Ok, first of all we walked from the port to the main food and shopping area, which was the right decision since mostly we have been stuffing ourselves with all the delicious food on the ship. Secondly, when you get off the port of Mexico you should realize you are not in Beverly hills, therefore it helps to make up your mind beforehand if you are willing to experience its good and bad. We loved all of it, from the dirty streets to typical Mexican market to poor children asking for change, to Mexican ladies begging to brade your hair for few bucks down to those tacos and margaritas. Suggestions I can give, have lots of change...dollar bills. It helps with shopping because mostly "they can't brake it down" and if you spend money on the ship for drinks, won't hurt to give some dollar bills to those kids on the street. ;-)
I may be a bit biased as I live in Ensenada, yes I actually drove to Long Beach to cruise home. I love this city and the activities when in port. If you haven't seen downtown you can walk from the port. If you stay on 1st St (Calle Uno) you will see and experience alot. There are amazing restaurants and bars. My favorite restaurant is a little hole in the wall called La Concheria which serves the most amazing oysters and their abolone pasta is a must. For bars my favorite us Hussong's Cantina. I frequently go there to meet friends who cruise in. Hussong's mariachis are the best and are known to play pink floyd and other bands you don't associate with Mexican mariachi. If you want to get away from the city I suggest a wine country tour. Our wine country is amazing with new award winning wineries opening all the time. I typically use a company called Baja Wine and Dine. Ray and Evelyn Ochoa have beautiful, new and safe vehicles for goups of all sizes, they can be found on Facebook. Enjoy your visit to Ensenada, I liked it so much I moved to the beach.
We took the shuttle into town $4 for round trip. They were very friendly. The dropoff point is in the center of the shopping district. So it makes for an easy return.
If you’re going with carnival I highly recommend booking the ATV through winery excursion FROM THE CARNIVAL WEBSITE. It is a BLAST. Downtown Ensenada was pretty neat, kind of sketchy around some corners (but I overthink everything anyways) & we also lost our way back to the boat so it took us an extra minute. Totally our fault- just a heads up to keep track of where the boats are 😂🤷🏼♀️
We had a blast! We went to La Bufadora, and walked the “gauntlet” of sales folks. It was fun bantering with them and enjoyed their sense of humor. My wife is way better at bargaining than I am, and it was fun having the, pour shots for us and trying to get our business “hey, shop here! I rip you off less than the other guys!” We picked up presents for grandkids... This was our 4th time there, and it was the best time. At the square (bus drop off), we bought a picture made by a gentleman made with spray paint. He created it in front of us and it was very interesting (I’ll post a pic of it). What a lovely person he is, and we look forward to getting another pic next time we are there. We also bought more pottery at the building as you leave the ship. (A tradition going back years... ) It’s interesting that the very thing so many complain about -aggressive sales folks- is what made us enjoy our stop at Ensenada... I believe it’s how you see them.
We did the tequila party bus, which was a blast!
Visited: Mar 12, 2018
With all the recent talk about how bad Mexico has become I was pleasantly surprised at how nice it really was. We went to La Buffadora and had a wonderful day.
Visited: May 10, 2018
We walked off ship, followed the sidewalk, across a walking bridge then turned right and headed towards what looked like the main street. Before the big street and on the left of the canal that the little bridge crossed was a little place with golf carts, ITV's, scooters you could rent. 2 small tan buildings also were there. We hired a taxi (gray mini van) to take us around. We had our own PRIVATE tour guide!!! His English was excellent! He had many suggestions of things to see. Took us to free & clean bathrooms (yes, a lot of places charge .50 - .75 to use a bathroom). We went to see the blow hole, ate excellent tacos, purchased cacao, enjoyed street vendors (he walked and visited along with us & waited while we shopped - offered help with the language barrier too)
Visited: Oct 13, 2019
Lidias Tacos at La Bufadora are a must, best tacos, ever, in my opinion. Holding the baby tigers was fun and memorable. Would go back for the tigers and tacos, lol. Ensenada was better than I expected (been there before, back in early 90’s, pre-passport), and so I had low expectations, but our tour guide, Kenya was her name, was great. We wanted to do more things while there but hadn’t booked anything other than the La Bufadora adventure, which ended early (we booked the earliest excursion). I did not feel comfortable with venturing off too far on our own without a tour guide. We wanted to go to the popular bars but could not figure out (on our own) where they were located -walking from port. We did walk up and down “the pier” which was fun. I would suggest to stay street smart while in Ensenada (as you’d do in most places you visit, including any big city USA) but it’s not a bad place to visit...just maybe not with kids?
The locals are to be applauded for being gracious to all the tourists “invading” their home turf. I love these people. The excursions are not that appealing to me personally, but I do enjoy going into town to do a little shopping and to visit a littlecwithbthe folks there.
Visited: Oct 29, 2018
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