Dreaming of a luxurious sunshine getaway in 2021? Then look no further than Ensenada – a pretty and diverse city that is located just 108 miles from the border with the USA, and hailed as the cosmopolitan cousin of hedonistic Tijuana. Here, you might feel as if you’re stuck somewhere between two countries, with English menus in US dollars a common site – but make no mistake, this culturally rich destination has got plenty to offer, and attracts everyone from cruise ship passengers and drive-by tourists from California, to mainland visitors, who mix seamlessly with the seasoned locals.
But while Mexican cuisine and culture is still evident here, you can also expect to find everything from authentic French food to tasteless American t-shirts at the many shops, cafes and restaurants that line the streets. Filled with unique landmarks and people from all walks of life, it’s a foodies’ delight, with a mouth-watering range of local seafood, beers and wines to make your way through, too.
Whatever you’re looking for, Ensenada has probably got it – and yes, that does include luxury. This vibrant town might feel like an assault on the senses in many ways, but rest assured that there is no better place to enjoy an opulent getaway.
Here are the things you won’t want to miss while visiting – and believe us, there are a lot.
Explore the Pacific Ocean
When it comes to the very best locations to explore the Pacific Ocean, it doesn’t get much better than Mexico, which is home to the second largest coral reef in the world and boasts crystal clear waters filled with a kaleidoscope of beautifully coloured fish and marine life.
Whether you’re staying in a hotel nearby or are visiting from an Ensenada cruise, it’s the number one thing to do here – and depending on the time of year, you might even get the chance to see whales. Common in the waters around Ensenada, along with dolphins, sea turtles and more, a boat trip is the best way to see them. Head down to the marina to book your tour for an experience you’ll never forget.
Taste the wine
Head just outside of Ensenada, and you’ll find some of the best wineries in the region. The wineries are all close together and you could easily spend your entire holiday making your way around them all – just be sure to hire a driver or a car to ensure that you can do so with ease.
If it’s something that sounds right up your street then you can even book a hotel in the wine region of Ensenada, rather than in the centre, as most visitors do. Although it’s a little further away from the other sites, and the delectable fresh seafood you’ll find closer to the water, if wine is your thing, then it’s the perfect spot for you.
Visit La Bufadora
One of only three marine geysers in the world, La Bufadora is one of the most unique attractions you can visit from Ensenada – and a must-see for anyone visiting, in our humble opinion. Watch the ocean surge back and forth against the rocks until all of a sudden, it sprays up and out of the top – it’s a spectacular site that deserves a quality camera so that you can get some impressive photos while there.
Best viewed at high tide, be warned – if you stand too close then be prepared to get a little wet, and don’t wear any expensive designer gear that can easily be damaged. This area also has high winds, so be sure to watch what you wear and what you are holding- but all in all, it’s a must see.
Tour the breweries
Ensenada might be well known for its wines, but if you’re more of a beer fan, then you’re in luck. There are many craft breweries across Baja California, and Ensenada houses several of those – so cerveza enthusiasts certainly won’t go thirsty here.
Some of the breweries are far from the city centre, so look into a rental car or driver once again if you’re keen to pay them a visit. Many of these breweries offer some delicious food alongside their beers, so why not make a day of it?
Walk along the Malecon
And finally, one thing you can’t visit Ensenada without doing is sampling some of the delicious local seafood, which draws visitors in from the surrounding towns and cities on a daily basis because of its taste and variety.
The Malecon is Ensenada’s boardwalk, which runs alongside the port and beside the ocean – and is the perfect place to get your fix. Stroll along and watch the boats as they bob on the waves, then head into one of its many restaurants to enjoy a mouth-watering meal to remember for a relaxed and enjoyable evening to round off your trip.
Since Ensenada is in Baja California, you can expect Baja style fish and prawn tacos to be high on the menu. These commonly look very basic and have only a few ingredients, but despite their simplicity, you can rest assured that they will taste amazing.
Before you leave, be sure to check out the local fish market at the end of the Malecon. Known locally as the Mercado Negro, fisherman from around the region bring their catches in for locals to choose from – but even if you’re not shopping, it’s worth a look.
When it comes to luxurious sunshine getaways, Ensenada in Mexico has truly got it all, and whatever it is you’re looking for from your break, you’ll find it here. Simply check yourself into one of the area’s finest five-star hotels or include the town on your next luxury cruise itinerary, and allow yourself to be swept away with its magic. It’s a destination you’ll want to return to again and again, always leaving you wanting more.