My sister wanted to do something different for her birthday. She only had four days and we had a limited budget. There were three of us and we all like our own space. Mexico to the rescue!
We stayed at the Rosarito Beach Hotel in the Beach Master Suite. It had two bedrooms and two bathrooms with a full sized kitchen and two balconies overlooking the Pacific coast. It was gorgeous and only cost about $750 for 3 nights (about $250 each). The only downside is the internet. The speed is really slow, the password they give you is only good for two devices, and they only guarantee internet access in the lobby.
While there, we wanted to have a few little adventures but we weren’t really sure what there was to do in this little beach town. We ended up:
- Driving down to Ensenada and taking a carriage ride. We started on the tollway and then got off …. and ended up driving through wine country! Lol It took a little longer going that way but it was an adventure. When we got into town we weren’t sure what to do. There was a little fair so we went there. We got some cash from an ATM and used the free wifi at the Tourist Office. After buying a HUGE bag of freshly made churros for $2 (and giving most of them away to the kids that were hawking at fair) we decided to take a horse-drawn carriage ride. Our driver was super cool, he even let me drive for a bit! By the time we did all that it was dark, so we headed back to Rosarito but this time, we stayed on the toll road.
- Going horseback riding on the beach at the hotel. We originally wanted to go on a longer trek but most of the places wanted at least 72 hours notice (which we didn’t realize so we hadn’t planned) so we ended up riding the horses on the beach at the hotel. It was $10 for a 30 minute ride.
- Riding ATVs in Cantamar and eating lunch in Puerto Nuevo. Riding the ATVs was so much fun! You pay to park and then pay to rent your ATV. I didn’t see any helmets but you can ride as long as you want and there are helpers riding along too so if you get stuck, someone will rush over to help you. After the ride, had lunch in Puerto Nuevo where all they seem to have is lobster. Once you drive through the arch, it’s like driving through a swap meet (people selling things, “Pasale, pasale, pasale!” and people trying to get you to eat at their restaurant). It can feel a little constricting. The food was pretty good and pretty cheap so …. I’d probably go again. Lol
- Visiting the wax museum in Tijuana. On the last day, we couldn’t think of anything else to do so we drove over to the wax museum. It’s very small and not that great of an attraction but we did meet a guy from Trinidad that was stuck at the border and wanted to cross to the US. While perusing the shops, my car was broken into. There wasn’t anything to steal but my work bag but no one likes returning to their car to see a busted out window and glass on the seat.
- Ate at lots of restaurants. We ate at a blue restaurant on the same side as the hotel the first night. The food was good, the portions were large, and the prices were cheap. We ate there again for breakfast. We tried El Nido and were really disappointed. It was cold, the service was subpar, and the food was barely palatable. We ate at the taco stand across the street and it was really good. They only had carne asada or cabeza but the prices were cheap and the food is cooked to order.
Tips if you go to baja:
Take a look at AirBnB rentals. Many of them were in nice condos on the beach and you’ll pay less.
Pay in pesos. Though many places do take American dollars, you’ll pay more than you would have paid had you used Mexican pesos.
If you stay at a hotel, remember to get a fastpass at check-out. It allows you to go past much of the traffic at the border crossing.The hotel will give you directions but we still got lost. Everything was fine until we got to the part where they are supposed to collect your fastpass.
I’m not sure why it says “Medical Fast Lane” (which is the reason we got out of line) but this is where they’ll collect the fastpass and you’ll get in line with everyone else to cross back to the US. By this point, you’ve already passed probably an hour or two of people waiting in about 15 minutes. You’ll still have more waiting to do but it cuts your time down.
Anyhoo, we had a great time wandering around. If you’re looking for a quick, close, cheap mini-vacation baja is a great option.