Rosarito- The Best of Mexico’s Pacific Coast

What if you could relocate to a seaside town and still live within your budget? Well, it’s still possible just south of the border!

The coastal city of Rosarito will captivate you with its stunning beaches, delicious cuisine, and exciting cultural scene. Indeed, this has been drawing expats to the city for quite some time.

One of the main draws of Rosarito is its breathtaking coastline. With miles of pristine beaches, you can spend your days soaking up the sun, swimming in Pacific waters, or trying your hand at surfing or paddleboarding. And when the sun sets, take a relaxing sunset stroll along the beach as the sky transforms into a stunning palette of oranges, pinks, and purples.

But Rosarito is much more than just a beach destination. Its vibrant arts and music scene reflects this city’s rich cultural heritage. As a result, you’ll enjoy many cultural activities, from live music performances to art exhibitions.

You’ll feel right at home as you explore all the incredible things the city offers. So if you want to live in Mexico, pack your bags and experience the beauty and excitement of Rosarito for yourself!

Where is Rosarito?

Rosarito is a beautiful coastal city located in the state of Baja California, Mexico. 

It is situated just 20 miles south of the bustling border town of Tijuana, making it easily accessible for visitors from the United States and other parts of Mexico. The city’s proximity to the United States is one of its more attractive features. Many residents regularly cross the border to shop or attend medical appointments in the US.

Rosarito stretches along the Pacific Ocean, offering breathtaking ocean views and plenty of opportunities for beachside fun. It is also surrounded by scenic mountain ranges, providing an enticing backdrop for outdoor activities and adventures.

How’s the Weather?

Rosarito enjoys a Mediterranean climate with warm, dry summers and mild winters. However, the city averages over 300 days of sunshine annually.

Summer temperatures in Rosarito typically range from the mid-70s to mid-80s Fahrenheit, making it the perfect time to enjoy the city’s beaches and outdoor activities. In the winter, temperatures are milder, with average highs in the mid-60s Fahrenheit and lows in the mid-40s.

Rosarito can be prone to marine layer clouds and fog, particularly in the morning and early afternoon during summer, but this usually clears up by midday. The city can also experience occasional rain in the winter, but rainfall is generally low and sporadic. 

Anyone looking to enjoy southern California-like weather will also find it here.

When to Visit

The most popular time to visit Rosarito is during the summer when the weather is warm and sunny and the beaches are at their best. Unfortunately, this is the peak tourist season, and the city can get crowded with visitors from Mexico and the United States.

Another popular time to visit Rosarito is during the spring break season in March and April, when college students and young adults flock to the city to enjoy the beaches and nightlife.

However, you can enjoy Rosarito year-round, and the fall shoulder season can be a great time to visit when the weather is still warm and sunny but the crowds have thinned out. The winter months of December through February can be a bit cooler but still pleasant for outdoor activities and offer great deals on accommodations and activities.

Getting to Rosarito

Rosarito is conveniently located just a short drive from the U.S.-Mexico border, making it easily accessible by car from the United States.

Highway 1D- starting in Tijuana- goes through Rosarito

Traffic allowing, you can get to Rosarito from San Diego in less than an hour. Just cross at San Ysidro Port of Entry and drive south on the Mexico Federal Highway 1D.

The nearest major airport is the Tijuana International Airport, located approximately 30 minutes north. You can rent a car or take a taxi or shuttle to Rosarito from there.

Alternatively, you can fly into the San Diego International Airport in California and then cross the border into Mexico.

It’s important to note that if you cross the border into Mexico by car or on foot, you must obtain a tourist permit, or FMM, which you can obtain at the border crossing or online before travel. However, a Temporary Import Permit (TIP) is not required for your vehicle as long as it remains on the Baja Peninsula. 

Population of Rosarito

The city is considered an urban area, with a mix of residential neighborhoods, commercial districts, and tourist areas along the beach. Rosarito has developed significantly in recent years, with new residential and commercial projects throughout the city. 

Despite this growth, this city of about 70,000 still maintains a small-town feel in many areas, particularly its historic downtown.

What To Do In Rosarito?

There’s plenty to occupy your time in this city by the sea. Here are just a few of the great activities you can do:

  • Relax on the beach: Rosarito is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Baja California, offering plenty of opportunities to swim, sunbathe, and relax on the sand.
  • Go surfing: Rosarito’s waves are popular among surfers of all levels, with surf schools and rental shops available throughout town.
  • Explore the local art scene: Rosarito is home to many talented artists. You can explore galleries and studios throughout the city to see their work. Visit the cultural center for regular performing arts events, many of which are free.
  • Enjoy a craft beer: In recent years, Rosarito has become known for its craft beer scene, with several local breweries offering unique and flavorful brews.
  • Take a sunset horseback ride: Horseback riding along the beach at sunset is a popular activity in Rosarito, offering a unique way to enjoy the stunning coastal views.
Source: Explore Traveler
  • Visit the Puerto Nuevo lobster village: Just a short drive south of Rosarito is the charming village of Puerto Nuevo, known for its delicious lobster dishes and quaint shops.
  • Attend a festival: Rosarito hosts several festivals throughout the year, including the Rosarito-Ensenada Bike Ride, the Baja Beach Fest music festival, and the Feria Rosarito.
  • Enjoy the nightlife: Rosarito has a lively nightlife scene, with plenty of bars and nightclubs. You can dance the night away to live music or DJs or simply enjoy a drink and take in the scene.
  • Go on an outdoor adventure: Rosarito’s surrounding mountains and valleys offer plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventures, including hiking, mountain biking, and ATV tours.
  • Take a scenic drive: A 3-hour round-trip drive to the mountain town of La Rumorosa takes you on a well-paved highway through the mountains, stunning desert landscapes, and past rock formations over a million years old.
  • Go Wine Tasting: Just over an hour away, you’ll encounter vineyards, tasting rooms, and chic restaurants set in the gorgeous countryside of the Guadalupe Valley. This region has been recognized for producing some of the best wines in Mexico.
Valle de Guadalaupe is Mexico’s Napa Valley

Transportation in Rosarito

Many people find it very convenient to have a car here, but having your own isn’t strictly necessary. Still, with how easy it is to bring a car from the U.S. or Canada into Baja California, you’ll see many foreign-plated vehicles in Rosarito. Plus, you won’t need to apply for a temporary import permit in Rosarito because the entire Baja Peninsula is considered a free zone.

Of course, you’ll still need a Mexican auto insurance policy.

The local buses run frequently and cover most of the city, with fares typically costing just a few pesos. 

Taxis are also widely available and can be hailed on the street or called ahead. However, it is important to negotiate the fare before getting into the taxi to avoid any surprises.

Ubers are not widely available in Rosarito. It may be easy to get an Uber to Rosarito from Tijuana. But once you’re in Rosarito, plan on taking taxis.

Popular Neighborhoods to Live In

Rosarito has a range of neighborhoods to choose from, each with its own unique character and lifestyle. Here are some of the most popular neighborhoods for both locals and expats:

rentals in Rosarito start at $6,000 MXN a month for a 1 bedroom. Like this rental for $7,000 MXN a Month for a 1 bedroom 1 Bath in Centro. It’s very basic and very affordable.
  • Rosarito Centro: This is the heart of the city and offers a mix of historical and modern architecture, as well as plenty of restaurants, bars, and shops. This is a great area if you want to be in the middle of the action.
  • Centro Playas: A compact neighborhood of single-family homes and towering apartment buildings. As the name indicates, it’s located right by the beach.
  • Las Gaviotas: Located about 15 miles south of Rosarito, this gated community is popular among expats and retirees. It offers oceanfront homes and a range of amenities, including a pool, tennis courts, and private beach access.
  • San Antonio del Mar: Five miles north of downtown, this seaside neighborhood contains a mix of single-family homes and condos in various budgets.
  • Reforma: This largely residential neighborhood near downtown is a more affordable option for living in Rosarito. You can find homes of various sizes and configurations here.
  • Primo Tapia: This small beach town located just south of Rosarito is characterized by a more laid-back lifestyle and is popular among surfers and those looking for beachside living.
  • Calafia Condos: These condo towers and townhouses are on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. This complex features amenities like a swimming pool, hot tub, and tennis courts. It’s a great choice if you want to live in a gated community with easy access to the beach.
This high end rental goes for $40,000 MXN a month- Its location and amenities are what makes this place more expensive. Look at that view!

What’s the Food Like?

You’re in for a treat! Rosarito is well-known for its cuisine, which includes a mix of traditional Mexican dishes, seafood, and international flavors. 

With its coastal location, it’s no surprise that Rosarito is famous for its fresh and plentiful seafood. Enjoy everything from lobster to ceviche to grilled fish, often served with traditional Mexican sides like rice, beans, and tortillas.

You’ll also encounter many fusion cuisines, like Baja-Med, a unique style that blends Mexican, Mediterranean, and Asian flavors to create original dishes like grilled octopus, mushroom risotto, and lamb chops.

Of course, Rosarito’s street food scene is a must-try, with vendors selling everything from elote (grilled corn) to churros to the ubiquitous Baja fish taco.

Here’s an idea of the cost of eating out in Rosarito

  • Craft beer at a brewery – 80MXN or 4USD
  • Cappuccino and pastry at a cafe – 110MXN or 5.50USD
  • A plate of tacos and a soda at a taqueria – 110MXN or 5.50USD
  • A plate of langosta (lobster) with 2 sides – $550 MXN or $30 USD
  • Lunch for two at a mid-range restaurant – $500MXN or $25USD
  • Multi-course dinner and cocktails at a fine dining restaurant – 1600MXN or 80USD

Healthcare in Rosarito

Healthcare in Rosarito is of good quality, with various options available to locals, expats, and visitors. However, depending on your immigration status-you may or may not be eligible for treatment at one of the public hospitals (IMSS). 

IMSS Clinic 21 in Rosarito

Numerous private healthcare options, including hospitals, clinics, and medical offices, are available. Many of these private healthcare providers are located in or near Rosarito’s tourist areas, catering to locals and foreigners.

Hospital del Pardo in Rosarito is a highly rated private hospital.

The cost of healthcare in Rosarito is generally lower than in the United States, but it can vary depending on the type of care you need and where you seek treatment. Therefore, we recommend purchasing health insurance in Mexico to ensure you are covered in a medical emergency.

What Do You Think About Rosarito?

We certainly think you should check it out. This seaside city is a great location if you want culture and possibilities for adventure, as well as a relaxing place to call home, all within a stone’s throw from the United States.

But don’t just take our word for it. Take one of our Rosarito relocation tours to get first-hand experience and see if living in Rosarito is right for you!  

Mariana Lange

Mariana Lima-Lange was born in Mexico and immigrated to the U.S. when she was a child. She spent every summer visiting family throughout Mexico and is very knowledgeable about Mexican culture, lifestyle, and traditions. She is fluent in both Spanish and English.

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Dale Smith says

    Gracias Mariana

    I was going to move to Puerto Vallarta but after my Son who lives in Carlsbad ,CA just North of San Diego informed me I was going to be a Grandfather for the first time I decided to buy a condo right on the beach just south of downtown Rosarito. It will be completed some time in 2025 at a price that I could not ever find on the entire West coast. From his door to the condo complex is a one hour drive! Much shorter than my five hour drive from where I now live in Las Vegas, NV! As an added benefit to me I can go to San Diego to take advantage of Medicare next year when I become eligible.

    Gracias for all you do Mariana!

    Dale

    • Mariana Lange says

      my pleasure Dale

  2. John Paik says

    Hello Mariana,
    I am John living in Anaheim, CA. and a US citizen. I an my wife are thinking about applying for residency in Mexico. Do you have any advise for us, please?

  3. Victor Vaca says

    Good info all around.
    I loved visiting Rosarito when I was young. Coming from Orange County it still felt like being @ home.

    • Mariana Lange says

      Thanks for reading. And for saying hi!

  4. James Riddle says

    Hi Mariana. My wife and I are considering buying a condo or home in Rosarita. Do you know if there are U.S. based or Mexico based financing/mortgage lenders who could assist? Thank you, James Riddle

    • Mariana Lange says

      Hi James,
      As a matter of fact, we do! We have a couple of US based mortgage lenders that help customers buying homes in Mexico with their loans. I also have a Mexican based recommendation that works with Canadian and US customers with property loans in Mexico.
      When you purchase our COMPLETE Mexico Relocation Guide, you get instant access to the steps for buying real estate in Mexico, as well as our complete directory of vetted contacts which includes our recommended mortgage companies.
      See our reviews and what’s included in the guide here mexicorelocationguide.com/guide/

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