Heading to Ensenada? You can look forward to visiting a progressive seaport that is bustling with cultural, industrial, and commercial activities. Here are some suggestions for the best activities and destinations in this third largest city in Baja California and a key port in the Mexican Pacific seas.
If you are passionate about surfing, scuba diving, whale watching, or fishing, Bahia Todos Santos (All Saints Bay) is your destination.
Coming from Tijuana on the Scenic toll road, take a moment to enjoy the panoramic sites. Notice how coastal cliffs and soft hillsides tumble down to blend into the blue sea. Upon arrival, El Mirador will welcome you with its beautiful panoramic view of Bahia Todos Santos. Here, watch the sun setting upon the ocean, or, from a boat on the water, observe the scallop and yellow fin tuna farms.
About 20 minutes further up the road is the heart of downtown Ensenada. This is an area brimming with emblematic sites such as the Civic Plaza, with its sculptures of Mexican heroes, the huge Mexican flag, the malecon (promenade), from which you can observe the port activities, and the naval cruise terminal. From here, tourist barges can take you to the old shipyard to archipelago (Isla Todos Santos), passing sea lion shelters along the way.
Ensenada has a comprehensive tourism infrastructure to cater to its visitors. World-class hotels and resorts, excellent nightlife, fine restaurants and exclusive spa services make for a pleasant stay.
The typical flavors of the port can be found at the mercado, a favorite local spot to eat delicious seafood or to buy freshly caught fish to prepare yourself. You can arrange fishing charters and other activities here. The nearby Artisan Center is a good place to buy handicrafts from all across the country.
From there, head to the Regional Historic Museum of Ensenada to learn about the cultural heritage and history of the port. Built in 1887, its walls are dedicated exhibitions of archaeological pieces (discovered in the State).
Across the street the Old Maritime customs building another historic venue. Built in 1887, it offers cultural and historical exhibits that rotate seasonally.
Just a bit further is the Center for Social, Civic, and Cultural Events Riviera, declared by the United Nations as part of the historical heritage of Baja California. Its history goes back to 1930, when it opened as the Hotel Beach Cove, filled with spectacular decorations and casinos. The construction style is a blend of Californian and Neomudéjar. Currently, there are two event halls, a theater, and a bar. At the end of the outdoor gardens is the Ensenada History Museum, with displays representing the indigenous cultures and the missionary time of the region’s history.
Food and Culture
Don’t leave Ensenada without sampling fish and shrimp tacos or baked clams–best accompanied by a classic margarita cocktail. Set aside time to visit the Bodegas Santo Tomas, where you can find bottles from Baja Califonia’s oldest wine maker.
At night, head to Hussong Cantina, the epicenter of local nightlife since 1892, when it was opened by the German immigrant Johann Hussong. A celebrated tradition, this is the oldest cantina in on the Baja Peninsula. Its original style and atmosphere recall the end of the 19th century.
Outdoor Sports and Activities
Just a few kilometers outside the city are a number of ranches with hiking, horseback riding, or cycling, as well as amenities like swimming pools, cabins, fishing lakes, and campgrounds. Golf is another option for recreation: For example, try the Baja country club or Bajamar Oceanfront Golf Resort, which includes hotel and real estate developments.
Information courtesy of the Baja California State Tourism Secretariat.
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