Ensenada, Baja California
With a territory extending from the Pacific Ocean to the Sea of Cortez, a wide variety of natural attractions covering a landscape that includes beaches, deserts, valleys, and mountain ranges, the most varied micro climates in northern Baja, a historical heritage found in its buildings, missions, and caves, not to mention Mexico’s known friendly atmosphere, Ensenada has a lot to offer. Whether you are an outdoor type, a water sports fan, a wine enthusiast, a nature lover, a sailor, or just into history, Ensenada has just the place for you.
– Missions –
For 150 years after its discovery, the peninsula resisted colonization until the arrival of the missionaries, the first being the Jesuits, founding Santa Gertrudis La Magna in 1752 and San Francisco de Borja Adac in 1762, these being the two fully intact missions still in use today; these were followed by the Franciscans founding San Fernando de Velicata in 1769 and the Dominicans founding El Rosario de Vindaco, Santo Domingo, San Vicente Ferrer, Santo Tomás de Aquino, Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe del Norte and San Miguel Arcángel de la Frontera from 1774 to 1834. You can visit these sites by way of Ruta de las Misiones which includes the main missionary site, along with ancient rock paintings and museums. The nearest site is located 30 km south of Rosarito and 900 mts east of the Free Road (Carretera Libre), if you take a road trip and visit all of them you will find your self 740 km south of Tijuana, 25 km south of Guerrero Negro in Baja California Sur.
BAJA’S WINE COUNTRY
– Guadalupe Valley –
Baja’s Wine Country – Barón Balché’s VineyardsBaja’s Wine Country is to Mexico what Napa Valley is to the U.S. and produces over 90% of Mexico’s wine, from the big producers like L.A. Cetto and Casa Domecq to smaller family cellars. Because of its Mediterranean climate and particular soil conditions, this area is perfect for growing grapevines and olives; there is no other place like it in Mexico. Its origins date back to 1903 with the arrival of the first Russian migrants who brought top-quality grape cuttings from Europe; Bibayoff is one of the most accessible old Russian wineries, you can also find the Russian Community Museum in the area and places to sample their food, and artisan cheese bread and wine.
With the production of more than 80 varieties of wine from all manner of grapes either reds or whites, you will find something you will surely love, be it Merlot or Chardonnay.
– The Wine Route –
Take the tour of Baja’s wine country, you can charter a guided tour or make a road trip out of it. Consider it a 3 part journey that has around 50 wine-producing houses; the first part being the valleys of Calafia, Guadalupe, and San Antonio de las Minas; the second is to the north, through Valle de las Palmas and the third, south of Ensenada in Valle de San Vicente Ferrer. These are some of the wine houses you can visit and some amenities they offer:
- L.A. Cetto is the house with the most renown and tradition in the valley, It offers beautiful gardens, sampling, and picnic areas, and of course a wine boutique (www.cettowines.com).
- Casa Domecq has a sampling room along with a picnic area and a shop (www.domecq.com.mx).
- Barón Balché offers tours and wine tasting (www.baronbalche.com).
- Viña de Liceaga will give a good explanation of the wine-making process besides wine sampling in the terrace and cellar with a purchase option (www.vinosliceaga.com).
- Viñedo Adobe Guadalupe has a six-room B&B with a private restaurant, swim pool, Jacuzzi, and horseback riding. Reservations are necessary (www.adobeguadalupe.com).
- Casa de Piedra offers tours and wine tasting (www.vinoscasadepiedra.com).
- Monte Xanic, one of the first wineries on the route will let you about their house wines as well as sampling and purchases.
Make the complete route and you will not regret it, for every wine house adds something to the experience, as an extra, this route has a variety of attractions; apart from the wine producers you will find small family restaurants to fine cuisine, artisan centers, wine boutiques, art galleries, B&Bs, and many more things to do.
ENJOY THE SEA
– Fishing –
The Ensenada Marena, Despite Ensenada’s large industrial fishing there, is still a lot of good sport fishing activities along Bahia de Todos los Santos. The closest fishing area is at the tip of Punta Banda with a cool water fishery that is very reliable and productive. There are many private charter services beginning from 2 am to 7 am, lasting from 8 to 16 hours, if you’re by yourself or in a group you can find a panga or a 65’ boat package to accommodate your needs. Depending on the location and season you can find different types of fish like barracuda, calico bass, yellow tail, lingcod, and all kinds of bottom fish. Be sure to have your fishing license before you board, whether you’re fishing or not. On www.ensenada.com if you click on fishing you can find a number of private charters with rates and packages. But don’t forget your sunscreen, they don’t include that in their packages.
Ensenada is one of Mexico’s fastest growing ports, whether because of its privileged location, natural attractions like the gray whale migrations, wonderful weather, or many so many of the other things located in its vast territory, visitors keep coming back; and so do their boats. Get to know Ensenada’s marinas.
– Baja Naval Marina –
Located in the heart of Ensenada, Baja Naval Marina has 50 slips up to 100ft, They provide drinking water, fuel, 24-hour security, clean bathrooms, concierge, and wireless internet. They also provide assistance with fishing licenses and immigration. Shops, hotels, restaurants, and more are within walking distance. If you are planning on visiting during the summer or on event weekends a reservation of a month in advance is required. They also have a boatyard compliant with ISO and Governmental standards for environmental protection (www.bajanaval.com).
– Coral Hotel & Marina –
Cruise Ship docked in EnsenadaOne of the most complete marinas in Mexico offering every service you could need: full-time Dock Master, 24hr security, drinking water, electrical connections, laundry, boarding ramp, fishing accessories, repair services, the list goes on, and if you consider the services and amenities of the hotel like the beach, a business center, safe, boutiques, game room, shops, gym, etc, you can say it has all the services necessary to make a yacht, boat, and visitors have a wonderful visit. The only limitation is the size of the boat, up to 65 ft. (www.hotelcoral.com).
– Cruise Port Village Marina –
Former President Vicente Fox inaugurated this marina in 2002. The capability to accommodate enormous cruise ships, a first-rate marina able to accommodate mega yachts, and its 210 slips make it one of the largest nautical complexes in Baja California. From its 210 slips, 116 are for ships 35’ and 65’, you can dock your mega yacht up to 300’ and it has 3 paces for large tourist cruise ships. Some of its services are electricity, protection, security, and internet, among others.
THE NATURAL WONDERS
– La Bufadora –
The Legend: A young whale calf while traveling with its group decided to go exploring near the coast, a cave near the Punta Banda cliffs caught its attention and it went inside, exploring all night; due to its inexperience and rapid growth rate, by morning the young whale calf was too big to get out through the narrow cave entrance and unable to return to the group; despite calling for hours, the other whales were unable to hear the calf’s cries and it decided to send a spray of water one after another to get their attention all the while sending cries for help, but it was no use, the place was too well hidden and the other whales thought him lost and continued their journey. As the years went by the sprays grew larger and the cries louder, the only trace of the lost whale is the intermittent water spray still asking for help amidst the rocks. Located 35 km south of Ensenada, La Bufadora is one of the three largest and most important geysers in the world. A natural formation caused by erosion licking to an underground canyon where the force of the ocean meets the stone sending a spray of water 20 m high while expelling the air inside making the particular sound that gives it its name. It is surrounded by beautiful gardens; you can also enjoy some fish and shrimp tacos, coconuts, Mexican churros and visit the Mexican curios stores surrounding the area and take a souvenir with you, as so many visitors from around the world do.
This is only a fraction of what the vast territory of Ensenada; the largest Municipality in the world has to offer. Come for a visit or to stay, you will not be disappointed.