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Rosarito, long reliant on springbreakers to boost the economy, finds that the dearth of arriving students from the U.S is forcing businesses that catered to the seasonal crowds to close down. After waiting for several seasons for a revival of the good old days, some of the big players are throwing in the beach towel.

An article this week in Tijuana’s daily Frontera describes the scene along Rosarito’s Zona Barbachano, a traditional gathering ground for U.S. students. Eight clubs have closed their doors recently.

“The bad image that plagues both Rosarito and Tijuana have amounted to a catastrophe,” said Jorge Medina, manager of Club Iggy’s, a 5000-person capacity bar that has reduced its staff from 150 to 40. “It was three years ago when everything started to go bad, and now the springbreakers are only a memory.”

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Ken March 19, 2011 @ 7:04 p.m.

Yes... thanks to the constant barrage of negative reports, not only the big, noisy clubs but many smaller businesses in Baja have been shuttered. Those small local entrapreneuers are the real "victims" of the popular (bad) impression. However many newer businesses clubs have opened up; perhaps smaller than Iggys, et al, but "Metropolis" seems to be doing well. More intimate and quieter settings like "the Lizard Lounge" are entering the fray, as are new restaurants such as "Akai Sushi," all on the boulevard, and others in Pabelleon... the new mall. The city seems to be seeking more than the temporary, "Spring Break" crowd... and that's okay with the residents.

Also interesting... some of the big clubs may be dark, but are not for sale. The beach location, great weather and value are all lures too strong to be ignored for long.


Vellita March 20, 2011 @ 2:18 p.m.

Absolutely right, Ken! Thank you for posting this. We are growing, thriving peacefully and our beaches are just as beautiful as ever.


poff March 21, 2011 @ 9:07 a.m.

It was just a matter of time. I saw this coming years ago. If you treat your tourists badly they will eventually stop coming. Even if it is a few "bad seeds" ripping of tourists it is the responsibility of the government to deal with the issue. The problem is that the corruption in Mexico is at every level and will just continue to spiral out of control until nobody travels to Mexico. My friends and I used to go to Rosorito, San Filipie and Ensenada all the time but not only did it become sketchy, but with the greed came higher prices, making it economically undesirable as well. Mexico, you screwed yourselves. Haven't you ever heard the term, "Don't lick a gift horse in the mouth"?


Javajoe25 March 21, 2011 @ 1:58 p.m.

That would be "Don't look a gift horse in the mouth." Comes from the old days of when you bought a horse from someone, you checked its teeth to get an idea of the age and general health. So, if someone was giving you a horse for a gift, you shouldn't be checking its teeth, etc. And you definitely don't want to lick a horse's mouth. Just thought I'd mention that.

In any case, you are wrong about Mexico. Mexico is a beautiful country with beautiful people. The problem is there is a large number of people who see the opportunity to make a lot of money from dealing drugs, taking bribes, kidnapping people etc., because there is just about nothing else they can do that will give them that kind of income. It's unfortunate because it turns the place (and these are the northern locations for the most part) into wild west towns. You go further south in Baja, or into the mainland and you find a whole different breed of cat. Mexico City is one of the most extraordinary places in the world. They have an anthropology museum that makes our Museum of Natural History look like a shack, and their National Arts Palace has a stage curtain (about 50 ft. tall) made completely of stained glass by Louis Comfort Tiffany, and nothing like it exists anywhere else in the world. Their main square in the Capitol, knows as "The Zocolo" is second in size only to Red Square in Moscow. And there are hundreds of other places throughout the country, including those near us such as Rosarita and Las Playas, and the still undeveloped and incredibly beautiful coastline of Baja that are also terrific places to visit and enjoy what they have to offer.

We are very fortunate to have Mexico as our neighbor. The problem for poor Mexico is that is has us as its neighbor, and we tend to be timid and easily frightened when bad things happen. You and your buds ought to buck up and go south again. There are many Americans who do so regularly and never have a problem. You would putting more money into the local economy which would result in the businesses paying a tad more taxes and that would help the local authorities increase their efforts to do something about the bad guys.

If everyone let their fears of what might happen stop them from going anywhere, we would never experience the joy and wonder that comes from travel to other places and encountering other cultures. I think we are damn lucky to have a foreign country at our doorstep.

No doubt, poor Mexico is having some tough times with a nasty criminal element, but the last thing they need is to have their neighbors abandon them to their problems. What Mexico really needs is Americans with real cajones. Come on Poff; the beer is ice cold, the tequila is still hot,the lobsters are still a bargain, and the lovely senoritas are still smiling. Round up your boys and party down while you help out a neighbor who would appreciate it.


David Dodd March 21, 2011 @ 11:36 p.m.

Great comment, Javajoe. I will say that I'm not sad to see the big Rosarito Beach clubs close. I'm certainly sorry for the club owners and investors, but not for the residents. I own a few lots of residential land down that way. I don't mind the beaches free of pubescent American tourists (who apparently can't find the restrooms nor have the ability to drink only to their limits), and I will gladly frequent smaller establishments opened by those who were unfortunate when the tourism died off here. Creative destruction, even when it's forced, is not always a bad economic alternative.


Javajoe25 March 22, 2011 @ 12:19 a.m.

Interesting comments, Refried; I think that some of the college students who visit TJ and Rosarita are viewed by the Mexican people the way the narcotistas are viewed by all: persona non grata. It's just that Mexico is the only place you can find those hootchie-cootchie, down-the-hatch tequila shot, head shaker, whack the cup on the top of your head type bars. For the average twenty-something, that is worth the price of admission alone, never mind the stories to tell for a lifetime.

That "totally wasted" college crowd, who view a visit to Mexico as one where the usual rules of decency don't apply, are not those who are missed by the operators of the better restaurants, hotels and shops, I'm sure.

I just hope the typical tourists have a change of heart and start heading down there again. I know lots of people who really miss their visits below the border; they just can't get past the violence that flared up for awhile and are not convinced the local police are solid citizens again either. It's going to take some time, but I'm convinced that as more Americans come back with stories of great times, things will change. Then the MTS had better grease those trolley wheels because the crowds will be heading down to shop the pharmacias, sip the magueritas, and nosh on those delicioso street-side carne asadas and fish tacos again. Personally, I can't wait.


karina March 25, 2011 @ 12:31 p.m.

Please excuse my gramar and spelling english is not my native language

With all honesty, they brought it upon hemselves, i am a resident of Tijuana and these establishements always favored foreign business over locals or nationals.

Had they treated us equally they would still be in bussines, my only concern is for the people and their familes left without an income.

And poff does make a point, there used to be a lot taking advantage of the people who visited. Saw it with my own eyes.

Mexico is beautiful and still a safe place to visit just like any other fine country on this earth. Just practice common sense


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