Welcome To Puerto Nuevo!
Baja Norte, Mexico’s
Legendary Village of Langosta!
Tasty “Puerto Nuevo-Style Lobster,” or as the local’s say, “langosta” is the reason travelers come from all over the world to visit the famous Mexican lobster village of Puerto Nuevo. Located just below the USA/Mexico border south of San Diego, California, Puerto Nuevo has been a popular playground of the west for both USA residents and Mexicans alike.
Whether you arrive for lunch, dinner, or a few extended, carefree days, visitors are sure to find the village and the folks of Puerto Nuevo charming.
Slipping below the San Diego/San Ysidro border crossing, visitors hug the coastline of Tijuana and Rosarito for a mere 30 minutes drive south on a modern toll road. The drive along the coast is mesmerizing and rivals that of many top destinations of the world! Once entering the arches of the village visitors will find 35+ langosta houses, Mexican art, crafts, furniture, glass, pottery, and clothing from many states of Mexico.
The free road from Rosarito to Puerto Nuevo is a shoppers paradise!
Check Out Our Activities Page for Travel Ideas.
|TIP: There is always plenty of parking in the village and there are guarded parking lots on the perimeter of the village. Cost is usually $5 with no time limit. We recommend these parking lots if the village looks too busy for your driving comfort.
Whether it is walking back to the hotels that are within walking distance, or before departing in your car, a stroll around the three blocks that make up Puerto Nuevo, drifting in and out of the shops, is an enjoyable diversion after a lobster meal. Many regular travelers flock to Puerto Nuevo because of its small village atmosphere and of course, because of the famous lobster cuisine of Mexico.
History of Puerto Nuevo
The story begins in the early 50s, when in 1954, Rosa María Plasencia’s father first arrived to live on this special piece of coastal land to fish the lobsters he was told were abundant in the area. Rosa María’s mother’s family came a year later. The young couple met, fell in love, married and built a tiny house across the street from what is now the family restaurant, Puerto Nuevo II, the rest so they say….is history. It is one of the greatest stories of the birth of a culinary destination as one could tell.
During the 50s there were only two or three families living in the seaside village. The men went out to sea in their pongas to catch their lobster. Every afternoon their wives would await their return and they’d rush to heat up beans and rice, and prepare fresh tortillas. Once they unloaded their catch of lobsters, they’d slice a few in half, drop them into the bubbling lard and fry them up. This is how lobster Puerto Nuevo-style was born!
There was no refrigeration back then, so the now-famous meal of fresh fried lobster, beans, rice and tortillas came into being purely out of necessity. The sea provided the lobsters. Beans and rice didn’t need to be refrigerated, and the tortillas could be made on the spot.
According to one article, “Even to this day, Rosa María and her husband, Enrique Murillo eat mayonnaise with their lobster instead of melted butter. Why? That’s what was served when they were growing up and they like it.” So stop into Puerto Nuevo II if you would like to try your lobster like the original family enjoyed theirs!
Occasionally some fishermen from the USA would show up and ask the men to take them fishing in their pongas. When they came back in, they’d join in the local tradition.
In about 1956, Rosa María’s father sent word to Guadalajara for his brother and sister to join him. They came and joined in the fishing and cooking. A few more families migrated to the area. One built a little stand next to the bus stop, where the welcoming arches are now. They sold sodas, snacks and burritos. Next to their stand was a billboard advertising New Port cigarettes. The visitors named the village after that sign, which, translated into Spanish is Puerto Nuevo!
Over the years more and more people came from central Mexico. Some were intent on making their way to the USA, but stayed to fish and serve lobsters to the ever-growing crowds of visitors. A political activist, Señora Rentería, helped the families in Puerto Nuevo to get a grant from the government so they could have additional land to build on. She succeeded in getting 17 plots of land assigned to the locals and in gratitude for this; they named the village’s main street after her.
Restaurant Puerto Nuevo I, founded by Rosa María’s aunt and stepfather, was built on the first lot assigned. Puerto Nuevo II was built on the second lot, and got its name because of it. A third family built yet another restaurant. All of them charged about 50 cents for a lobster dinner back then.
According to Enrique Murillo, people didn’t just order a dinner apiece. They came in large groups and ordered lobsters by the half or full dozen. They picked the live lobsters out themselves and watched, as they were sliced open and cooked in sizzling lard.
Even though their husbands have passed on, all three ladies who helped found the first three restaurants are still alive today to witness their thriving village with its current total of 34 restaurants.
In the 70s when the Ortega family came to town and built four restaurants the village began to expand into more of a well-known destination. Today thousands travel to Puerto Nuevo to enjoy lobster dinners each week. Some come after a shopping trip to Rosarito, others on their way to or from Ensenada, or the Guadalupe wine country. Some come on their way to or from southern Baja, but all come for the cuisine and charming atmosphere.
Excerpt from The Baja Tourist Guide
First time visitors to Baja California, Mexico will enjoy Puerto Nuevo and will find it much less intimidating then the nearby larger cities of Tijuana, Rosarito Beach, and Ensenada.
The streets of Puerto Neuvo look pretty sleepy until about 10 – 11 am daily, when the local fishermen return with their daily harvest ready to serve up lunch and dinner to anyone who pops into town. The Mexican craft vendors, store owners, jewelry peddlers, and artists begin to open their shops, and the hamlet of Puerto Nuevo is in full swing.
We invite you, your friends, your family to Puerto Nuevo.
In this seaside village, the sun is usually shining,
the skies are mostly blue, the lobsters plentiful,
& mariachis are waiting to serenade you.
So what are you waiting for?
Come visit today!