Ensenada, the capital of Baja CA from 1882 to 1915, is a beautiful, sophisticated, inviting city that easily allows guests to explore the many activities available in the area. Located about 70 miles south of Tijuana, the drive, particularly on the toll road, offers some incredible beauty along the Baja coastline. Drivers can relax knowing that there are roadside emergency call boxes located every two miles.
Ensenada, when translated, means "cove." The proper name is Ensenada de Todos Santos. It was first discovered by the Portuguese explorer, Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo. He named the area San Mateo when he stepped foot on the newly discovered area on September 17, 1542. Today people see what Cabrillo discovered several hundred years ago - some breathtaking Ecotourism in the immediate area offering mountain ranges, forests, deserts, coastal lagoons, along with rocky islands.
The third largest city in Baja is accessible by land, air, and sea. It has become a worldwide tourist destination for a number of years making it Mexico's second most-visited port of call for major cruise lines. The popular city brings in millions of tourists each year. Aside from first class hotels, the large variety of restaurants, along with shops offering Mexican crafts, leather goods, and European imports, visitors find a special warmth and friendliness from the locals who openly offer their hospitality.
Ensenada is a very diverse city. It offers fishing, ranching, agriculture, shipyards and tourism which blend as easily together as do the Margaritas served at most any restaurant. Another of the great offerings of the city is that every visitor can easily walk the main area on foot. The tourist area is simple to find. You look for the huge Mexican flag. It is so large there is no way you can miss finding it. The flag is located near the Malecon. This location will lead you to the docks where the cruise ships can be found. It is also the area for sport fishing piers as well as the fascinating shops, and some of the finest dining opportunities in Baja.
The downtown area is a paradise for shoppers, diners, and partiers. You can enjoy some of the tastiest lobster and seafood found in Baja. You will enjoy the variety of stores and shops. You can enjoy sitting outside at a sidewalk café, sip a cappuccino at one of the coffee houses, or eat a famous fish taco at one of the taco stands. Visitors delight in the variety of silver, wrought iron, ceramics, arts and crafts, pharmacy items, and everything that can be purchased at duty-free status. The evening hours provide a variety of night clubs and bars offering dancing, karaoke, live bands and all kinds of fun until early in the morning.
As far as lodging you can select from an elegant resort, or an inexpensive motel. Others save money by enjoying camping under the beautiful starlit nights. It is not difficult to decide on what you want to eat as there are numerous street vendors as well as lavish restaurants. Some of the restaurants serve meals outdoors, making the Mediterranean weather to add more pleasure to the meal. Ensenada has a population of less than 300,000 so there is most likely any type of specialized food you might want to order.
There is such a variety of activities that you can choose to play a round of golf, go horseback riding, or for a hike, swim, surf, or go sailing. You can also go jet skiing, kayaking, and scuba diving. Or, you might want to spend part of a day visiting one of the many nearby vineyards in the Valle de Guadalupe. This is where the best wine is produced. The area is often compared to the Napa Valley area in California. You might decide to spend some time fishing, playing volleyball on the beach, enjoy some off road racing, or, depending on the time of year, enjoy whale watching in the Todos Santos Bay. If you just want to relax then a day at the beach is always a popular choice. If you are feeling more adventurous you might want to visit Canon de Guadalupe where you will see amazing, steep granite walls, hot springs, water falls, and cold water ponds. Here you can go rappelling, biking, and rock climbing.
No trip to Ensenada is complete without a visit to La Bufadora, also known as "the Blowhole." After you park your car you will enjoy a walk down an amazing street loaded with stores, shops, and restaurants. Once you reach the end you will see the natural cave which was formed by Marine erosion. Every few seconds it sprays a gushing amount of water in the air that sometimes rises up to 32 feet. Surrounding this amazing piece of nature is a remarkable botanical garden, lighting and observation decks.
Another thing about Ensenada - the pace of life is much slower; so, in order for you to enjoy everything there is to offer - you will really need to put your body into high-gear, start your day early, and plan on finishing late in the evening.