also warrant getting checked. While partying and clubbing in Mexico is all in good fun and allright, keep in mind that you will not get away with it "because it is Mexico". You probably will get caught and kept a special eye on because you are an American, even if you look Latino. If you do anything unlawful even if you are underage, you will spend time in prison. You do not get preferential treatment because you are an American citizen. While there is no need to have to hide the fact that you are an American, the flamboyant and flagrant exposition of self-thought superiority is not welcome, in good taste, or tolerated, like anywhere else in the world. Keep in mind that Mexico uses kilometers and not miles and speed limits are much slower than in the United States. Please do not try to bribe the Mexican police officers, even if they are hinting at it. If you try to bribe, you will go to prison. Driving while using a cellphone or a radio without a handsfree device is illegal in the state of Baja California and it will get you ticketed. Trying to bargain prices will sometimes help, but in most places in Mexicali today it is not practiced and such behavior will be ignored.

Do not be caught with any type of weapon in Mexico. This can include a small pocket knife, or even ammunition or bullet casings. American motorists have been jailed for driving into Mexico with spent ammunition casings in their car trunk.

In the unlikely event of a major earthquake, duck and cover and stay where you are during the shaking, then go outside once the shaking stops. Buildings and other structures are unlikely to collapse. Your largest threats come from breaking windows and falling objects such as ceiling tiles and bookshelves. Try to get under a table, desk, or doorjam to reduce your exposure to these threats. You are more likely to be injured if you try to run during the shaking.

Stay Healthy

While the city's restaurants are registered by the Health Department and clean water is available city-wide, eating at roadside taco shops and drinking tap water is discouraged because one that is not used to this will probably get food poisoning. Any foods you are not used to and do not feel will be good later, do not eat. Bottled water, gasified and pure, is available widely and you are encouraged to drink of it. If you need emergency medical treatment, it is preferred that you attend a private hospital and call 066, attending a public hospital or a Seguro Social hospital will be futile, as they are only for registered Mexican citizens and they themselves have problems getting medical attention there. There are drugstores and private medical and dental clinics throughout the city.

  • Guadalupe Canyon Hot Springs offers a running stream and a variety of primitive (hose-fed from local springs) hot baths and camping; the area is popular with Mexicali locals; it is located 30 miles down a rough dirt road, some 20 miles west of town on the road to Tijuana. The area also contains a significant number of petroglyphs in nearby canyons accessible by foot.
  • San Felipe is located 120 miles south on Highway 5.

Simple English

[[File:|right|thumb]] Mexicali is a city in Mexico. It is in the north of the country and across the border from California in the United States. It is the capital city of Baja California. Mexicali is the northernmost city of Latin America. About 903,000 people live there. Many of them are of Hispanic descent.


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