Okay, let's go. 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). There will be various freeway exit signs along the way including one reading "Last U.S. Exit." If you are planning to walk across the border, then you'll leave the freeway at this exit, find a parking lot, and proceed to enter Mexico (Tijuana) on foot. If you continue driving, the freeway takes you right into Mexico.
There are two roads that will bring you to Rosarito Beach. The toll road (cuota) and the free (libre) road. The well maintained toll road is faster and easier with beautiful ocean views. The toll highway is also patrolled by the "Green Angels," a mobile mechanic that will assist you in the event you have mechanical problems.
There are solar powered call boxes located about every two miles along the toll road. If you need help just pick up the phone and a bilingual operator will provide assistance. The free road is harder to find if you are not familiar with Tijuana, once you locate it, you will find a modern four-lane highway, but with heavy commercial traffic, many exits, and many people. It is not nearly as scenic as the toll route. Our recommendation is to take the toll road.
To get to the toll road from the border, bear to the right just after entering Mexico. Work your way into the right lane as you climb the first small rise. As the road merges with another lane on the right get over into this lane as soon as possible to avoid missing the exit. Take the exit marked Playas de Tijuana Rosarito. This 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 (Marked Ensenada Quota which means Ensenada Toll Road). As you merge, get over into the left lane and stay there. Up another hill and then you'll drop down to Playas de Tijuana, the beach community of Tijuana. Since we are going to the Rosarito Beach Hotel we'll stay left and follow the road as it curves left.
Just ahead is the toll booth. A toll fee of approximately $2.35 US dollars will take you all the way to Rosarito Beach. The 17 mile scenic trip will take about twenty minutes. It is a beautiful trip. Some of northern Baja California's most spectacular scenery is along this route that glides along the coast with its unblemished views of the Pacific Ocean. You'll pass a number of real estate developments as well, a testimony to Baja California as a highly desirable location for a vacation or retirement home.
At Rosarito Beach, there are four exits off the toll road. The first exit will take your right into town. You'll drive along Benito Juárez Boulevard (the main street) for about two miles to the Rosarito Beach Hotel, instantly recognizable by the white arches at the hotels entrance. If you would prefer to avoid city traffic, stay on the toll road and take the fourth and last exit which has an arch identifying the town. This exit takes you directly to the Rosarito Beach Hotel (two short blocks to the right). You're here! And the most "fantastic" experience of your life is about to begin!