A couple weekends ago I took a weekend getaway with my boyfriend Alex to Rosarito. On this trip, we wanted a romantic staycation but this isn't the first time we've been to Rosarito. Below are two weekend experiences that are both fun and exciting depending on what you're looking for.
The Party Weekend
Grab a group of friends and head down to Rosarito to party at the infamous Papas and Beer! I've gone on two of these types of trips and both impressed. I would definitely recommend doing your research on the hotels that you are interested staying in. It's worth it to dish out the extra money especially if you're driving.
My top hotel is La Jolla Del Mar. It's actually a condo hotel that offers a full living area (including full kitchen area, plasma screens, and AC) as well as a secluded beach, private balconies, hot tubs, a garden, and private parking.
I've also stayed at the Festival Plaza Hotel. Not my absolute favorite but it's prime party weekend location with close access to Papas and all the other nightlife hotspots. The parking is not closed or gated but overall it was a great time and worth the price.
Make sure you understand at least basic Spanish phrases, you don't need to know much but at least know enough to help you make purchases and help you get around. Exchanging your money for pesos isn't necessary- all the places I've ever been to in Rosarito accepts dollars. If you run out of cash they also accept card. A lot of people I know are hesitant to use their cards in Mexico but I've never had a bad experience with it. (When all else fails though, make sure to save your receipt and watch your account activity for the next week just in case. Banks are fast to report fraud and reimburse you the amount that others spent.)
The best thing to do when you're on a party trip is walk the streets and go taco shop to taco shop and bar to bar. The tacos are amazing no matter where you go and they are only $1 each and made right in front of you!
My favorite bar to visit while there is called Acua Bar & Mar. The energy is amazing, they have friendly staff, and they have their signature Acua shot. It's a bright blue shot that goes down nice and smooth.
Then head over to Papas and Beer where you're sure to dance the night away. They usually have deals where you can buy a wristband and get unlimited drinks for the night or girls get free entry. Buy the wristband near the entrance from someone who looks like they work at Papas and not two blocks away first thing in the morning... trust me.
After (or before) a long night, spend your morning eating breakfast and drinking mimosas at the Rosarito Beach Hotel. Although I've never stayed at this hotel, I've heard many great things and enjoyed exploring the hotel and the area surrounding it. It's a very cool experience just to see the different architecture and culture that Rosarito has to offer and as far as I'm concerned, the Rosarito Beach Hotel was able to capture all of it beautifully. (Also recommended for the romantic weekend).
For lunch or just to get out and explore, head the short distance to Puerto Nuevo. Infamous for their fresh lobster, Puerto Nuevo is a nice tourist area that offers delicious food, great souvenirs, and an upbeat energy. Although it's not the big party scene, it is a must visit when exploring Baja. Although I can't remember the exact restaurant we ate at on our first trip, TripAdvisor's restaurant recommendations for Puerto Nuevo all look fabulous. The one that I'm almost certain we went to is Angel del Mar.
Safety Tips: If you're worried about safety or pickpocketing, make sure that you don't carry an abundance of cash on you and only carry what you need. I would leave your passport in the safety box at the hotel and only carry some cash, your phone, and your ID and debit card. Make sure you have it on your body at all times and if it does get stolen, memorize your account logins to 1. deactivate your cards and 2. either try to track your phone down and shut the phone off. And before you go on your trip, look into if your cell phone still has service in Mexico. I've gone with a big group of people and it was split up pretty evenly between does and doesn't have service. If your phone doesn't work then it might be worth it to leave it back at the hotel with your passport. Also, back to the hotel part, if you're planning on driving to Rosarito look for a hotel that has closed/ gated property. If it is then you can park your car in a closed lot and feel worry free about getting your car jacked or broken into.
The Romantic Weekend
Grab your partner and spend the weekend on the Rosarito beach. It's up to the two of you if you want to party, but for Alex and I, we just wanted to relax and have some alone time away from the hustle and bustle of our normal lives.
We stayed at the Hotel Castillos Del Mar, a small hotel with gated parking and that's right on the beach. This hotel had two bars/ lounge areas, a restaurant, and a spa, as well as room service (no service charge). I would recommend this hotel if you're trying to save some money but still want to feel luxurious. The location on the beach is perfect and pretty secluded. You also have your own patio or balcony that you can tan on while looking out at the beach if sand isn't your friend. Every room has a view and the no extra charge room service is DEFINITELY worth the stay.
We didn't go to the spa this time, but we heard good things about the deep tissue massage. When you stay you also get 15% off the spa price.
On the weekend that we went, the weather was fairly chilly and it poured at night. We loved it because we got to stay in and enjoy each others company while snuggled up and watching the sunset from our patio. If it were a summery weekend though, we probably would've taken to the streets and walked the main stretch to get to the main beach near Papas that has more people, food, and entertainment for us to enjoy during the day.
I would recommend both La Jolla del Mar and Castillos del Mar for a romantic getaway. La Jolla is more luxury style but they don't offer the same amenities as Castillos. Both are a win for me but it's up to your preference on amenity. I would say another part of your decision should also be based on how much time you plan on staying at the hotel. La Jolla is amazing regardless if you want to stay in or walk outside, but Castillos offers way more on site and is best if you want a true resort staycation. I wouldn't recommend Festival Plaza for a romantic weekend because it's loud due to the proximity of the party spots, but 100% would recommend for a party weekend especially if you're planning on spending most of your trip walking around and hanging out on the beach.
There you go! All my favorite spots and hotel recommendations in Rosarito. For San Diegans, the weekend trip is 100% doable. With low border traffic, you can get there in about an hour or less! It's a nice and quick destination that makes you feel like you've traveled far into another country and away from all your worries and woes.
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