Ensenada is located in northern Baja – close enough that cruise ships come here from southern California for weekend cruises. Ensenada seaport was first discovered in 1542 by Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, and over time it became a haven for many ranchers and gold miners. Ensenada gradually grew to become a major shipping port for agricultural goods, and it is the third largest city in Baja. In 1888 the first winery was opened in the region by the Dominicans, and today the Ensenada region accounts for over 90% of Mexico’s wine production.
When you disembark from your cruise ship, you will need to take a short bus ride into town. Walking around town, you will find most of the shops located on Avenida Lopez Mateos, where the majority of hotels, restaurants and bars are located. Just a block closer to the water at Avenida Riviera is the Riviera del Pacifico, which was a luxurious resort hotel and casino in the 1920s which was frequented by many wealthy Americans and movie stars – especially during Prohibition. It has been restored as a community center, now called the Centro Social, Civico y Cultural de Ensenada. For a peek into the wine-making industry of the area, you can visit Las Bodegas de Santo Tomas on Avenida Miramar, where you can take a tour, enjoy a wine tasting, or dine at the restaurant or caf.
Just south of town you can catch sight of La Bufadora, a sea geyser that splashes up to 75 feet in the air. It is on the south side of the cliffs of Punta Banda, a peninsula which juts out into the sea. The force of the waves puts on quite a dramatic show, and you’ll find many kiosks selling food and craft items along the way. You can take a tour to see La Bufadora, or catch the public bus from downtown Ensenada.