Known as the “Cinderella of the Pacific”, Ensenada is located 70 miles south of the Mexico border, a 90-minute drive from San Diego. Its warm Mediterranean climate, friendly atmosphere and accessibility by land, air, and sea have made Ensenada a favorite tourist destination for many years, and Mexico’s second most-visited port-of-call for major cruise lines and pleasure boats.
Ensenada’s romantic past, dynamic present, and promising future provide a wide appeal for cultural visitors, vacationing families, and business travelers. With a variety of accommodations ranging from modern hotels with Old World charm to full-service resorts with convention centers to RV parks with complete amenities, Ensenada easily suits every taste or budget.
Located a few hours south of the border with San Diego, Ensenada is a popular weekend trip. Sitting on the bay of Todos Santos, Ensenada is famous for a vibrant nightlife, nice beaches and is the location where much of the movie “Titanic” was shot.
Historically, Ensenada used to be a secret location known to San Diegans. Then the Mexican government built a smooth highway from Tijuana through Ensenada. So much for the secret!
Today, Ensenada is a good place to go if you want to experience Mexico, but want to avoid the packed, edgy Tijuana scene. In Ensenada, you can ride horses on the beach, do some surfing and visit world-famous bars. The most famous, of course, is Hussongs. Hussongs is the place where you can “sample” tequila and sing with Mariachi bands. The two have nothing to do with each other. Honest.
Everyone has a favorite beach spot in Mexico. Ensenada and Puerto Vallarta aren’t bad places to sample.
Museums & Galleries
- Museo De Historia – A creatively designed rupestrian pathway and exhibition rooms focus on the “Native People of Baja California” and “European Explorers and Missionaries.” Open daily 9:30am-2pm & 3-5 pm. Donations. In the north end of the Riviera del Pacifico on Blvd. Costero, tel. (011526) 177-0594.
- Museo Historico Regional – A permanent display of “People and Cultures of Meso-America” plus temporary exhibitions in the 1886 military headquarters that served as the Ensenada jail until 1986. Open 10am-5pm, closed Mon. Donations. Av. Gastelum near Paseo Calle Primera, tel. (011526) 178-2531.
- Ex-Aduana Maritima – Intriguing temporary cultural and historical exhibits in one of the oldest buildings in town, the former Maritime Customs House, built in 1887. Open Mon.-Fri. 9am-4pm. Av. Ryerson #99, tel/fax (011526) 178-2531.
- Caracol, Museo De Ciencias – Interesting exhibition halls dedicated to astronomy, physics, paleontology and marine sciences of Baja California. Open Tues.-Fri. 9am-5pm, Sat. & Sun. 12-5 pm, closed Mon. Donations.Av. Obregon #1463 between 14th & 15th st., tel. (011526) 178-7192, fax (011526) 178-6335.
- Estero Beach Museum – An outstanding collection of folk art and artifacts entitled “40 Centuries of Mexican Culture” in chronological exhibition rooms. Open 9am-1pm & 2-5 pm, closed Tues. Donations. 6 miles south of town at Estero Beach Resort, tel. (011526) 176-6225.
- Museo Comunitario Del Valle De Guadalupe – A fascinating exhibition of Russian memorabilia and local Indian artifacts in a Russian home dating from 1905. Open 9am-5pm, closed Mon. Donations. Across from Monte Xanic Winery in Francisco Zarco, Valle de Guadalupe, just off Highway 3 to Tecate,tel. (01152) 615-2030.
- Galeria De Perez Meillon – Authentic native Paipai and Kuiai Indian crafts by local artisans, Tarahumara and Casas Grandes pottery. Open daily 10am-6pm. Blvd. Costero #1094-39 in Centro Artesanal, tel/fax (011526) 174-0394.
- Galeria De La Cuidad – Monthly exhibitions of Baja California artists. Open 9am-6pm, closed Sat. & Sun. In the north end of the Riviera del Pacifico on Blvd. Costero, tel. (011526) 177-3130.
- Galeria La Esquina De Bodegas – Monthly exhibitions of Mexican and international artists. Open 8am-10pm, closed Sun. Across from Bodegas de Santo Tomas on Av. Miramar & Calle 6,tel. (011526) 178-3557.
- Taller De Artesanos Indigenas Indian Artists Workshop with authentic Paipai and Kumiai arts and crafts. Open Mon.-Fri. 9:30am-1:30pm. At Bodegas de Santo Tomas, Av. Miramar #666, tel. (011526) 178-8780.
- Art Gallery / Studio Los Arcos Original paintings, sculptures, fine and decorative arts by Baja California artists. Open Mon.-Sat. 10am-5pm, Sun. 10am-3pm, closed Tues. In Ejido Esteban Cantu on the road to La Bufadora in Punta Banda, tel. (01152) 614-2066,4-2114.
- Gray Whale Watching – The gray whale is the most common species seen near the coast of Baja. Other whales are present but tend to seek deeper waters while the gray whale’s swim in shallow waters seeking Baja’s many lagoons for calving. The Baja California coastline is teeming with whales during the calving season from late November to late March. The greatest number can be seen in February
- La Bufadora – An amazing natural blowhole spouting seawater 70 feet into the air. Newly renovated with botanical gardens and various observation decks, several with handicapped access. 22 miles south of Ensenada near the tip of the Punta Banda peninsula. Small parking fee.
- Parque Nacional Constitucion De 1957 – A national park in the Sierra de Juarez with Laguna Hanson, a scenic lake surrounded by pine forests, unusual rock formations and excellent primitive campsites on its western shore. Small entrance fee; no facilities; rustic cabin rentals. Best access is via the 20-mile dirt road just east of Km. 55 on Highway 3 to Ojos Negros/San Felipe.
- Parque Nacional Sierra De San Pedro Martir – The larger of Baja California’s two national parks with the Mexican National Observatory located near the peninsula’s highest peak, the 10,154 ft. Picacho del Diablo. This unspoiled wilderness is an ideal setting for hiking, backpacking and primitive camping. Small entrance fee; no facilities. Access via a 65-mile dirt road from San Telmo de Abajo, 80 miles south of Ensenada on the Transpeninsular Highway.
- Catavina Cave Paintings – The most easily accessible of Baja’s primitive rock art, thought to be 600 to 1000 years old. Vivid geometric and abstract pictographs cover the walls and ceiling of a small cave two miles north of Catavina near Km. 170 on the Transpeninsular Highway.
Ranches & Camping
- Rancho Buenaventura – Camping, horse riding, bathrooms. At Doña Petra Canyon, at the end of Ruiz Ave.
- Rancho Aguacaliente – Small 29 room hotel, roman baths, electricity, camping areas, restaurant. Kilometer 26 Ensenada-San Felipe Highway, Tel. (011-526) 684-0627 and 684-0628.
- Rancho Gongora – 6 person cabins, camping, pool, baths, children’s park. Located at Sierra Juarez, Kilometer 55.2 Ensenada-San Felipe Highway, Tel. (011-526) 178-3726.
- Rancho Pino Colorado – Two cabins for 15 persons, 2 rustic cabins, camping area, baths, and showers. Located at Sierra Juarez, Kilometer 55.2 Ensenada-San Felipe Highway, Tel. (011-526) 176-2161
- Rancho Los Casian – Artificial lake for Fishing, pool, baths and showers, horseriding, camping, equipped spaces for motorhomes. Kilometer 43.5 Ensenada-San Felipe Highway.
- Rancho Bocana de Santo Tomas – 10 cabins all services, camping. Located coast-side at Santo Tomas Port, Kilometer 152 Transpeninsular Highway.
- Rancho Mikes Sky – 27 cabins with complete services, horse riding, camping. In the San Telmo Zone, transpeninsular highway on a side road to National Astrological Observatory, Tel (011-526) 681-5514
- Rancho Meling – Lodging with complete services, fishing lake, horseriding, small airstrip. In the San Telmo Zone, transpeninsular highway.