The seaside community of Rosarito Beach is roughly 30 miles south of San Diego in Baja California, Mexico. Interstate 5 provides a scenic thoroughfare to the border where travelers can continue via Highway 1 for the remainder of the trip.
Rosarito Beach possesses plenty of Old World charm and provides visitors with an escape that is both rich in culture and full of activities. Enjoy world-class surfing, rent a jet ski, indulge in authentic Baja cuisine, or spend an evening out on the town at one of the area’s bustling nightclubs.
Over one million visitors travel to Rosarito Beach annually, yet the town still feels like a best-kept secret. A variety of tours allows visitors to explore the area and fully experience this hidden gem in the heart of the Gold Coast.
Things to do in Rosarito Beach
Both land and sea tours are offered by several locally based companies with trained and knowledgeable guides. Deep sea fishing and scuba diving are popular choices in addition to the many hiking, mountain biking, and ATV options.
Visitors can learn to rappel with the Baja Fun Adventures company. Guides assist more daring travelers with a 25-foot descent down a rock wall into La Mission Canyon. A picturesque hike back to the top allows visitors to view the canyon from several perspectives. Enjoy the canyon’s waterfall in the spring and winter months and colorful foliage in the summer and fall.
For an especially unique experience, trek across the beach and wander through Rosarito Canyon by way of a camelback ride offered by Rosarito Ocean Sports.
Let the friendly camels show you the sights in this Mexico meets Middle East expedition. Rides can last as little as five minutes for those who simply want to perch atop a camel or as long as two hours for an actual tour of the area. Rosarito Ocean Sports also offers kayaking, banana boat rides, and trips to see elephant seals and sea lions.
Where to Eat in Rosarito Beach
Rosarito Beach offers a wide assortment of dining options to suit any budget. Try Tacos Baja Jr. just south of Rosarito Beach for great fish tacos at a low price. El Nido Restaurant is popular for its rustic charm and unique menu items that include rabbit, deer, and quail.
Visitors interested in fine dining can’t beat Chabert’s restaurant in the historic Rosarito Beach Hotel. Once a private, oceanfront mansion, the Rosarito Beach Hotel was built in the 1920’s and has seen its share of celebrity visitors including Marilyn Monroe and Orson Welles.
Papas and Beer is a popular choice for visitors who enjoy a lively, party atmosphere. The venue is a part restaurant, part bar, and part nightclub. The restaurant is family friendly until 7:00 pm, however, children must be accompanied by a parent.
Papas and Beer is the destination for travelers with a wild side. Papas and Beer are especially spirited during spring break when college students swarm the dance floor and celebrate their vacation with few inhibitions.
Visitors with some extra time and a hankering for lobster may opt to drive the extra 10 miles south of Rosarito Beach to what locals refer to as “Lobster Village”.
The town of Puerto Nuevo is famous for providing travelers with a lobster feast at an affordable price. Most of the restaurants specialize in the coveted crustacean which is traditionally fried but can also be steamed or grilled.
Shopping Rosarito Beach
Back in Rosarito Beach, a strong artist community is steadily growing offering fine art at prices much lower than the states. Several galleries in Rosarito Beach and the neighboring artist town of Popotla provide ample choices for art collectors.
The Rosarito Art Fest, a yearly festival typically held Memorial Day weekend, gathers more than 100 artists to present their work. Art pieces including paintings, sculptures, jewelry, and ceramics are available for purchase and many artists showcase their talents with live demonstrations.
The best shopping can be found along Boulevard Benito Juarez, which is considered Rosarito’s main street. Hand-crafted rustic furniture is the primary draw. Most of the wrought-iron, hand-carved and hand-painted pieces are made locally.
The pinata adorned candy store is a destination in itself for those with a sweet tooth. The colorful shop is stocked to the ceiling with countless treats most visitors have never seen before. Other specialty stores and restaurants are also found in this charming and eclectic neighborhood.
You will need a valid passport to travel into or back from Mexico. If you drive your car you will need vehicle registration or title for your vehicle plus valid drivers license. Insurance that will cover driving in Mexico or can purchase additional insurance.