Katie and I spent most of last week in Mexico considering whether to rent a place to live part-time. A few Americans I told this plan to seemed pretty surprised, thinking of Mexico as unsafe. Nonetheless we went there with an open mind. There's a fairly large community of US players living fulltime there who are a lot more qualified to report on Mexican life, but FWIW here was my experience.
Getting across the Mexican border from San Diego was pretty easy. There was a traffic jam at the start of the 25 minute drive to Rosarito, and a ton of guys were walking in between cars trying to get paid to clean windshields. We got past that part and a couple of sketchier looking areas around Tijuana, and the drive to Rosarito along the ocean was great.
Rosarito itself was a really nice town. Highlights:
The people. Almost everyone spoke English and most people were very nice. As Katie pointed out, even the people who just wanted your money always offered something for it - a trinket, a guitar song, etc.
The Food. For 13 pesos (a bit under $1) you can get a delicious meat/onion/guacamole taco, and same price for a tall cold coke in a glass bottle.
(Ship the $3 Lunch!)
Fireworks. The 12-year-old me was thrilled to see Alfonso's Fireworks walking distance from the beach, where it's totally legal to set off M80s, bottle rockets, and roman candles.
The beaches. Right on the ocean, great beaches, with inexpensive horseback riding and ATV rentals right on the main beach.
There's a Walmart, good grocery stores, clothing/shoe stores, and places to shop.
In terms of safety, no problems at all walking around town during the day. A few slightly sketchy encounters at night near the beach, but nothing too bad. The place we were looking at is in a gated complex (Calafia) and Katie said she'd feel totally safe walking around there at night.
So we had a very fun trip and likely getting a place to live in part-time starting later this month. For other US players looking to live somewhere you can play on Stars and Euro sites, I'd definitely consider it.