Ensenada is an idyllic coastal retreat with a rugged mountainous coastline that conceals tropical and desert valleys, national parks and underwater canyons. Along with being one of the best places to see white sharks and elephant seals, Ensenada features bustling downtown plazas that frame a picturesque harbour and a range of cultural attractions.
Things to do
Begin your Ensenada holiday with a leisurely stroll along the waterfront promenade, dotted with fountains, street performers and the lively Black Market. This local fish market also boasts one-of-a-kind seafood restaurants serving fish caught that morning. Be sure to spend some time in the Caracol AC Scientific and Cultural Center, which houses native marine life as well as scientific exhibits.
Keen to learn about the local culture? Wander through the Centro Cultural Riviera, home to traditional buildings and the Riviera of Ensenada, an iconic building that showcases Mexico’s artistic heritage with guided tours and regular events. There’s also a fantastic Andalusian-inspired bar on site, Bar Andaluz, perfect for sipping a margarita on its open-air terrace.
Ensenada’s once booming casino culture now rests on the shoulders of a few establishments around town, including the gritty Casino Caliente, where you can play the slot machine and various table games. The surrounding region produces 90 percent of Mexico’s wine, so take advantage by touring some of the 70-plus wineries or embarking on a hot-air balloon ride over the 10,000 hectares of vineyards.
An unforgettable nature experience awaits when you cruise out to the volcanic Guadalupe Island, known for its white sharks, elephant seals and other unique marine creatures. You can cage dive with the sharks or simply chill out in the sun while chatting to the local lobster fishermen.
Most of Ensenada’s downtown area is easily traversed on foot, thanks to the grid-style layout and close proximity to attractions. Driving is also a viable option, with free parking readily available in most places. Buses serve the neighbouring suburbs, while taxis are ideal for travelling further afield.
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