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Welcome to Ensenada in Mexico!

ensenada mexico port

Ensenada is a coastal city in Mexico, the third-largest in Baja California. Lying 125 kilometers (78 mi) south of San Diego on the Baja California Peninsula, it is locally referred to as La Cenicienta del Pacífico, “The Cinderella of the Pacific”. Ensenada is just one of over 60 official online guides covering the whole of Mexico. If you´re planning a trip to Mexico and would like discover our fabulous nation before visiting or, if you´d like to visit a specific place in Mexico, then you´ve come to the right place. Ensenada is a major tourist destination for Americans crossing the border at Tijuana and who search the authentic Mexican Culture absent in Tijuana.

One of the first settlements founded in the California’s, Ensenada has emerged as a major cruise ship destination, aerospace center, and there is a region in close proximity to the north east where wine is produced and grapes are grown.

Ensenada Wine region mexico

Legend has it that the first Vitis vinifera made it to the region’s San Ignacio Mission in 1703, when Jesuit Padre Juan de Ugarte planted the first vineyards here. When the first European explorers discovered the region, the Yuman Indians inhabited the region, of which tribal groups such as the Kiliwa, Paipai and Kumiai still exist. These semi-nomadic indigenous people lived in the bay area and interior valleys of the Sierra Juarez and San Pedro Martir.

Strategically located on the coastline of Bahia de Todos Santos a natural bay of the Pacific Ocean on the peninsula’s often referred “Gold Coast” the Port of Ensenada is a significant commercial, fishing, and tourist port receiving millions of cruise passengers and visitors driving down from California USA.

ensenada cruises mexico

Ensenada is one of Mexico´s most popular places, visited by millions of people over the last decade. When you travel to Ensenada you may wish to check out the Ensenada hotels we have available or maybe you´d like to rent a car in Ensenada? We also offer extensive shore excursions and day trips in Ensenada. This unique place has simply amazing. We´ve also compiled a list of Travel books on Ensenada Mexico.

Residents often refer to themselves as “porteños” or port-dwellers, in reference to the historic harbor. The city is home to a navy base, army base, and Ensenada Airport, a military airfield which also serves as an airport of entry into Mexico.

Ensenada is the municipal seat and cultural and commercial center of Ensenada Municipality, one of five into which the state of Baja California is divided. The city has an approximate population of 300.000 and, more significantly, 59% of the total population of the whole Municipality.

Ensenada is surrounded by small mountain ranges offering a picturesque backdrop for tourists. Proximity to the Pacific Ocean and temperate Mediterranean latitude create mild year-round weather, making Ensenada a hub for American and Canadian retires escaping the northern chills of winter. Ensenada´s rainy season during the winter is short and the area is known for its prolonged droughts, which can affect its grape harvests and wine production.

Sierra de Juarez ensenada

The National Park Constitution of 1857 created the Sierra de Juarez and San Pedro Martir National Parks, which maintain one of the best astronomical observatories in Mexico.

Whether you are visiting Ensenada in Mexico for business, pleasure or both, we´re sure that Ensenada will meet all of your expectations and that the people of Ensenada will make you feel welcome while sampling some of the unique cuisine on offer in the Ensenada Restaurant districts.

Ensenada Mexico History

Ensenada Mexico Boardwalk

Bahia Todos Santos, on which Ensenada now stands, was first reached by sea by the voyager from Portugal Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo on the now famous ships called El Salvador and Victoria. The city was founded in September 17, 1542 under the name San Mateo. In 1602, while mapping the coast of the California’s in search of safe harbors for returning Spanish galleons from Manila to Acapulco, the city was renamed Ensenada de Todos Santos by the Spanish explorer Sebastián Vizcaíno who succeeded in sailing with three ships to La Paz, Baja California Sur in 1596.

The initial permanent settlement in Ensenada was established by the Jesuits during the seventeenth or eighteenth century. After the expulsion of the Jesuits in 1768, the Dominicans took over the representation of Europe in what is today Ensenada. José Manuel Ruiz Carillo in 1805, gained permission to establish himself in Ensenada, being appointed governor of Baja California and building a house in Ensenada that remained standing until the final part of that century, despite being briefly ruled by William Walker, the self-declared “president” of the Republic of Lower California, in 1853-54.

Ensenada Mexico Old Photos

Ensenada Mexico, in 1882, was designated the official capital of Baja California, and inroads into developing the area were made by the English Mexican Land and Colonization Company. These were suspended during the Mexican Revolution, which left the area devastated. In 1915, the capital was transferred to Mexicali, and in 1930 the population of Ensenada was a measly 5,000 people. During the early part of the twentieth century, the city’s name was shortened from Ensenada de Todos Santos to Ensenada, a change made in order to eliminate local confusion with similarly named and close neighbor of Todos Santos in Baja California Sur.

Prohibition played a major role in the development of Ensenada during twentieth-century when Americans and Canadians would go south of the border in search of entertainment and alcohol, developing first Tijuana, then Rosarito, and finally Ensenada as major tourist destinations.

Hotel Riviera del Pacifico ensenada

The Hotel Riviera del Pacifico (apparently where the Margarita drink was invented) opened in 1930 was the chic place to be seen in those days and, placing Ensenada on the international glamour map. Visited several times by President Miguel Aleman, international artists and political personalities the Hotel Riviera del Pacifico was both a milestone in developing the city and a magnet for the rich and famous in the 30´s and 40´s.

Hotel del Coronado Ensenada

As with all fashions, the Hotel Riviera del Pacifico was superseded and outgunned by the more impressive Hotel del Coronado which began to court the stars and jet set visiting the area. Ensenada flourished until the early 1950s, at which point Ensenada’s population had risen to 20,000. The hotel Hotel del Coronado finally closed in 1964 but was then reopened as a cultural center and museum still popular even today. From the mid sixties many other hotels opened in Ensenada to fulfill the burgeoning demand and ongoing interest in the city, and the population and economy of Ensenada had increased and diversified its touristic offer towards today’s present status.

Pope Benedict XVI created the Diocese of Ensenada on January 26 of 2007 with territory taken from the Archdiocese of Tijuana and Mexicali Diocese, making it an independent dependency of the Metropolitan Church of Tijuana.

Ensenada Tourism

US Border Tijuana to Ensanada

Ensenada Mexico is conveniently located just 68 miles (108 kilometers)south of the border US border with Tijuana and is connected with an excellent a four lane toll road called the MX-1D and an equally pleasant two lane free road, which makes it a natural destination for tourists on short vacations by car, millions of weekend visitors and spring break revelers.

Los Angeles to Ensanada Cruise

Ensenada’s closeness to California also makes it a popular port of call for short cruise ship trips from Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach. These mini cruises are extremely popular and an excellent way of traveling the relatively short distance while absorbing the beautiful pacific coastline. Numerous large cruise lines maintain ships that docked in Ensenada Mexico for weekly visits to the city. Other cruise lines to Mexico’s Pacific Coast also use Ensenada Mexico for shorter stays, making Ensenada an almost obligatory sightseeing destination for Pacific Cruises.

Baja 1000 Ensenada Mexico

For petrol heads and speed junkies, the world-renowned Baja 1000 off-road race is held in Ensenada Mexico every year in late November, while the equally popular Baja 500 race is held in early June. American and worldwide Off-road enthusiasts also make Ensenada popular all year-round as a starting point to explore Baja California.

big game fishing ensenada mexico

Ensenada Mexico is also the water sports mecca of Baja California. Its proximity to the ocean have made all water based activities such as fishing, diving, beaches and surfing an integral part of the structure of tourism and its relation to tourism dollars that enter the city.

surfing ensenada mexico

Ensenada and coastal beach towns of Greater Ensenada have several renowned surfing spots, such as San Miguel Beach, California Trailer Park, Stacks and the infamous 3 M’s, which are all located on the north coast of the city where surf is best enjoyed.

Island of Todos Santos ensenada mexico

The Island of Todos Santos is a small island located west of Ensenada which can be reached in about 2 hours by boat. It has become a world-famous surfing spot popular with the current stars of surf and equally popular for big name sponsored events. Recognized for their natural beauty and consistency, surfing spots of the region have lead surfing contests with serious sponsorship budgets and immense cash prizes such as the Billabong XXL held at Todos Santos Island. Gigantic wave faces can reach above 60 feet (18 meters) on the island. In 2006 Brad Gerlach, winner of Big XXL, surfed a wave measured at 68 feet (20 meters) in December of that year.

American and Canadian tourists also stop in the city on their way to their destinations further south in the municipality where locations famous for their permanent breezes and excellent windsurfing potential are located.

Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race

Those passionate with Maritime races also visit the city for the global Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race, considered to be one of the world’s largest international sailing events which begins in Newport Beach and finishes in Ensenada.

baja 500 ensenada Mexico

Vacations are often mixed with a visit to the Baja dune races of the Baja 1000 and Baja 500.

whale watching ensenada Mexico

Ensenada is one of the world’s capitals for Whale watching and a major tourist draw to the city due to the gray whale’s annual migration from Alaska to the lagoons of Baja California Sur and incredible displays on offer. Between the months of December and March, and back in the months of April and May, whales can be seen from the coast of Ensenada whale excursions are available to see these majestic creatures close up on personal out on the Ocean near Ensenada Mexico.

Ensenada Weather & Climate

ensenada mexico weather

A common misconception and urban myth is that because Ensenada is so far south the summers are terribly hot and unbearable. However, this is untrue and much like many coastal areas a cool Pacific current keeps summers mild and agreeable.

Ensenada mexico beaches

The average high temperature for the months of June, July and August is comfortable 76F (25 Centigrade). The fresh ocean breezes and the bright Baja sun make it an ideal climate for visits all year round and an excellent day trip venue if you´re lucky enough to live in the neighboring California region.

Ensenada mexico excursions

In Ensenada the winters are also mild. Evening lows rarely get into the mid 40s (7 centigrade) and afternoon highs average 68F (20 Centigrade). During the months of fall, winter and early spring, sometimes the wind can switch direction and come from the east off the central desert areas. These winds called Santa Ana can raise temperatures to the high 80s to low 90s (26-30 centigrade). Much to your delight, some of the hottest days of the year are often in the middle of the winter when this phenomenon occurs.

Ensenada Wine & Grapes | Guadalupe Valley

Guadalupe Valley ensenada mexico

Founded by immigrant Russian Molokans in the late nineteenth century the nearby town of Guadalupe is famous for olives and wine. The majority of the Molokan community re-migrated towards California’s Central Valley in the mid-twentieth century, and a Russian Museum commemorating their legacy in the region is open to the public and offers an insight into their practices and successes in the valley.

Guadalupe Valley wine Ensenada

Traditional economic activities in Guadalupe are black and green olives and major wine production. At present, almost 90% of wine production in Mexico originates in the valleys of Guadalupe and the neighboring Calafia.

Guadalupe wine Ensenada

Many local wine producers offer tours showing how wine is made and tastings. Wine connoisseurs from around the world congregate at Guadalupe every year, during the month of August; the beginning of wine harvest season which is celebrated in the Guadalupe Valley and in the city of Ensenada consisting of two weeks of cultural and culinary events, all under the title banner of Fiestas de la Vendimia or, in English, Wine Harvest Festival of Ensenada.