El Rosario is a small quaint town approximately 225 miles from the San Diego international border, and around 35 miles south of San Quintin. When we say small town, we mean literally SMALL TOWN. There isn’t much to do in this town but it’s a perfect place to stop and recharge while on the road to BCS.
We stayed at the Baja Cactus Motel. The front desk spoke some English, and they accepted dogs for no additional fee. We called in on our drive down and gave our name and number for a reservation. Do this, because this motel books up quite fast. A room with two full size beds runs for $350 MXP ($17 USD), a room with a king size bed for $550 MXP ($25 USD), and the suite with a king bed for $850 MXP ($40 USD). We chose the cheapest option because it allowed for our car to be parked right in front of our door (Room #8). This made it easy to bring in the valuables, and also allowed us to keep an eye on the car.
The room was standard, with two full size beds, a small table with an old school TV, a small closet with a space heater tucked away, a plastic lawn chair, a small bathroom with a standing shower, and the basic bathroom amenities (soap, shampoo, towels…) Perfect for a 1 night stay.
Right next door was an adorable little restaurant called Mama Espinoza’s. There is a pool table in the back with a little souvenir shop. The menu had many options and we could tell that this was going to be a delicious home-cooked meal! Mama Espinoza’s has been around since the 1930s and is a very popular stop for those driving down to the peninsula. It was raining and cold when we got there, so we ordered tortilla soup to warm us up. They came out steaming hot and so tasty! We also ordered two plates to share, Enchiladas Rojas and Arrachera Steak. The enchiladas were not the best; the sauce was flavorless, however, the arrachera steak was delicious!
We were lucky to have arrived at the Baja Cactus Motel when we did, because by the time we left Mama Espinoza’s, the rooms were fully booked! In the parking lot, we saw license plates from Oregon, Washington, Baja, and California so you could tell that this was the place for many travelers to stay. We had wifi in the room but due to the rainy weather, the hotel lost power about 10 times. The walls are paper thin so make sure to have some earplugs handy!
Don’t forget to fill up at the Pemex gas station next to the hotel; this is the last gas station for about 150 miles!
We got to Santa Rosalia at around 2pm, and drove up and down the town before we pulled over and parked to get a bite to eat. Now, when you’re traveling through unfamiliar small towns in Mexico, it’s always best to eat foods that have been cooked versus fresh fruits and veggies. For this reason, we ate at a small burger and pizza spot, Pizzas Pelones . Lunch here cost us about $220 MXP ($11 USD). We only stayed in this town for lunch and kept going. We know there was more to see, but we were eager to get to Loreto.
At about 700+/- miles south from the international border, it took us about 2 days to get to Loreto and being one of the more popular places to visit, there was a ton of information online to see before our arrival. We looked for hotels that were pet friendly and we couldn’t find something within our budget. We were going to have to try to figure something out when we got there.
We arrived to town in the later part of the day so it was already dark. We parked right out front of Hotel Plaza Loreto, and just walked in and asked them if they allow dogs. They didn’t, but for a small deposit of $100 MXP ($5 USD), the manager said ok. They offered us a room for $750 MXP ($36 USD) with a small closed off patio for the dogs. They had a private parking lot in the back with security, so we felt safe and stayed for the night. We took in our valuables, of course, just in case!
The room was standard, with two full size beds, stand up shower, and bathroom amenities (soap, shampoo, towels…) The room was very basic, nothing fancy at all. It gave us a safe place to lay our heads for the night so we were happy either way.
Loreto is also a little town, but more touristic than El Rosario and Santa Rosalia. Near the hotel was a nice looking church and some people who might have just come out of mass. We took a walk over and headed inside to have a look around. This church was full of character and a spiritual presence that gave us a feeling of peace and protection. We noticed one of the rooms was in a service so we quickly said a little prayer to Virgencita de Guadalupe and made our way back outside and continued exploring this town.
We found a food cart and ordered a giant burrito to share. We had noticed another cart nearby that was selling some Elote (Mexican corn with lime, chili, and queso cotija) which was an excellent complement to our burrito. They also had these deep-fried plantains and the nice man told us we cannot leave without trying it. He took the plantain, stuffed it with butter, jam, condensed milk, and a churro. WHAT? But oh my, it was GOOD. We grubbed down on our food while walking back to our hotel. (Total food cost approx $80 MXP ($4 USD)).
The weather was perfect the next day! On the malecon, a fellow traveler had a cup of coffee and Melodica (small keyboard you blow through to play) and he was just playing a tune to himself and enjoying the morning sunshine.
A few coffee shops and cafés were open, and we decided to have breakfast at Café Ole. This place has a nice patio to sit on and we noticed that many of the tables also had their dogs with them so we leashed up our 2 pooches and made our way over. The food was very affordable and even more delicious than expected. We payed $120 MXP ($6 USD) for an eggs and pancakes combo, coffee and a freshly squeezed orange juice.
We took some time to take a few photos in this enchanting little town, which is known to be one of the 111 “magic” towns of Mexico.
We highly recommend stopping by if you take a trip down here! On the way out, make sure to stop and enjoy the view at Frida Kahlo look point.