Puerto Nuevo: The Famous Lobster Village
By Jack E. George
There are many stories that are connected with Puerto Nuevo. No doubt one of the most trusted stories is the fact that people moved here, or frequently visited, because of the outstanding lobsters. Then, of course, back in the 'good ole days' most of the restaurants charged about 50 cents for a complete lobster dinner.
Back in the '50s Americans would often show up and ask the locals to take them fishing. When they returned they joined the Mexican family for a huge meal. The Mexicans were not paid cash; instead they were given candy, cookies, ham, sandwiches, or whatever else they had to trade for their meal.
It really started in 1954 when the father of Rosa Maria Plasencia visited her in the lobster village. A short time later he married. He and his new wife built a house across the street from Puerto Nuevo II, which was, and still is, the family restaurant.
Two years later Rosa Maria's father brought his brother and sister from Guadalajara. One by one a few more families moved to the village. One built a stand, to sell sodas, burritos, and so forth. Next to the food stand stood a billboard. It had a huge picture advertising New Port cigarettes. As a result Puerto Nuevo received its name, from the billboard, as that is what New Port translates to in Spanish. Puerto Nuevo brought more families to the area; however, there has not ever been a major population boom. In fact, the 2010 census reported a population of 135 residents.
The lobster village is just a fifteen minute drive south of Rosarito Beach and about 40 miles north of Ensenada. The area offers a number of nice hotels for visitors to stay along with dozens of restaurants. When dining out it does not take a lot of thought to determine the main offering on every menu in every restaurant in Puerto Nuevo. Aside from lobsters, hotels, restaurants, and 135 residents, it is also fun to roam around and visit the numerous shops selling mostly Mexican wares. Many of the storekeepers enjoy a brief conversation while inviting the visitor into their shop.
The lobster village might be small in the number of people who live there; however, it is once again bringing back the tourists due to the Puerto Nuevo-style lobster. If you visit on a weekend you will be one of thousands of mostly Americans traveling here to enjoy the famous lobster. The lobster season opened in October. It is estimated that the famous village will have more than 400,000 visitors this year. The amazing thing is that almost all of these 400,000 visitors are Americans.
Part of the huge influx of tourists, according to a message from Baja Secretary of Tourism Juan Tintos, stated, "Tourist-related incidents have been minimal in the last three years." He explained that there are new measures being taken to keep all visitors safe. One of these measures is the addition of more officers who speak fluent English. He said this year the community had more American visitors than in the previous year. Some of the people visited from Washington, Arizona, and Nevada. Naturally the largest group of lobster-eaters came from California.
Host Jose, from the Luis Restaurant, reiterated the secretary's words, saying, "The summer months were better than the last few years. There were many more tourists aside from the Americans there were also a lot of Mexicans and Asians." The eight-year employee of the restaurant said they serve fresh lobster every day along with handmade tortillas. Or, if you prefer, they also serve a huge combination of shrimp and lobster which includes a free margarita for $15.00. A short distance away, Alfonso, who has worked at Angel del Mar Restaurant for nearly eight years, echoed what Jose said. He stated, "It was a great season. The tourists are definitely coming back." The Angel del Mar is a very large restaurant with many separate rooms along with a full bar. Many of the areas overlook the ocean. Suddenly Alfonso disappeared for a moment only to return with a lobster. He held the lobster in his right hand, while he touched around the lobster's eyes, with his left hand. This caused the lobster to jump about so quickly that it seemed every part of its body was moving. Alfonso repeated, once again, "We only serve fresh lobster. They come in all sizes."
The little village of "New Port," once a primitive fishing village, has now become one of the Azure Coasts most favorite spots. It has become so popular, there is an indication that the residents will increase in the next census as one sees the large number of condominiums being built to the south of the restaurants and individual shops.
It has been reported that there are presently 30 restaurants in the quaint fishing village; however, Jose, said there are 44. Whatever the number, now that the lobster season is open, Puerto Nuevo will soon be making plans for the annual Beer and Lobster Festival as well as the Steak and Lobster Fest. These are two of the highly acclaimed festivals offered in Baja California.
San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com
Updated: Nov 14, 2012 11:41 AM