Ensenada Travel Guide

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The Harbor at Ensenada

The Harbor at Ensenada

J. Stephen Conn

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 (Todos Santos 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.

 

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July 28, 2005 change by jstephen

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