Rosarito Travel Guide

Carine Brulé

Rosarito Beach (commonly called Rosarito) is just 20 miles south of the U.S./ Mexico International border. Due to its mild year round climate, over a million visitors a year vacation in Rosarito. Until 1995, Rosarito was considered to be a suburb of Tijuana. Just miles away from the chaos and craziness of the world's busiest border, is this laid-back beach town with a completely different feel!

In the early 1920's a wealthy, political family of ranchers built an easily accessible highway to Rosario. They also built and opened the Rosarito Beach Hotel which was originally a hunting lodge. Here was a retreat for the Californians to come to Mexico and hunt deer, quail and rabbit! Not only did they build the road and the hotel, but the same family also built the first power and telephone companies. Soon the lodge was discovered! It was transformed from a hunting lodge to a retreat for the rich and famous. The Rosarito Beach Hotel became one of the most well-known hotels on the Pacific coast of North America. Soon Hollywood stars came here to escape restrictions of prohibition, and in later years, the stress of city life. Finding the salt air refreshing and the grace of Old Mexico always slightly intriguing!

The white stucco, colonial Spanish architecture of the building is still beautiful today. The hotel has expanded and modernized. However, the massive wood-beamed ceiling in the lobby is still decorated with original murals from the 1920's depicting colorful scenes of Mexican history and culture. And, to this day, the writing on the wall claims, "Through this door pass the most beautiful women in the world."

Rosarito continues to be a favorite tourist destination for young and old alike. Whether it is families looking for a sunny, beach vacation or couples looking for romance or a honeymoon spot. For the traveler from the United States, you can experience the adventure of being in a foreign country, yet have the security of knowing you are just a short drive to the U.S. For this same reason, Rosarito has become a retirement destination for many U.S. citizens. Another interesting fact is that there are many people who actually live in Rosarito in gorgeous beach homes and work in the United States. This is a fairly recent phenomenon, and was due to the outrageous housing prices in the United States in the recent past.

Rosarito offers fairly mild year-round temperatures. The constant ocean breezes keep summer from getting too hot, yet winters are comparatively mild, too. The winter season is the slow season with lower rates on hotels, except for holiday times. While summer is the busiest. Another busy time of year, is the time surrounding California's college spring break, Easter and Mexico's Semana Santa holiday. From May to October are truly fantastic months when it comes to the weather!

Most all of Rosarito resides along one main road. Once you exit the Toll Road and get onto the slower, local free road, you will have to slow down and relax as traffic can be wearisome to some degree. There are buses and taxis, pedestrians and other traffic. But enjoy the drive! Along this road, you will see shops selling every sort of Mexican handicraft and artwork. Stop to do some shopping. Whether your interest is in a small, souvenir, silver jewelry, authentic pottery, a fountain, bright Mexican tiles or an ornate lace-like ironwork gazebo, a grand, aged wooden entrance door or a Old World Mexico style dining table set, you can find a treasure in the shops of Rosarito!

And your lodging choices are almost as endless. There are small, downright cheap motels, nice hotels (of course, the historical Rosarito Beach Hotel that we already mentioned), quaint and funky hotels with character or high-rise beachfront resorts and private beachside communities with rental houses and condos.

Rosarito is a typical beachtown and so its atmosphere is casual, laid-back and informal. There are tacos stands or other fast food on almost every corner. On the other hand, you can enjoy an upscale dinner of exquisite International cuisine, if you choose. With a hundred or so restaurants to choose from, you can have your choice of Traditional Mexican food, Steakhouses and grilled specialties from local ranches, Pork Carnitas, franchised Fast food, and of course, Seafood and Lobster fresh from the Pacific Ocean!

Just a few minutes south of Rosarito, you must visit Puerto Nuevo (New Port), or "Lobster Village." This place is a long-standing favorite tradition for visitors from San Diego and elsewhere. Here is where you can experience great lobster served Puerto Nuevo style: fried, steamed or grilled lobster, beans, rice, flour tortillas, chips and salsa. When you drive into Puerto Nuevo, don't get intimidated by the crazed vendors who will direct you here and there to park. They are just pursuing business for their favorite restaurant or shop who is probably giving them a bit of a "finder's fee." Just focus on parking & eating!

Almost every restaurant has an ocean view, and you will soon realize that multiple restaurants have the same ownership. Each place has its own bit of a twist on the basic recipe of lobster. For me, it is impossible to name one that is "best." During the season, you will get fresh lobster! However, even if it is off-season, they have quick frozen lobster that makes for great dining every day of the year at Puerto Nuevo - the Disneyland of Lobster eating!

Whether you stay for a weekend or for a week, you will have plenty of things to do in Rosarito! After, fulfilling your lobster obsession, shopping 'til you drop, enjoying the magnificent sunsets on the Pacific Ocean or taking a beach walk in the sand, you will still have more options! Golfing, horseback riding on the beach and surfing are just a few more things that are available. And, of course, take an afternoon and visit the Xploration addition to the Fox Baja studios. They have exhibits from the filming of Titantic along with ships and sets from other popular movies that have been filmed here.

Rosarito Beach is, as they say, "Ranchtown" turned "BoomTown" turned "Beachtown!"

Where to Go in Rosarito

TOP PICKS BY OUR LOCAL EXPERTS

Los Pelicanos Hotel

expert pick

Del Cedro 115

Los Pelicanos Hotel sits on the beachfront of the Pacific Ocean in Rosarito Beach. It is a unique property of rustic Mexican "ranchero" décor. The hotel has 39 rooms. There are popular ocean view rooms, and the economy priced "internal" rooms with no ocean view along with 2 room junior suites.

El Nido

Bulevar Benito Juárez 67


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