Less than 200 years ago, Rosarito was only a couple of large ranchos on wide-open land overlooking the Pacific. The first hotel (Rosarito Beach Hotel) and bar (Rene's) opened in the 1920s, but tourism didn't really pick up until Hollywood stars started frequenting the town during America's Prohibition.
Since its sleepy inception, Rosarito has grown tremendously, and together with Tijuana it currently constitutes the fastest-growing region in the country. Thousands of tourists from all over the world visit each year, enjoying the beautiful beaches, great weather, and many getting their first taste of Mexico here. In spite of all the activity, you can still sense the small town roots, with cowboys regularly riding their horses downtown.
Your U.S. auto insurance is not valid in Baja, so stop near the border at any number of insurance companies visible from the highway and buy coverage for however many days you will be in Baja - rates are around $10 per day.
From San Diego, California, take Interstate Highway 5 or Interstate 805 south. This will take you to the San Ysidro, California border crossing (at Tijuana). Bear to the right just after entering Mexico. As the road begins to split, take the second left where the signs read "Rosarito-Ensenada Scenic Road." That will take you to the road that runs along the international border (Avenida Internacional). You'll see the border fence to your right as you travel west. You'll stay on this road as you climb the first hill. Stay right and keep going straight. As you drop down into the canyon (known as "Smugglers Canyon"), you'll want to take the right turn-off to the road going west. Up another hill and then you'll drop down to Playas de Tijuana intersection. Since we are going to Rosarito Beach we'll follow the road as it curves left.
Just ahead is the toll booth. A toll fee of $2.45 US dollars will take you all the way to Rosarito Beach. The 17 mile scenic trip will take about fifteen minutes.
At Rosarito Beach, there are three exits off the toll road. The first exit will take your right into town. You'll drive along Benito Juárez Boulevard (Main Street) for about two miles to downtown. If you would prefer to avoid city traffic, stay on the toll road and take the third exit. This exit takes you directly to the heart of the tourist area (two short blocks).
SHUTTLE BUSIf you are not driving down, there are companies that offer shuttle bus service from the border to this hotel. Prominent among these is Mexicoach that offers the convenience of shuttling from the Border Station Parking or from the San Diego Trolley's last stop at the U.S. side of the border to the Rosarito Beach Hotel, at the price of $10.00 Dollars round trip.