There were the family day trips—lunch at Calafia, curio shopping, maybe a stop in Tijuana for a photo with a zebra-striped donkey if we had an out-of-town visitor along. As teenagers, my friends and I took the trolley to San Ysidro and walked across the border, treating TJ like an exotic mall. San Diego kids went to Baja to surf and camp and eat fish tacos and drink Coronas. (Let’s not discuss the nightclub shenanigans we partook in once we could pass for 18.)
About 20 miles from the border, Rosarito has graduated from its “spring-break, party-hearty” atmosphere. Instead, the town has become more appealing to visiting families and couples on romantic getaways, who while away the days on the wide, sandy beaches, shop in the craft markets and stroll along the quarter-mile-long sportfishing pier in front of the Rosarito Beach Hotel.
The new San Ysidro to Tijuana Border Crossing (also known as “El Chaparral”) has 22 lanes equipped with the latest technology for fast access to Mexico.