Looking for a last-minute spring break destination? The Rosarito Beach Hotel in Baja California, Mexico, offers students and families everything they’d want in an affordable beach getaway.
This iconic hotel was made popular mid-century as a retreat that catered to Mexican presidents, international royalty, and Hollywood stars, and the little beach town grew around it.
Resting on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, the deep azure waves crash onto the sand of this small, picturesque beach.
You have choices of room styles in the hotel. The original historic building offers rooms that are older but very charming and authentically Mexican; the new tower building has luxury suites with contemporary décor that overlook the ocean.
The hotel offers standard oceanfront rooms with double occupancy from $99 and deluxe condominiums for quadruple occupancy from $139. Each package includes breakfast, a welcome margarita and a Fast Pass for quicker and easier return for those who are driving back to the U.S.
Azteca, the hotel restaurant, is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The old world atmosphere is very cozy. They are known for their huevos rancheros – fried eggs served with warm corn tortillas, topped with salsa, accompanied with refried beans, Mexican-style rice, and guacamole. But it’s their shredded beef tacos that keep me coming back. They are the best I’ve had in Mexico (or the world, for that matter) and it’s difficult for me to force myself to order something different.
If you want to venture outside the hotel, Susanna’s restaurant, just a short stroll into downtown, is a favorite eatery for both locals and tourists. Try her special tamales – they melt in your mouth. I was delighted to hear that Suzanna is currently in the process of marketing them to the rest of the world, which is convenient because traveling to Baja just for her tamales is getting expensive!
Don’t be afraid to try the street food in Rosarito. You can watch your food being prepared with fresh ingredients right in front of you. Try not to drool on the counter.
The pier on the beach of the Rosarito Beach Hotel is the perfect juxtaposition to catch the stunning multi-colored sunsets.
The Baja hotel is just a 20 minute drive south of the California border. The close proximity to the U.S. border combined with the scenic location between the Pacific Ocean and foothills of the Peninsula Ranges make Rosarito Beach a very appealing retreat, and an reasonably priced option to take a “two-nation vacation” combined with San Diego.
Close to the hotel are a variety of shopping venues including arts and craft galleries along Popotla Boulevard, or the open air markets of Mercado de Artesanias where you can bargain for locally-made pottery, souvenirs and jewelry.
There’s no shortage of active pursuits on Rosarito Beach, from walking along the quarter-mile pier, swimming and sun-bathing, world-class surfing, and paddle boarding, to horseback riding on the beach.
Rosa & Rita, the hacienda-style bar in the hotel, is one of Baja’s best karaoke venues. If you prefer dancing, the hotel’s Adobe Lounge is the place to go. You can also find folkloric ballet and other shows in the Salon Mexicano, and can sometimes even see the practice sessions. Outside the hotel, there is a local theatre guild and events like blues festival are often booked on the beach.
Belly up to the hotel bar or take a seat at one of the tables and grab an authentic on-the-rocks, salt-rimmed Mexican margarita. In general, the margaritas south of the border are less sweet, more tangy than their frozen American counterparts.
The on-site Casa Playa spa is located in what was once part of the family mansion. For pampering and nurturing, guests can choose from one of ten different types of massages.
Just a short 10-mile drive south of Rosarito and you’ll be in Puerto Nuevo. This small fishing village hosts more than 30 restaurants and shops, and has become one of the most famous lobster destinations, claiming to serve more lobsters than anyplace in the world. The lobster preparation here is a science, deep-fried to perfect texture, drenched in butter and served with homemade tortillas whose heavenly aroma permeates the restaurant.
The location of the hotel is a perfect base to venture out for day trips into Baja. Even the drive along the highway is an adventure in itself, from the stunning Pacific on one side, and a variety of interesting landmarks on the other, such as the Christ of the Sacred Heart landmark statue, eye-popping architecture, and genuinely funny ways that shops entice tourists to stop in.
The family-owned hotel was founded in 1925 and the community of Rosarito, which became a city in 1995, grew up around it. I had the opportunity to meet Señor Hugo Torres, the current owner and former Mayor of Rosarito. What a kind and gracious man! Sr. Torres’ vision has accomplished much to improve Baja tourism.
Ah, yes, the Parties
Naturally there will be those who are looking to party during spring break. Rosarito Beach will ground zero for numerous parties on the beach and in the downtown night clubs. While these parties provide a lot of fun, they have not been known to be as raucous or riotous as the revelries in say Cancun or Miami.
A destination for all seasons…
Spring break isn’t the only fun time at this beachfront destination. The Rosarito Beach Hotel maintains a full schedule of events, like the Mexican Food Festival (May), the Baja Blues Festival (August), the Annual Mariachi & Folkloric Festival (October), the Day of the Dead Festival (November) and many others.
If you are a food, music or culture lover, you will find an event you like. Please click here for a full schedule of events at the Rosarito Beach Hotel.