On a cruise to Mexico, an Ensenada cruise port of call takes you to a colorful, exciting city where you can enjoy the bustle along its broad promenade, head into the quiet of wine country, or dive into local history and culture found at its museums. Aside from its cosmopolitan sights, Ensenada is also close to impressive natural wonders and long, sandy beaches.
The second-largest commercial port in Mexico is found here, which connects to over 68 ports in dozens of countries around the world. In addition to being a major maritime hub, Ensenada is also home to the largest production of wine in Mexico, thanks to its proximity to the Guadalupe Valley.
Experience the culture of Ensenada on a visit to the Riviera Center, which is located in a former hotel and casino. The building features stunning architecture with ornate detailing on its impressive woodwork and beautiful tiles. Here, you’ll find the Museum of History, which houses a number of significant artwork and artifacts. You can learn more about the history on display and the building itself on a docent-led tour through the museum. The center is also home to an adjacent garden where visitors can walk around.
This exciting boardwalk is a must-see in Ensenada. It’s home to two of Ensenada’s most iconic sights: the colorful Ensenada sign and a huge Mexican flag that weighs over 300 pounds. After you get your photo op by the sign, explore the rest of the Malecon, which has a farmers-market feel thanks to the many vendors selling local produce, artisan crafts, and other goods. You’ll also find pretty water fountains shooting out of the ground which light up at night.
If you’re looking for a beach experience during your time in Ensenada, Rosarito Beach is a great one to visit. Located a short distance south of Ensenada, this laidback beach town is perfect for sunbathing or doing water sports like surfing, bodyboarding, and kitesurfing.
La Bufadora is the name given to a huge blowhole located by Ensenada. At one of the largest blowholes in North America, watch as Pacific waves rush through a cave and up into the air every few minutes, sometimes with a blowhole fountain that reaches 100 feet high.
From the Malecon, hop on a boat for a tour of the Ensenada harbor. Along the way, you’ll see a different angle of the boardwalk and get panoramic views of this part of the Baja Peninsula coastline.
If you want some adrenaline-inducing adventure during your time in Ensenada, embark on an excursion that will take you ziplining high above the Mexican wilderness in Las Cañadas. Marvel at the wide canopy of the treetops as you zoom above the breathtaking scenery. Two of the ziplines you’ll go down are over a quarter of a mile long, giving you plenty of time to take in the views as you squeal in excitement.
The nearby Guadalupe Valley is quickly becoming one of the hottest wine destinations in the world for wine connoisseurs to visit. The region’s unique blends are gaining international attention, and a tour around the valley to its various wine tasting rooms provides you with an unpretentious wine experience. You’ll learn about how wine is made in the Guadalupe Valley, which varietals are the most popular, and how they taste, all while soaking in gorgeous vineyard views.
One of the top things to try in Ensenada is the Baja fish taco, which consists of deep-fried fish placed within a corn tortilla and topped with a tangy white sauce and a heap of cabbage. The secret to this simple yet delicious dish is in the white sauce. You’ll find them in stands along the malecon. Other popular dishes to try include burritos, tamales, mole, and quesadillas.
During your Ensenada cruise port of call, don’t miss tasting local wine from the Guadalupe Valley. For one of the best margaritas in town, head to Hussong’s Cantina, a landmark bar that serves up potent margaritas.
The origins of Ensenada are traced back to the Yuman People, who inhabited the area when Spanish settlers arrived in the mid-1500s.The city was originally called San Mateo by the settlers. In 1602, its name was changed to Ensenada, which means “cove” in Spanish. Today, Ensenada is a bustling, vibrant city that continues to evolve into more than just a quick getaway for cruisers and those visiting from north of the border. It was added to the UNESCO Creative Cities Network in 2015, mostly due to a local food scene brimming with delicious cuisine that incorporates innovative approaches to sustainability and intercultural elements. The nearby fisheries and wineries also contribute to the food culture in Ensenada as well as to the economy. 90% of Mexico’s wine production occurs in Ensenada, and the region is home to over 50 wineries encompassing over 500 wine labels.
The Ensenada, Mexico cruise port is conveniently located close to the city center, making it easy to see top sights, do some shopping, and get a bite to eat or drink shortly after getting off your ship. You’ll also find a market selling souvenirs right by the cruise pier, along with a liquor store and pharmacy.
If you don’t want to walk to town (which is roughly a mile away from the pier), simply hop on one of the many shuttle buses that run between the cruise pier and downtown Ensenada. There are also taxis waiting by the cruise port to take passengers into town or to one of the outlying sights. One of the most stress-free ways to get around is on a shore excursion that will get you to where you’re going in comfort and guarantees you’ll be back to the ship before it departs the Ensenada, Mexico cruise port for another destination.
he place to shop in Ensenada is along Avenida Lopez Mateos, an avenue lined with a variety of shops and restaurants. It’s a great place to find a souvenir to remember your Ensenada cruise port of call by. For a memorable piece of jewelry, go the Opal Mine, which is set up to look like an actual opal mine. Opal is the national stone of Mexico, and this unique jewelry store is a great place to get a ring, necklace, or other piece of jewelry featuring the stone.
The official currency in Ensenada is the Mexican Peso, though many businesses will accept the U.S. Dollar as well. It’s good to double check before hiring a service or dining somewhere if you’re planning to pay in cash and use dollars. If you need to withdraw some pesos, you can find an ATM at one of the several banks downtown. Credit cards are widely accepted here. When tipping in Mexico, use similar customs you would use in the U.S.A. Generally, you’ll want to tip 15% to 20% of the total bill for service in a restaurant or bar, or when hiring a taxi service. Tips for tour guides are also appreciated.