M E X I C O
Baja California is a fantastic place to visit if you have never been, but I must caution you about the well publicized violence. If you live in San Diego or L.A. There is of course American TV and Mexican TV, so we are well aware of the danger of visiting Mexico. The local U.S. news channel will tell of people being hung (by the neck) from overpasses, and shot while eating in T.J. Then, when you flip the local TJ channel, then will show the man hanging, the blood...everything. (U.S. TV is not so descriptive) So, these pictures of violence has kept out U.S. tourists for the past few years. The drug Cartels are mainly going after people in politics. But, there are also people being held as ransom. Which is why, you really need to get to where you are going, drive during the day and don't be too flashy. (drive a cheap rental car, keep the Rolex and gold bracelets at home)
Having said all that, (if I haven't already scared you away from this page) Mexico if you're CAREFUL, can be a great place to visit on a budget. I JUST GOT BACK from Rosarito.
I had a great time. I've been going down there for years with a friend. But, we did not goof around like we used to, it is just not safe to be going bar to bar in Encinada, TJ, or Rosarito late at night as we did in the past. Follow these simple rules and you'll be fine.
1. BRING YOUR PASSPORT. You'll need it to get back into the U.S., border patrol no longer allows you to cross with just your driver license. If you're from another country, make sure that you can cross into Mexico and the U.S. will let you back in. (Call the U.S. Consulate if you have doubts)
2. Rent a car, get Mexican Insurance at the exit just before the border, unless you have another way to get down there. (bus)
3. Follow the same laws as you would in the U.S. DO NOT walk down the street with a beer or cocktail, DO NOT drive drunk.
4. Drive during the day only, get to your destination, stay there.
5. Be polite and I advise you to learn a bit of Spanish, though at the hotel everyone speaks English so you're probably okay.
Of course, don't even think of bringing drugs, knives or guns into Mexico.
Papas and Beer in RosaritoHere is what I did the other weekend.I rented a car and drove straight to Rosarito on the Toll highway, which is clearly marked, just past the U.S. border. I drove straight to The World Famous Rosarito Beach Hotel without a reservation and asked about a suite. *you can negotiate in Mexico* We got a 2 bedroom 2 bath suite overlooking the pool and beach for the 150.00 USD. (on a Saturday night) Keep in mind, two years ago we could not have gotten that deal, but since there are NO American's down there because of the violence, we could negotiate this deal. Perhaps you can get a regular room for 25 dollars a night, it just depends what you can negotiate and how filled up they are. Also ask about drinks and dinner in the deal. (we got free Margarita's and dinner for that night)We were the only American's in the hotel so far as I could tell.We then walked over to Papa's and Beer, (just down the beach) and sat with our feet in the sand and had a few beers. Then went back and rode a horse on the beach for 10 dollars each.We enjoyed the pool, hot tub, had dinner, mixed a bit with some people there on some kind of Tony Robbins' convention and just generally relaxed. Besides Papa's and Beer, we did NOT leave the hotel area. You really have everything that you need at the hotel. There is small convenience store across the street if you need beer or water or the like. The next day we had the breakfast buffet at the hotel and drove back to the U.S. The border crossing took 2 1/2 hours. (which is normal)So, if you can do what we did, you'll be fine. If you're driving around drunk, goofing around in the bars in TJ after midnight, walking around with alcohol and being disruptive, you will be in some kind of trouble, possibly the terminal kind or, you could find yourself in a Mexican jail, which I've heard is no fun. So, be careful, enjoy yourself, know where you're going, be respectful and bring U.S. money and a credit or debit card and stay on the hotel grounds. You can have a great time! A few more notes about Rosarito. Papa's and Beer is great fun during the day, but at night on the weekend they had a 12.00 dollar cover charge, until they change this "LOCO" charge, you can buy some beer across the street and enjoy the beer on the beach in front of your hotel.During the day there is no such charge at Papa's and Beer, so during the day is the time to go. The Rosarito Beach Hotel is famous, though the Festival Plaza Hotel is just down the block is also recommended. It has a nice pool, hot tub, and friendly staff.One more note, I usually shove a couple of twenties in my
sock. (get out of jail free cash) I've never used it, but, it's a good idea to have keep a little cash handy. Though going straight to the hotel and staying there, you probably won't need this safeguard. Also, I must tell you that if you live locally, I have a GREAT place to get your car fixed/painted in Mexico.These guys are awesome. about, these guys in TJ. I just got my car back from them, it had rusty area's and the paint on the car was pealing. They fixed the rust and completely painted the car. The car is beautiful and they also do mechanical work.
As you drive across the San Ysidro border, you'll see the first right which takes you back a few blocks to some shops along the border. Do not take that right,..
The 2nd right goes to Encinada, do not take that one.
The next right is the one that you'll want, you'll go a few blocks and you'll see Costgo on the right. Keep going you'll go through a traffic light on the left, you'll go two more traffic lights, then take a right. Avenue Pio Pico is a small avenue off 8th street.
You may have to look for a few minutes, but once you find it, Cesar will save you hundreds!
The Name of the place is:It is right across the border and it is SO MUCH cheaper than getting a paint job in this town.For hotels in Tijuana, click here.
Talk with Cesar Ramirez,
Avenue Pio Pico, 1680
open, 8am, 9pm.. he does car work...clutches, ...and stuff..
anything really.. and I think it's Pedro..is the guy who paints cars
There are two numbers.. though, I could not get them to work..
664 355 0836
The view from one of the rooms at the Rosarito Beach Hotel.