La Misión and La Fonda
Mexico 1 (Libre) and Mexico 1 D (toll road) diverge between La Fonda (a.k.a. K 58 or La Salina), on the coast at the southern end of Bahía Descanso, and La Misión, to the southeast (and not to be confused with Playa La Misión, which is a little south of La Fonda on Bahía Descanso).
La Fonda offers the best beaches in the area, several of which have surfable waves. Take the exit for La Misión–Alisitos from the toll road at Km. 59.
Misión San Miguel Arcángel de la Frontera
East of the highway, historic Misión San Miguel Arcángel de la Frontera (1788–1833) is part of the Spanish mission trail in Baja. Dominican Padre Luis Salles came here from Misión Santo Tomás to the south in search of a strategic point of connection between the Baja California missions and the newer Alta California missions that were under construction.
Relatively little is known about the mission today, but it did grow corn and wheat and had around 400 indigenous people at its peak. A flood in 1816 destroyed much of the mission, and it was abandoned in 1833, at which point the population had declined to only 25.
The scant remains of its adobe compound—just two walls in a present-day schoolyard—are now protected by the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (INAH).
Hotels and Restaurants
La Fonda Hotel (Km. 59.5, Mexico 1 D Rosarito–Ensenada Toll Road, tel. 646/155-0307, www.lafondamexico.com, US$55–85) is a quirky area classic. There are standard rooms as well as multiroom apartments with fireplaces and kitchenettes (US$100–150). Movement around the cliff-side hotel involves numerous steep staircases, so if mobility is an issue, make sure to ask the front desk for an accessible room. The restaurant serves reliably tasty seafood and steaks (mains US$12–25). Make sure to get a good seat on the terrace for the sunset, and if it gets chilly, the waiters bring small blankets and turn on the patio heaters.
Alisitos K-58 Surf Camp (Km. 58, Mexico 1 D Rosarito–Ensenada Toll Road, tel. 646/155-0120, U.S. tel. 949/313-7059, www.alisitosk58.com, US$16) is a board shop and campground that can accommodate RVs. Amenities are few (flush toilets and cold showers), but the beach is a good one, and you can’t complain about the price.
The Poco Cielo Bed and Breakfast (Km. 59, Mexico 1 D, tel. 646/155-0606, U.S. tel. 760/670-3336, www.pococielo.com, US$65–150) has four well-appointed rooms that are true to their themes down to the construction of the walls, murals, sinks, and sculpted entry rooms. A private stairwell leads down to the beach, and a new restaurant serves margaritas for US$7. It’s a little Disneyland, but the good service and friendly owner make it a fine choice for those looking to escape the bustle of Ensenada and Rosarito.
Baja Seasons (Mexico 1 D, Km. 72, tel. 646/155-4015, toll-free U.S. tel. 800/754-4190, www.baja seasons.com) is a full-service resort with villas (US$140–320), motel rooms (US$90), and campsites suitable for tents or RVs (US$80 oceanfront or US$55 interior). You can only get to the park from the southbound toll road. Make a U-turn if you’re driving north from the Ensenada
© Nikki Goth Itoi from Moon Baja, 9th Edition