‘The Cinderella of the Pacific’, Ensenada is just 100 kilometres south of the Mexican–United States border. It is one of the biggest cities in Baja California and has the only deepwater port in the region. A large fishing economy means fresh seafood is easy to come by in the city’s plethora of great restaurants and cheap eateries. The birthplace of the fish taco, it is also known for grape and wine production.
The port of Ensenada is the city’s focal point, which develops inland from the Bahia de Todos Santos.
The port is located in the Bahia de Todos Santos, amid a large harbour that includes fishing vessels, tankers and cargo ships. The main tourist strip, the Avenida Lopez Mateos, is a 10-minute walk from the port.
The port facilities include markets and transport links.
The piers have their own markets, offering traditional Mexican wares as well as food and drink, including liquor shops and a pharmacy.
Transportation is made easy with taxis and shuttles travelling into town directly from the dock itself, although a short walk will lead to the main tourist strip of the city.
The tourist office is located a short distance south of the terminal, on Boulevard Lazaro Cardenas.
How To Get Around
From the port, it is a short and easy walk into the heart of the city. Alternatively, shuttles and taxis are also available and leave directly from the port or in town from the Avenida Lopez Mateos. Rental cars are available from locations within the city, although the daily rates are much more expensive than travel by taxi.
To get to Ensenada’s grape and wine country, a rental car is advised, although taxis are still more cost effective. Some of the best wineries and vineyards lie 20 kilometres north of Ensenada in the Valle De Guadalupe.
- Currency: The currency used in Mexico is the Mexican peso, with each peso subdivided into 100 centavos. Coins come in denominations of 5, 10, 20 and 50 centavos; and 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 pesos.Notes are in denominations of 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1,000 pesos.Note: 5, 10 and 20 centavos and 50 and 100 peso coins are rarely found.
- Time Zone: Ensenada uses Pacific Daylight time from March to October, and Pacific Standard time from November to February. PDT is -7 hours behind Coordinated Universal Time, whilst PST is -8 hours behind.
- Weather: Ensenada has a semi-arid climate, with mild to cool temperatures year round. Average daily temperatures range from 13 degrees Celsius in December to 22 degrees Celsius in August.
- Wine Country - Approximately 20 kilometres out of Ensenada, in the Valle De Guadalupe, lie some of the region’s best wineries. Vineyard tours are available and tastings are encouraged, along with other specialty foods made from the region’s grapes and local produce.
- La Bufadora - Translated as ‘The Blowhole’ this attraction is at the south end of the Bahia de Todos Santos. It is one of the biggest marine geysers in the Americas and is a common stop for various bus tours. Restaurants and food vendors also operate in the area, feeding the hundreds of people who congregate to watch the waterspout, often reaching heights in excess of 30 metres.
- Seafood Market - Ensenada, home of the fish taco, has a great fish market within walking distance of the cruise port. Offering freshly caught octopus, fish and prawns, there are also restaurants on site that will prepare seafood for you. Some of the best seafood tacos in the city can be found here.
- Avenida Lopez Mateos - Located close to the terminal and waterfront, this street is the place to go for handmade arts and crafts and traditional Mexican souvenirs and trinkets –along with food and drink. The street includes some great duty free locations and fine jewellery, leather goods, hand woven items and silver.