The only border town to earn the country’s Pueblo Magico (“magical city”) status enchants with bucolic splendor, sprawling historic rancho, rustic restaurants, and a slow-paced way of life.
The wine route begins here and thus vineyards add more eye candy and opportunities for tasting. It affords ancient and outdoorsy experiences aplenty including hiking at El Carrizo Dam or up Montaña Sagrada del Cuchuma (where the Kumiai still carry out devotional rituals to mountain spirits), studying cave paintings at El Vallecito, and rock scrambling or rappelling at the geological oddity La Rumorosa.
Getting There: Tecate is 31 miles east using Mexico 2D and 3. It’ll take about 45 minutes and there are tolls.
Travel Tip: Refuel and reward yourself with two of the city’s specialties: bread and beer, the making of which often lends a very yeasty intoxicating scent to the air. International brand Tecate was born here in 1944 and while it’s still the king of beers here.