I just recently came back from my second (third now that I also just came back from 2022 trip) motorcycle road trip from Mexico, this time I planned for a longer adventure to go during Dia de Los Muertos to hopefully see some cultural aspects of it. I’m so glad that I was able to plan for a longer trip because it was so worth it, I had so much fun and it was so relaxing.
The first time I rode down to Mexico in 2019 I remember being very paranoid and careful (mostly because I still have an unfinished draft from that trip I’m staring at the other corner of my desktop screen), I did an excess amount of research to make sure I came back safely since you see a lot of horrible stories through the news. I kept thinking that I was probably going to get mugged and come back in a body bag. But… I realized it was easier to turn off the television to stop feeding into my fears because my second trip was so much smoother (also been almost two years since I’ve stopped watching regular tv). While I’m not saying that one shouldn’t be wary, but people in Mexico are human too, majority just want to live a normal life like the rest of us. It’s just the news media that make them sound like they’re all in a cartel and out to make people’s lives miserable. Even if the trip was to Baja Mexico and not inner Mexico, I still firmly believe that most of the people in the country are normal folks.
When crossing the border you’d need your passport or passport card with your ID. Going from Los Angeles to Tijuana border only took about 10 minutes because of very slight traffic, but other than that it was easy and smooth as butter. The trip back took even less time, about 5-7 minutes, thankfully because we were on two wheels, for car drivers, it was about a 2-3 hour wait in line (this is actually really good time, the last time we were here, it was a 6-8 hour wait for cars).
My first stop was to grab lunch at Ortega’s at Puerto Nuevo because how can you not grab delicious lobster when in Mexico? In a busy area like Puerto Nuevo there’s no free parking (that I know of that is close to the restaurant). We ended up negotiating with the valet guys to let us park for $5, tipped them $5 for a total of $10 for three bikes. You’ll always see parking guys indicating to park in their lot, so up to your discretion on how much you want to spend for parking. Main entrance of Puerto Nuevo is also gnarly hilly and rocky, I recommend using the second entrance, it’s less crowded and the pavement is much more even.
Once we were sat, I ordered 1.5 lobsters for $23 USD (roughly 477 pesos– I noticed that pesos tend to fluctuates off and on by a peso or two to every $1 USD every couple of days). We also ordered a few alcoholic drinks because it was so cheap, a large margarita was only $4! One of the memorable things I always remember about our southern neighbor is how cheap their alcohol is (a large can of beer was only $0.78 LOL). The lobster meat was juicy and there was bottomless chips/salsa and tortillas that came as the side (this is like the ban chan version of side dishes in Mexico). We also got to sit beach side so the view was gorgeous. There’s also mariachi bands for hire if you want to eat with your own background music. I highly recommend checking out Ortega’s if you ever plan a trip down, the food was delicious and the staff was attentive and overall great value. After our delicious meal, we were off to our lodgings.
The first trip, I booked a condo space in Rosarito that had 24 hour gated security that you can only get in with a condo building wristband. Even still, I remember being really worried that my bike going to get stolen because the parking was outside and still viewable through the gate. We were also smack dab in the middle of tourists and people in general. Albeit nothing happened. This trip, I made it a 4 day trip and booked a beautiful home through Airbnb that was right over the beach so we got to wake up to the sounds of waves in the morning. Even though the garage was not usable, the house was pretty isolated by the cliff two miles past Puerto Nuveo. We were lucky that nobody had rented the house next door (the host had two homes next to each other she rents out on Airbnb) so we had the whole area to ourselves. I felt safe leaving my bike parked outside for the duration of the trip. My bike’s safety is and will always be my top priority and I definitely recommend searching for homes that are gated, has 24 hour security or has access to the garage.
I will admit that the roads that aren’t the main road in Mexico are pretty rough though. I had a tough time with the Airbnb’s driveway place I booked. It was pebble stoned and really hilly area that also went into a construction dirt section. I definitely struggled. I was lucky that my partner was good with off-roading terrain so he was able to two-up me to the house instead, but bless him for walking the almost 15 minutes to come and get me at the front gate! This is also true for locations that aren’t in more touristy area where there are such things as sidewalks. Most locations will be off dirt paths from the main free scenic and toll road. So keep that in mind when deciding to ride down.
For the rest of our sustenance needs, we had mostly eaten out with an addition of one night of grilling poolside. Some of our favorite places to hit up when in Mexico is El Nido Restaurante for dinner, a more sit down type of dinner restaurant and Taco Yaqui, a taco stand, for lunch. Both relatively affordable and delicious! A few more recommendations for food places is:
• Splash Restaurant and Bar: great views of the beach to grab lunch and a beer
• Encanto: Another restaurant next to Splash that has amazing views to grab food and drinks.
• Los Portales de Garcia: Situated next to the Pacific Ocean, this restaurant has great food and ambiance.
If you have the time, definitely also take a moment to ride down to Ensenada. The route down was gorgeous. It’s similar to PCH or the road up to the PNW. Beachside with sunny blue skies (if you catch this ride with good weather), then you hit the canyons for a little bit. It was one of my favorite moments and roads so far. Once you hit Ensenada, it gets really touristy, almost like Cabo, so roads and parking was fairly easy to find in a lot of shopping buildings.
There you have it, total of fourth trips down to Mexico and counting so far! Hopefully I get to go again year to bring you more recommendations and advices! If you have any questions, please leave a comment for me below!