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Frequently Asked Questions:

For information on Safety, Medical , Money, Travel, Laws and other useful
facts about Mexico and Rosarito please read the following FAQ's.
If your questions have not been answered contact Clint at clint@vabaja.com

Where is Rosarito?
Rosarito is 30 minutes south of San Diego, just across the Mexican border on the Pacific coast of the great Baja peninsula. Downtown Rosarito is only 18 miles from the border via the beautiful and well-kept Rosarito-Ensenada toll road, recently renamed the Rosarito-Tijuana Scenic Road.

What's the best time of year to visit?
Anytime! The weather is similar to San Diego's coastal areas, but with constant ocean breezes keeping us cool in summer. Year round, we enjoy an almost perfect climate with mild winters and balmy summers.

Safety in Mexico,
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Are Rosarito and the surrounding area safe?
Probably safer than your home town. Guns are illegal in Mexico, and Baja California has had the lowest unemployment rate in all of Mexico for almost 10 years, currently at almost 0%. Thus, violent crime is low, and random violence is practically non- existent. However, it's always wise anywhere to use the same, normal safety and anti-theft precautions you would use at home. Lock your car. Use a Club-like devise. Don't leave valuables in full view on car seats, and park in well-lit places.

Can I bring my children to Rosarito?
Absolutely! Rosarito is kid-friendly to an extreme. There's lots for kids of all ages to do in a very safe, small-town environment.

Medical, Hospitals, Water Safety
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What if I get sick while on vacation?
There are five good hospitals and numerous highly trained doctors in Rosarito. Ambulance and helicopter transportation to the United States is available in emergencies. Many thousands of U.S. citizens have vacation homes or full-time residences here. They wouldn't have chosen Rosarito unless excellent health care was available.

Can I drink the water?
As opposed to mainland Mexico, Baja's water is from wells and has been considered safe for years. In addition, there is a Mexican federal law stating that restaurants must serve purified, "drinkable" water, tested free of contaminants, both for drinking and for ice. Most hotels in Rosarito also provide bottled or purified water in guest rooms, and popular international brands of bottled water are available for purchase virtually everywhere.

Money, ATMS & Expenses
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What about money and credit cards?
The peso is the official currency of Mexico, but being so close to the border, dollars are accepted almost everywhere and credit cards are taken at most major restaurant, shops and hotels. There are also two ATM machines in town, located at the Banamex and Bancomer banks. They accept Visa and Mastercard and dispense bills in pesos. If you prefer to use pesos during your stay, you'll also find several banks and money-exchange houses in the central downtown area where you can make money exchanges.

Is Rosarito a ritzy, expensive resort town?
No. While we have all the amenities of most top coastal resorts world-wide, we would be considered inexpensive by California standards and lower in cost, overall, for hotels and meals than Tijuana. Your dollars go a long way in Rosarito, and you'll find excellent value for your money everywhere. The atmosphere is casual, laid-back and informal.

Travel & Car Insurance
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I don't speak Spanish. Will I be able to communicate?
English is spoken almost everywhere in the main tourist areas.

Do I need a passport?
Entering Baja for up to 72 hours and exploring as far south as the seaport city of Ensenada requires no visa or other paperwork for U.S. or other citizens. Simply drive across the border (as almost 180,000 people do each day), head for Rosarito and enjoy the unusual foods, music, festivities and fabulous crafts of Mexico---without the bureaucratic hassles usually inherent in foreign travel.

And whether you stay the day, the night or the weekend, you can return to the U.S. just as easily. Only non-U.S. residents must present passports and visas for entry. U.S. citizens need only proof of citizenship, like a copy of your birth certificate, to re-enter California---and rarely is even that requested.

For Baja stays beyond 72 hours a tourist card is required. These can be obtained free from international airlines authorized to travel to Mexico, the Mexican Consulate in San Diego or the Mexican Immigration office just across the border at San Ysidro. Proof of nationality is required to obtain a tourist card.

Do I need special insurance for my car?
If you're driving, Mexican auto insurance is recommended since your U.S. auto insurance is not valid anywhere in Mexico. Inexpensive Mexican insurance can be purchased by the day, week or month at numerous highly visible locations near the border on both sides. Getting Mexican insurance is so quick and easy that many of these places have drive-through windows. A number of San Diego rental car agencies also rent vehicles to Rosarito and provide the Mexican insurance.

Is there any way to get to Rosarito without a car?
Several San Diego tour companies specialize in day trips to Baja that can include or combine shopping, dining, sightseeing, golf, wine-tasting and the Puerto Nuevo lobster village, along with a variety of longer excursions. Round trips run daily from San Diego to Rosarito, Puerto Nuevo and Ensenada and are open to individuals or groups. Contact Baja California Tours at (619) 454-7166; e-mail BajaTours@aol.com, or contact Travel Care Free Mexico at (619) 475-1234.

Baja Express offers transportation from San Diego to Rosarito and Puerto Nuevo with one-day advance scheduling. Pickups can be arranged in downtown San Diego, Mission Valley, Coronado or Chula Vista. Round trips start at $25. (619) 232-5040 or 230-5049.

Alcohol & Drug Laws, Imports & Exports
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What are the alcoholic beverage and drug laws in Mexico?
Legal drinking age is 18, and most bars and night clubs request an ID before admittance when they doubt the customer's age. Drinking on the streets is against city ordinance, and fines are imposed on offenders. Drinking and driving is a jailable offence that also carries a heavy fine.

It is a criminal offense to use, possess or traffic in illegal, mind-altering drugs (cocaine, marijuana, heroin...etc.). Even the possession of a few grams will bring a jail sentence of eight years or more. Legal, medicinal mind-altering drugs, such as Valium, require a medical prescription for purchase and use. Many common prescription drugs are available over the counter in Mexico at approximately ½ to 3/4 of U.S. prices.

What can I bring into Mexico?
You can bring in your car, personal clothing, camera and other items for personal use without any problem. For general merchandise, such as food or medicines, there is a per-person limit of up to $400 U.S. dollars duty free. Anything over that amount has to go through Mexican customs and pay import duty. Firearms are illegal in Mexico although special permits can be obtained in advance for hunting. Check with the nearest Mexican Consulate for regulations regarding hunting permits.

What can I take home?
You can take back $400 per person duty-free, including one liter of alcohol. Mexican arts and crafts are duty-free and don't count toward your $400 limit.

If traveling by common carrier (bus, cruise ship, plane or train), more than one liter of alcohol is allowed; however only the first is duty free.

The following items are legal in Mexico and readily available everywhere in the border area, but cannot be brought into the United States: Cuban cigars; turtle products; switchblades, butterfly knives and fireworks.

For full customs information, check the U.S. Customs web site. http://www.customs.ustreas.gov.


Copyright © 2005 Clint Brill- All Rights Reserved