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Rosarito FAQs

Where is Rosarito Beach located?
Rosarito Beach is located about 35 minutes south of the U.S. border (San Ysidro entry).

What is the best way to get to Rosarito Beach?
(Before beginning your journey, it is important that you make certain you have adequate automobile insurance. Although some American companies say you can drive in certain parts of Mexico this insurance is not always accepted by Mexican authorities. You can purchase Mexican auto insurance over the internet. Or, as you enter San Ysidro, you will see several offices which offer Mexican insurance. To avoid any problems, if you have an accident, auto insurance is imperative.)

As you head south take either Interstate Highway 5 or Interstate 805 south. Continue driving and you will reach the San Ysidro, California border crossing. The far right lane is only for people who have items to declare. You can choose any of the other lanes. It is important to drive slowly and follow any directions. Once you pass into the entry there will be a light. You need to stop until you receive either a red or green light. If you receive a red light it is mandatory that you go to the secondary inspection area. Generally you are asked to open your trunk and this is the extent of the inspection; other times the inspector might look through your car. As you proceed, do not take the far right lane; take the second lane from the right. You will soon see a sign to Rosarito Beach for the toll road. This is the exit you want to take.

From the border to your exit lane there is generally a lot of traffic so you need to drive carefully and be very attentive. You will soon climb up a grade. Once you start going down this grade you will see a sign to Rosarito and Ensenada. Eventually you will reach the top and you will see a small community to your right (this is known as Playas Tijuana) as well as the beautiful Pacific Ocean. Make certain to stay in the left lane. You will then turn left when you reach the turn off. You will drive about a mile until you reach the toll booth. There is a fee for using this road and you must pay it at the booth. You can pay in either U.S. or Mexican funds. As you near the booth you will see the cost posted for payment. You do not need to have the exact amount of money as the cashier will give you change. Once you pass through the toll booth you are once again on your way to Rosarito Beach.

What kind of transportation is available?
Rosarito has excellent transportation. Cab fares are reasonable. You can travel from one end of the city to the other end for less than 50 pesos. However, you should always ask the charge before you enter the cab. If you do not speak Spanish, it is suggested you ask someone at your hotel to write your destination in Spanish (also ask them to write the name of the facility and the address where you are staying for your return trip). There are also vans that leave frequently from various parts of the city. For example, the yellow vans are parked at the southern end of the city. These will take you to Tijuana. They are inexpensive costing less than 20 pesos for a one-way trip. There is the Mexicoach which picks up passengers, at various times throughout the day, at the Rosarito Beach Hotel. There are also cars available for rent. You can check with your hotel to make arrangements.

What is the cost of living in Rosarito Beach
The cost of living in Rosarito Beach depends on many factors, just like it does wherever you choose to live. The one thing that is usually less expensive is the cost of renting or buying a home. Meals are somewhat cheaper in a restaurant; however, groceries probably average the same with some items costing more than in the U.S. while other items cost less. Utilities, particularly electricity, can be expensive. Most people use bottled water which is very cheap.  If you use public transportation, the cost is quite low. Gasoline is also less expensive.

Where should I stay in Rosarito Beach?
It is a good idea to review the wide range of accommodations. Where to stay depends on the amount of money you want to spend, the amenities you are looking for, the location, and your particular likes. There are outstanding hotels, motels, condominiums, and vacation rentals available in Rosarito Beach. One of these will definitely meet your needs as well as accommodate the size of your family or a large group.

What are important phone numbers I should have with me?
If you have any kind of an emergency you can dial 066.

What is the weather like in Rosarito Beach?
The weather in Rosarito Beach is usually very comfortable, averaging in the low 70s. Although it can get cold in the winter it is never unbearable. If you visit in winter, you should definitely have a coat and sweaters in order to stay warm. Summer is typically warm and beautiful. There are very few days when it is really hot, although it can get warm. Make certain to bring sunscreen, a pair of sunglasses, and a hat!

Can I offer to pay for something for less than is asked?
Accommodations, restaurants, and most of the larger stores (such as Home Depot) all have set prices and that is the price you must pay. However, independent merchants will sometimes negotiate the final price.  In the tourist mercados, you can always ask!

Is Rosarito Beach a safe place for my family to visit?
Rosarito Beach is like other tourist destinations in the world:  safe, overall, but because it attracts vacationers and people who typically carry cash and valuables – magnets for thieves — you must always pay attention to your surroundings and use normal safeguards.  Children and families are welcomed in this friendly community and it is definitely a safe travel destination.

Can I drink the water in Rosarito Beach?
Virtually all restaurants and hotels have purified ice and water. It is not wise to drink water directly from the tap. In your room or when engaging in activities, always drink bottled water.

What foods should I try to eat while I am in Rosarito Beach?
The answer is simple: forget about fast food restaurants (except for delicious tacos at Rosarito’s famous taco stands), which are available…but why go there? You are in Mexico, so try to sample all of the delicious foods offered here. An authentic  Mexican breakfast is a must. Make certain to enjoy the many types of bread. Also sample desserts, which are much different in flavor than those in the U.S. Most important, since Rosarito Beach is located next to the ocean you should try some lobster and other seafood.

Will my cell phone work in Rosarito Beach?
This depends on the type of phone you use and the carrier. Since you are very close to the border, it is possible that you might get some kind of reception; however, it is not wise to assume it will work in Rosarito Beach.  You can talk with your carrier for a plan extension while you are traveling, or you can buy a phone card in town.

What if I become sick and need medical care?
Medical care is quite inexpensive and much of it is excellent in Mexico (as is dental care). If you become sick, there are many medical offices throughout Rosarito Beach (and in nearby Tijuana, there are outstanding physicians and hospitals). Most of these offices will accept “drop-ins.” Most foreigners, however, choose to go to the Cruz Roja Hospital. It is located in the center of town. They have English speaking doctors. They are prepared for most any type of medical emergency. If your medical condition is something very serious you can determine if you want to stay in the hospital, or, for a small fee, they will transport you by ambulance to the border where an ambulance, sponsored by your insurance company, will meet you and transport you to the hospital you specify in California. If you need an ambulance you should dial 066.

What about ATM cards, banks, U.S. money, and Pesos?
Although many of the larger stores are beginning to accept ATM and credit cards, not all of them do. Very few of the smaller shops accept these cards. The same is true with restaurants and hotels. It is best to ask before you make reservations, make a purchase, or order a meal. U.S. money is accepted in most any type of business. There are several banks in Rosarito Beach. Each one has its own policy on accepting or exchanging U.S. dollars. However, there are a number of tiny buildings scattered throughout the area that offer an immediate exchange at fairly favorable rates (you can usually identify these locations as they have their exchange rates posted, usually in red numbers. They are called ‘Caja de Cambio’).

Is the internet available in Rosarito Beach?
The internet is readily available in the area. You can also go to many establishments that offer Wi-Fi connections, as do many hotels. If you do not have your computer with you, but you want to check your email, or use the internet, there are a number of internet cafes spread throughout the city that offer services at very reasonable rates.

Should I pack anything special for my visit?
When you pack your clothes, you can basically pack according to the season. You should definitely pack sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat. Most anything you need is readily available for purchase in Rosarito Beach.

Will I have problems communicating since I do not speak Spanish?
No, almost everyone speaks a little English. If not, and you need help, someone almost always comes forth in a restaurant, store, or wherever you might be, to help out. You will find the people to be very helpful and very friendly.

What about drugs and alcohol?
You must be 18 years of age or older, to consume alcohol. It is against the law to drink alcohol on the streets. Driving while drinking is also against the law. Using drugs is a criminal offense.

What should I do if I am lost or have any kind of a problem?
If you have any issues, you should dial 078, the Tourist Assistance Hotline which operates 24/7. It is similar to 911 in the U.S.,  except that you will be assisted with whatever need you have.