The last time we drove across the border to Mexico was for Halloween weekend in 2011, which is way too long of a time lapse for people who live in San Diego county. This time, we were interested in renting a large beach side house for a big group, but AirBNB ended up being inconvenient in terms of sleeping arrangements/bed space and more expensive than renting condos at our typical Rosarito go-to, La Paloma.
La Paloma is a quiet little condo complex about a mile south of the main strip of bars in Rosarito. Its Mediterranean landscaping and cobblestone walkways give it a memorable charm. It sits at the top of a small bluff with a great view of the ocean, and a small walk down the stairs leads you to the resort’s private beach. We had a group of 10 and were hoping to get two three-bedroom condos, but based on availability, we ended up with 4 condos with 7 rooms total for the insanely reasonable price of $820 total (for two nights).
We cut out of work a little early and left San Diego County around 2:30 p.m. Even with a little bit of Friday traffic, and getting on the wrong road at one point (Google is just slightly less instructive and reliable in Mexico), we made it to La Paloma at 4:00 p.m. and were able to grab a beer and catch the sunset.
We went to Los Pelicanos for dinner, and ate on the outdoor patio. Unfortunately, it was dark by this time, so the view was not quite as nice as it could have been, but we could still see the white crests of waves in the darkness, and hear the rush of the ocean. The salsa was notable, and everyone enjoyed their food. I ordered beef burritos, which were exciting enough such that I forgot to take a picture of them (pictured below is Jessica’s chili rellenos plate). Beers were $2.45 a pop. Kyle and I ordered Bohemia Oscura.
After dinner, we returned to La Paloma to have a few drinks before heading out to Papas & Beer. We’ve only been to Papas & Beer a million times, and were up for trying something new. An Uber driver had recommended a place called “Aqua” but we could not for the life of us find this elusive club, after trying to search for “Aqua,””Acqua,” and “Agua,” so we gave up and went to Papas & Beer. Who can really be upset about $15 all you can drink, anyway?
Upon arriving, we were pleasantly surprised to find Rosarito appearing a lot healthier and happier than it was in 2011. While we had a great time in 2011, cartel violence had scared off a lot of people, many establishments were boarded up or out of business, and the streets were relatively quiet. We were glad to see people out and about again, and the streets had been cleaned up. Papas & Beer was not exactly full, but it was certainly more happening than when we were here in 2011. Sadly, however, the legendary mechanical bull was no more.
We had a great time even without the bull; we drank shitty Tecate and house Tequila, witnessed a 9-man brawl, danced in the sand, slid down some poles, and left around 2:00 a.m. to get tacos. On our way to get tacos, we stopped at a convenience store to pet cats and buy water, and were talked into going to another club, where I was manhandled by a really drunk, small, local girl who liked me a little more than was comfortable. Finally around 3:00 a.m., we found our way to a taco place, where I ordered 6 bomb-ass street tacos for $6. While we waited for those delicious adobada and cabeza tacos to come off the grill, Darren and I ate radishes and shared a roasted jalapeno as the cooks stared and waited for us to cry from the spice (it didn’t happen; they were perfectly delicious).