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Old 02-16-2012, 12:44 PM
2,147 posts, read 4,057,533 times
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Um, rosarita a big city vs ensenada? rosarita only has 45k, ensenada has 500k!!!
rosarita is a small fishing village turned tourist trap. but it does have great ceviche and tacos! great little place...but def. smaller than ensenada. much smaller!

Ensenada is where i normally feel a little more weary, but not so much that i wouldn't visit....rosarito is crazy as in 'buy this, tourist', but more manageable overall. i've had friends living there, and have visited many times.
OP could do both-but if not, then stick with rosarita and go a little further south to puerto nuevo and get one of the lobster specials-it's a tourist tradition; you have to do it! (: and it's tasty, anyway.....

i would not worry about MN plates; take the toll road as mentioned, and park in rosarito; explore on foot. then drive to puerto nuevo, which is very tiny and filled with lobster restaurants. get a roof top ocean view, enjoy your meal and stop back in rosarito for some shopping if you want.
tacos manuel in ros., on the main road, is roadside snacking at it's best [though it's been a few years since i've been].

i think ensenada has alot to offer, and i'd rather spend a night there if going-but i have done it in a day.

either way, going the tourist route for one day trip is not a big safety concern, IMO.

Last edited by lrmsd; 02-16-2012 at 12:46 PM.. Reason: typo
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Old 02-16-2012, 01:05 PM
Location: San Diego
30,852 posts, read 28,227,515 times
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Originally Posted by oddstray View Post
MN vs CA plates would make no difference. But if you can do it in some way, it's much, much easier not to take your car into Mexico.

If you do need to take your car into Mexico, be sure you have Mexican insurance. Some US insurance companies claim their coverage is honored in Mexico, but I have never heard of Mexico honoring any US insurance so I have my doubts about that.
I can tell you what happens. You get your car impounded until you can come up with enough extortion money to get it back. That amount will be enough to cover the Mexican's car that ran into you and the "processing fee" the Cop needs to sustain his corrupt life style.

This happened the last time I was down there (as in THE last for me). My crazy friend went back across to his house, snagged a spare set of keys, drove back down with another of our friends and basically reclaimed his car. He'd still be in jail if he got caught. I wasn't crazy enough to go back down for the mission. This following getting rolled in broad daylight on Revolution by some Cops that helped themselves to what was in my pocket. My baja surf trips are over for good.
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Old 02-16-2012, 07:33 PM
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Also considering a trip around those parts; do we have any military on this forum? I have a DOD sticker on my windshield -- anyone think that would make me a target down there?
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Old 02-16-2012, 08:10 PM
Location: Mission Hills, San Diego
1,471 posts, read 2,737,406 times
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Originally Posted by asitshouldbe View Post
How bad would we stick out driving in with MN plates? Would it be better to rent a car in CA?
I am 100% sure no rental car company would want you (nor cover you) taking their cars over the border. Whatever you do, don't drive a dark SUV as they are car jacking magnets.
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Old 02-20-2012, 01:29 PM
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Just wanted to report back that my Baja trip went very well. The fact that ~75% of cars on the toll road down to Ensenada had California plates definitely eased my fears once I crossed the border. There were also 2 cruise ships docked in Ensenada, so plenty of tourists. Since it was Mardi Gras weekend, the celebrations meant an increased police/military presence in both Rosarito & Ensenada. I went through one military checkpoint on a less-traveled road back from the Valle de Guadalupe. They were very respectful and patient with my spanish (it was very difficult to understand these guys in particular- I assume because they were from another part of Mexico and they had accents. I was never stopped by police officers, but I did talk to two different officers to ask for directions

Wine tasting was enjoyable and we brought back presents for the family. Rosarito was pretty crowded due to the celebrations, but I felt completely safe. The Rosarito Beach Hotel actually doesn't allow non-guests onto the property after 9pm. The rooms were really outdated, but every employee was very hospitable. The fast pass definitely helped on the trip back across the border, but it was still very crowded due to the holiday weekend. Probably shaved an hour or so off our wait time

Nothing was stolen and we weren't targeted. In fact, my friend dropped his phone by the car and a (pretty sketchy looking) guy came over to tell us that we had left it behind.

I know I'm not an expert on Mexico after only two trips to baja, but I think I would *recommend* it for those who have never been- to at least go once. As long as you are vigilant and paranoid for your safety, like me, you can survive Mexico. For myself, I probably will not return until the government has more control of drug trafficking. Even though my first time to Rosarito/Ensenada was fun, I'd rather not put myself at risk. After actually visiting the country and seeing what an amazing travel destination it can be, it makes me solemn about the drug wars. They are completely ruining a beautiful country.

In the mean time, I may focus on traveling to "safer" parts of Mexico: Mexico City, Cabo, Guanajuato, Puebla, San Miguel de Allende, Oaxaca, and the Yucatan.

Maybe in the future I can return to my parent's favorite destinations, Acapulco and Mazatlan. I also have a desire to see Puerto Vallarta, Leon, Veracruz, Monterrey, Zacatecas, Torreon, Guadalajara, etc.

So many places to visit in Mexico! Thanks again everyone!
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