Tijuana is a city in Baja California, Mexico, just across the border from San Diego, California, United States of America. Tijuana has a population of around 1.3 million people according to the last census, including its surrounding suburbs 1.7 million. The city has grown from a small border town with a salacious reputation during the Prohibition Era in the United States into a large, modern city with a sizable middle class. Its proximity to the United States has made it a very popular tourism destination, especially for day-trippers from San Diego.
- I Understand
- II Talk
- III Get in
- IV By plane
- V Get around
- VI See
- VII Do
- VIII Buy
- IX Eat
- X Drink
- XI Where to stay in Tijuana
- XII Telecommunications in Tijuana
- XIII Stay safe due to the Coronavirus situation in Tijuana
- XIV Cope
- XV Go next
Tijuana and its U.S. neighbor San Diego form the largest metropolitan area on the U.S.-Mexico border, with a population of 4.5 million.
Economically, a growing middle class disposable income has fueled Tijuana’s transformation into a modern city with a vibrant culture, a characteristic that has attracted many national and international businesses, which had largely shunned the city before. Aside from the middle class, in Tijuana you can reasonably expect to find areas filled with wealthier people. Tijuana is a transit point for undocumented immigration into the United States, as well as a common destination for any illegal Mexican immigrants deported from the West Coast of the United States. As such, some areas are swollen with poor people with no roots in the city, who inhabit shantytowns. Apart from these poor migrants, Tijuana is one of the wealthiest cities in Mexico. Some (mainly residential) areas of the city reflect the significant number of wealthy people who inhabit the city.
Tijuana’s growing reputation as a cosmopolitan city is justified. Not only is the city home to many people who have migrated from within Mexico, including some native Mexican Indians, but it boasts an significant number of Asian residents, as well as Americans (mostly people from neighboring San Diego who have been drawn to Tijuana by cheaper housing), and South Americans from Argentina and Uruguay, among others.
Frequent English-speaking visitors to Tijuana use the term “gringo-friendly” for a shop, bar, or restaurant in which a non-Spanish speaking customer will be at ease. A place is gringo-friendly if the staff there is accustomed to dealing with American tourists, if they speak English and have English-language menus. Places that are not gringo-friendly may require use of Spanish, and patience. Just because a place is not gringo-friendly does not imply that the people there will not be friendly or that tourists will not be welcome.
While the Mexican peso is the legal currency, U.S. dollars are widely accepted everywhere in Tijuana and the entire state of Baja California, even though the peso/USD exchange rate changes daily. Tijuana observes daylight savings time (DST) the same way as the USA does. Money changers on the US side may offer better rates when buying pesos and worse rates when selling pesos.
|Climate chart (explanation)|
Visitors can expect a warm climate for most of the year, with average temperatures during the daytime ranging from 68°F (20°C) in January, to 86°F (30°C) in August. The rainy season is short (and tame, with yearly averages close to only 10 inches/254 millimeters of rainfall), and encompasses late winter to early spring.
Spanish is the dominant language in Tijuana, as it is in much of Mexico. However, English is spoken by almost everybody in the city’s tourist hot spots (such as Avenida Revolución), as well as by taxi drivers and the Americans who live in the city. Having someone with you who can speak Spanish will be helpful when going away from Avenida Revolución.
Although Tijuana is in Mexican territory, its cultural closeness to the United States, especially San Diego and Los Angeles, gives it an edge in the English language. This is because for many years (especially before the mid 1980s), there were virtually no national TV stations except for a local channel (XEWT 12) which broadcast only local programming and some news; locals who grew up in the 1970s and 80s were more attracted to American television such as PBS, NBC, CBS and ABC, where they got their language skills.
|Note: As of August 19, 2015, non-Mexican citizens must show a passport at the border crossing, fill out a form, and (if staying more than a week) pay about US$20 for a six-month visa.|
Most tourists enter Tijuana through the border crossing at San Ysidro in California, which is reportedly the busiest border crossing in the world. The crossing can be made by car, bus, or on foot.
Every visitor who plans to return to the United States must have a passport. A passport card or SENTRI card will work too for U.S. citizens.
- General Abelardo L. Rodríguez Airport (Tijuana International Airport) (is located 6 mi (8 km) east of downtown Tijuana (Zona Centro & Zona Rio), along the border; 2 mi (3 km) west of the Otay de Mesa border crossing (for trucks) and 22 mi (35 km) south of downtown San Diego). Non-stop air service is available from all regions of Mexico including flights from San Jose del Cabo, La Paz and Loreto Bay in the Baja California Peninsula
- Terminal Principal (Main Terminal)
- Sala A – Concourse A: Aero Calafia, Aeromexico/Aeromexico Connect, Interjet, Volaris/Volaris Costa Rica, Hainan
- Sala B – Concourse B: Viva Aerobus, Volaris
- Cross Border Xpress Terminal (CBX) is the second terminal just over the international border, in the American side, and is connected to the main terminal by a 120-m-long pedestrian bridge. Passengers check in for fights, complete US immigration and customs inspections in the CBX Terminal, and Mexican immigration and customs inspections in the main terminal. This also allows for vehicular access (for those who are picking up and dropping off travelers) and parking at the Tijuana airport from San Diego without driving across the border and than a long wait to return to the U.S. There are car rental desks, taxis, rideshare (Uber & Lyft) and CBX shuttle available for onward transportation to San Diego from CBX. There is a US$16 one-way or US$30 return toll to walk across the bridge between the two terminals.
The only international air services offered from Tijuana are to Shanghai with Aeromexico, a SkyTeam member; to Beijing with Hainan and to Central America with Volaris. Passengers can connect to other cities in China and elsewhere in that part of the world from Shanghai Pudong International Airport with other SkyTeam partner airlines. The flight to Tokyo is no longer offered from Tijuana and is only offered directly from Mexico City. Los Angeles International Airport is the next nearest airport for a wider range of international flights. If going towards the Los Angeles metropolitan area the bus, train (from downtown San Diego) or rental car is usually more economical than flying unless you are continuing to another destination from San Diego via Los Angeles on a single ticket. This airport serves as a transit point for travelers wishing to proceed further into Mexico from Southern California and the Las Vegas area on a domestic flight.
Buses depart regularly from the airport to San Diego, Los Angeles, Mexicali, Tecate, Ensenada, Rosarito and the nearby areas in Baja California Norte and Southern California on both sides of the border. The airport bus station is next to the terminal building (right turn when coming out of the arrivals doors), behind an Oxxo store, and is served by ABC, Greyhound – Cruceros USA, Autobus ACN, Rapid Connections Llc and International Bus Lines. See By bus in the below for a list of additional bus companies (with links to their websites) serving Tijuana including the airport.
You can take an authorized taxi cab, sedan or van, at the airport with “Transportes Terrestres” and “Taxis TAAG” (Tel: +52 664 683-6281). Buy a ticket in one of the booths at the exit of the airport. They have fixed and official rates; It will cost you about M$200 (pesos) to Zona Rio (15-min ride), or M$250 to Zona Centro (25-min ride), or M$300 to the Grand Hotel (30-min ride). US dollars will be accepted.
You can take also public transportation from the Tijuana Airport to city downtown and the USA-Mexico border. A bus ride will cost you M$11, less than US$1. Go outside the airport and take the blue and white Mirador-Centro-Zona Rio-Aeropuerto-Otay bus, heading west from the other side of the marked intersection with the traffic lights. The bus passes through “Centro” (downtown) and “Plaza Rio” (shopping mall & surrounding areas) so be sure they are listed on or above the windshield in the list of places the bus passes through or ask the driver before getting on. US dollars will be accepted. From downtown (Av. Revolucion area), buses to the airport leave along 2nd street (Calle Benito Juarez). The trip to the airport takes under 30 minutes. These blue and white buses have ‘Aeropuerto’ written on the windshield. As in many Latin American cities, buses need to be ‘flagged down’ to stop. Take care – the local bus system in Tijuana can be confusing [when coming from the US – e.g. no posted route maps, no schedules and sometimes the bus stop is not marked at all], and there’s a lot of different bus lines leaving from this spot, so plan some extra time.
2 San Diego International Airport is 25 miles (41 km) north of the international border and can be used as a transit point for travellers wishing to visit Tijuana or proceed further into Mexico. You can take public transportation from the San Diego airport all the way to downtown Tijuana or the Tijuana airport and it will only cost you between US$12-26:
- 992 Bus To the Santa Fe Station/American Plaza in downtown San Diego. Buy a US$5 day pass which allows for transfer to another bus or trolley.
- UC San Diego Blue Line transfer to the trolley at the Santa Fe Station or American Plaza (across the street) to the end of the line in San Ysidro.
- Walk Across the border and take a taxi to the airport, Zona Rio, downtown Tijuana (Centro) or anywhere in Tijuana from the Mexican side of the border (See below under On foot). Cheaper to take the white & orange “Libre” taxis or the La Linea-Centro bus than the solid yellow taxis.
- CBX Shuttle Likewise take the CBX Shuttle from the Santa Fe Station in downtown San Diego to the CBX Terminal next to the Tijuana Airport for US$10 and another $16 to walk across the bridge into the Tijuana Airport. Going north, they also continue to San Diego Airport for drop off on demand. Keep in mind that only ticketed passengers flying into or out of Tijuana are allowed to cross through here.
From U.S. to Mexico
While in the San Diego area, take I-5 or I-805 to south. Either park at the border and continue on foot or drive into Mexico. Driving from the US to Mexico often requires no stopping, but inspections driving south have become more frequent as authorities attempt to stop firearms trafficking into Mexico, resulting in long wait times during periods of heavy traffic. However, driving from Mexico to the United States will result in a long wait, even more so during evening rush hour or on holiday weekends.
If you are driving to Mexico, obtaining Mexican insurance with legal defense coverage is highly recommended, and can be bought immediately before crossing the border, or even online before your trip.
When coming into the U.S., the Otay Mesa and Tecate border crossings, also nearby, may sometimes be less congested. Getting to the Otay crossing can be a little scary (not good for Gringos at night) and the border agents here don’t seem as pleasant as the ones at the San Ysidro crossing.
If the pedestrian line returning to the US is long, it may be faster (in some cases) to take advantage of the numerous van and bus lines that cross the border. You will undoubtedly encounter agents for these services when approaching the pedestrian line back to the U.S., who will ask for US$5-10 per person to let you board the vehicles which are already in line. Generally, the closer the vehicle is to the front of the line, the more they will charge.
The San Ysidro border crossing is undergoing major changes to expand northbound lanes into the southbound lanes. These changes, along with augmentations to US & Mexican border inspection stations, resulted in the removal of a pedestrian bridge over the American inspection station for those entering Mexico by crossing the freeway from the trolley station. If you’re driving to Tijuana you go up to the border like you used to and make a sharp detour west (to the right) and then south (to the left) into the expansive Mexican customs & inspection station. Once past the inspection station there’s an exit for direct access to Hwy 1D immediately to the right to continue west towards the beaches and south to Ensenada along Hwy 1/1D, to bypass the local streets of Tijuana.
Most rental cars rented from either side of the border cannot be driven across the international border without the written consent of the car rental company and usually for an extra charge IF they do allow their cars to be driven across the border.
Entering from the American side you should expect a wait of 15 minutes on a good day to more than one hour on a bad day. You may be singled out for an inspection or waved on.
From Mexico to U.S.
Readers have stated times ranging from 30 minutes to over 5 hours in the normal lanes. These west-most lanes are the largest set, occupying the most lanes at the Port of Entry. Accessing many of the other lanes is often a complex procedure, and streets names are reportedly difficult to see.
The Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection (SENTRI) lanes are the most exclusive means of entering the U.S. These are the east-most lanes at the Port of Entry, with access limited to Boulevard Padre Francisco Kino, which becomes the Linea Sentri.
Fast Pass Lane
People travelling between the U.S. and Mexico may use the Fast Pass. Businesses in Tijuana buy them to give to their customers. Mostly used for medical tourists, hence it mostly functions as a medical line. Make sure and take a taxi to figure out the driving route first. Tell him you want to see and learn the route to the fast pass gate. Get the drive down before you attempt it yourself. There is only one Fast-Pass entry and it’s on a one-way street. It is always wonderful to legally “cut the line” at the border
If you stay at a nice hotel or eat at a nice restaurant, ask the owner for one of these.
You can also use the Ready Lanes. These lanes are limited to the east side of the Port of Entry, between the Sentri and regular lanes. Entrance to the east side of the port of entry is limited to certain streets, Boulevard Alejandro von Humboldt being a common option, and are used for Returnees that have an RFID enabled travel card.
These cards include the U.S. Passport Card, the SENTRI card, newer iterations of the Legal Permanent Resident (Green) Card, newer iterations of US Visas, and newer iterations of the Border Crossing Card (BCC). At least a few of these cards are marked “Ready Lane” on the back.
You can also travel 30 minutes east to Tecate and try to cross there.
Many people drive to the border, park on the US side, and walk across. There are many lots available for this, which charge US$4-9 a day. Otherwise you can also walk from the light rail station.
As of the 2013 a bi-national effort between the United States & Mexico is underway to re-construct the border inspection stations on both sides in an effort to shorten wait times in crossing the border by widening and re-arranging the vehicular and pedestrian pathways. Therefore, everything in this section is in a state of flux and is subject to change:
From U.S. to Mexico
From the last light rail station follow everyone to the side street (Rail Ave) on the left side (east) of the trains between McDonald’s & Mercado Internacional to the lot or cul de sac behind the buildings. Once behind the buildings take a right turn and follow everyone up the hill along a sidewalk which goes past the old customs house and train station to a big gray gate with “MEXICO” marked above. Go right up to the gate and cross through the one-way gate and into the building behind the gate. This is where you will need to purchase the FMN card and get your passport stamped if you are going further south from the border or staying longer than 72 hours. Everyone must have passports ready as they are enforcing more closely than they used to in past. Once past immigration and customs inspections you go out the opposite side of the building where the sidewalk or pathway continues along the side of the building and up the hill towards a side street called La Frontera. Along the way you will pass a taxi stand of solid yellow taxis which are more expensive than the white with orange striped “Libre” taxis. Therefore, you want to continue along the sidewalk/pathway to the end at La Frontera where the taxis along the street are less expensive. Be sure to negotiate and agree on the fare with the taxi driver before getting into the car. That or take the frequent “Centro-Linea” bus into downtown.
From Mexico to U.S.
There are now two pedestrian entrances to the U.S. on both sides of the freeway. Previously it had only been along the east side of the freeway, going directly into the trolley station. As of July 2016 they had opened a new walkway and inspection station on the west side of the freeway connecting Plaza Viva in Tijuana to Virginia St next to the Las Americas Outlet Mall in San Ysidro.
The original sidewalk along the east side of the freeway is still there. To get there go up alongside La Frontera from the big roundabout with La Amistad (there’s a bunch of Pharmacies and doctors/dentists clinics around there) and after crossing over the freeway there’s a pedestrian walkway winding down into the side of the freeway where the line forms (or used to) to walk into the U.S. Once past the one way gate across the border the line snakes to the right into the old customs house (built in 1933) where pedestrians complete U.S. immigrations and customs inspection. From the old customs house there’s another trail that goes alongside a construction site, where the larger inspection station used to be. This trail leads into the front of the retail buildings facing the San Ysidro trolley station.
The other new pathway begins in a smaller plaza and parking lot from behind (north of) the expansive Plaza Viva at Calle Larroque and Pastor Ramos. This pathway ramps up to a bridge which goes alongside the El Chaparral inspection station (for vehicles crossing into Mexico) and then ramps down in circular structure on the other end. Pedestrians walk across the gate and into the building on the other side for U.S. immigration and customs inspection. Upon completion of the inspection you come out to the Virginia Ave Transit Center where you can catch a bus, taxi or be picked up by a private vehicle. From here, the 906 bus goes north to the Iris Ave trolley station while the 907 bus goes east to the San Ysidro trolley station. The bus fare is $2.25 for a single ride or $5 for a day ticket which allows you to transfer to the trolley or another bus. Likewise you can go right along the main road (Camino de la Plaza) which crosses over the freeway towards San Ysidro Blvd (0.6 mi or 1km). Before the road itself cross over the freeway there’s another pedestrian walkway to the right that crosses over the freeway on a separate bridge and directly into the San Ysidro Transit Center for the trolley ride up to San Diego.
From behind the McDonald’s building facing the San Ysidro trolley station there is an intercity bus station for an onward bus north to Los Angeles, Huntington Beach, El Monte, Bakersfield, Fresno, Stockton, Sacramento and anywhere in between in the San Joaquins. From the east side of the trolley station follow everyone to the side street (Rail Ave) between McDonald’s & Mercado Internacional to the lot or cul de sac behind the buildings. Everyone will be going right to cross back to Mexico, but once behind the buildings the bus loading platforms are immediately to the left.
Buses from here go as far north as Sacramento (via San Ysidro, Santa Ana, Huntington Park, Los Angeles, Bakersfield, Fresno, Stockton etc along Hwy 99/I-5) and Salt Lake City (via San Bernardino, Riverside, Las Vegas along I-15) and as far east as El Paso (via Yuma, Phoenix, Tucson, Las Cruces) in the U.S. and as far south as Mexico City (via Mexicali, Hermosillo, Culiacán, Mazatlan, Guadalajara, Tepic, etc along Hwy 2 & 15) and as far east as Monterrey in Mexico. They’re most ideal for travel in the surrounding regions of southern California and the northwestern Mexican states of Baja California Norte and Sonora. Anywhere beyond in Mexico and the U.S., it will become more economical to fly from San Diego to the U.S. and from Tijuana to Mexico instead. Buses cross the border through San Ysidro/El Chaparral (I-5/MX Hwy 1/1D) and have their own lanes to bypass the long (vehicular) lines in both directions:
- 3 Terminal Central de Autobuses de Tijuana (Central Camionera or Central Bus Station), Calzada Lázaro Cárdenas 15751, Fraccionamiento Chapultepec Alamar, Delegacion Mesa de Otay (SE of the airport, 9 km SE of downtown), . This is the main central bus station with most buses departing to Mexicali, Puerto Penasco and other points east into the Mexican mainland towards the Hwy 15 corridor. There are other buses going south towards La Paz along the Baja California Peninsula and north into the U.S. state of California from here too.
- 4 Central de Autobuses Linea Internacional (Plaza Viva), Via de la Juventud Ote 8800, Plaza Viva; Col Centro, . Most buses are going south to Ensenada via Rosarito and north towards Los Angeles via San Ysidro, Huntington Beach and Sana Ana.
- 5 Central de Autobuses Aeropuerto (Tijuana Airport Bus Station) (Airport) (Located next to the main airport terminal, outside the exit doors). Buses from the airport go to San Diego, Los Angeles, Mexicali, Tecate, Ensenada, Rosarito and other surrounding areas in Baja California Norte and southern California in the US
The below are some of the bus companies serving Tijuana at one or both bus stations and/or at the airport. Some have their own terminals lined up along Ing. Juan Ojeda Robles west of Carretera Tijuana-Tecate (Hwy 2) in Col. Guadalupe Victoria, west of the Central Bus Station in the SE part of town. Others are located in Zona Rio or Zona Centro. Buses crossing the border cross at San Ysidro/El Chaparral with an extra stop in San Ysidro going north, behind the adjacent building northeast of the border inspection station to wait for people continuing north as they complete immigration & customs inspections and to pick up new passengers. See the addresses in the below listings as to where they go to in Tijuana:
- ABC (Autotransportes de Baja California), Central Camionera, Plaza Viva, Aeropuerto. Major bus line for the Baja California Peninsula from Tijuana down to Los Cabos and down to Pto Penasco. They also operate the Peninsula Ejecutivo, Mexicoach (Tijuana-Rosarito) and the Suburbaja (Tijuana-Tecate) brands. The Mexicoach shuttle between San Ysidro and Zona Centro/Zona Rio is now operated by Tourismo Express See below:
- Tourismo Express (formerly Mexicoach), (bus stops) Soriana Supermaket on Av Revolucion btwn 2a (C/ Benito Juarez) & 3a (Carrillo Puerto) and along Av Revolucion btwn 6a & 7a where the old Mexicocoach Terminal used to be in Zona Centro, . Daily 7AM-6PM. Picks up at the parking lot west of I-5 and then travels down to Zona Rio (‘Blue Line’) & Zona Centro (‘Green Line’) on two separate routes. Drops off at the U.S. border inspection station going north. They also operate a shuttle between San Ysidro and the CBX (Airport) Terminal within the U.S.
- 6 Autobus Coordinados de Nayrit (ACN), (Depot) Blvd. Mariano Matamoros Hermenegildo Galeana 10997, Fracc. Mariano Matamoros; They also have another stop at the airport (NW corner of Blvd Lazaro Cardenas (Hwy 2) & Ing. Juan Ojeda Robles, across street from Estrellas del Pacifico bus station), , toll-free: 01800 026-73-73. They serve mainly in the western and northwestern states of Baja California Norte, Jalisco, Michocoan, Nayrit, Sinaloa and Sonora in Mexico and multiple cities in California (historically ‘Alta California’) in the U.S. They also have another stop at the airport.
- 7 Autobus Costa de Oro (Gold Coast Bus), (Depot) Priv. de Durazo No 17, Col Guadalajara (Priva. de Durazo, off of Lib. Salvador Rosa Magallan), , toll-free: 01 800 614-04-21. Serve several states of the Mexican west coast from Baja California Norte down to Oaxaca and also towards Vizcaino in Baja California Sur
- ETN (Enlances Terrestre Nacionales), Turistar Lujo, Central Camionera. They offer a ‘deluxe’ or ‘executive’ class seating with 2 seats on one side of the aisle and one on the opposite side with more leg room and an ability to recline into a lying position. They go to Aguascaliente, Baja California Norte, Coahuila, Chihuahua, Durango, Guanajuato, Guerrero, Hidalgo, Jalisco, Mexico, Mexico City DF, Michocoan, Morelos, Nayrit, Nuevo Leon, Oaxaca (coast), Queretaro, San Luis Potosi, Sinaloa, Sonora, Veracruz (Poza Rica, Tuxpan) and Zacatecas states
- Grupo Estrella Blanca (White Star), Central Camionera, Aeropuerto, , toll-free: 01 800-507-5500. They operate the Elite , TNS (Transportes Norte de Sonora), Chihuahuanese, Pacifico, TF (Tranporte Frontera) and the Estrella Blanca bus lines. As the largest bus company they serve much of the northern & northwestern part of the country such as Aguascaliente, Baja California Norte, Coahuila, Chihuahua, Durango, Districto Federal (DF), Guanajuato, Guerrero, Hidalgo, Jalisco, Mexico, Michocoan, Morelos, Nayrit, Queretaro, San Luis Potosi, Sinaloa, Sonora and Zacatecas states, up to the US border.
- 8 Estrellas del Pacifico, (depot) Calle Ing. Juan Ojeda Robles 1140, Chapultepec Alamar (SW corner of Blvd Lazaro Cardenas (Hwy 2) & Ing. Juan Ojeda Robles, across from ACN bus station), . They also have another stop at the Plaza Viva station near the boder.
- Greyhound & Curceros-USA, Aeropuerto, Central Camionera, 731 E San Ysidro Blvd in San Ysidro, , toll-free: 1 800 231-2222 (US). Greyhound goes from Tijuana to Los Angeles via San Diego & San Ysidro. Passengers transfer buses in Los Angeles or San Diego to get to additional cities in the U.S.
- 9 Guasave, (depot) Ingeniero Juan Ojeda Robles 15419, Col Buena Vista, Chapultepec Alamar, . Goes down towards Guadalajara along Hwy 2 an 15 via Mexicali, Los Mochis, Cualican, Guasave, Guamuchil, Mazatlan, etc.
- 10 International Bus Lines, (depot & office) Ave Paseo Tijuana 406, Col Zona Rio. They also have additional stops at the central bus station (central camionera) and the airport (Between two hospitals/clinics Frontera and Av de la Amistad), , toll-free: (US). Connects Tijuana, San Ysidro (just over the border), Santa Ana, Los Angeles, San Fernando, Bakersfield, Fresno, and San Jose/Stockton (route splits/joins in Madero) and several other places in between. Prices vary depending on your destination.
- 11 Rapid Connection, (Depot) Ingeniero Juan Ojeda Robles 15419, Col Buena Vista, Chapultepec Alamar, . Buses from Sacramento via Lodi, Madera, Stockton, Modesto, Fresno, Bakersfield, San Fernando, Los Angeles, Santa Ana, San Ysidro and several other places along SR-99/I-5. They also have additional stops at the airport and in San Ysidro
- TAP, Central Camionera, Modulo Insurgente, , toll-free: 0800-0011-827. Operates bus more or less along the Hwy 15 corridor between Tijuana and Mexico City via Mexicali, Hermosillo, Cualican, Mazatlan, Tepic, Guadalajara, etc along Hwy 15 through Baja California Norte, Guerrero, Jalisco, Michoacan, Nayarit, Sinaloa, Sonora, Estado de Mexico and Mexico DF. They also operate the TAP Royal bus lines from Tijuana to Stockton, CA via Huntington Park (Los Angeles), Bakersfield and Fresno and to Phoenix, Las Vegas and Tucson from Los Angeles and from Nogales. They also have another stop at Blvd Insurgente 17512, Fraccionamiento El Lago.
- 12 TIM Sinaloa, (Depot) Calzada Juan Ojeda Robles #1715A, Col Buena Vista, , toll-free: 0800 702-3055. Tijuana, Tecate, Mexicali and San Luis Rio Colorado
- 13 Tufesa, (Depot) Avenida de los Insurgentes 16779, Rio Tijuana 3ra. Etapa, Guadalajara, , toll-free: 01 800 737 8883 (MX). They serve mainly in the western and northwestern states of Baja California Norte, Jalisco, Michocoan, Nayrit, Sinaloa and Sonora in Mexico and California and Arizona in the U.S.
- CBX Shuttle, bus stop at the CBX Terminal located in the opposite side of the international border from the main airport terminal, toll-free: . The CBX shuttles goes from the CBX Terminal to the Santa Fe Depot at 1050 Kettner Blvd in downtown San Diego on one route and the last trolley station in San Ysidro. The Volaris Airlines Shuttle had ceased service as of June 1, 2016 and has been replaced by the ‘CBX Shuttle’. US$10 to/from downtown San Diego and $5 to San Ysidro. Another US$16 to walk across the bridge each way or $55 for a group or family of up to four people or $75 for six people..
Cabs are abundant throughout the city. If you are walking into Tijuana via the San Ysidro border crossing, you will be immediately confronted with a massive array of yellow cabs waiting to take you into downtown. This group of cab drivers are conveniently located, but be sure to negotiate a price before jumping into a cab. You should pay no more than US$5 in normal traffic to get from the border to the downtown area.
If you exit the border area by taking a right instead of going straight ahead to the taxi stand, then walk toward town after crossing the street, you will encounter the Taxi Libre taxi stand, which will generally cost half as much as a yellow cab would charge.
Throughout the city, cab drivers stand on the sidewalks and solicit customers. It is almost impossible to avoid them, so finding a cab should never be a problem. Yellow cabs do not have meters, so agree with your driver in advance what the cost will be. Taxi Libre, white with red stripe, cabs have meters and are cheaper than yellow cabs, though you might have to remind the driver to use the meter.
Be aware that when taking a Yellow Cab to a specific location, the drivers may tell you that the restaurant or bar you asked for is closed, and conveniently offer an alternative. This is almost always untrue, and the taxi driver is attempting to divert you to a business where he will receive a commission for delivering passengers. The driver may alternately tell you that “company rules” say that all rides to a given area can only take passengers to certain businesses, to achieve the same result. Taxi Libre drivers do not engage in this practice, as they are independent contractors, and do not have the commission structure that Yellow Cabs do.
- Avenida Revolucion in the Zona Centro – the main tourist area
- Bullfights – Tijuana has one bullring, which is open during the summer months, and has bullfights most Sundays. It is located in the Playas de Tijuana, adjacent to the US border. It is the only seaside bullring in the world. The older and more historic bullring near the city center has been partially demolished by the owner of the property in the past year, citing failed business practices of the bullring. However, there is a strong movement within the city to designate this site a historical monument, rebuild the bullring and have it serve as a municipal arena. Official bullring schedules and pricing are available at .
- Tijuana Cultural Center (CECUT)
- El Popo Market
Tijuana is on the ocean, but is not known for its beaches, for boating, or as a seaside resort. However, it is in cabbing distance of Rosarito – the trip will cost US$20, while Mexicoach will bus you there for around US$10. Ensenada is further down the coast but easily accessible by car or bus.
- Visitors to Rosarito and Ensenada should note that the main road is a toll road, with small sedans and trucks being tolled at M$27-30 or US$2.18-$2.41. Either currency is accepted generally.
- Visit the historical centers such as the Preparatoria Federal Lazaro Cardenas which is famous for being the central base of liquor contraband during the Al Capone days.
- Visit the world-famous Zona Norte “Red Light District”. Tourists, American Military, and locals alike have been venturing to this area for decades. Be aware that this is a dangerous area, relatively speaking, but this is compensated for by a large police presence. Visitors should take caution just as they would visiting any high-crime area of a major city.
There are disappointingly few bargains to be had in Tijuana. Silver and leather products are allegedly cheaper than in the US. Souvenir shops abound. Many of the items sold in the souvenir shops are actually purchased in the San Diegan swap meets and brought into Mexico and resold to tourists.
- Cuban cigars are mostly fake, with the majority being of Mexican origin with a “Cohiba” or “Montecristo” brand name added. However, La Casa Del Habano on Avenida Revolucion is a licensed dealer that sells genuine Cubans.
- Silver bracelets and necklaces are common, but may be fake. Don’t pay more than four dollars for fake jewelry.
- Vanilla is a bargain. Good place to buy is in plaza on revolucion
- Spanish music cassettes for only about US$0.50 available in plaza on Revolucion .
- Mexican groceries try stores like Calimax or Comercial Mexicana and see numerous Mexican products not found in other places or Mexicanized version of American products.
Apart from the abundant, over-priced tourist traps, local cuisine ranges from world-class restaurants to locals-only eateries and street vendors selling tacos. Travellers’ diarrhea is more of a risk at the cheaper establishments, but will probably not be a concern. In many sit down restaurants, musicians will wander in and play for tip. A good price for a song is US$1 per musician per song, but most musicians will try to charge US$2 per musician per song. For example, if there are five musicians in a band then a good price is US$5. Many non-mariachi musicians are untalented and some work with pickpockets, so keep an eye out.
If cuisine is an important factor in your visit to Mexico, be sure to check out the local filled taco shops, where you will be able to enjoy the best carne asada tacos in the world and for better price. Also delicious are churros made by street vendors, and the “hot dog” imitations sold as well. Be sure to avoid vendors that are not being patronized by locals.
However, American establishments such as McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC, and Carl’s Jr. (as Carl’s Jr., not Hardee’s) are in many parts of the city. However there are some local chains, such as Cafe Sanborns, that prove to be more popular and interesting than the American ones.
- Café La Especial, Av. Revolucion 718, in the heart of the tourist district. Down the stairs in a pedestrian alley. This inexpensive restaurant is the opposite of the noisy, over-priced tourist traps that line Revolución. Standard Mexican dishes served in a very relaxed, quiet environment. Gringo-friendly, though very popular with locals.
- Bol Corona , Any cab driver can direct you to one of the many franchises of this Tijuana establishment near the city centre. Bol Corona was founded in the 1930s and popularized the then little known “burrito” among the American tourists seeking haven from prohibition laws in the United States. Featuring inexpensive yet high quality Mexican cuisine, Bol Corona is a must. Several franchises have opened on the San Diego side of the border as well.
- Birriería Guadalajara Pues Avenida Constitución, between Calle Primera (First Street) and Callejón Coahuila (Coahuila Alley), Zona Norte. This restaurant serves awesome birria de chivo. Birria is a dish made from roasted goat with consomme poured over the meat, and is accompanied by onion, cilantro, limes and tortillas.
- Taquería “El Takerito” It is an authentic “taquería” (taco shop) on Díaz Ordaz Blvd., and located on one of the most crowded intersections of the city (5 y 10). It is not close to the border but any cab driver knows how to get to 5 y 10. They claim to have the best tacos in town at a very cheap price. Expect to pay around US$0.60 per taco.
- Taco Bell Art 123 Fuente Mexico, on the walk to the Arch from the border. There appears to be 2 adjacent places with this name, which is not part of the well known chain of the same name, but one doesn’t look very open as of early 2010. Offers US$1 beers (Corona, Pacifico, Tecate) and 3 tacos for US$1 (various flavors). English in menus, mostly populated by locals.
- El Mazateño on Avenida Tecnológico a few blocks away from Instituto Tecnológico de Tijuana and right across the street of Unidad Deportiva Reforma. You will find a wide variety of sea food and fish tacos at an excellent price. Expect to pay around US$2 for fish tacos to US$10 for a dish.
- Sushi House, Zona Rio, right by the Office Depot on Paseo de los Heroes.
- La Cantina de los Remedios, Zona Rio, northeast corner of the Abraham Lincoln traffic circle on Paseo de los Heroes. Vast liquor selection, all of which is visible on the immense shelving along the wall behind the bar. Great menu of traditional and modern Mexican cuisine. Two features are of special interest – first are the quotations and pithy sayings in Spanish along all the ceiling beams. The second is the extensive use of Loteria cards to decorate the ceilings as well as the backs of the menus. Both are great for practicing Spanish while enjoying your meal.
- Negro Durazo, Seafood – Located near the Zona Rio. Owned by members of the Sinaloa drug cartel; many of the regular customers are in the business and carry weapons.
- Los Arcos – Popular local place with tasty lobster, mussels and fish platters. No English menu, but if you ask for Cesar, he can help you order. Owned by other members of the Sinaloa drug cartel but more mainstream than Negro Durazo.
- Albahaca – Restaurant inside Hotel Ticuan. Good mix of continental and traditional Mexican cuisine. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner 7 days a week. The omelets are great at breakfast, and at dinner the “Filet with Three Sauces” is excellent.
- Cien Años, Zona Rio, on a side street off Paseo de los Heroes, across from the big Pockets billiards bar (another place to visit). Open for lunch and dinner. Very famous. Supposedly every recipe on the menu is over 100 years old (hence the name “Cien Años”, one hundred years). Some recipes supposedly date back to Aztec times. Menu includes a number of items such as corn fungus, and bone marrow soup. Gringo-friendly but Spanish is useful. Restaurant is small, with beautiful decor, and a relaxing atmosphere. Prices range from moderate to expensive.
- La Diferencia, Blvd. Sánchez Taboada No.10611-A Zona Río, between Blvd. Abelardo L. Rodríguez & Escuadrón 201. Excellent and innovative Mexican dishes, and great tamarindo margaritas. Moderately expensive by Tijuana standards but well worth it (~US$95 for 2 people, incl. margaritas, wine, appetizer, entree & dessert). Highly recommended.
- Villa Marina – Seafood, in Zona Rio
- Italianissimo – , Blvd. Agua Caliente No. 10556-9AR, Centro. Com. Rocasa. Italian cuisine, a classic restaurant in Tijuana. Dishes from all regions of Italy. Moderate to expensive.
- Villa Saverios – Escuadrón 201 3151, on the corner of Blvd. Sanchez Taboada” +52 664 686 6502. Open daily 13:00-02:00. US$5-20 meals. Owned by the same founder of the other Italian restaurant chain in Tijuana, Guisseppis, this Tuscany style mansion/restaurant has excellent Italian food and atmosphere, aimed at middle and high class customers. It’s also a favorite because of its unique menu which blends both Baja and Mediterranean flavors in its food and wine selection. It is in the so-called restaurant district on Blvd. Sanchez Taboada, right besides La Espadaña, T.G.I. Fridays, La Diferencia and Cheripan. There are two other Saverios in the city; both are smaller café-style ones.
There are many other great restaurants in the city, ranging from Mexican to Asian food. The city is also full of sushi bars, something that has caught on in recent years. Another favorite is Chinese food, and thanks to a large Chinese population in Baja, the locals tend to say that it’s the best Chinese food in México or the region.
Beer drinkers are well-advised to visit the “Cerveceria Tijuana,” the Tijuana Brewery, and its brewpub. It is on Blvd. Fundadores, a few minutes by taxi south of the Ave. Revolucion shopping district. Not only do they brew and serve six different Eastern European-style lager beers, but they also have a reasonably-priced food menu.
The brewpub is especially impressive because it is designed to look just like a European pub, with dark wood paneling, stained glass, and hardwood floors. One area even has a large window looking into the brewery floor, where you can see the workers busy at their brewing.
Be aware that flagging down a taxi in this area is often difficult, especially at night, so for your return trip consider arranging transportation ahead of time or having the phone numbers of taxi services available to call when you finish your meal.
Of course, beers, margaritas and tequila are also available at numerous establishments.
Where to stay in Tijuana
Tijuana offers a wide range of accommodations and a wide range of price levels. If one doesn’t mind splurging, there are a number luxury highrise hotels in Zona Rio which has become a “second downtown” and is the location for the Central Business District, upscale shopping, country club and city hall (palacio municipal).
For travellers with a smaller budget, Tijuana also has a few downtown hotels in a more seedier Zona Centro and the adjacent Zona Norte north of Calle 2a (Benito Juarez) which is Tijuana’s red light district and even sketchier especially at night. Some of these may only offer room rates by the hour as a “love making” hotel or a “motel” for couples looking for a quick (seedy) rendezvous than a place to stay for the night. Others may also offer a weekly, nightly and hourly rate depending on the need so ask. Security in some of these places are not the greatest and pilfering of personal items left in guest rooms and valuables left with front desk by hotel staff are common.
Migrant houses offer free or very cheap accommodation for anyone regarded as a migrant. They are more geared towards migrants from poorer regions working in Tijuana or continuing north to the U.S. than for the backpacking tourists. Some are said to also accept backpackers.
- Ejercito de Salvacion (men only), Aquiles Serdán 11585, Libertad, .
- Casa del Migrante (men and women), Avenida Hidalgo Int. 401, Colonia Centro, .
- Casa del Migrante en Tijuana (men only), . Calle Galileo 239 Col. Postal.
- Casa Beato Juan Diego (men only), . Boulevard Lazaro Cardenas, Fraccionamiento Murua, near bus terminal.
- Casa Madre Asunta (women and children), Calle Galileo 2305, Col. Postal, .
- Casa YMCA ((children only)), Blvd. M. Contreras #9844, Jardines de la Mesa, .
Telecommunications in Tijuana
Tijuana has a reputation for crime. In recent years, drug violence has erupted in Tijuana due to intense crackdown by the Mexican government and Mexican drug cartels turning on each other. However, joint action between the government and the police deleted the Cartel and their leader, and now all that’s left is the remnants of an uncontrolled group of renegades. The east side of Tijuana is particularly dangerous and prone to drug violence. Zona Norte can also be very dangerous if you are walking alone. Much of Tijuana’s drug violence happens in these two parts of the city. Most of the drug violence is not targeted at tourists, but rather at competing drug cartels as well as Mexican police. However, tourists can get caught in the crossfire, so it is best to stay alert. Most tourist sections (for the most part) are generally safe, such as Avenida Revolucion, Playas de Tijuana, Zona Rio, and Tijuana’s red light district in Zona Norte. As with any large city, use common-sense and street smarts when walking the street; especially in the red light district of the “Zona Norte” (North Zone).
It is advisable to be very careful of buying anything that would alert suspicion from Mexican police. This would include any type of prescription medicine (with potential for abuse, or perhaps low overdose/extreme side effects), pornography, and weapons. The police will use anything against you if they do stop you, so the less they have to go on the better. Laws differ from those in the USA.
Park in well marked parking lots with security guards. Police enforce the laws on foreigners who commit crimes such as pedophilia or buying illegal drugs. Corruption still exists among the Tijuana Police Department as it does in many Mexican cities (the Mexican Federal Police on the other hand is trustworthy), so beware. But this is usually done when you are alone after a night on the town, are slightly intoxicated, and your actions make you a potential victim. When speaking to an officer, stay calm and respectful. Typically, if you have done nothing wrong, stand your ground and they will eventually let you go. You can insist on seeing a judge, and explain what happened. If you do this, most likely the officer will try and save face, and give you a warning and send you on your way. In any case, made-up charges are usually only a small fine, most likely less than the bribe you would offer, and you do not go to jail.
For traffic infractions, you are entitled to a written ticket, and you can pay the fine by mail. Illegal drugs and drunk driving are taken seriously in Mexico, as they are elsewhere.
- Theft – Pickpockets can be found in certain heavy tourist areas. You are generally safe in areas such as the Zona Río, Playas de Tijuana, El Hipódromo, and many others; just make sure to always be cautious when visiting alone. The best targets for theft are those who speak no Spanish, wander alone (especially at night), are intoxicated, and travel to the Avenida Revolución. If you find yourself being swarmed by small children who say they want to sell you something, be aware that they could be trying to pick your pockets.
- Drug-dealer informants – In many bars and on the street, it is common to be offered illegal narcotic drugs for sale. Some of these peddlers work with the police. They sell someone the drugs, then tell the police that person is carrying. The police shake the person down for cash, and confiscate the drugs, which they presumably return to the original peddler, who goes looking for another victim.
- Strip clubs – There are a numerous clubs on Revolución that offer nude dance shows. As you walk down the street, barkers will try to entice you to come in; if you are not interested, simply smile and walk on. If you do walk into one, most likely you will soon be approached by one or several ladies who will ask you to buy them a drink. Keep in mind that their “mixed drinks” are often nothing but soda or juice, but you will be expected to pay a ladies’ drink price, whether they ask for beer, real mixed drinks, or non-alcoholic drinks. These drinks will typically cost you US$8-10, and the ladies get a commission for each drink you purchase for them.
- Prescription drugs – Though your prescription drugs may be much cheaper here, carrying large quantities or carrying them without your prescription can land you many “years” in a Mexican prison. Some foreign prescriptions may not be valid in Mexico. If you break the law, you will be dealt with accordingly. However, this does not include medications which often change in status in the USA from prescription to over-the-counter. Such medications are readily available without a prescription in Mexico. Police are mainly concerned about prescription drugs which have the potential to be abused.
- Food and alcohol imports – Note when stopped at the border, U.S. Customs will confiscate any fruits, vegetables, and live or raw meat products in an effort to combat certain diseases or bugs from entering the U.S. food supply. Meat products confiscated can include pork rinds. Alcohol can be brought across the border if for ‘personal use’ with a limit of 1L duty and tax free. Importing more than 1L for personal use can be challenging – the amount you are allowed to import depends on whether not you live in California and if you are crossing on foot, in a private vehicle, or on a bus. For details, refer to the California ABC – and don’t forget to declare your alcohol to Customs. Another note is the importation of abalone or conch meat, which are endangered species and not for sale in the US.
- Contraband items – Can be confiscated by U.S. Customs, they include weapons, drugs (illegal or without prescription), Cuban cigars, and live animals.
- Canada, Germán Gedovius 10411-101, Condominio del Parque, Zona Río, , fax: . Monday to Friday 09:30-12:30.
- China, Av. Lomas del Monte 1614, Fracc. Lomas de Agua Caliente, , fax: .
- Guatemala, Misión San Ignacio 10680, Zona del Río, , ✉ email@example.com. Monday to Friday 08:00-13:00 & 14:00-16:00.
- Honduras (Honorary), Av. Mutualismo 920, entre calles 3a y 4a, Zona Centro, , fax: .
- Japan (Honorary) (Japon), Paseo de Héroes 9911B, Zona Urbana, Río, .
- Korea, Republic of (Republica de Corea), Germán Gedovius 10411 Desp. 305, Zona Rio, , fax: .
- United States (Estados Unidos), Paseo de las Culturas s/n, Col. Mesa de Otay, Delegación Centenario, , ✉ ACSTijuana@state.gov, TijuanaInfo@state.gov.
Tijuana offers several bus routes further into Mexico. From Tijuana you can easily go to Ensenada, or further south to Guerrero Negro, which is a very popular destination for whale watching. It is a 12-hour bus ride to Guerrero Negro but well worth it. Other bus routes destinations include La Paz (Mexico), San José del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas at the southern tip of the Baja peninsula. Local buses are available to the nearby city of Tecate, about 40 miles to the east.
Taxis from Ave. Revolucion to the Central Camionera cost about M$60. Tijuana -> Guerrero Negro: M$945
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Cabo San Lucas Coronavirus Travel After Covid-19 Baja California
Cabo is a varied destination that captures the essence of Baja Peninsula in its many resorts, hotels, golf courses, dining and amazing outdoor activities.
Mexico Coronavirus Report
Cabo San Lucas is a bustling hub for sport fishermen, cruise ships, handicraft vendors, water sport aficionados and nightlife seekers. The area is considered the second fastest growing resort destination in all of Mexico and particularly busy with visitors during the winter high season, November to February. With some of the best all-around sport fishing in the world and every water sport imaginable, Cabo is the ultimate destination for travelers looking for outdoor adventure.
There are three districts in “Cabo”:
- San Jose del Cabo, the “Old Town”, which is nearest to the airport. San Jose has old Mexico charm and some shining new resorts.
- Cabo San Lucas, the “Main Town”, which is 20-some miles form the airport, and the entertainment hub of Cabo. The famous arch is in Cabo San Lucas.
- The Corridor, the highway which connects San Jose and Cabo San Lucas, which is now lined with golf courses, condos and resorts situated along the coastline.
By night, Cabo San Lucas is one of the hottest party towns in Mexico with a glittering nightlife and a plethora of dining options that make energetic Cabo San Lucas an all-time favorite. Also called Cabo San “Loco” or just plain “Cabo”, the town’s reputation as the wild party center of the Baja Peninsula has brought fame and infamy to its many bars and nightclubs.
Fly to Cabo San Lucas
If you’ll be staying for more than a day (e.g., not as a passenger on a cruise ship), flying is the preferred means of travel to Cabo. The regional airport, Los Cabos International Airport , (624) 146-5111, is located outside of San José del Cabo and will take approximately 30–45 minutes to travel to Cabo San Lucas.
For general aviation or private jets, Terminal 2 is used. It has 14 gates: 7-20. Air taxi and air charter companies such as Jetset Charter fly a variety of private charter aircraft and jets, from charter luxury Gulfstreams down to economical piston twins for small groups and individuals.
All the major American airlines fly to the airport, as well as, Aereo Calafia, Aeromexico, Alaska Airlines, Frontier Airlines, Interjet, Volaris and the Canadian Air Transat & WestJet.
If you plan on arriving to Cabo by plane, a transfer bus is the cheapest method to get to your hotel if you do not plan on renting a car. A reservation for a transfer can be made before arrival and is significantly cheaper than a taxi. There are buses at the airport charging per person for a ride to the resorts of Cabo which can be had without prior reservation. Public bus Ruta Del Desierto is the cheapest means to get to Cabo San Lucas, boarding the bus will be from Terminal 1 (domestic). Bus will stop at Puerto Paraiso Plaza (mall) in Cabo San Lucas. It also services the opposite direction. Boarding is at Puerto Paraiso Mall, the difference is that the bus will stop at both Terminal 1 and 2 (domestic and international passengers, respectively). Cost is M$80 (pesos) per person from Puerto Paraiso to the airport.
Travel by boat to Cabo San Lucas
Cruise ships call very frequently. All must anchor/moor offshore, so passengers must be ferried to shore. Those who plan to arrange independent tours need to consider the time that ferrying takes for tour start, and for tour end to ensure they can return to ship on time.
Regional bus service is provided by Autotransportes Aguila with frequent departures from La Paz, San José del Cabo and several other nearby cities. 1 Cabo San Lucas Bus Terminal is on Carr. Todos Santos, north of the city centre.
Taxis are readily available and rates are negotiable.
One of the best and most exciting ways to travel around Cabo is to rent a BMW motorcycle. Cabo BMW Rentals rents BMW motorcycles as well as scooters and they will provide helmets. You can ride north out of the tropics to Los Barriles which is a great stop for a bite to eat or walk on the beach. It’s called the “Cabo Loop” which consists of a 320-km (200-mile) paved ride, starting in Cabo San Lucas and going through the larger cities of San José del Cabo, Los Barriles, Todos Santos and returns to Cabo San Lucas.
There are many car rental agencies in Los Cabos, most of which have names familiar to travelers in the Americas. If you are staying in a villa or plan on many day-trips that are not covered by a resort or timeshare shuttle, then a rental will likely be the most cost effective.
Sightseeing in Cabo San Lucas
Filled with natural landmarks and a number of prominent monuments, the city of Cabo San Lucas has plenty of character, particularly around its coastline. From January to March, a must see is the whales, they come to Cabo during this period of time and many boats can take you out to sea to watch them. In early March, they are particularly abundant.
- Land’s End— Known for its exceptional views and photo taking opportunities, this area is comprised of a large cluster of rock formations that were carved into fantastic shapes by wind and sea. During low tide, many visitors like to walk here along Playa del Amor (Lover’s Beach) because it allows for a better view of an eroded passageway called the Arch of Poseidon. You can also observe Los Frailes, two rock islets that are frequented by sea lions.
- Church of San Lucas (Iglesia de San Lucas). Boasting many original features, this church, almost 300 years old, has been well maintained.
- Cultural Center (Casa de la Cultura). Features a tall mirador tower and is surrounded by beautiful gardens and overlooks all of Cabo.
What to do in Cabo San Lucas
Scuba Diving & Watersports
Scuba diving Is especially good in Cabo, because you can watch the sandfalls under the water. It is an amazing spectacle provided by nature. If you are looking for something more relaxed perhaps you want to go to Lover’s Beach or to one of the multiple romantic restaurants in Cabo. Cabo is also a good surfing destination, since many of the beaches on the east cape road pick up the southern swells. The beaches are accessible through the coastal road on the way to cabo pulmo. Particularly, shipwrecks beach is a favorite spot during the summer months.
- Cabo Submarine. This is an easy way to see the fish and aquarium world without getting wet. The office is in the marina, and they have special pricing for contacting them directly from the website. The Semi Submersible is 18 m (60 feet) long and air conditioned.
- Picante Bluewater Sports, Puerto Paraiso Local 39-A Cabo San Lucas, , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. American-owned with English-speaking crews; yachts ranging in size from 24′ to 68′. Prices start from US$325-3850.
- Cabo Surf Safari, . Lessons available courtesy of professional surfing instructors. Surf tours are arranged with hotel pick-up and lunch included.
- JT Watersports. They offer parasailing, wave runners, kayaks and snorkeling. They also have a sunset cruise that will take you out to explore Lovers Beach or “El Arco”. They have new top of the line equipment and they are completely mobile, so they can cater to your needs anywhere in the East Cape area of Baja California Sur. They are on Playa Medano in Cabo San Lucas.
Cabo is known around the world as a top fishing destination. The meeting of the waters of the Pacific ocean and the Sea of Cortez creates a nutrient rich environment where sport fish thrive. Marlin, sailfish, tuna, dorado and wahoo are the most commonly targeted species. Cabo boasts one of the largest sport fishing charter fleets in Mexico. Charters range from pangas, open “semi-dorry” type skiffs, to 18 m (60 foot) or more luxury sport fishing yachts. Prices for a day of fishing start around US$175 for 5-hour panga trips, from US$450 for 8-hour trips on 26-30 footers and into the US$1,000 to $5,000 per day for boats from 34–60 feet.
- Minerva’s Baja Tackle and Charters, toll-free: (from US & Canada), ✉ email@example.com. English speaking crews, boats ranging in size from 31′ to 40′ with bare boat or all-inclusive rates. Charter prices run from US$600 to $900.
- Checkmate Sportfishing, . 31′ Bertram. Charter rates from US$475. English-speaking crew.
- Slippery Lizzard Sportfishing, , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Upscale charter boats and sportfishing yachts from 28′ – 68′. Full service charters with everything included (licenses, bait, drinks, beer, ice, lunches, tackle and equipment) with rates from US$550 for a full 8 hr day. English speaking crews and American guides.
- Reggae Jungle Cruise, ✉ email@example.com. Continental breakfast, snorkeling, lunch and whale watching while cruising along two different reefs that are astoundingly beautiful. Children under 10 go free.
- Jazz and Wine Tour aboard the Tropicat, , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Sail the Pacific on a large sailing catamaran. Enjoy a breathtaking sunset while listening to the contemporary jazz music. International bar serves premium wines and hor d’ouvres.
- ATV offroad adventures, , ✉ email@example.com. One of the more popular ways to see and explore Cabo. Discover the sights from the seat of an ATV or a mountain bike, on a guided tour through sand dunes, desert, mountain and beach. Half-day trip costs US$85 and includes an ATV or mountain bike, rappelling gear, expert tour guide, rappel instructor, energy bars, all beverages and round trip transportation in an air conditioned van.
- Sierra Buggies (Road Runner Tour), Calle Nopal 19 Colonia Magisterial, . 9AM and 2PM. Buggy rides in the Boca de la sierra mountain range along mountain trails lined with all kinds of cacti and rocky dry river beds that will test your driving skills, and onto to one of the few UNESCO protected biosphere reserves in México and a swim in one of the Sierra’s hidden freshwater pools. US$230 double and US$150 single.
- The Cabo San Lucas Glass Factory. A really fun place for the entire family to visit. Touring the glass factory, you get to witness a first hand glimpse into the centuries-old art of glass blowing.
Shopping in Cabo San Lucas
With boutiques as easy to come by in Cabo as restaurants, its a shoppers delight.
The plazas of Puerto Paraiso Shopping and Entertainment Plaza and the adjacent Marina Cabo San Lucas offer a variety of shops and goods with an affable ambiance.
Shoppes At Palmilla offer a selection of high-end boutiques. The stores here include day spas, art galleries, fine restaurants, coffee shops, an amazing bakery and homemade crafts.
- San Jose del Cabo features traditional Mexican speciality stores which offer furniture, hand blown glass, ceramics, artwork, cigars and local souvenirs.
- Die Trying, Plaza Naútica, Loc. # A7, tel 143-5388. For something other than your standard tourist t-shirt, try Die Trying for fun, quirky line of men’s, women’s and children’s t-shirts and casual wear.
- Golden Cactus Gallery, Hidalgo street (corner Zapata, one block from Wyndham Tesoro Hotel), , ✉ celyne@GoldenCactusGallery.com. M – F: 12-7PM. The Golden Cactus Gallery opened in 1997 as a fine art gallery and artist studio. The gallery showcases hundreds of works of art from artists from Baja, Mexico, USA and Canada. In 2009, the gallery was acquired by long-time resident Marie Celyne Poupart.
Where to eat in Cabo San Lucas
- 1 Alexander’s Restaurant, Blvd. Marina s/n (On the Cabo San Lucas Marina at the Plaza Bonita Mall), . It’s hard to miss this lively restaurant that is always packed and upon dining here, you’ll understand why it has maintained its popularlity for so long. With the chef combining French-influenced cuisine of Swiss origin with hints of the tropics and Mediterranean, the menu offers something for just about any palate and craving. Be sure to try the shrimp tempura with a Thai coconut-chile sauce, its taste and freshness will satisfy.
- La Casa del Dorado, . Charming family run Mexican and seafood restaurant.
- Peacocks restaurat (grupo Mi Casa). Peacock’s Restaurant – a European restaurant in Cabo, the food is just delicious!
- Brasil Brazilian Steak house. A buffet style steak house. Good for large groups.
- La Dolce. Italian restaurant and pizzeria serving authentic Italian cuisine in the heart of Cabo. Open for dinner only and contains standard Italian fare. Also located in San Jose del Cabo.
- Amarone. With a variety of Italian apertifs on offer, Amarone offers a traditional Italian vibe, complete with the Italian chef at the helm. All pastas are hand-made as are bread and all desserts. Expect to spend about US$35 per person.
- 2 Restaurante Mi Casa, Av. Cabo San Lucas s/n, . Popular Mi Casa is well-known for its Mexican dining experience and provides a taste of old Mexico. The atmosphere is friendly and funky and the staff are efficient and quick. The restaurant does allow street vendors to peddle their fares at your table though.
- El Patio. Mexican food located at Presidente Intercontinental in San Jose Cabo.
- El Coral. Mexican and seafood. Oldest restaurant in Cabo. On the west end of the main street. Good prices and good food.
- La Casa Country. Mexican food. The best fajitas in town. Line dancing show included.
- Mariscos de Mazatlan (on the right (west), south bound, between the airport and Cabo on the main highway). Very good seafood with good value pricing. It has an open-air palapa at least in part.
- Tacqueria Marissa. Tasty steak tacos and the best condiments to accompany them, including whole roasted jalapenos, caramelized onions, guacamole, and every color and variety of salsa imaginable. Great to meet the locals as well.
- Nikk San. Some of the freshest sushi in the area. Make sure to sit at the sushi bar and ask the sushi chef what is good that night.
- Brown´s Private Services, , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Butler and Chef Services bring great dining to you in the privacy and luxury of your vacation villa or condo in Los Cabos.
- Poncho’s, Hidalgo & Emiliano Zapata (downtown Cabo), . Great Mexican/Sea food and the largest collection of Tequilas in the world with over 500 labels.
- Nikki Beach, . Poolside dining featuring international cuisine. Live DJs on weekends.
- No Worrys Bar & Grill, Blvd. Marina, E/V. Guerrero and Madero, . Located inside the 27-m (90-foot) lighthouse at Cabo San Lucas Marina, it offers a single VIP table at the top of the lighthouse tower. Well known for their relaxed attitude, sizzling sauces, awesome food, outdoor grill and deck seating. The second floor lava lounge provides private window seating and marina views.
- Mango Deck Beach Club. If you’re looking for a “Spring Break” type atmosphere with bass-thumping music and bikini clad girls dancing on stage for a bucket of beer, then the Mango Deck is your spot. However, be mindful that the drinking age in Mexico is 18 and most of those girls on stage (especially in the summer) are pre-college high schoolers either on spring break or celebrating graduation. Adults may find The Office more appropriate.
- The Office. Located right next door to the Mango Deck, The Office is a more adult setting offering big blue umbrellas to shield you from the sun and an assortment of appetizers to accompany your margarita or Modelo Especial. With tables and chairs right in the sand, the office has become a famous watering hole in Cabo. The Office does not allow beach vendors to solicit you at your table.
- Slim’s Elbo Room, Just down the street from the Giggling Marlin. Hole in the wall so it’s easy to miss. Size does matter at this bar, which claims to be the world’s smallest bar with four seats only and standing room for two. Drinks are served straight up as well as beer. Visitors like to tack a dollar to the wall with a stamp that says ‘I was here’.
- The Giggling Marlin. Gotta check it out. They hang you upside down by your ankles and you drink a shot. Great lunch and dinner menu. Try the fish tacos and house-made salsa!
- El Squid Roe. The best bar in the town. Loud, obnoxious, but thats why it’s fun. Very touristy; people of all ages get up on tables and dance. Cocktail waitresses walk around with a whistle in their mouth to get your attention while they sell jello shots. This bar is multi-level and plays a variety of music. Very popular bar; if others are not hoppin’ this one will be!
- Cabo Wabo. Owned by Sammy Hagar, who performs occasionally, Cabo Wabo is famed for consistently providing patrons with a good time. They play the rock loud, and with attitude, but thankfully the staff are friendly and quick to serve.
- Pink Kitty. Way too similar to a metro US city club scene. Go somewhere with more character.
- Poncho’s, Hidalgo & Emiliano Zapata (downtown Cabo), . Great Mexican and seafood and the largest collection of Tequilas in the world with over 500 labels.
- Two For The Road (Live Jazz Spot), Hotel Tesoro ~ Cabo San Lucas (On the Marina Facing M-O Dock), , ✉ email@example.com. 8PM to Midnight. A Jazz Night Spot for the over 30 crowd and for those searching for a place to go in Cabo, either before or after dinner to enjoy great cocktails, wine and Jazz Martinis with sophisticated live entertainment and pleasant conversation. Unique ambience and intimate Jazz Night Spot like no other in Cabo San Lucas located on the Marina side of The Hotel Tesoro Monday through Saturday, 8PM to midnight. Live music nightly, 9PM to midnight. It is located between Solomon’s Landing & “No Worry’s” Lighthouse Restaurant. Validated one hour free parking in Hotel Tesoro parking lot.
- Happy Ending Cantina (Rated the Best Bar in Cabo), Marina Blvd 22 (Between Cabo Wabo & Hard Rock), . 10AM-3AM. Happy Ending is located on the “50 yard line” in the middle of Cabo’s action. Cheap drinks. Three bars, stripper poles, beer pong tables, pool tables, dancing, music, satellite TV for sporting events, delicious food all day and all night, cleanest bathrooms in Mexico, handicap access. ATM on the premises. Opens at 10:00 and closes at 3AM everyday. Best in Cabo.
- Flavor, Marina Blvd s/n Las Cardenas (In front of Burger King, Between Las Quesadillas and Pink Kitty), . 11AM-mdnight. International cuisine with global influence. Beautiful ambience and design. Great venue for dinner with family, friends, or dates. Kids under 10 not recommended.
- The Usual Suspects, Main Street across Puerto Paraiso Mall, . The Usual Suspects is the only bar with a High Definition 100 inch screen in Cabo showing every NFL, NHL game, PPV, etc. Its oval shaped bar invites everybody to meet everybody, friendly and English speaking bartenders, clean bathrooms and a dance floor under the stars will make your Cabo nights unforgettable.
- UNOMAS. The best margaritias in Cabo. The drinks are US$3.50 each and beers are US$2. The beers are cold and the company is warm and friendly. This place is hard to find but a great place to hang out. Owned by Fernando and Gina, also the bar tenders, these two ensure the success of the bar by tasting, with their own straw of course, every drink prior to serving them. This ensures that their mix is always right.
- The Sandbar (Next to the Office). Very nice place to spend a day on the beach drinking cold Pacificos (sold in an ice filled bucket) People are very nice and the service is great.
San Lucas/ Where to stay in Cabo San Lucas
- Cabo Inn, 20 de Noviembre and Leona Vicario, Cabo San Lucas 23410 – A charming, bohemian and clean hotel with communal kitchen, BBQ, and a small rooftop pool. The management are friendly and helpful, and the guests tend to be as well. It is a few blocks from the beach, marina, and many of the drinking establishments. The two “honeymoon suites” are double the price of the average room here but still a bargain. There are large open air palapas, one of which has a private jacuzzi.
- Seven Crown Hotel, Blvd. Lazaro Cardenas y 16 de Septiembre | Col. Centro – Nestled in between a gas station, a liquor store, and a strip club. Across the street is the hospital. Has four locations. A great deal, its the closest hotel to all the bars, and you can just walk to the Riu Resort and get free drinks every day.
- Casa Piedra, . Within the Cabo Pulmo Marine Park. An all native stone house with a palm frond (palapa) roof, located with the Cabo Pulmo Marine Park, directly on a white sand beach. It has 2100 sq ft of living space with an equal amount of outdoor patios.
- El Nido Hacienda Escondida, Road towards Sunset Beach | Blvd. Miguel Angel Herrera & Callejon el Dorado, Cabo San Lucas 23450 – Located on a quiet cul-de-sac, three blocks away from the original town square and five blocks away from the marina. Six spacious decorated rooms, each with its own bathroom, are located around a central courtyard. Full breakfast, jacuzzi, gardens, roof-top sun deck, barbecue facilities, and a spectacular sunrise-sunset vista. There is also a beauty salon on premises.
- Royal Solaris Los Cabos, Boulevard San Jose Mz. 22 Lote 10, Zona Hotelera, 23400 San José del Cabo, B.C.S., . Blvd San Jose Lote #10 Campo de Golf, Z.H. . 390 rooms Mexican hacienda-style resort a five-story building in a U-shaped enclosing gardens and pools. Unlimited meal and beverages in 5 restaurants. Dinner shows and theme nights. 3 pools with heather system (including relaxes & kids pools). Spa and beauty salon. Beach front and indoor jacuzzi. Fitness center. Tennis and basketball courts, also beach volleyball court. Scuba diving demo at the diving pool. Kids club & Mini Water park. Weekly activities program for all ages. $ 150 USD Double occupancy.
- Marina Sol, , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. One block from Medano Beach and the Marina and just two blocks from Downtown Cabo. Marina Sol offers one to five bedroom condos with partial ocean, pool &courtyard, and town & sunset views. Family oriented condominium resort.
- RIU Palace Cabo San Lucas, Camino Viejo a San Jose, Cabo San Lucas 23410 – Has impressive architecture and 642 deluxe rooms are set in a spectacular enclave facing one of Los Cabo’s famous landmarks. Amenities include mini-bar and liquor dispenser, while some suites boast hydro-massage bathtubs and a jacuzzi on the terrace. This resort includes all-inclusive holidays, with facilities and a full range of sports and leisure alternatives, and on-site dining. The hotel was just certified an AAA Four-diamond hotel.
- Tesoro Resorts Los Cabos, Marina Lotes 9Y10, Col Centro, Telephone: US/Canada: 1 866 998 3767 or Mexico:1 800 837 6767. All inclusive Mexico resort hotel. Looks onto the marina, lighthouse or the Sea of Cortés from your balcony. No airport shuttle service. Internet, fitness center, spa, activities desk, large pool, parking, air conditioning. All inclusive packages are offered.
- Fiesta Americana Grand Los Cabos Golf & Spa, Carretera Transpeninsular, km 10.3, . 249 rooms and suites with private balconies overlooking the hotel’s private beach and the Sea of Cortez. Guests can enjoy five swimming pools, a fitness center, the SOMMA WineSPA, a variety of on-site restaurants, and a championship golf course.
- Pueblo Bonito Pacifica, Cabo Pacifica S/N, , ✉ email@example.com. This oceanfront, boutique adults-only resort with minimalist style sits by itself on a rugged 4-km (2.5-mi) stretch of sand beach on the Pacific side of Cabo.
- Marquis Los Cabos, Carretera Transpeninsular Km. 21.5 (In the Corridor between El Dorado and Cabo Real golf courses), , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Ocean view, contemporary Mexican decor. Junior suite, master suite or cabana (casita) with private pool.
- ME Cabo, Playa El Medano, . ME Cabo steps down to the sea, its 150 rooms and suites arranged in a terraced embrace of free-form pools and gardens, Bali beds and sunshine.
- Dreams Los Cabos Suites Golf Resort & Spa, Carretera Transpeninsular, KM 18.5, Cabo San Lucas. Open-air hacienda-style architecture offers spacious suites in varying sizes, all with ocean views from your private, furnished terrace. Twice daily maid service, premium stocked mini-bar, and satellite TV. Three pools, two with swim up bars, one snack bar, a full-service spa and fitness center, and five restaurants, plus lounges. Nearby, eight championship golf courses.
- Melia Cabo Real. Carretera Transpeninsular km 19.5
- Playa del Sol Los Cabos, Km 29, Carr Tranpeninsular Highway. Playa del Sol Los Cabos is on a white sand beach. Exclusive beach club environment.
- Hilton Los Cabos Beach & Golf Resort, Carretera Transp. Km. 19.5, . Featuring one of the only swimmer-friendly beaches in town, this resort was designed to reflect the Spanish heritage of Mexico, featuring tiled roofs and a hacienda-style courtyard with a large, elevated cascading pond.
- Marquis Los Cabos, Carr Transpeninsular Km 21.5 (Los Cabos, Baja California Sur), . Hotel and resort overlooking the Sea of Cortes, featuring oceanfront suites, spa, dining, meeting/event facilities, seaside pools.
- Prana del Mar Retreat & Wellness Center, Playas Migriño, Carretera a Todos Santos, KM 105, . This boutique eco-resort focuses primarily on yoga retreats, yoga vacations, and spa holidays. 15 rooms and suites, swimming pool and hot tub, delicious cuisine, solar-powered, very serene.
- The Resort at Pedregal, Camino Del Mar 1, toll-free: , ✉ email@example.com. A five-star resort featuring villas with private plunge pools, restaurants, a full-service spa and elegant beachfront space for weddings and meetings. This resort is set on a private beach near the downtown retail district.
- Las Ventanas Al Paraiso, KM 19.5 Carretera Transpeninsular, San Jose del Cabo, , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. World famous five-star resort that offers expansive suites, spa, meeting and wedding facilities, horseback riding, sailing, surfing, snorkeling, and scuba diving.
- Esperanza, An Auberge Resort Carretera Transpeninsular km 7 Manzana 10, Punta Ballena Cabo San Lucas BCS Mexico 23410 . Five-star Auberge Baja-style resort featuring 50 oceanview casitas and six luxury suites with large outdoor terraces and Sea of Cortez views. Luxurious touches include fine linens, plush robes and over-sized bathrooms.
- One and Only Palmilla .5 carretera Transpeninsular SJC – CSL, San José del Cabo, ☎ +52 624 146-7000. This five-star resort is a splurge, but well worth it with exceptional accommodations all with ocean views, and an exceptional golf course.
Do not beach walk at the water’s edge on the Pacific side. This area is very treacherous, and huge waves can come ashore with little to no notice. This danger does not end at the “El Arco” point, but extends to all south-facing beaches as well, including the Pueblo Bonito and Riu Palace resorts.
As a general note, avoid back alleyways, especially at nighttime. Watch for pick pockets in the nightlife areas. Only accept rides from licensed taxi drivers. Also, the city had the highest murder rate in the world in 2017.
The main beach of Cabo San Lucas, called “El Medano” (Medano Beach) is located near the marina in the bay. On the beach there are some great places to eat and drink including The Office, along with many others most of the places have outdoor tables on the beach. The beach overlooks Lands End. You can also take a ride to Lands End by boat and also Lover’s Beach, one of the best beaches in the world.
Explore small towns surrounding Cabo: San José del Cabo, Todos Santos and La Paz are rich with history and make a great excursion. The nearby town of Todos Santos is a perfect side trip from Cabo. Todos Santos is a small community with approximately 4000 people. The town is filled with art and culture. The town is a tribute to the Eagles ‘Hotel California’, with its old colonial architecture and centuries old monastery one is transported back through time to a land of mystery and adventure. Stop at Elias Calles on your way home and pick a basket of organic strawberries.
La Paz is an old Mexican port with an ‘old Baja’ feel. It features in John Steinbeck’s novel The Pearl based on a Mexican folk tale about the areas most valuable natural resource. Its anthropology museum offers insights into the first inhabitants, 10,000 years ago. You can also see rock paintings dating back to these early settlers.
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Rosarito Coronavirus Covid-19 Travel Update to Baja California Mexico
Please listen to our Travel Guide to Rosarito
First thing, buy liability insurance. This can be purchased online or at numerous agencies at the border in San Ysidro. If you don’t buy it, have fun in jail. Even if the accident is not your fault, you will be held until that’s cleared. Even if you hit livestock on the road, you the driver are at fault. Liability ensures the cow’s owner is compensated. Also, arrive early most check=in times are around eleven and on busy holiday it will be very hard to find a room. The mexican cops prey on american plates so go early.
Rosarito Beach is easily accessed via a toll road that runs along the Pacific Ocean. The drive around Tijuana can be daunting. Follow the signs on the freeway, but be careful the signs usually appear only at the turnoffs. Don’t expect any notices before the turnoffs.
When returning there is an unmarked u-turn in Tijuana you need to take to get back to the United States. It’s at an interchange next to a Pemex station. Look for a line of cars with American plates making a u-turn.
If you don’t want to drive in, there are buses from Tijuana.
For about US$15 you can take a taxi to Rosarito. Some Taxi Drivers may charge more, though.
There are 2 main roads to Rosarito coming from Tijuana/San Diego.
The Toll Road (Mexico 1D – Cuota) is much easier and faster on getting to Rosarito. After crossing the border get into the 3rd lane (counting out from the median), in about 100 meters you’ll be on an overpass and a 4th lane will bring on merging traffic, move over to the 4th lane and an offramp to the right will take you to the Via International/Carretera Mexico 1D. This is the main highway to take you to Rosarito, Ensenada, and the western part of Tijuana (Las Playas). If you keep your eye out for signs that indicate any of these three locations it is easier to drive in Mexico, but remember that the toll (cuota) and free (libre) route often split from the same road so may careful attention to the signs to avoid taking the wrong road. The toll cost will be about M$30 (about US$2.50) each way.
The Free Road (Mexico 1 – Libre) goes through Tijuana and can be harder to follow.
One of the best ways to visit Rosarito Beach is by going on a one day tour from San Diego. You can call Five Star Tours at 619 232 5040.
The whole tourist industry lies on Benito Juarez, the main street in town. There’s plenty of taxis as well. You’re never without friends or drinking buddies as long as you have cash.
- The Rosarito-Ensenada Bike Ride twice a year in April and October, is a “fun ride” 80 km (50 miles) along the coast and a few miles inland. Up to 10,000 riders participate in the ride, which ends with cervezas (beer) in Ensenada.
- California Motorsport Adventours Off-road adventure tours for people of all riding abilities. Everyone welcome: families, couples, friends, single riders, bachelor and corporate groups. Full day excursions or longer tours available also. Ride in the dunes and then enjoy a guided adventure into the surrounding mountain trails. Contact the office for reservations.
If you go to Rosarito for food a must stop is Puerto Nuevo located just 8 minutes south of Rosarito. This small town offers more than 35 restaurants all serving Lobsters. This style of lobster can be found throughout Baja called “Puerto Nuevo Style”
La Flor de Michoacan, on the north side of town on Benito Juarez, has a well-deserved reputation with tourists and locals alike. This restaurant is known for its carnitas (simmered and fried pork) dinners served family style with rice, beans, pico de gallo, fresh guacamole, and steaming, fresh tortillas wrapped in cloth and served in a basket. The restaurant also has a full bar and serves margaritas made with real strawberries. Carnitas plates are served two different ways. Mixed pork includes tripe and other pieces many do not find appetizing. If this is you, shell out the extra couple dollars and get the solid pork. You’ll be hard-pressed to spend more than US$10 a person, even with a pitcher or two of margaritas. The building is hard to miss, an imposing brick structure on a corner with a stop sign. Look for the word “CARNITAS” on top.
- Cha Cha Cafe, Km.31 Blvd. Popotla, La Barca, Rosarito Beach. (2 miles south of the Rosarito Beach Hotel.), . 7am-4pm. Rosarito’s place to enjoy Food, Coffee, Desserts, People and Music. Take out and Delivery Available. Monday -Sunday.
Fresh sea food right off the boat, head south on the old road, at the Fox studios, there is a fishing village on the south side of the complex, about twenty restaurants, lots of locals and traffic on Sundays! Park on the main road and walk in. Food is very good, but if you expect American restaurant standards be aware, you are in Mexico. Walk around, don’t go in the first one, lots of English-speaking deported Mexicans trying to get you into their restaurant.
- The Mongolian Grill, Carretera Libre Tij-Ens Km.30 (2 miles south of Rosarito Beach Hotel), . 11:30AM-8:30PM. Mongolian BBQ (select your meats, fresh veggies and seasonings). Weekly specials like Korean tacos and Thai coconut curry with chicken, shrimp, and bamboo shoots. US$6.75 + tax.
- Nonnies Italian Restaurant, Km. 31.5 Blvd. Popotla, La Barca, Popotla (2.5 miles south of Rosarito Beach Hotel), . 11 am – 8 pm. Delicious, reasonably priced! Spaghetti & meatballs, fettucine, pizza, salads, and a great view! Call ahead for to go orders – your food will be ready when you arrive. Open Tuesday through Sunday. Open for “Spring Break fast” Fri, Sat, Sun at 7AM economical.
The history of Puerto Nuevo – in the 1950s and early 1960s this was a little fishing village where Americans would meet local guides at the billboard off the road. That billboard was for Newport Cigaretts – Puerto Nuevo is Newport in Spanish. This is the likely derivation of the name. One day the wife of a fisherman starting cooking the fish her husband and his clients caught… and the restaurant business was born. That original restaurant is known as #2 (this has to do with the lot numbering system); #1 was the second restaurant in town. Also, there are 8 restaurants in town with the name Ortegas. They are related and the competition is not all that friendly. Puerto Nuevo is a fun stop – the lobster is good – and you have plenty of choices for food, shopping and people watching!
The Beachcomber lies in the central part of town in a resort village. The resort village is gated, so you’ll have to park in the lot outside of the gate and take a small walk. If the guard asks at the gate where you’re going, just say you’re getting drinks at the bar, you don’t have to have a house there to drink. The bar has a patio right next to the beach, making it the perfect place to drink a beer or margarita and watch the sunset. There is also access to the beach here as well. While the drinks aren’t the cheapest in town, they aren’t overpriced, and you’re not going to pay a cover.
For a big club experience, check out Papas & Beer . Papas & Beer is a large club in the heart of Rosarito. Although the drinks are overpriced for the area they are cheap compared to US prices. There’s usually a cover, and sometimes a line, but the positive side is that if you are looking to dance, meet new people and have some cervezas, you will find what you are looking for here.
Where to stay in Playas de Rosarito
Rosarito Beach is a fast-growing town. With that growth comes growing pains! For this reason, it is best to avoid all high-rises and accommodations in downtown Rosarito. Loud music coming from the clubs is a persistent problem that tourists face when they try to go to sleep every night. The best bet is for people to go to privately owned Villas or Condos or Houses. Listings of all three types are plentiful and readily found everywhere.
- Rosarito Luxury Penthouse Garden Floor Luxury 2 bedroom, 2 bath penthouse. Large balcony overlooking the beach. There is a circular bar as well as a kitchen, spa and pool nearby.
- Villa Bonita Vista 3 Bd 4.5 bath vacation rental in Bajamar. Villa Bonita Vista is located on the 7th green of the Los Lagos Course with ocean and golf course views. Bajamar is in Ensenada.
- Rosarito Beach Hotel, Blvd. Benito Juarez 31, . Built in 1925, this classic establishment is perfect for younger couples looking to have a great time in Rosarito. It has multiple pools and jacuzzis, and is situated right on the beach. There are numerous restaurants and bars in the hotel, and guests are given vouchers upon check-in so that they may enjoy a certain amount of free meals and drinks. If tranquility and relaxation are what you have in mind, this is not the place for you. Due to the fact that it is centrally located amongst Rosarito’s downtown area on Benito Juarez, the music from the clubs is audible until 4 AM, and the bass will shake the hotel, making it hard for those guests who are not out partying to fall asleep. If you are looking to go clubbin, let loose, and catch some sun during the day, however, this is the place for you.
- SeaSide Reservations Rosarito Beach. A great selection of Baja California vacation rentals to fit every group size and budget, with properties in Brisas del Mar, Calafia Resort, La Elegancia, Pacifica at Ensenada Bay, Playas de Tijuana, Ricamar, Rosarito Shores, San Antonio Del Mar, Santa Barabara at Baja Mar, The Park At Malibu, and Villa Serena Condos.
- Casa El Jardin (Bed & Breakfast), Emiliano Zapata St. #600, Rosarito Beach, BC (Col. Reforma. A Few blocks down from Wal-mart Shopping Center), .
- Las Rocas Resort & Spa, Toll Free Road Tijuana-Ensenada Km 38.5, 1 888 527 7622 or 1 866 445 8909, . 72 ocean front rooms and suites, 2 restaurants, 2 bars, Holistic Spa, Ballroom and Gardens.
- Bobbys Baja by the Sea – One of the nicer places to stay in Rosarito Beach is Bobbys Baja – just North of Puerto Nuevo’s lobster village. Bobbys is a condo resort – so all the units have a kitchen and they are a lot more spacious than a hotel room. There are really nice – which is something one cannot say about some of the local hotels.
Current Covid-19 Infections in Baja California
Please listen to our Travel Guide to Rosarito
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Puerto Penasco Rocky Point Coronavirus Travel After Covid-19 Sonora
Puerto Peñasco is a beach city in the northwestern corner of the state of Sonora in Mexico on the shores of the Sea of Cortez (Gulf of California), about 112 km (70 miles) south of the border with Arizona.
Puerto Peñasco, also known as Rocky Point, is one of the fastest growing tourist centers of northern Mexico; as of 2009 the population is more than 45,000 people, which includes many American and Canadian expats.
The story goes that Al Capone put Puerto Peñasco in the map. During prohibition, he supposedly used the village as a transfer point for liquor to his USA organization. The word in the streets say that he drilled the first water well, constructed a landing strip, and also he frequented the first solid structure building, nowadays known as “Posada La Roca”, the 8 room hotel down at the Old Port.
Puerto Penasco is in the same time zone as Phoenix/Tucson, Arizona, and observes the same rules for Daylight Saving Time as Arizona (that is to say, it is not observed).
The border crossing at Lukeville, Arizona is open from 6 AM to midnight, daily.
The currency of México is the Mexican peso. The local merchants will typically accept US dollars at the going rate. ATMs are available around town that will allow you to use your US-based bank card and receive Mexican pesos, typically at a more favorable rate.
As in the rest of the country, Spanish is the predominant language among the population. The variety of Mexican Spanish spoken in the region distinguish itself from the rest of the country for its strong intonation and contraction of words. Due to its proximity to the United States, it receives a great deal of influence from English. For example, English words such as troca (truck), lonche (lunch) and bai (bye) are of common usage.
English is spoken by most of the vendors and in almost every restaurant in Puerto Peñasco. Earnest attempts by visitors to speak Spanish are always appreciated.
If driving your own vehicle there are many ways to get to Puerto Penasco, the most direct and easy way to get there is from Arizona thru the point of entry in Lukeville, the distance from Phoenix or Tucson is the same just about 350 km (220 miles) which is about 3.5 hrs of driving time.
From Phoenix you will need to take I-10 going west to Los Angeles getting off on exit 112 that connects to State Route 85 going south thru Gila Bend, Ajo, Why and Lukeville, once you go thru the border follow the road over the hill and past the bridge then about a block you will turn right into Mexico highway 8, which will take you straight into Puerto Penasco.
From Tucson you will need to connect from I-10 taking exit 260 to I-19, take exit 99, Ajo Way and go west eventually it will turn into State Route 86, it will go west thru Sells, Quijotoa and Why where it will dead end into State Route 85, turn left going south to Lukeville, once you go thru the border follow the road over the hill and past the bridge then about a block you will turn right into Mexico highway 8, which will take you straight into Puerto Penasco.
It is an easy and safe one hour drive by car from the American/Mexican border at Lukeville, Az at the south end of Organ Pipe National Monument on Arizona Highway 85. If coming from Southern California, the drive is a bit shorter by crossing south of Yuma at San Luis Rio Colorado, but this route requires more driving in Mexico, however the new highway, Mexico Highway 3, from El Golfo de Santa Clara to Puerto Penasco is now open and is a very nice drive, however due to the sand being blown into the highway be careful when coming to sand build up, they could be deadly at high speed, is not recommended to go off road unless you have four wheel drive and are familiar with driving in sand.
All drivers in México are required to have Mexican car insurance. US policies are not acceptable. Be sure to buy Mexican insurance prior to your trip down or at one of the many places along Highway 85 before you cross the border.
From Phoenix you can contact Head Out to Rocky Point at (602)971-0166, e-mail at email@example.com
From Tucson contact Rocky Point Rides at (520)207-0532, e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
From Puerto Penasco there are two shuttle companies with offices in Phoenix and Tucson:
Transportes Nena’s +52 638-388-7089 or (602)442-6802
Transportes Superior +52 638-388-3640 or (602)455-9522 .
There are direct bus services to Hermosillo and other points statewide (Nogales and along Mexican Highway 15 & 2, Caborca, Santa Ana, Guaymas, Empalme, Huatabampo, Navojoa) to/from Puerto Penasco with Albatros Bus Company on Benito Juarez. This bus does not pass through Sonoyta or Rio Colorado or Baja California, to do that you must board another bus company.
If you did not drive in to Puerto Peñasco (as most visitors do) you can get around town via taxi. You can either have the hotel call them for you or go to the nearest major street and flag one down, fares vary however you should not pay more than US$2 or $3 per person, in the touristic area of Sandy Beach you will find the “taxi turistico” or “tourist taxi” their prices will be higher than those of regular taxis.
There are also microbuses that take people around town (mostly workers) for a minimal fee.
If you will be staying for a longer period, there are two places that you can rent a car:
- The Point Rent-a-car, On Blvd Benito Juarez across from Latitud 31 Restaurant and bar, tel. 388-5823
Puerto Peñasco has a few different areas:
- Fish Market – with the Malecon Kino overlooking the Sea of Cortes, many curio shops, restaurants, bars, ice cream parlors, remember thrifty ice creams?
- Playa Mirador – one of the oldest beach areas of Rocky Point, location was once famous as the “Spring Break” party street Avenida Matamoros, in a matter of 2 blocks you will find yourself in what seems to be a huge open bar, where college students from many universities concentrated during the 2 week vacation period. Now the street consists of many closed bars.
- Calle 13 – Another well known area for its numerous restaurants and bars, here you will find ATV and Rhino rentals almost in every block. To reach Calle 13, turn right off the main road (Benito Juarez). Calle 13 dead ends at the Penasco Del Sol hotel and the city beach; just before that is the turn for Seaside Reservations and the Las Gaviotas condominiums. The city beach is the hub of Mexican beach life, with numerous vendors and food trucks setting up shop on the sand.
- Sandy Beach – this is the location where most of the new developments are taking place, resorts, spas, 18-hole golf courses, condos and houses, restaurants as well as bars and of course a couple of miles of sandy beach and the future home port site for the cruise ships.
- Cholla Bay – located about 8 km (5 miles) out of town and home of famous JJ’s Cantina, it is just northwest of Sandy Beach.
- Las Conchas – the oldest American enclave in Rocky point exclusively residential with many available beachfront rental homes.
- Mayan Palace – One of the most, if not the most luxurious Mexican resort/timeshare, with its Jack Nicolaus 18-hole golf course, spa and many amenities to keep anybody, kids or adult busy. Open to members only. The general public cannot get day passes or use the restaurants. The golf course clubhouse restaurant, however, is open to the public.
And there are others like Playa Diamante, Playa Encanto, Playa San Jorge, etc. all located outside of town along the shores of the Sea of Cortez and are residential only.
- The Links at Las Palomas (Golf), Blvd. Costero 150, Sandy Beach, Puerto Peñasco, Sonora, Mexico 83550 (For directions, see Las Palomas Beach and Golf Resort in the ‘Sleep’ section, below.), . The Links at Las Palomas is an 18-hole, par 72, championship golf course that offers a classic links-style golf experience. The Links offers a club house, a fully-stocked pro shop, a restaurant, a driving range, practice greens and cart rentals. US$45.
- Boating, Fishing, Cruises. Santiagos Ocean Services has boats for Fishing trips, Bird Island Eco tours, Snorkeling Excursions, Dolphin and Whale watching, Dinner or Margarita Sunset Cruises, and for some real excitement they offer Parasail Rides that will give you a birds eye view of Rocky Point.
- Ultralight Flying Adventures, US$40 for a 15-minute flight over any part of Puerto Peñasco that you’d like to see from the air.
- Dancing, Puerto Peñasco has lots of nightlife, and there are many great places to go dancing: Manny’s Beach Club, Pink Cadillac, Baja Cantina, The Reef Club, Playa Bonita Happy Hour at Puesta Del Sol, Margarita Villa, and Bumaya (with the famous Foam Party)
- Beach, Puerto Peñasco have basically to distinctive beaches separated by Whale Hill, the rocky hill where the Malecon and the fish market are located, to the north you have Sandy Beach, which starts at Playa Hermosa at the end of Calle 13, where Hotel Penasco del Sol is located and goes to Pelican Hill/Cholla Bay, this beach is about 8 km (5 miles) of white sand and full of the new developments which includes condos for rent, resorts and hotels, this is the new touristic section of Puerto Penasco/Rocky Point which started developing around 2000. The other beach area is located to the south east of Whale Hill which starts with Playa Mirador, the oldest developed beach in Rocky Point, known by the great tide pools where many different sealife can be found when the tide is low in the shore reefs, however when the tide is high the beach is of sand and the rocks are not visible. After playa Mirador going along the coast you have the American enclave of “Las Conchas” where many beautiful homes of mediterranean style are and ends at the entrance to the Morua estuary. To continue down the coast, you must take the highway to Caborca which will take you to many of the other residential developments like Playa Encanto, Playa Dorada, playa Miramar ending at the Mayan Palace and the entrance to La Pinta Estuary.
- Off road vehicle rentals, There are lots of quad rental shops for easy access to the sand dunes outside of town near Cholla Bay.
- Health Club/ Club Playa Fitness Center (Realty Network), 281 Blvd. Fremont (1 mile east of city hall on Blvd. Fremont). 6AM – 9PM. This is a great place to get a workout in while in Puerto Peñasco. Memberships available, walk-ins welcome at US$5 per visit. Air conditioned, state of the art equipment, cardio, free-weights, universal machine, flat screen/HD TV/ Music. US$5.
- CET-MAR Aquarium, 43 Las Conchas Road (To get there go east on Fremont and turn right on Camino a las Conchas after the gas station on the left. It is on the bend as the road approaches the beach.), . Monday through Friday from 10AM to 2:30PM and Saturday and Sunday from 10AM to 5PM. Aquarium exhibit at the university, Centro de Estudios Technologicos del Puerto Penasco. Actual research is being done there, and the animal tours are mostly self-guided thru the tanks, barrels, and pools. The entry fee is about US$3. US$3 adult, $1 child.
- Shopping, The malecón (mah-lay-CONE), or “beach walk” in the Old Port part of town is alive with shops that sell everything from tourist souvenirs to fine art. While in Puerto Peñasco, most visitors stay in one of the hundreds of privately owned condos that offer fully stocked kitchens. For this reason, the fish market at the malecón is a popular stop for the fresh catch of the day, especially during the shrimp season, September to March. There are also many good restaurants to be found along the malecón, some of which provide stunning sunset views of the Sea of Cortéz.
- The Cholla Mall (also known as Rodeo Drive), has many shops with pottery, jewelry, clothing, and a variety of knick knacks. Two large pottery shops, across the street from each other, have a massive selection of artwork, rough pottery, and Talavera-style pottery. Planters of every size and shape, plates, platters, and bowls, candle holders and water coolers – you can find pretty much everything in these stores. While you can buy cigars at a few of the shops, they tend to be older and/or more stale than the shops on the Malecon. Fabulous Mexican restaurant on the street – beautifully decorated.
- Capone’s Restaurant and Bar, Located in Sinaloa Avenue in the Mirador beach area, Very casual drinking and dining. US$8-$15
- Delfin Amigable (Friendly Dolphin), Ave. Alcantar #44 (the main street out of the Old Port), +1 52 (638) 383-2608. S-Th 10AM-11PM, F-Sa 11AM-11PM. Traditional Mexican dishes, and a very creative seafood menu. Casual dining, and appropriate for the whole family. US$8-$22.
- JJ’s Cantina, 12 Coahuila Ave (Cholla Bay), . A historic, casual restaurant and bar in Cholla Bay, popular with many of the local American and Canadian ex-pats.
- La Casa del Capitan, on top of “Whale Hill”, A restaurant with a great view. Mexican and American dishes served indoors or outside on the large patio.
- La Maria Fine Bistro & Cuisine (Las Palomas Beach & Golf Resort), Blvd. Costero 150, Sandy Beach, , ✉ email@example.com. La Maria offers refined “cocina Mexicana” and world fusion dishes. A place for a special evening, or just to stop in for a late-night dessert.
- Lolitas Seafood Restaurant, located in Ave Cuahutemoc in Mirador Beach area
- Sapporo Sushi Restaurant, in Sinaloa Ave. one block west from Cappone’s restaurant in the Mirador beach area
- Kaffee Haus, located on your way to the Old Port. The Coffee Haus is a breakfast and lunch bistro tucked on a hillside just south of the old port. Established by German pastry chef Uwe Holtze and his wife Lily in 2005, the Coffee Haus was named after Uwe’s dog “Coffee”. Uwe, originally from Germany, lived in Canada and Boston before settling in Puerto Penasco. He brought with him a taste of Europe, combined with American, Canadian and Mexican fare. website, www.coffeeshaus.com Phone, 638-38 81065. Please be ready to wait for few minutes, normally during long weekends expect queues. Please give your name with counter, they will call you in order.
There are many casual clubs/bars in town and at the Old Port, including Pink Cadillac, Baja Cantina, Wrecked at the Reef, Playa Bonita Happy Hour at Puesta Del Sol, Luxor.
Where to stay in Puerto Peñasco
- FMI Rentals, Blvd Freemont s/n 103 Placita Aviana, Benito Juárez, , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. FMI rentals offers about 79 short-term vacation condominium rentals ranging from 1 – 6 bedrooms in a few of the area’s resorts: Marina Pinacate, Princesa de Peñassco, Tessoro, Corona del Mar, Corona del Sol and Casa Blanca. Rental features and amenities vary by property and location, but can be seen via FMI’s site or the resort of the property you wish to stay in.
- Las Palomas Golf and Seaside Resort, Blvd. Costero 150, (As you begin to enter Puerto Peñasco, turn right at the second traffic light onto the street named “Calle 26” or “No Reeleccion.” Continue straight on this street and after crossing the railroad tracks. A short distance farther, the street will curve to the right. Continue straight on this street along the sand dunes to a traffic circle where exiting to the left leads to the security gate of the main entrance of Las Palomas Resort), , toll-free: , ✉ email@example.com. Las Palomas Beach & Golf Resort includes condominiums where you can stay. Each condominium (1BR -5BR) in this full-service resort has a stunning ocean view. The resort also offers fine and casual dining, “infinity” pools, swim-up bar, lazy river, room service, full spa services, WiFi and a 18-hole PGA gold course.
Unlike most small communities, Rocky Point has not experienced an increase in crime. It is important wherever you are to stay alert to your surroundings. It was noted recently in an article about crime in the USA that you are 17 times more likely to have violent crime affect you in Flint, Michigan than in Rocky Point.
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Lack of Protective Gear Leaves Mexican Nurses Battling Covid-19 in Fear
MEXICO CITY – As a nurse on the front lines of Mexico’s coronavirus battle, Gisela Hernandez has stayed away from her children for nearly two months, sleeping in a hotel and even her car to avoid infecting them because she feels inadequately protected at work.
At night, she video calls Santiago, 5, and Renata, 9, who are both asthmatic, to hear about what they’ve done during the day and remind them how much she misses them.
While Hernandez says she loves her work, and considers the National Institute of Respiratory Diseases (INER) in Mexico City her second home, she is also afraid of contracting the novel coronavirus. COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, has killed 9,415 people in Mexico.
“I don’t regret becoming a nurse, because I like to help my patients,” said Hernandez, 40, whose hospital is one of the city’s main treatment centers for COVID-19.
But she said she is “scared of getting sick … scared of never seeing my kids again.”
Health workers account for about a quarter of all of Mexico’s coronavirus infections, government data shows, one of the highest rates in the world. The risks are made worse by shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE).
COVID-19 cases are surging in Latin America, which along with the United States is now an epicenter of the global pandemic. Frontline workers in Mexico City’s hospitals, including Hernandez, have taken to the streets to complain about the conditions. A national march is planned for Monday.
INER, which has been at full capacity over the past week, said 49 of its workers have been infected at the hospital and another 54 have contracted the virus in the community, of which two have died.
In a May 8 memo seen by Reuters, INER’s Biosafety Committee said a global PPE shortage would require workers to don reusable surgical uniforms and cloth hospital gowns, instead of disposable gear. The letter also told workers to use their N95 masks for full shifts.
In response to requests for comment, the hospital shared with Reuters a statement it sent workers this week in which it said the measure regarding usage of masks was in line with World Health Organization advice. It also confirmed that workers were instructed to use non-disposable gowns and uniforms.
“To date, no sterilized N95 masks have been reused.”
However, a video seen by Reuters shows an official at INER telling staff to reuse sterilized N95 masks.
“We exploded when we were told we were going to recycle the N95s,” said Alejandro Cabrera, an INER nurse with two decades of experience.
Cabrera said workers are required to put their names on masks so the gear can be sent off for sterilization. “It’s terrible!” he said.
Mexico ranks eighth in the world in COVID-19 deaths, with Mexico City and a neighboring state accounting for some 40 percent of the country’s fatalities.
The Mexican government says it needs another 6,600 doctors and 23,000 nurses to battle the crisis, a shortage exacerbated by the high infection rate among medical staff — 11,394 health workers had contracted the virus and 149 had died as of May 17.
Medical professionals had accounted for 23 percent of all of the country’s infections as of that date. That compares to 3.7 percent in the United States, according to data released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week.
Despite the danger, Hernandez is doing her part to combat the disease.
She points to a box of chocolates and a yellow note from the family of one of her patients thanking and encouraging her to keep “working to save lives.”
“That’s one of the reasons I love my job so much, and despite the risks I still enjoy taking care of my patients,” she said.
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Ensenada Coronavirus Covid-19 Travel Update
In the Bahía de Todos Santos — an inlet of the Pacific Ocean — Ensenada is an important commercial and fishing port as well as a cruise ship port of call. There is also a navy base, an army base and a military airfield, which functions as an airport of entry into Mexico.
The city is backed by small mountain ranges. Due to its location on the Pacific Ocean and Mediterranean latitude, the weather tends to be mild year-round. Although the winter rainy season is short and the area is prone to prolonged droughts, Ensenada sits in the heart of a wine country that is widely regarded as the best in Mexico and the Americas with the Napa Valley in California. It is said that the first vitis vinifera made it to the peninsula (specifically to the San Ignacio Mission) in 1703, when Jesuit Padre Juan de Ugarte planted the first vineyards there.
Ensenada is the only deep-water port in the state of Baja California and is part of standard shipping routes that directly link it with the Mexican cities of La Paz, Manzanillo, Mazatlan, Acapulco and Lázaro Cárdenas, and with the U.S. cities of San Diego, Long Beach and Los Angeles, the Guatemalan city of Puerto Quetzal, the Chilean city of Valparaíso, the Japanese city of Yokohama and the Chinese city of Hong Kong.
Ensenada boasts overall very pleasant weather with the sea bringing cold air in hot days and not much cold on the winters. It is also very fickle and you are advised to bring a sweater and pants along with your shorts and shirts.
- Take the bus from Tijuana for roughly US$15 or 185 pesos.
- Drive across the border from San Ysidro. Go in the morning and you will be going the opposite direction of the nightmare traffic trying to get into the U.S.. Once in Tijuana, follow the signs to Rosarito and Ensenada on route 1. There will be three toll stops en route to Ensenada. These tolls cost 31 pesos, less than US$2, each. You can pay with US dollars or pesos, but no mixed currency. The scenic highway (“carretera escenica”) is well maintained and is an enjoyable ride along the beautiful Baja coastline. If you go in spring and early summer, the wildflowers on the hillsides are gorgeous. The ride from Tijuana to Ensenada takes approximately 1-1.5 hours. Stop in Puerto Nuevo for a Mexican lobster dinner. There are many rest areas and vista points along the way. AAA and other travel magazines recommend that you only drive in Mexico during the day for safety reasons. The toll road (scenic highway) is somewhat winding compared to divided highways in the United States or Europe, but a great improvement over two-lane roads south of Ensenada.
- Cruise ships: Ensenada has become a regular stop for several lines of cruise ships since the 1980s. Although this is certainly the most expensive means to travel to Ensenada, it is also most enjoyable.
- Carnival shuttles. Carnival Cruises has the Misioneros Tour company run shuttle buses between the port and Ensenada every 10min. It’s US$2 to Ensenada and US$2 to get back to the ship. US$4 round-trip.
- By foot Most of Ensenada’s downtown tourist attractions can be accessed by foot. Others, like La Bufadora and Wineries are too far away to walk to, but tours will take you there for a fee. If your espanol is “malo” you could take local buses inexpensively out and back to La Bufadora.
- By bicycle Most of the Boulevard Costero and the scenic highway can be traveled by bike. Take precautions for the scenic highway north of Costero is a freeway and trucks and cars travel at high speeds. Ensenada’s South is not very bike friendly.
- By car The city is extremely easy to navigate by car and parking is free and available everywhere. Keep in mind that on highways, the left lane is just for passing and local drivers will tailgate you if you coast on the left lane. You can hire a car at the Rosarito Hotel.
- Taxis and buses Radio taxis are available and will take you anywhere. Route taxis and buses serve mostly suburban routes and are not very useful for tourists, although are very cheap (US$0.75, M$8).
- La Bufadora (blow-hole). is in a small village about nineteen miles southwest of town. The road from Ensenada, especially in the area close to the Bufadora, offers beautiful views over the sea and cliffs. The narrow main street leading to the viewing area is crowded with tourist-trap shops selling curios, take-away food, and prescription medicines, but the Bufadora is a rather remarkable natural sea vent. However, it is not possible to see the actual blow hole from most parts of the viewing area due to the angle of the cliff face; the impressive columns of water that shoot up are visible. On busy days, local Mexican tourists in the hundreds cram the viewing area. The local cove offers camping, swimming, kayaking and scuba, including a small dive shop with rentals; the cove is especially cold water. Locals report that sea lions are sometimes seen swimming about. Locals eat at Celia’s, also available are the Bufadora, Pancho’s, and Habana Banana restaurants.
- Carnival Tours. Bufadora tours from Carnival Cruise lines cost more than anywhere else, but will pick you up and drop you off from the cruise ship port. US$36.
- Misioneros Tours. This tour company runs the shuttle buses between the Carnival cruise ships and Ensenada. The stop in Ensenada is right by their tour booth where you can buy a discounted Bufadora tour. They prefer USD. US$15.
- Ensenada Wineries Many wineries exist on the outskirts of Ensenada in the Valle de Guadalupe and an hour south at Santo Thomas. The wineries are located along highway 3 to Tecate (exit just south of last toll gate, north of town). Most offer tours and tastings, however some wineries require that you make an appointment before.
What to do in Ensenada
Ensenada is a city best experienced by car. The greatest experiences in Ensenada involve going out early to Bufadora, having ceviche at 1st street, drink at Hussong’s, then go to a beach and end back in a club or bar. All of these require independent transportation so it would be wise to hire a car, and have a designated driver.
- Fox Studios Rosarito was the location for much of the at-sea filming of James Cameron’s “Titanic”, which gave this studio location its start. Since then, many other films have been shot in this location, including “Master and Commander”. The ship of this film remains on site. They offer tours.
Beaches and Surfing
- Beaches. The city of Ensenada is on the Ensenada Harbor, so you’ll have to drive south or north to get to a local beach. Private beaches like Estero Beach and Mona Lisa have resort accommodations and facilities, but public ones like San Miguel and El Punto are free for anyone who wishes to walk by the sea.
Ensenada area has several celebrated surfing spots, such as San Miguel Beach, California Trailer Park, Stacks and 3 M’s (Spanish:Tres Emes), which are located in the north coast of the city. Todos Santos Island a small island located west of Ensenada (about 2 hours by boat), and a world-famous surfing spot. The Billabong XXL surfing contest has been held at Todos Santos Island several times. Wave faces can reach above 18 m (60) feet on the island. Brad Gerlach, 2006 winner of Big XXL, surfed a wave of 20 m (68 feet) in December 2006.
- San Miguel Beach, San Miguel Beach (Near Ensenad’s highway toll, ask a taxi). A small rocky beach that offers a great night view of the city. Great for camping and drinking, locals favor it for it’s relaxed nature and private nature which means you won’t be disturbed unless you make a lot of noise. Free entrance, US$12 camping.
Hiking, Nature and Off-Road
Hiking can be done on the nearby Canon de Dona Petra, and on the nearby Laguna Hanson. Arrangements with local eco tour companies are needed.
- El Salto. Its a beautiful canyon, excellent for rock climbing, rappel and hiking; and in rain season you can view a spectacular waterfall that is over 30 m (100 ft). You can find it at KM 76 in the Tijuana – Ensenada Libre Highway. Camping Facilities. US$2.
- Canon de Dona Petra Hike (Ask a taxi to get you to the starting point). Every first Sunday of the month, locals hike through this 10km hike. It’s free and you can find many people. It takes about 3 1/2 hours at good pace and it’s of moderate difficulty. At the end of the hike, you can take the bus back to Ensenada for about US$1. free.
- San Carlos Hot Springs (Aguas Termales) (Head five miles south of town ( just past Chapultepec )on the road to San Quintin, turn East at the golf course and follow the signs – or ask the locals). Features pipe-fed hot pools, cold pool, and mud pool as well as cabins, showers and camping, is popular with the locals, despite a 10-mile rocky dirt road with 13 (or so) shallow water crossings; medium-clearance vehicles are recommended.
- California Motorsport Adventures. Off-road adventure tours for people of all riding abilities. Everyone welcome: families, couples, friends, single riders, bachelor and corporate groups. Full day excursions or longer tours available also. Ride in the dunes and then enjoy a guided adventure into the surrounding mountain trails. Contact the office for reservations.
- Whale Pursuing (Whale Watching). The gray whale’s annual migration from Alaska to the lagoons of Baja California Sur between the months of December and March, and back in the months of April and May, can be seen from the coast of Ensenada. Sightseeing tours are available every day during migration season. Whale watching not guaranteed
- La Bufadora (The Blowhole), Punta Banda. La Bufadora is a marine geyser and the largest blowhole in the world, often shooting upwards more than 30 m (100 feet) above sea level. The exhibit hall roof top is approximately 25 m (80 feet) above sea level and the blowhole frequently sprays above it. Free.
- Sports Fishing. Ensenada Baja California has been known for sport fishing over fifty years. Each year hundreds of anglers head for Ensenada to go fishing and take advantage of the shorter distances needed to travel by sea to get to the big catch. The short range day trips are good for cranking in Bass, Bonita, Barracuda, Cod and Yellowtail, while the long range trips pull in Tuna, Albacore, Dorado. Prices Vary.
- Baja 1000 (The Longest International Off Road Race in the World). This important race held in November as well as the Baja 500 Off-Road race held in June start in Ensenada. While the Baja 500 almost always ends in Ensenada the Baja 1000 ends in Ensenada in even numbered years while in odd numbered years ends at the tip of Baja, usually in Cabo San Lucas. Amenities are extended during the days prior to the start. Race info including course map updated regularly at www.score-international.com.
- Wine Harvest Festival (Fiestas de la Vendimia). Every year, before the end of spring and until the end of August, the wine harvest season is celebrated around the Guadalupe Valley and in the city of Ensenada with a series of events. These events range from private wine tastings and galas, to concerts of classical music and famous pop artists at the wine yards. The end of the harvest season is commemorated by a two-day free event at the Santo Tomas winery in Ensenada with a festival that is preferred by the locals. Be sure to check out the site for there is an event almost daily. Varies.
- . The Ensenada Carnaval is one of the country’s largest, as thousands of people gather in the streets for six days and nights.
- Curios, On 1st street. Many regional art pieces for cheap can be found on 1st Street
- MacroPlaza, Transpeninsular (Ask a taxi or take any Maneadero Bus). Mall with clothing and supermarket options. If you want to see a movie and don’t mind Spanish subtitles, go to a Mexican movie theater. US$5 tickets is a steal compared to USA prices
- Open Air Fish Market (Mercado Negro), Boulevard Costero. Baja’s largest seafood market. Located near the oceanfront. Most of the market’s open air stalls sell catches fresh off the fishing boats that dock nearby. This is also a great place to try a famous fish taco.
- Fish Tacos. – The fish taco is said to have been born in Ensenada (or possibly San Felipe (Mexico)). The local style includes deep-fried seafood, with a white sauce and a shredded-cabbage topping, along with several salsas. Dining at the row of fish and shrimp taco eateries by the pier is an Ensenada must.
- Taqueria El Fenix. is a local favorite and serves delicious tacos, shrimp and fish.
- Caprichos. Incredible fine dining. Located in the heart of Ensenada on the cobblestone street, across the road from Hussongs (whether it is the original or not is unknown). It also serves delicious burgers on a back grill.
- Tortas Michoacan. – really good sandwiches with either pork, ham, carne asada, or all three, very delicious, kind of a little walk away from the tourist area, look for the counter with a big line of people on the main street just 1 block south of a Chinese buffet, it’s about 2 blocks east from the main tourist area and about 10 blocks south on the widest big road with all the shops all the way along it.
- Ceviche La Guerrerense. – Great street ceviche car that serves a huge variety of ceviches for US$1 each. It also has a huge variety of salsas ranging from light to super hot. Be careful with those and ask for assistance. Also serves cocktails. Located on 1st street and Alvarado
- 1 Tacos El Paisa, 10th street and 20 de Noviembre (Ask a taxi to take you here). If you want to have the true Mexican taco experience, go to this place. Favored by locals, it offers US$1 tacos. Carne Asada, Adobada, Tripas and Cabeza are available as quesatacos, tortas, and huaraches. A must taste that will scratch that Tex-Mex flavor you are used to. With everything
- Cantina Hussong’s, Ave Ruiz #113, , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Legendary and historic bar. Established in 1892 Hussongs is the oldest bar in the Californias, Hussong’s began as a stagecoach stop built by its German founder Johan Hussong. Some say that the city of Ensenada was built around this bar. Rumor has it that the Margarita was invented here.
- Papa’s and Beer Ensenada (El Papas), Ruiz y Primera. Another legendary and historic bar right across the street from Hussongs.
- Mango Mango, Primera & Ruiz. 20:00 – 03:00. A place to dance Caribbean and norteno rythms US$5.
- Abel’s Bar, Boulevard Costero 1000-6 between Diamante and Medusas (Easy to find on Costero). Rock oriented bar serves cheap drinks and good music with a metal mood
- La Taberna (Cervecrería Tijuana). Located on 1st Street (half a block away from McDonald’s), the Tijuana Brewery Tavern offers award-winning draft beer in many varietals, ranging from light lagers to dark ales. This is a local favorite hangout for all sorts of people, and happy hour is available at least two nights a week.
Where to stay in Ensenada
- Hotel Coral & Marina, Carretera Tijuana-Ensenada Km.103 #3421, . A beautiful hotel with amazing bathrooms and views. Located on the main road between the end of the toll road and downtown. There’s a marina for your yacht and many amenities. Shuttle service into town (4.8 km or 3 miles away), US$4 for a taxi.
- Playa Saldamando Trailer and campground located 13 km (8 miles) north of Ensenada. Over one mile of coastal property, all fenced and gated to enhance security. Employees are on the property 24 hours/7 days a week providing friendly service. Campsites available on the beach and on the cliffs above. All sites have beautiful ocean views. Large sites available to accommodate large groups. Clean, maintained camping areas and our clean restrooms with flushing toilets and showers.
- Ensenada Backpacker (Hostel), Calle Segunda 1429 (Between Floresta and Guadaluper St), . Check-out: noon. The Ensenada Backpacker is located a few blocks from Ensenada’s most popular attractions. They offer dormitory and private rooms. US$20.
- Ocean View Rental Home. Su Casa is set on a hillside with a spectacular panoramic ocean view of Todos Santos Bay and its islands in the gated secure community of Cibolas del Mar. It is located 15 minutes north of Ensenada, where the toll road ends. This Spanish style home with tile roof has a large flagstone deck and covered outside area. It is in an area of private family homes in a quiet neighborhood. US$200/night.
- Hostel Sauzal feels like more of a bed and breakfast than a hostel with a gracious host, and a sweeping ocean view from the huge flower garden. Just north of Ensenada in El Sauzal, US$15/night. Don’t come here expecting a party. Do come here to relax and recharge.
- Hotel Las Rosas, . By the sea hotel that is a good spot for a wedding. US$80-446.
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English Premier League
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