Photo by Ethan Robertson on Unsplash
Has running your business over the holidays left you feeling emotionally drained and physically exhausted? Maybe what you need is a sunny and relaxing weekend getaway. Do we ever have the spot for you! Ensenada, Mexico, has it all.
Nestled in the desert between a series of small mountain ranges in the east and the Pacific Ocean in the west, Ensenada serves as the city seat of Baja California. Important fishing and commercial concerns operate out of its deep-water port. Meanwhile, Ensenada’s sunny beaches and colonial architecture continue to enthrall artists and tourists alike, as they have for decades.
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How to Get to Ensenada
If you live in the US, it’s easy to get to Ensenada by flying into San Diego, California. From there, you could rent a car and drive it across the US-Mexico border at San Ysidro. However, the cost of doing so is sky-high even if your rental car company allows it. Therefore, most people decide it’s best to take a bus or taxi into Tijuana or Rosarito. Then they rent a car once they get there.
You could bypass ground travel altogether by taking one of several cruise ships that provide regular stops at Ensenada. Although this is the most expensive way to get to the city, it is perhaps the most enjoyable.
But whatever you do, don’t forget your passport. And if you’re planning on staying in Mexico longer than 72 hours, you’ll also need a special visa.
Enjoying the Drive
Whichever mode of ground transportation you choose, you’re sure to enjoy the drive from the border down to Ensenada. You’ll first travel through Tijuana, then journey on to Rosarito. There, the highway begins to hug the coastline, offering breathtaking views of Baja’s beautiful beaches.
On your way, be sure to stop by Puerto Nuevo for a succulent lobster dinner.
If you’re visiting in spring you’ll see colorful wildflowers on the hillsides. Visitors who come during December through March could spot a whale spout or two out in the ocean.
How to Find Hotel Accommodations
Because of its mild climate and its scenic setting, Ensenada has a continuous stream of visitors throughout the year.
Take your pick from among the multiple resorts and hotels in the city. However, early booking is advised for those who wish to visit the city during the months of August and November. That’s when Ensenada plays host to the Wine Harvest Festival and the Baja 1000.
For a sensuous treat, book your room at the beautiful El Coral and enjoy one of its luxurious bathrooms. On the other hand, you’ll find a spacious flower garden with a panoramic view of the ocean at Hostel Sauzal. Here you can rent a room for only $15 per night.
Not to be outdone, the Hotel Coral Marina boasts a beach of its own. Yacht docks and a thrifty shuttle service are also available from the hotel. Whichever hotel or resort you choose, be sure to book your room early with Ensenada Hotels at Reservations.com.
Ensenada’s Tourist Attractions
Ensenada’s main attraction lies in its beaches. For example, the public beaches of El Punto and San Miguel are renowned by surfers the world over. Or explore the small island of Todos Santos, just two hours away by boat.
If you enjoy wine, you’ll love the wineries on Ensenada’s outskirts, many of which offer free tastings. You’ll find most of them in Santo Tomas, Valle de Guadalupe, and La Bufadora, which means “blow hole” in Spanish.
The latter, named for the impressive columns of spray that shoot up from a nearby natural sea vent, offers some of the most magnificent views of the cliffs and the sea. Additionally, La Bufadora’s local cove offers activities such as scuba diving, kayaking, swimming, and camping.
More Things to Do in and Around Ensenada
Many of the city’s attractions are within easy walking distance. For example, you can travel on foot to some of the local wineries. You could even trek by foot to La Bufadora if you’re up for a good hike.
If you’d rather, though, you can travel by bike and take in the city’s scenic highway. But if you’re in the mood to let someone else drive you around the city, take advantage of the numerous radio taxis and buses. Many of these offer rides for only $0.75.
Movie fans should be sure to visit Fox Studios Rosarito, which served as the location of most of the at-sea filming for the film Titanic. Drink with the locals while you enjoy great views of the city at San Miguel Beach.
At El Salto you’ll find a canyon that’s perfect for hiking, rappelling, and rock climbing. During the rainy season the canyon can become a 100-foot waterfall.
If you love hiking, take the 10-kilometer Canon de Dona Petra hike. Alternatively, find off-road adventure tours from California Motorsport Adventures. And between December and March, the lagoons of Ensenada become a popular spot for whale-watching activities.
For an enjoyable and relaxing weekend adventure, take our advice and explore Ensenada and its environs.