Ensenada (full name: Ensenada De Todos Santos), or Port of Ensenada for its port, is the third-largest city in the Mexican state of Baja California. It is located 116 km (about 70 miles) south of Tijuana. The city had a 2005 census population of 260,075, with the municipality having 413,481.
Ensenada is also the municipal seat of Ensenada Municipality, one of the five into which the state is divided. Ensenada is locally referred as La Bella Cenicienta del Pacífico (The Cinderella of the Pacific).
Located in the Bahía de Todos Santos – an inlet of the Pacific Ocean – Ensenada is an important commercial and fishing port as well as a cruise ship stop. There is also a navy base, an army base and a military airfield, which functions as an airport of entry into Mexico.
The city is backed by small mountain ranges. Due to its location on the Pacific Ocean and Mediterranean latitude, the weather tends to be mild year-round. Although the winter rain season is short and the area is prone to prolonged droughts, Ensenada sits in the heart of a wine country that is widely regarded as the best in Mexico. It is said that the first vitis vinifera made it to the peninsula (specifically to the San Ignacio Mission) in 1703, when Jesuit Padre Juan de Ugarte planted the first vineyards there. On my way to Ensenada, I usually travel on Highway !, which has a toll road that is smooth sailing. There are signs along the highway that tell you how many miles you have to go before you get there. By the way, you will also see signs that state ” No Tire Basura” which means “don’throw trash.” It is always good to keep to the speed limit while on this highway, for there are Mexican Highway Patrols. A little known fact is that your toll-road ticket also acts as an insurance policy if you are hurt or injured. As always, be sure to purchase a BEMCC Membership for each member of your group. This will give you peace of mind!
If you are visiting Ensenada for more than a day, be sure to check out the Bufadora or “blow hole.” This amazing spectacle reminds me of “Old Faithful” in Yellowstone National Park. Roughly translated as “the snorter,” this underwater cave regularly sucks in sea water and spits it out the cave’s top drenching visitors to the site. It is a fun experience and you can even kayak to the site! There are golf carts that you can rent, or just walk through some of the shops located on your way to it.