Because of its status as a major port of call for cruise ships, Ensenada, a Mexican city on Baja California’s Pacific coast, is home to a wide variety of attractions and experiences.
There are many things to do in Ensenada, including wine tasting along Mexico’s world-famous Valle de Guadalupe wine route, shopping, dining, and seeing the city’s museums.
Just continue reading to know the 10 fun things to do in Ensenada on your next visit.
1. Walk around the Civic Center Plaza
The Plaza Civica is Ensenada’s central plaza.
Some of Mexico’s most pivotal moments in history are commemorated in this major plaza.
The three enormous golden busts of historical heroes from Mexico have given the area its nickname, “Three Heads Park.” Look at the statues of Benito Juarez, Miguel Hidalgo, and Venustiano Carranza, to name just a few of the country’s important citizens.
Study the inscriptions on the busts to learn more about their lives and accomplishments.
In addition to its historical significance, the plaza is also an excellent place to take pictures because of its breathtaking ocean vistas.
A wide variety of stalls, from those selling street food and arts and crafts to those selling jewelry and books, ring the perimeter of Plaza Civica.
2. The Museum of History is a must-see
One should go back to the beginning if one wants to grasp the full scope of Ensenada’s history.
For this reason, a visit to the Ensenada History Museum is highly recommended.
From pre-Hispanic antiquity to the Spanish Colonial invasion and up to the present day, the history of the area can be best understood by visiting this site.
Beads and pottery, vintage pictures, and up-to-date gardens all help bring Ensenada’s past to life.
During Prohibition in the early 20th century, the structure that now houses the museum was the Rivera del Pacifico, a luxurious casino.
It’s a work of art, sure, but its walls also bear witness to the likes of Al Capone and Lucy and Desi Arnez, among other shady people.
The museum’s murals, paintings, and breathtaking ceilings are all pieces of art in their own right, and they only add to the whole experience of visiting the museum.
3. Riding into Rancho Los Bandidos on a Steed
In Ensenada, a trip to Rancho Los Bandidos for a trail ride is a must.
Rancho San Pedro Martir is a real ranch that operates on the slopes of the Sierra San Pedro Martir.
It’s like going back in time to the days of the Wild West in Baja California.
Because riders are matched with horses that are well-suited to their abilities, the outing is both risk-free and comfortable.
After training on safety, riders take to their homes on wheels and set off towards the hills.
Hikers can enjoy panoramic vistas of Ensenada’s shoreline, Salsipuedes Bay, Ensenada Bay, and the Pacific Ocean from atop the San Miguel Hills, reached at the end of the walk.
Guests return to the ranch for a snack of chips, salsa, and tacos after their trail ride.
Even though this is a common shore excursion for cruise passengers, anyone is welcome to visit the ranch and go on a ride.
The ranch of Rancho Los Bandidos is located about 20 minutes from the port, and the full excursion takes about two hours.
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4. Climb El Salto Canyon
Prepare to get your hiking boots dirty amid the untamed wilderness of the Baja peninsula.
Take to the trails of El Salto Canyon.
Black granite canyon cuts through the Guadalupe Valley, providing magnificent scenery with its sheer cliffs, deep clefts, and winding paths.
Hiring a tour is the ideal way to see the canyon, as they will be able to point out the kingbirds and red-tailed hawks that soar overhead.
This challenging 4.9-mile loop in El Salto Canyon is unsuitable for novice hikers.
Many rock climbers and seasoned hikers make the trek here. The trail is often unlabeled and requires climbing.
Those who have the knowledge and stamina, however, will be rewarded with stunning scenery and a waterfall.
During the wet season, the waterfall can reach heights of over a hundred feet.
If you’re planning on bringing your dog along for the hike, you should know that the canyon is dog-friendly as well.
5. Travel Quickly to Rosarito
While in Ensenada, you should definitely visit Rosarito, another famous beach town in Mexico.
Celebrities from Hollywood used to go to Rosarito as a refuge from Prohibition in the United States.
Today, Rosarito is renowned for its spectacular sunsets, animals, spas, and beaches and is located about an hour along the coast.
Rosarito Beach has, in reality, been a surfer’s mecca for decades.
Beachgoers can enjoy ATV rides, snorkeling, fish tacos, and sunbathing in addition to the usual surfers.
In addition to its natural beauty, the city is renowned for its access to a wide variety of extreme sports, including mountain biking, motorcycling, and even jet skiing.
A popular destination for snorkelers and scuba divers, Los Coronados is a line of rocks that have formed a refuge for wildlife.
From the Local Artisan Market to the galleries, restaurants, and cafes in Plaza Pabellon, Rosarito is a veritable paradise for the creative class.
Rosarito has many hotels lining the shoreline, so you can choose to stay the night if you choose.
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6. Go to El Parque De La Bandra and Watch a Water Show
The town’s central Malecon (a waterfront esplanade) parallels the shoreline, as it does in many other well-liked Mexican seaside resort towns.
The Malecon in Ensenada curves past the Parque de la Bandera (Park of the Flag).
The park’s name comes from the enormous Mexican flag that flies from atop a very tall flagpole in the park; it is likely the largest flag in Mexico.
The best free concert in the park takes place nightly at 8 o’clock, and it’s one of several that take place on the park’s outdoor stage throughout the year.
The water display features colorful lighting, moving fountains, and timed music for an enjoyable performance suitable for the whole family.
7. Go Sightseeing Along the Pacific Coast
The Hotel Riviera del Pacifico is a historic landmark on the Pacific coast of Ensenada that has been known by several monikers over the years.
In the 1920s, the hotel was constructed as a refuge from the restrictions of Prohibition for wealthy Americans to spend their vacations enjoying the hotel’s luxurious amenities and the area’s stunning coastline.
The hotel fell bankrupt after Prohibition ended in the United States and shuttered its doors, reopening for the duration of World War Two as a temporary headquarters for the Mexican and American armed forces.
After World War II, the hotel reopened for a while, but it was the scene of a massive lovers’ scandal that led to its ultimate demise and bankruptcy.
In 1978, once the Mexican government had taken ownership, restoration work began.
After extensive repairs, the building reopened in 1981 as a community center for social and cultural activities.
The public can now enjoy this complex’s theater, Cantina, and Ensenada History Museum.
8. Come to La Bufadora
In case El Parque de la Bandera’s gyrating fountains weren’t enough to fulfill your need for a water show, La Bufadora might be just the ticket.
The Ensenada region of Mexico is notable for its geological formations, which feature one of the largest blowholes in North America.
The ocean waves force air and water through a thin crack in the rocks, creating La Bufadora.
The Bufadora, according to local folklore, was formed when a whale became trapped between the rocks.
Because of its prolonged stay, the whale eventually turned to stone and became permanently trapped.
Whatever the case may be, the consequence is one of the world’s largest marine geysers.
From the parking lot, guests can walk to La Bufadora. Highway 1 south of Ensenada is a bit of a haul.
There are some tourist shops and flea markets along the way.
If you don’t want to get wet, don’t go. It’s not uncommon for spectators to get soaked because the waves can launch water more than 100 feet into the air.
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9. The Water Show in Parque de la Bandera is a must-see
The Malecon (sea wall) at Ensenada may be short, but it certainly isn’t lacking in life.
Check out El Parque de la Bandera on your stroll along the Malecon.
The tall flagpole in this park is what gives it its English name, Park of the Flag.
It’s simple to see why the park’s enormous Mexican flag is being called the country’s largest.
There is a tiny playground and a bandshell where there is frequent live music within the park.
The park’s dancing fountains, however, are the park’s biggest draw.
Beginning at 8 o’clock every night, the fountains begin their nightly performance, a live water show choreographed to music and illuminated by colorful spotlights.
The Bellagio in Las Vegas features a dancing water show paired with music that may mesmerize anyone who has ever witnessed it.
10. Take a stroll down Lopez Mateos Avenue
Avenida Lopez Mateos is the first thing that visitors to Ensenada, especially those who have arrived on a cruise ship, will learn about.
The four blocks of this route between Calle Castillo and Avenida Riveroll, where the tourist action is at its peak, are also known as Calle Primera.
This is the epicenter of Ensenada, with restaurants, hotels, and shops selling anything from leather goods to silverware lining each end of the street.
Enjoy a cup of coffee while munching on fresh seafood, or browse for ponchos and embroidered textiles on Avenida Lopez Mateos.
There are a variety of hotels to choose from in the area, including the Bahia and villa Fontana Inn, Hotel Villa Marina, and Hotel Mision Santa Isabel.
In the late afternoon, Mariachi music drifts out into the avenue from the numerous restaurants lining it.
Its harbor location makes it convenient to both downtown and the rest of Ensenada, making it an excellent starting point for exploring the city’s authentic neighborhoods.