10 travel to ensenada mexico Ideas

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Travel Guide – Mexico Dave

Mexico › Ensenada
Updated: March 1, 2022

See Also

  • Mexico – Where to Go
  • Mexico – With Kids
  • Mexico – Best Time to Visit
  • Mexico – Best Beaches
  • Mexico – Cancun vs Tulum vs Playa del Carmen

Ensenada is one of Mexico’s most atmospheric ports, a laid-back, historic city on the western, Pacific coast, and one of our favorite places to go for superb seafood, wine, and whale-watching.

sail boats and cruise ship
Sail boats in the marina with a cruise ship in the port of Ensenada, Baja Mexico.

Frequently Asked Questions about Ensenada

Where is Ensenada?

Ensenada is a city in Mexico, on the northwestern, Pacific coast of the country in the state of Baja California. Ensenada is just 110 km south of the US border at Tijuana, and 135 km (84 miles) south of central San Diego in California. Ensenada is over 2825 km from Mexico City – at least 36 hours by road. The nearest major airport is at Tijuana (a 1 hour 45 minute drive from Downtown Ensenada).

How big is Ensenada?

Ensenada has a greater metro population of almost 525,000, though it’s central core is relatively compact. Downtown or “Zona Centro” is focused on the busy waterfront and harbor, where the fishing fleet and cruise ships dock, and runs inland for several blocks. Although there are no beaches in the center, a long strip of sand runs along the wide Bahía de Todos Santos (Bay of All Saints) for almost 20km, beginning with Playa Hermosa just to the south.

What is the history of Ensenada?

Ensenada was officially “founded” in 1542, but this really denotes when the area was discovered by the Spanish (Quechan- or Yuman-speaking peoples had lived here for thousands of years). It remained little more than a village until gold was discovered nearby in 1872. Ensenada was then developed as a mining port, and was designated capital of Baja California in 1882 – the modern city was planned and developed by the British-owned Mexican Land & Colonization Co in subsequent decades. Devastated by the Mexican Revolution (1910–1920), Ensenada lost its capital status in 1915 and remained a backwater until tourism took off in the 1950s. The annual Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race began in 1948 (Humphrey Bogart took part in the first race), while the famous Baja 1000 motor race started in Ensenada in 1962 (the Baja 500 followed in 1969).

How do I get to Ensenada?

Ensenada does have a tiny airport, but this only serves a couple of locations in Baja California. The nearest major airport is at Tijuana, which is connected to numerous destinations within Mexico by non-stop flights, though there are at present no international flights. Most European flights to Tijuana will route through Mexico City. Buses run from Tijuana airport direct to Ensenada; taxis can also be taken, but these are expensive (at least US$80), though a lot more convenient.

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In practice, most US and Canadian visitors come to Ensenada by cruise ship or by car (see below), though it’s relatively straightforward to visit by bus. These shuttle back and forth between the US border at Tijuana and Ensenada bus station every hour or so and take around 1 hour 30 minutes.

grape vines on a vineyard.
Ensenada is well known for the excellent wineries in the area.

Can I use Uber in Ensenada?

Uber is available and cheap in Tijuana, though not usually for airport pick-ups, where a local taxi monopoly operates – use official airport taxis or buses instead from Tijuana airport. Uber drivers in the US cannot take passengers across the Mexican border – walk across the border and order another Uber on the Mexican side, and vice versa.

Once in Ensenada (assuming phones have the app and has roaming in Mexico), Uber can offer convenience and cheaper rates over traditional taxis. In addition, a service dubbed “uberVALLE” offers day-long, round-trip rides to the Valle de Guadalupe wine region from Ensenada – just select “valleX” in the Uber app (the driver will wait at the various vineyards).

Can I drive to Ensenada?

Driving down to Ensenada from the US border is easy and straightforward – the main four-lane Highway-1D is in good condition all the way (allow 1 hour 30 minutes), though we’d advise leaving Tijuana as quickly as possible if that’s the point of entry. There are three tolls coming south from Tijuana (around US$5 total in peso) on Hwy-1D (“cuota” means toll), but the original two-lane Hwy-1 can also be taken, which is free (allow at least 2 hours on this road). The drive should also take around 1 hour 30 minutes from Tecate, and just over 3 hours from Mexicali.

Another plus: foreign vehicles do not need a Mexican “Temporary Importation of Vehicle Permit”, as long as they stay on the Baja peninsular.

If are renting a vehicle, it’s much easier to do this once across the Mexican border, as taking US rental vehicles into Mexico comes with all sorts of restrictions.

water splash at geyser
Tourists enjoying the splash of the waterfront geyser.

Do I need a car in Ensenada?

A car isn’t really needed in Ensenda. Most of what there is to see and do lies within Downtown, which is easily explored on foot. Local buses, taxis, and Uber cars can be taken to destinations outside the city relatively cheaply. To do exploring in the surrounding countryside, including the Valle de Guadalupe, having a vehicle can be more convenient. It’s also possible to arrange car rental on arrival in Ensenada; Alamo, Enterprise, and Hertz operate in the city, along with several cheap Mexican rental outfits.

How do I get around Ensenada without a vehicle?

Walking is the best way to see Ensenada, but it’s relatively easy to find taxis (or arrange an Uber) for longer trips to the beaches, or to La Bufadora.

When is the best time to go to Ensenada?

Ensenada has a mild, Mediterranean-like climate – it stays relatively dry year-round (though it’s slighter wetter in the winter than the summer) and experiences surprisingly cool weather December to March. In general, the summer months – June through September – are the best times to visit, as the weather is hot but not unbearable, and the beaches are therefore a lot more appealing. It also doesn’t rain much. However, visiting in October/November or April/May will still mean warm weather without the crowds (and cruise ship visitors). Whale-watching is also best December to April.

Where should I stay in Ensenada?

Most tourists in Ensenada stay in Centro (Downtown), where there’s a wide range of accommodation – the cheapest places lie further inland from the seafront and along Avenida López Mateos. The bigger and posher resorts tend to be located along the coast to the north and south – a pricey taxi ride from Downtown. These are recommended primarily for travelers with their own vehicles.

What are the best beaches in Ensenada?

The best beaches in Ensenada lie beyond Downtown. Our favorite is Estero Beach, a relatively tranquil spot with soft sand some 13 km south of the city. Day passes that provide access to pools, restaurants, and activities are usually available at the posh Estero Beach Hotel here (the hotel takes up much of the seafront but the public section is known as El Faro Beach). Otherwise, Playa Hermosa just south of the port is pretty good, with locals keeping the sand clean and umbrellas available to rent for a few pesos. For experienced surfers, the best spot is Playa San Miguel, 13 km north of Downtown.

waterfront tourists
Tourists enjoying the beautiful waterfront.

Where to change money in Ensenada?

Though the Mexican peso is the official currency in Ensenada (often prefixed with a “$” sign), many hotels, restaurants, and vendors will accept US or Canadian dollars (especially when cruise ships are in town). However, change will often be given in pesos, and US/Canadian dollar prices invariably work out to be higher than peso prices because of inflated exchange rates.

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Try to use ATMs to withdraw peso cash in Ensenada if possible (check with the bank before leaving to confirm it’s possible to use a debit card and how much they will charge – using credit cards can incur interest or foreign transaction fees). Credit cards are widely accepted, but cash is needed for buses, most taxis, and small purchases.

What are the best things to do in Ensenada?

In Ensenada itself it’s fun to visit the Riviera del Pacifico, a Spanish Revival-style casino and hotel completed in 1930 and now a cultural center. Inside there’s a small but absorbing history museum and Bar Andaluz, an atmospheric spot for a drink. Across the street, the Caracol Museo de Ciencias is a new-ish science museum that’s primarily aimed at kids. Stroll along the waterfront from here, up to the Mercado de Mariscos, the traditional fish market, which is always crammed with fresh seafood. This is a great place to sample Baja’s legendary fish tacos – said to have been invented in Ensenada. Wine lovers should check out the Bodegas de Santo Tomás, one of Baja California’s largest and oldest wineries – it’s also easy to arrange tours of the nearby Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico’s up-and-coming wine region. And don’t forget Hussong’s Cantina – this spit-and-sawdust bar was established way back in 1892 by German immigrant Johann Hussong and is one of several spots to claim the invention of the margarita. Whale-watching tours (from mid-December to mid-April), to view the grey whale migration, are easily arranged from the harbor – contact Sergio’s Sportfishing Center in advance.

What are the restaurants in Ensenada like?

Restaurants are pretty good, though street food is where Ensenada really excels. This is the home of the fish taco, and numerous places complete for the title of “best in Baja” beginning with venerable stall Tacos Fenix (Espinosa at Juárez). There’s also La Guerrerense, a food stall beloved of the late Anthony Bourdain that serves fresh shellfish tostadas and ceviche. Bronco’s is the place for steak, while Chef Benito Molina’s Manzanilla Restaurante is our favorite place for gourmet Mexican seafood. Cervecería Wendlandt is the best of a growing number of Baja craft breweries.

souvenir vendors
Souvenirs for sale along the waterfront.

Is Ensenada expensive?

Ensendada is not really expensive. Everything is relative of course, but hotels in Ensenada – especially inland from the seafront – tend to be reasonably priced, and public transport and the city’s famous street food is very cheap – almost everything is priced in pesos, not US dollars, though services targeted specifically at cruise ship passengers always cost more.

Is Ensenada safe?

Yes. Ensenada has generally avoided the drug violence that has affected other parts of Mexico. Take the usual precautions, especially at night, and keep valuables in room safes. Theft of personal items from beaches does happen – never leave anything of value unattended, even on seemingly empty stretches of sand.

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Extra Information About travel to ensenada mexico That You May Find Interested

If the information we provide above is not enough, you may find more below here.

Ensenada Travel Guide – Mexico Dave

Ensenada Travel Guide - Mexico Dave

  • Author: mexicodave.com

  • Rating: 3⭐ (323385 rating)

  • Highest Rate: 5⭐

  • Lowest Rate: 3⭐

  • Sumary: Ensenada Travel Guide – Where to go, where to stay, what to do, & when to visit.

  • Matching Result: You can Amtrak down the coast to San Diego, take the San Diego Trolley to San Ysidro the last stop, then hop the red bus to Ensenada. Or drive to the Border …

  • Intro: Ensenada Travel Guide – Mexico Dave Mexico › Ensenada Updated: March 1, 2022 See Also Mexico – Where to Go Mexico – With Kids Mexico – Best Time to Visit Mexico – Best Beaches Mexico – Cancun vs Tulum vs Playa del Carmen Ensenada is one of Mexico’s most atmospheric…
  • Source: https://mexicodave.com/ensenada-travel

Ensenada travel – Lonely Planet | Mexico, North America

Ensenada travel - Lonely Planet | Mexico, North America

  • Author: lonelyplanet.com

  • Rating: 3⭐ (323385 rating)

  • Highest Rate: 5⭐

  • Lowest Rate: 3⭐

  • Sumary: Explore Ensenada holidays and discover the best time and places to visit.

  • Matching Result: The city has a quirky mix of just-off-the-boat cruise shippers, drive-by tourists from California, visitors from mainland Mexico and seen-it-all locals. In case …

  • Intro: Ensenada travelEnsenada, 108km south of the border, is hedonistic Tijuana’s cosmopolitan sister. The city has a quirky mix of just-off-the-boat cruise shippers, drive-by tourists from California, visitors from mainland Mexico and seen-it-all locals. In case you’ve forgotten you’re in Mexico (what with all those US dollars and English menus), just…
  • Source: https://www.lonelyplanet.com/mexico/baja-california/ensenada

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Tips for Visiting Ensenada, Mexico – Tanama Tales

Tips for Visiting Ensenada, Mexico - Tanama Tales

  • Author: tanamatales.com

  • Rating: 3⭐ (323385 rating)

  • Highest Rate: 5⭐

  • Lowest Rate: 3⭐

  • Sumary: Planning to visit Ensenada, Mexico? Here are details on how to stay safe, handle money, what to do, what to eat, what to bring and how to move around.

  • Matching Result: Ensenada is mild, sunny and dry. A cool Pacific current keeps summer temperatures down, with average highs for June, July and August a comfortable 24̊C (76F).

  • Intro: Tips for Visiting Ensenada, Mexico – Tanama TalesPlanning to visit Ensenada, Mexico? Make sure to read this! After living in Southern California 15+ years, you bet I have jumped to Baja more times that I can remember. Blame my Latin blood, my love for food or my devotion to Mexico…
  • Source: https://tanamatales.com/the-place-not-many-want-to-visit-ensenada-mexico/

Frequently Asked Questions About travel to ensenada mexico

If you have questions that need to be answered about the topic travel to ensenada mexico, then this section may help you solve it.

To get to Ensenada, what do I need?

Do You Need a Passport to Go to Ensenada? Ensenada is in Mexico.

  1. By Air: You must have a valid passport book to board a flight to Mexico. …
  2. By Road: While having a passport book would be the most seamless option, you can also enter Mexico if you have a passport card, a REAL ID, or a trusted traveler’s card.

Is a trip to Ensenada, Mexico, worthwhile?

Ensenada is a fantastic town to visit as either a quick trip from San Diego or as part of a longer itinerary through Mexico. There are lots of interesting things to do and fantastic places to eat that will ensure you have an unforgettable trip.

Do I require a visa to visit Ensenada?

b>There is no permit requirement for visiting the entire peninsula of Baja/b>; however, there is a permit requirement to enter mainland Mexico or if you plan to take a ferry from Baja to the mainland.

Is Ensenada near a border?

The Free Zone includes 44 municipalities among Mexico’s six border states, including Tijuana, Tecate, Mexicali, Rosarito, and b>Ensenada in the Baja region/b>, as well as an area of 12 to 16 miles from the international boundary into Mexico.

Ensenada vs. Tijuana: Which is safer?

Ensenada’s crime rate is lower than that of Tijuana and Los Angeles, so your body is safe there.

In Ensenada, are US dollars accepted?

Short answer: Yes, you can get by with a credit card and smaller US bills. Is a great question for planning things to do for your cruise shore day or weekend adventure in Ensenada.

Is it safe to travel to Ensenada, Mexico?

Baja California is one of the safer regions of Mexico, especially if you stick to Rosarito, Ensenada, and Guadalupe Valley, but there is still a risk of crime and there is cartel activity there, so be sure to stay alert and avoid shady areas.

Is Ensenada home to a cartel?

The Tijuana cartel has significant operating bases in Tijuana, Mexicali, Tecate, and Ensenada in Baja California, as well as in some areas of Sinaloa and Zacatecas. It is present in at least 15 Mexican states.

For my trip to Ensenada, do I need an FMM?

A FMM card is required for all visitors entering Mexico; make a copy of the card and receipt. The card’s validity can last up to 180 days; make yours longer than you anticipate staying in Mexico, just in case.

Ensenada vs. Tijuana: Which is safer?

If you want to go out at night, Rosarito and Ensenada are much safer than TJ, so if you want to see TJ, stay in San Diego and go to TJ by foot.

Is Mexico’s Ensenada Safe in 2022?

Generally speaking, Ensenada is a peaceful and secure city where visitors can feel safe.

In Ensenada, is the ocean swimmable?

Although there are no beaches in Ensenada itself, the beaches north and south of the city are suitable for swimming, tanning, surfing, and camping. Although the population increases during the summer and on holiday weekends, Ensenada rarely feels crowded.

What does Ensenada excel at?

Ensenada is a major tourist destination, owing to its warm Mediterranean climate and proximity to the Pacific Ocean, and is commonly known as La Cenicienta del Pacífico (“The Cinderella of the Pacific”).

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