Less than a two-hour drive from San Diego, California, you will find the town of Ensenada. This fishing village is now one of the most prominent ports in Baja California, and Mexico. From cruise port to surf heaven, here is a list of seven unique activities to do in this up-and-coming international spot in Baja.
Visit the Black Market
One of the most picturesque places in Ensenada worth visiting is the Mercado Negro or Black Market, a large seafood outlet located near the north side of the boardwalk or Malecon. This iconic place sells all the fish, seafood, and mollusks of the Mexican Pacific and the Sea of Cortez. The boisterous market is filled with the voices of stall sellers praising their merchandise, which are loudly mixed, with those of the buyers demanding maximum freshness and the best price. In the food vending area of the market, you can taste the famous Ensenada fish tacos and many other delicious dishes.
Admire La Bufadora
This wonder of nature in Punta Banda, 20 miles from Ensenada, is mistakenly called a marine geyser. It’s not a hot water jet stream that erupts from the sea, but a blowhole where the spout of seawater results from the air, trapped in a sea cave. It explodes upwards, openly on the cliff, reaching heights close to 100 feet. According to a beautiful legend, La Bufadora was a baby whale imprisoned between the rocks, launching successive water jets until it turned into stone.
Experience the Wine Route
Ensenada is part of the most important wine region in Mexico, the Valle de Guadalupe, located between Ensenada and the neighboring town of Tecate. The Wine Route comprises various valleys, Guadalupe, Calafia, and San Antonio de las Minas. You will find over 150 vineyards and wineries, from the most praised and revered to the smaller and artisanal, which surprise by the quality of their lesser-known wines. Along the route, there are hotels and restaurants with splendid views of the vineyards and delicious meals to enjoy the regional wines. The wineries offer walks and tastings that pair their best wines with the area’s exquisite cheeses and artisanal products.
Relax in San Pedro Martir National Park
This beautiful area of the Sierra de San Pedro Mártir, located near Ensenada, is one of the few mountainous and forest areas of the Baja California Peninsula. It has the highest elevation in the state and is an important protected area for the bighorn sheep, an endemic species of the Baja California forests in Mexico. Enthusiasts of camping, hiking, trekking, mountain biking, and rappelling can practice their favorite outdoor adventures in this beautiful park, which also houses an Astronomical Observatory and a Museum of Culture and Natural History.
Cool off in its Water and Adventure Parks
If you like to spend time in the water, you can choose from several water and adventure parks. There are excellent pools, slides, lagoons for boating, palapas with grills, restaurants, and other camping facilities. One of the most top-rated and popular spots is Las Cañadas, located in Ejido El Zorrillo. Here you can go camping, rent cabins, enjoy live music, horseback riding, motorcycles, and more. Their water activities include a water park with a wave pool and water slides. You can also “fly” over the champ on their zip lines and hanging bridges.
Explore the Todos Santos Islands
The Todos Santos Islands, which are actually two, North and South, and not one as is commonly believed, are only 12 miles from Ensenada and are only accessible by sea, with departures from Ensenada and La Bufadora. The islands stand out for two reasons: their magnificent waves for surfing and their rich biodiversity. The waves of Todos Santos North Island are among the highest in the Americas. Among the endemic species, distinguished by their beauty and rarity, there is the Combalachera rat and the California Mountain Kingsnake of Todos Santos.
Enjoy the Off-Road Races
Ensenada is one of the Mexican sanctuaries of off-road racing. The famous Baja 1000 race traditionally takes place in November, starting in Ensenada and arriving in La Paz. It is the longest single-stage race in the world, covering 1,050 miles, hence its name. Cars, trucks, pickups, motorcycles, and ATVs participate in this world-famous race. The rest of the year, there are smaller races in different categories, with the sponsorship of hotels and companies linked to the world of car racing.
Ensenada continues to attract many visitors from all over the world while preserving its small-town charm. Plan your next trip to Mexico with our list of these unique activities to do in Ensenada.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com