"Ensenada, Mexico: More than just a Tourist Town" Top 5 Page for this destination Ensenada by Stephen-KarenConn

Ensenada Travel Guide: 299 reviews and 653 photos

Ensenada, about 109 kilometers (68 miles) south of the US/Mexican border at Tijuana, is just far enough from the border to offer a more authentic Mexican experience than the eight "border towns" I have visited. People who come here just to drink, party and shop may not have a true international experience at all, but for the curious and adventurous traveler there is much of Mexico that may be experienced in Ensenada.

Four-lane toll highway Mex. 1-D is a quick convenient route south from Tijuana. There are three toll booths between the two cities. I am told that this stretch of highway is also patrolled by the Green Angels, who offer free towing and assistance to motorists who may break down, but motorists who run out of gas are required to pay for it.

With a population of near 250,000, Ensenada is the third largest city in Baja California, and one of its foremost summer resorts. The city spreads over scrub-covered hills that tumble down to the shores of Bahia de Todos Santos (All Saints Bay). The name "Ensenada" actually means "bay" in Spanish, and the city obviously derives much from the bay with it's large harbor. Cruise ships dock here, as well as freighters and boats of every other description. The city has a tourist face, but also a more authentic local side to be discovered. The surrounding area offers abundant opportunities for exploration of natural wonders as well as historic and cultural interests.

It's a shame that many Americans seem to think of Ensenada as only a party town - a place for young Americans to come and get drunk. For the informed visitor this charming city by the bay has so much more to to offer. We share just a few highlights from our own trip here. We will have to return to the area to explore more of the national parks, wine country, pueblos, missions, museums, hiking trails and much more that we did not have time to see on our most recent visit.

  • Last visit to Ensenada: Mar 2005
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (33)

Comments (23)

  • Jun 30, 2010 at 8:23 PM

    I'm glad that you liked our place and that you enjoyed your meal in our restaurant. we hope to here from you once more when you decide to pay ensenada a visit in the future. Greetings from our staff here at Restaurant Casamar.

  • Pawtuxet's Profile Photo
    Sep 27, 2008 at 6:06 AM

    Back for another peek. My son is doing the 50 mile ride on a bike this weekend. What a coastline!

  • Feb 17, 2008 at 7:16 PM

    I have eaten at EL Charro twice now and have loved it. I get half a chicken with rice and beans. Great food and you can't beat the price. I thought the chickens in the widow looked great but tasted even better!

  • KiKitC's Profile Photo
    Jan 26, 2008 at 6:25 AM

    Fantastic tips, as always. The food there must have been incredibly tasty. Hope your birthday is a "fiesta".

  • kyoub's Profile Photo
    Feb 14, 2007 at 4:41 PM

    Ensenada sounds like a very nice place to relax. I love to watch the blowholes. Thanks for the great tips.

  • matcrazy1's Profile Photo
    Dec 8, 2006 at 6:24 PM

    After reading your page I can only regret that being in Tijuana I didn't go a bit more to south to Ensenada. Great tips, my congratulations!

  • budapest8's Profile Photo
    Nov 25, 2006 at 5:25 AM

    Gr8 tips and pics....will come back again to RRR (read, review and rate) some more...Happy Thanksgiving..Tim

  • orlikins's Profile Photo
    Nov 17, 2006 at 3:45 AM

    Was there last month, that Mexican flag at the harbour is HUUUUUUGE!! :)

  • Sue08080's Profile Photo
    Jun 6, 2006 at 7:54 PM

    Great Ensenada tips...especially the fish tacos! I agree that they are outstanding.

  • RickinDutch's Profile Photo
    Jan 26, 2006 at 1:15 PM

    Nice job with Ensenda, Stephen. Birthday greetings from Alaska!

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