By Victor Loza and Sharon Heafey
Contributing writers to Latinworld.com
Tourism is not new to Baja California or the Rosarito area. The first tourists to visit Rosarito arrived around 1874 to hunt and fish, but it was another 52 years, in 1926, that the Rosarito Beach Hotel was founded. The opening of this historic Hotel is generally credited with the beginning of the tourist period and was very much the forerunner in the development of the area.
During the 1940’s Rosarito became a haven for the Hollywood set welcoming Rita Hayworth and her husband Prince Aly Khan as regular patrons as well as other Hollywood visitors such as Orson Wells, Mickey Rooney, Ava Gardner, Spencer Tracy, Katherine Hepburn, Frank Sinatra, John Wayne, Gregory Peck, Kim Novak, Clark Gable, Lana Turner and the legendary beauty Marilyn Monroe. In fact, Marilyn Monroe loved the ambience of Rosarito so much; she had furniture made for her first and only home in Brentwood, California, which included the bed where she died.
Frank Sinatra and the “Rat Pack” were also frequent visitors to Rosarito, spending many long hours at the Rosarito Beach Hotel’s bar. It was not unusual to have an impromptu concert in the wee hours of the morning by Frank, Dino, and Sammy, which brought in staff members who worked in the hotel. It has been said that some waiters got as much as a $1,000 tip just to cater to Frank and his buddies.
John Wayne, who was always attracted to Latin women, would visit Rosarito to surround himself with the culture and to woo an occasional beauty or two. Ava Gardner would visit the Tijuana bull fights and then come to Rosarito Beach where she knew she would be unnoticed.
Clark Gable, one of Hollywood’s “man’s man” loved to visit Rosarito for deep sea fishing; while Gregory Peck loved to stroll on the beach and Lana Turner cherished having local cobblers custom make shoes for her. Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn also frequented Rosarito which allowed them to spend some quality time alone and away from the prying eyes of the press.
James Cameroon, fell in love with the city and brought Rosarito and the Hollywood Connection to the spotlight once again with the construction of Fox Studios, Baja. Built specifically for the Academy Award winning film, Titanic, the studio boasts the biggest indoor water tank in the world. A mock up of the ship was constructed on the grounds, and the sinking of the mighty Titanic was filmed in the water tank.
Cameroon spent years of research and huge amounts of money to make sure that every detail in the movie was as close to the original Titanic as humanly possible. You can now tour the set and see the china used during the filming with the Titanic logo, playing cards with the same logo, visit the room where Rose took the ax and freed Jack, see the boiler room, or take a picture on the same replica deck where Jack proclaimed, “I’m the King of the World.”
Following Titanic, Fox used the studio to film other movies including Master and Commander with Russell Crowe; 007’s Quantum of Solace and Tomorrow Never Dies, and Pirates of the Caribbean, just to name a few. During the filming of these movies it was not unusual to see Russell Crowe walking down Benito Juarez, or Johnny Depp and Laurence Fishbourne having dinner at a local restaurant and eating with locals as if they were old friends. Once again Rosarito became “the Hollywood Connection.”
Some of the recent visitors that have been seen leisurely walking the streets of Rosarito include stars like Jessica Simpson, Sandra Bullock, Jesse James, and Cuba Gooding Jr. In fact, Cuba Gooding Sr. loves the city so much that he now lives in the Calafia Condos Resort and Villas. Follow his performance at a local hotel by clicking here
It is no doubt that Rosarito has continued throughout the years to be the best kept secret in Hollywood. Even the Hollywood superstar’s cannot deny the beauty of walking under the stars in this wonderful piece of paradise. And that’s why we call it “The Hollywood Connection.”
Victor Loza and Sharon Heafey are co-founders of Your Baja Connection. YBC provides real estate and relocation services for buyers in Mexico.
Yes, you can have a good experience purchasing property in Mexico. You want to make sure that you have a knowledgeable, experienced, and ethical agent. When you are ready to make an offer there are a myriad of additional considerations and concerns, but if you have selected the right agent, you will have the right person to guide and protect you.
At Your Baja Connection we understand all these issues and we have purchased and gone through the process ourselves. We want to be Your Baja Connection and are ready to assist you in a worry-free purchase of your new retirement or vacation home or condo in Mexico. YBC can be reached at 858.748.5870, via email at YBC@YourBajaConnection.com, or at http://www.Your BajaConnection.com.
internal photo #2 provided by Stuck in Customs at http://www.flickr.com/photos/stuckincustoms/3026078169/