If you want to escape the hectic pace and noise of Tijuana, head for the coastal city of Rosarito about 45 minutes’ bus ride south on the old road to Ensenada. Beaches in Tijuana are invariably crowded and dirty, so Rosarito’s longer and sandier beach is a good alternative and provides a more restful atmosphere during the week (and a lively party scene on weekends). Rosarito was also hit hard by US travel warnings in 2009, though tourists (and the city’s 14,000 expats) rarely experience any trouble. The main exception is during March and April, when US spring-breakers make the town difficult to bear for anyone who wishes to remain sober.Read More
Until 1995 Rosarito was part of the city of Tijuana, but it became a municipality when local politicians like Hugo Torres realized that it was capable of generating its own tourism dollars. Conventional sights are lacking in the city itself, but movie aficionados come to see the Baja Studios, 4km south of town at km 32.5 on the free highway to Ensenada. This bit of Hollywood-in-Mexico, originally created by Fox for the filming of Titanic, was sold to a group of private investors in 2007. Since then its massive production facilities and seventeen-million-gallon oceanfront tank (also used to shoot films such as Pearl Harbor and Master and Commander) have seen little action, and have instead become a major tourist attraction. The Xploration theme park (t661/612-4294, US t866/369-2252, wwww.xploration.com.mx) offers a range of exhibits and experiences based around the studios, from an interactive journey through the process of movie-making to the kitschy X-Men exhibit. The Titanic model, created at 95 percent scale, has been disassembled, but much of the set is viewable at the park’s Titanic Museum.
Once not much more than a dusty roadside settlement between Rosarito and Ensenada at Hwy-1 km 44, Puerto Nuevo is nowadays known the length of the peninsula for its near-fanatical devotion to the local speciality that bears its name: Puerto Nuevo-style grilled Pacific lobster. Found off the coast and throughout the rest of the Pacific Rim, these lobsters don’t grow as large as their Atlantic counterparts (actually, they’re giant langoustines more closely related to shrimps) and they don’t have claws, but they’re just as delicious.
Choosing where to sample the revered dish is made easy enough by the town’s one-way street plan, which juts to the west from Hwy-1. Though every one of the more than thirty restaurants serves lobsters the same basic way – grilled and split in half with beans, rice and warm flour tortillas – Puerto Nuevo #2 (t661/614-1454), directly to your south on the second block, and Ortega’s Patio at the southwest corner of the grid (t661/614-0345) are consistently good bets – the latter also gets you ocean views, low lighting and a wood-beam ceiling. Expect to pay M$150–300 depending on the size of the lobster. Most restaurants open 10am to 8pm on weekdays, with some open until 11pm Fri & Sat. Cash only.