WHAT IS TURISTA LIBRE?
Turista Libre is a series of atypical day trips in Tijuana and northern Baja California, Mexico, led by an American journalist who now calls the border city home. Itineraries are geared toward – but not limited to – foreigners, a caravan that treks the region in search of the overlooked and underrated.
In operation since October 2009, the core goal of Turista Libre ("Free Tourist," a moniker inspired by the notion of liberating visitors from the obvious cliches of traditional tourism) is to introduce outsiders to the Tijuana, a city that was essentially built for tourists, that its some 2 million residents live on a daily basis.
Itineraries take their inspiration from various iconic regional pastimes typically reserved for locals: museums, markets, parks, breweries, concerts, wineries, water parks, street art, fairs, gastronomic gems, sporting events, architectural delights and other cultural hotspots.
We wind up experiencing pieces of Tijuana the average tourist rarely sees – a wrestling match, a back-alley swap meet or a locals-only dive bar buffet – and everyone goes home wondering (border waits, the language barrier and secondhand fears aside) why they don't visit this city more often.
This is an opportunity for those curious about what exists beyond what we hear in the news to come to know Tijuana and Baja California for what it truly is and to decide for themselves.
And, in the spirit of the journey being the destination, Turista Libre's mode of transportation comes as an essential element to the experience: a decommissioned American school bus that now serves as a member of Tijuana's public transportation system.