Photos: Shapiro


When I was a kid my parents took me and my siblings on a road trip with another family, from suburban Los Angeles across the Tijuana border and down to Rosarito Beach, Mexico. It was dry and hot in Baja and us kids pretty much spent the days swimming in the pool at the condo complex where we were staying. At night we would eat at nearby taquerias, our vision slightly blurry from the chlorine we’d soaked our eyeballs in all day long. We wore our brand new scratchy ponchos (ala Jeff Spicoli in Fast Times at Ridgemont High) that kept us warm when the cool breeze kicked up from the ocean.

That sleepy, on-vacation-contentedness, sand between toes, the smell of the ocean mixed with dusty desert chaparral, reminds me of the vibe at the Sheraton Hacienda Del Mar.

The Hacienda Sheraton is luxurious and comfortable, more upscale than my late 1970s Rosarito experience, but it still has that ranchero, old-school Mexico feeling I loved back then. I don’t know what the warm smell of coalitas rising up through the air actually smells like, but I’m pretty sure you can find it here: Families splashing in big groups, kids wearing floaties or toting foam noodles, groups of friends or even couples, happily lounging, margaritas flowing by the pitcher. The waves crashing just outside the mini-walls of the resort. Its paradise, Mexico style and kids and adults love it.

There are three pools—the main one at the center of the resort is an infinity pool that appears to flow into the Sea of Cortez. Right next to it is the kids pool and together both of them make for a lively backdrop for two of the resorts restaurants. The informal Sirenas grill is open-air, with palapa-style thatched roofing. It’s one of those places where you’ll stop for some guac and chips after a swim and end up staying several hours.

Chaise lounges fill up so come early to get a good spot. And during the season (December through March) you can actually see whales frolicking in the ocean while lounging at the Hacienda Sheraton pool.

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