By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson
June 5, 2017 (Puerto Nuevo) -- Lobster dinners, Viagra coffee, ponchos and more are to be found in Puerto Nuevo, Baja California, Mexico.
The city, as legend has it, was named after a Newport cigarette billboard. The legend goes there was a fishing village that offered cheap lobster dinners. When people asked where to find this place, south of Rosarito Beach, the directions, before Google map, would instruct tourists to go to the Newport cigarette billboard and they would find this fishing village. Puerto means “port” and Nuevo “new.”
To get there, the basic passport book or card is required at the border entry of your choice--- Tijuana or Otay Mesa if you are entering via auto from the San Diego area. Tourist visitor cards can be filled in at the border entry. Mexican auto insurance can be purchased in the San Ysidro area. Medical insurance coverage in Mexico can be purchased online if desired.
Pesos, which are now polymer or coins, can be purchased at your bank but U.S. currency is generally accepted. Some tourists like to carry both currencies. If you use a credit card, the amount in pesos can be shocking but your credit card company should convert the pesos to dollars with a small transaction fee added on by some companies. For instance: 976 pesos could be converted to around $50 dollars depending on the exchange rate.
Check your cell phone plan to see if coverage in Mexico is offered to avoid roaming fees. You may want to add coverage for a day or more, or just set your cell on airplane mode and use it only for taking pictures. If you do have international coverage, you can use an app for translation services.
The toll road to Puerto Nuevo is a smooth ride down the Baja coast to Puerto Nuevo. The toll on June 3, 2017 was listed as autos $32.00 and car $1.80 (pesos).
Many like to stop off at the Rosarito Beach Hotel, infamous as a Hollywood hot spot in decades past, but of late Britney Spears was rumored to have visited, to name one current celebrity. Rosarito Beach Hotel currently has music, wine, and other festivals held there.
Wine tours of Baja’s Valle de Guadalupe are also popular besides the destination points of Puerto Nuevo, Tijuana, and Rosarito Beach. Tijuana was number eight on the New York Times “52 Places to Go in 2017” in part for their culinary experiences.
Travelling down the Baja toll road offers up the chance to see the 75-foot statue of Christ of the Sacred Heart or Cristo del Sagrado Corazon. Another visual, besides the gorgeous views of the Pacific Ocean, is the “Naked Lady” house that is a home with a naked lady statue built into it.
Pottery stores, souvenir shops, and restaurants all offer great shopping opportunities going or coming back from Puerto Nuevo.
Once you arrive in Puerto Nuevo you can choose from any number of lobster houses to dine at. One San Diegan who has relatives in Ensenada recommends Angel Del Mar. One side of his family likes the large lobsters, the other side the small lobsters. Other tourists choose Villa Ortega’s, located at Barracuda 77. Google restaurants in the city beforehand to choose by prices, views of the ocean or menus before you get there.
Villa Ortega’s Restaurant offers up California Spiny Lobster meals with small blanket sized tortillas, rice, beans and you can purchase a dessert such as flan. Liquors of your choice are readily available. Villa Ortega’s Viagra coffee lists damiana (an herb touted for its aphrodisiac qualities), Kahlua, and whipped cream for ingredients. Google or check the rates for lodging if needed.
The lobster tails can be made into lobster burritos or dipped in melted butter.
Soccer games, or futbol as it is referred to in Mexico, were televised in many restaurants on June 3rd with the cheers or jeers going up for either Real Madrid or Juventus depending on your team. Real Madrid won that day 4-1.
Shopping at open air bazaars offers a multitude of products like ponchos, serapes, candies, pottery, political souvenirs, and more.
After dining, the trip back to San Diego can also include stops at bakeries like Tijuana’s La Vienesa Rio Pasteleria & Panaderia. If so desired or needed, the pharmacy, La Mas Barata, is right around the corner, from La Vienesa. Personal choice is always involved with which stores, bakeries, or pharmacies a tourist goes to.
Check beforehand what amounts of liquor, foods, or products are allowed back into the U.S. at https://www.cbp.gov/.
Day tours to Puerto Nuevo are offered on tour companies such as Daytripper Tours (to name one) or Americans can choose to drive there. The views of the Pacific Ocean are spectacular and the lobster dinners are a huge draw for tourists. Unknown if Newport cigarettes are still sold there.