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Our trip to Rosarito Beach

Rosarito Beach Main Street

We got our maid to stay at our place overnight to watch our pets. Then we saddled up, got into our truck, and headed west on Mexico’s well paved Highway 2.

Once out of Mexicali, the highway goes through a stark desert valley. Everything is pretty flat, but there are some large mountains looming in the west. Going up the mountains there are a lot curves and doglegs. But the highway is wide and safe, with barriers on the sides.

The highway changes once it reaches the highest part of the trip at La Rumorosa, the town highest part of the trip. At this point there are actually two highways which run parallel down to Tijuana – Highway 2 and Highway 2-D, which is a very inexpensive toll road. We played it safe and took highway 2-D. From La Rumorosa, the highway runs straight through high-altitude desert. Much more grows here than down in Mexicali because there’s a lot more rain.

Next we hit Tecate, the town the Tecate beer is named for. Jim didn’t stop. He’s one of those guys that will drive until he (and I) drop. It was ever onwards to Rosarito Beach.

The highway kept going down until we were swallowed up by Tijuana – a huge and not particularly pretty place – at least not the part we went through.

In Tijuana, Highway 2 hooks up with Highway 1, which runs down the Pacific coast to Rosarito and beyond. Wow! How beautiful! The French Riviera can’t be any better than this! The ocean was to our left – green grassy hills to our right, dotted with some pretty fancy looking houses. And the weather! Well, you’ve heard of southern California, I’m sure – so you get the idea.

Rosarito Beach is a small town. Along the main road through Rosarito Beach there were lots of stores, eating places, and hotels. We finally reached our destination, the Rosarito Beach Hotel.

Rosarito Beach Hotel lobby

Rosarito Beach Hotel lobby

The Rosarito Beach Hotel went way beyond what we expected. It is located right on the beach and has quite a bit of history. The hotel made Rosarito Beach what it is today.

The original owner,  Manuel Barbachano, opened the hotel to customers in 1925. Originally, it was a small place. In 1932, Barbachano, expanded the hotel, building the grand hotel foyer which is where Jim and I entered. Barbachano even built the first real road to Rosarito Beach from Tijuana. Barbachano’s wife was a beautiful actress. Her picture is in the lobby.

During Prohibition, a lot of Americans came down to Rosarito Beach, where drinking was legal. Rosarito Beach Hotel became the in place for such movie stars as Orson Welles, Gregory Peck, Spencer Tracy,  Marylyn Monroe, Lana Turner, and Anthony Quinn. In 1954, Ali Khan, son of the Aga Khan checked into the hotel with Rita Hayworth. Even Britney Spears visited the place this year.

The sign above the Hotel entrance reads: “Through this door pass the most beautiful women in the world.”  Well, here I was with Jim.

Rosarito Beach looking north!

Rosarito Beach looking north!

We got a hotel room looking down on the beach. We could smell the fresh ocean air from the Pacific.
In no time, we put our stuff away and headed out for the street.

Relentless Jim had been driving for a couple of hours, and it was way past our lunchtime. We headed out of the hotel, and found a great looking restaurant on the street. They had seafood, so we started out with fresh oysters, followed by lobster dipped in hot melted butter, rice, beans, and salad. Everything was fresh and delicious. Taking a walk down the street, we saw tons of ceramic artifacts, silver trinkets, wrought iron stuff, blankets, leather goods – you name it.

On our way back to the hotel, I was dead tired, but tireless Jim wanted to drive down the beach road to see the 20th Century Fox-Baja studios where they made Titanic. It was only about 3 miles south of the hotel. We got to the studio late, at 3:45 in the afternoon- the place closes at 4:30. I told Jim we could come back, tomorrow, but he would have none of it. If we hurried, we could see it all in 45 minutes – he thought.

The tickets were $12.00 each. Once in, we ran around like idiots, trying to take everything in before closing – Ape City, the Hello Dolly Fountain thing, the X-Men exhibit, the Titanic Museum, and Canal Street New York. I, we, were both so rushed that we left our camera in the truck, so no photos. It was 4:30 in no time, and we were all ushered out.

It was back to the hotel, where we both conked out fully clothed on our beds. When we woke up the room was pitch dark – what about dinner?

We rushed down to the dining room, and what a relief to find it was still open! Again, we stuffed ourselves, with a super dinner buffet. We topped this off with ice cream – Jim always goes for chocolate – and a walk down the beach in front of the hotel, taking in the salty sea breeze, and the romantic atmosphere.
The next morning, we checked out after a full breakfast buffet, and set out for good old Mexicali.

On the way back we stopped to buy a small statue of a donkey made out of tin cans for our Mexicali home.
This will not be out last trip to Rosarito Beach. Jim is dying to get back to the 20th Century Fox studios, the fishing, the boating and kayaking, the whale spotting – all the great things you can do there.

3 comments to Our trip to Rosarito Beach

  • admin

    Don: Thanks for the email. Glad you like it here, we think it is great! You won’t be disappointed in Cinepolis – it’s as good as any deluxe place you will find in the states. Just be sure to see a film with subtitles, that way it will be in English. There is also a terrific Starbucks across the street, and Carvao restaurant – a bit price, but not too bad – enjoy!

  • Found your blog entry today while googling for something fun to do with my kids. We have been down here for two months and really like it, although we are definitely still in the “adjustment period.” Will check your blog now and then, and (if you want) I’ll let you know what we think of Cinepolis (next to Walmart–we’ve been eyeing it for many weeks and decided we’d take the plunge today). All the best! (Don Godwin)

  • acearley

    Hi, I really like your blog! It really gives people a sense of life south of the border with your own unique experiences. I hope you can update it regularly. So many people start blogs and then lose interest. i’ll be checking in periodically and maybe we can include each other on our bloglists. I”m a former reporter who covered the border from Tijuana for seven years (and lived there two.) You can learn more at

    Best wishes, Anna

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