Nestled on the coast of Baja California is the port city of Ensenada. This intriguing place is a common stop on cruises and welcomes many visitors, yet few ever realize just how much there is to see. Get a little inventive and do some research, and you will see a side of Ensenada you never knew existed. Here are some of our tips to get you started.
If you speak ANY Spanish – use it.
The locals truly appreciate it if you will speak to them (or at least try) in their own language. If you, or someone traveling with you, has the God-given gift of Spanish, then you will often find that those who call Ensenada home will be extra welcoming. Benefits of speaking the language include: getting cheaper prices on souvenirs and food, getting special insight/advice on where to eat/stay/visit, and also forming some new friendships and getting to know the culture and the people of Mexico a little more. Many Mexicans will be more than happy to let you know the best places to visit nearby – many of which are beautifully stunning – but you barely find that they exist whilst searching the Internet. One of these is the El Santo canyon and waterfall.
Eat where the locals eat.
Eating where the locals eat has so many advantages. Restaurants and food stands geared up to the tourist clientele tend to up their prices accordingly, whereas the regular places offer cheap, authentic, and delicious food. There are taco stands on practically every street that are serving up amazing food; Ensenada is known for its exquisite fish tacos. Alternatively, check out a Mexican cantina or restaurant for a sit-down affair and be prepared to feel more connected to the heartbeat of the city.
Experience a local event or holiday.
Whether its watching monster trucks charge past with an ice-cold drink in your hand at the Baja 500 or its exploring all of the music, rides, and parades the Carnaval has to offer, Ensenada is host to some pretty amazing events that encapsulate the character of this city. You may also want to experience national holidays such as the Dia de los Muertos (Day Of The Dead) and immerse yourself into special days that the locals throw themselves into.
Research what is in the area.
Many visitors to Ensenada see little more than Avenida Primera and the nearby streets filled with souvenir shops and restaurants. Some may venture out to the famous vineyards or even be aware of the Baja’s fantastic reputation for surfing, yet few realize just how much is hidden away. Head up to El Mirador for views over the entire city (especially stunning at night), or perhaps go hiking and camping in the nearby mountains. Maybe you’d like to hire out a cinema for a night or head to hot springs nestled in a valley at Rancho San Carlos. If you look beyond the surface, there are so many things waiting to be discovered in Ensenada.
Push past Avenida Primera and Avenida Ruiz.
Whilst both these streets are well worth checking out for their sheer abundance of shops, music, food, and drinks, there is a whole other world waiting for you if you push past into the Mexican side of town. You can find coffee shops the young Mexican professionals head to, such as Zu Taza, or perhaps you’ll just be engrossed by local life. Just walking around and seeing the churches, houses, stalls, and shops can be fascinating and give you a glimpse into what Mexican life is really like.
So don’t just stick to main hot spots – go explore Ensenada and discover its hidden depths.
Bethan Newman is an English girl trundling through life and jaunting to places the world over.