Only 30 minutes South of the border is Puerto Nuevo, a seaside fishing village known as the lobster capital of the world. If you haven’t been to Puerto Nuevo yet, you are missing part of the best of Baja California.
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How to Get There
Getting there is simple. Once you cross the border follow the green toll road signs that say “Ensenada Cuota.” This easy-to-find thoroughfare will lead you out and around Tijuana proper to the coast and to the toll road.
On your way to Puerto Nuevo, you will pass through two tollbooths. American currency is readily accepted. The cost at each toll stop, if you’re traveling by car, will be about ($4.50). Other vehicle tolls are slightly higher. From the first tollbooth you will only be 25 scenic minutes away from a marvelous weekend or week long vacation getaway.
If you choose to drive your own car, it is a MUST that you purchase Mexican auto insurance. This is because your U.S. policy is not valid in Mexico. If you get into an accident you aand your car will be detained in Mexico till the guilty party pays the damaged. One reliable company is Baja Bound, which gives you a one day insurance policy just by visiting their website.
At approximately 10.5 miles South is the second tollbooth is the Puerto Nuevo exit. It’s clearly marked, but keep an eye out for it. Then make a left turn at the old Tijuana to Ensenada free road.
If you don’t want to take your own car or need a car, you can rent one from Bob Baker Car and Truck Rental (297-3106).
From this point you’re about a mile away from your hotel resort destination. On your way you will pass by the brick arches that announce the entrance to the famous village of Puerto Nuevo and its many restaurants.
Believe it or not, the village of Puerto Nuevo is only three-tenths of a mile long. Yet it is home to not less than 38 sit-down seafood restaurants, 2 liquor stores, 4 gift shops, a tiny Catholic church and 2 resorts. One resort is the impressive 147-room New Port Beach Hotel (800-582-1018) at km 45 on the Tijuana to Ensenada free road, and the other is a 100-room oceanfront condominium resort called The Grand Baja Resort.
Where to Stay
From the moment you arrive at the New Port Beach Hotel, you’ll know that you have chosen the perfect place to relax and enjoy the best vacation you have ever had. And don’t be surprised to be greeted by a handsome waiter, dressed all in white, offering free margaritas to guests at check-in.
The New Port Beach Hotel offers all of the amenities you’d expect of an excellent hotel to make your stay a memorable one. It begins with providing 24-hour front gate security for you and your automobile. And each of the 147 ocean-view guest rooms comes complete with king- and queen-sized beds. Plus, each room offers a panoramic view of the waves crashing on the seashore as well as a view of the aqua-colored swimming pool and Jacuzzi. So you’ll fall asleep at night to the waves splashing on the seashore.
A popular pastime for guests at pool-side is to lounge around the swimming pool on white lounge chairs. Servers in white uniforms are always on hand to bring you a refreshing tropical drink or a bite to eat
A thirst-quenching recommendation is a tropical cocktail served in a freshly cut pineapple with a straw and a mini-umbrella. It’s called a Carmen Miranda. This delicious rum drink is the hotel’s signature drink and it lives up to its billing. It’s kept cold with dry ice to make it bubble and smoke! Wisely, they only allow two per customer.
Poolside guests can also enjoy handmade tacos and nachos accented with a hint of mesquite wood, which are made poolside. Or you can order from their full-service Vista del Sol Restaurant Open daily, 7:30 a.m.- lO p.m. summer and 7:30 a.m.-9 p.m. winter.
Meals are also served on the patio overlooking the swimming pool or in their beautifully accented dining room. Or you can call room service, which is a nice way to begin or conclude any day.
As is the case with outstanding resorts, good food is a key ingredient of excellence, and the New Port Beach Hotel is no exception. Every meal is excellently prepared and presented. But it’s their Saturday and Sunday Brunches that really get the accolades! In fact, guests come from other resorts for their incredible brunches. Open Sat.-Sun., 7:30 a.m.-l:00 p.m. Featured is a constant array of ever changing buffet selections as well as made-to-order omelettes. You’ll also be treated to many Mexico City-style dishes such as quesadillas, chilaquiles and more. Plus, homemade desserts including pies and cakes. And the list goes on and on.
Another major attraction held here is the Mexican Food Festival. Featured will be guest chefs from throughout Mexico. It’s your opportunity to taste the best Mexican food from different regions of Mexico. For details call the hotel or the Rosarito Tourism Board (01152-661-23078).
Enhancing every aspect of every day are the soothing sounds of live marimba music. Yes, music fills the air! This is definitely Mexican hospitality at its best!
If tennis is your game, they also have two well-maintained tennis courts and, in the summer, an on-staff tennis coach. Another summer extra, not found elsewhere, is a free six-hour-a-day day care service supervised by a schoolteacher.
If you have a surfer in your party, make sure that they bring their board along. And they can lock up their surfboards in the lobby when not in use.
There are meeting rooms galore for as few as a dozen people up to a thousand guests at a wedding reception.
They even hold three Mainly Mozart Concerts here for a very appreciative audience of well-dressed ladies and tuxedo-clad gentlemen. This is one event you should not miss!
When the sun goes down, the centrally located lobby bar becomes the center for nighttime family entertainment. In fact, a talented duo performs here on the weekends and holidays for your dancing and listening entertainment. But the bar closes at 11 p.m. so everyone can get a good night’s sleep.
Yet, you won’t find a better place to celebrate Cinco de Mayo (May 5), 16 de Septiembre, New Year’s Eve, or the Fourth of July than at the New Port Beach Hotel. They have an awesome fireworks display.
The absolute best time to visit this excellent resort is during the week so you can have this resort all to yourself. Plus, it’s cheaper. Prices for a Sunday through Thursday stay is not very expensive, while on the weekends the rate increases slightly. Of course, prices are subject to change without prior notice.
For reservations call their toll-free number (800-582-1018). For direct dialing call (01152-661-41188) or fax your reservations to (01152-661-41174). Or mail your request to their U.S. mailing address in San Ysidro: at 482 W. San Ysidro Blvd., Suite 2599, San Ysidro, CA 92173-2410. Credit cards: MC, VISA.
Puerto Nuevo Lobster
Less than a half a block away is the world famous Puerto Nuevo fishing village with its 38 fabulous restaurants. This dining destination is so popular that they literally serve over 1,000 meals every weekend.
Just how this small fishing village made it into the history books is an interesting story. Puerto Nuevo was founded in the 1940s. Around 1950, three families of fishermen from the state of Jalisco, Mexico arrived in Puerto Nuevo. They worked at what they knew, which was fishing.
During the weekends, they would take visitors out for sportfishing on their boats. Then they would invite them to their homes for dinner. Gradually, these visitors began returning to the fisher men’s houses. They would ask if the fishermen’s wives would be so kind as to cook them lobster dinners such as they had enjoyed after their fishing trips. And the rest, as they say, is history.
The meals that those guests craved are the same that visitors to Puerto Nuevo crave today. Puerto Nuevo-slyle lobsters are still cooked the same way as they were back then—alive. Then they are cut in half and deep-fried. They are seasoned with garlic, salt and pepper and served with rice, retried beans and flour tortillas cooked Sonora-style with red salsa.
If you have a craving for lobster served Puerto Nuevo-style and can’t get south of the border for it, then you should definitely discover one of the Rockin’ Baja Lobster locations. A festive centrally located location is in Old Town at 3890 Twiggs St. (619-260-0305). The lobster served Puerto Nuevo-style and the south-of-the-border atmosphere was inspired by this Puerto Nuevo fishing town. Ole! Also see Restaurants.