17 Best Things to Do in Ensenada on a Cruise [Port Guide]

Ensenada cruise port guide

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If you’re visiting Ensenada Mexico on a cruise, you’re in luck. Ensenada, known for its delectable cuisine, warm climate, and friendly locals, is a popular cruise stop for both Mexican Riviera cruises as well as Hawaiian cruise itineraries.

This coastal city is located about 80 miles from San Diego in the northern part of the Mexican state of Baja California. It is Baja California’s only deep water port.

In this post, I’ll share the best things to do in Ensenada on a cruise, including shore excursions and inexpensive or free activities. You’ll also learn everything you need to know about visiting the Ensenada cruise port for the day and get answers to commonly asked questions.

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Ensenada Cruise Port  

Ensanada cruise port

Cruise ships dock at the Naval Cruise Terminal in Ensenada’s industrial area. The pier is located near the Malecon boardwalk avenue, putting you within a quick walk to the heart of the city.

Cruisers docking in Ensenada have the benefit of a massive 300-foot flagpole with a Mexican flag to give you bearings for navigating the town. You can’t miss it!

After you get off the ship, look for the flagpole. Take a right at the flagpole and then a left at the second intersection you come to, and you’ll be downtown on Avenida Lopez Mateos.

What Cruise Passengers Need to Know About Ensenada Cruise Port

Ensanada cruise port flagpole

Ensenada is located in Mexico, where the currency is the Mexican peso.

However, because it is a tourist destination, many vendors and small businesses will accept the United States dollar in small bills and debit or credit cards. There may be international transaction charge fees associated with debit or credit cards.

If you use USD instead of pesos, you might pay more overall because vendors have to exchange your dollars.

The official language spoken in Ensenada, Mexico is Spanish. However, many locals also speak English (at least enough to communicate with tourists).

Baja California, Mexico (including Ensenada) is in the Pacific Time Zone. The Eastern Time Zone is 3 hours ahead of Pacific Time Zone.

Ensenada weather is almost always delightful! During the hottest months (July and August), the average high is 84-85 degrees F, with lows in the upper 60s.

The rest of the year, high temperatures in Ensenada range from 68-69 degrees F (December through March) and the low to mid-70s (April-June, October-November). Lows can be as cool as the 50s in the wintertime but are comfortably in the 60s in the summer.

Many Ensenada attractions including excellent souvenir shopping, food and museums are within comfortable walking distance of the cruise ship terminal.

Taxis and Uber will be your best bet for getting around beyond Ensenada downtown. If you want to head to farther away excursions like La Bufadora, wineries and Las Canadas adventure park you can easily grab a taxi or Uber.

Pro Tip: Taxis are supposed to be metered, but it is smart to negotiate your fare before you start your ride.

Best Ensenada Shore Excursions

Ensanada cruise port

There are many shore excursions available in Ensenada. From wildlife viewing, to nature and history excursions, to food and drink stops, you’ll wish you had more time at this cruise port.

Here are some of the best Ensenada shore excursions .

1. History Museum of Ensenada

If you want to learn about the town’s rich history from prehistoric times, during U.S. prohibition and to current days, this a great place to visit. The museum is housed in the old Rivera Del Pacifico building, which is an architectural monument in itself. 

Spend time touring the building, museum and the gardens and imagine the ghosts of yesteryear who came here when it was a casino. It was reportedly associated with Al Capone, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. 

2. Mexican Wine Tasting

The first vineyards in Ensenada were planted in 1703. The wine industry has continued to grow since then. The city of Valle De Guadalupe, a little over 12 miles from downtown, now boasts over 75 wineries. 

The best way to experience wine country is to take a full-day wine tour. Most excursions include a tour of several vineyards, snacks and a visit to the wine museum. You can learn about the evolution of Mexican wine country and taste the often riper and darker fruit flavor of Mexican wine. 

3. Whale Watching Tour

Between the months of December and April, gray whales migrate from the cold waters of Alaska to the warm waters of Baja California to give birth to their calves. This makes for excellent whale watching experience for visitors to Ensenada. 

Whale watching excursions depart from Mercado Negro and travel around Isla Todos Santos. Along the way you might see dolphins, sea lions and other whales including humpbacks, sperm whales, finbacks, pilot whales and occasionally orcas. 

Ensenada cruise port

4. Adventure at Las Canadas Campamento

If you’re up for an active excursion, you’ll find plenty of adventure about 30 minutes south of downtown Ensenada. Las Canadas Campamento is a popular destination with a zipline canopy tour with five ziplines, multiple suspension bridges, and other activities, including swimming, biking, paddleboats, horseback riding, and ATV rentals.

You’ll need to book an excursion with transportation or take a taxi to get to Las Canadas. The canopy tour is an outstanding choice.

Related: What to Pack for a Caribbean Cruise

5. Pai Pai Ecotourism Park

This excursion offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to touch and feed wild animals like big cats. Pai Pai offers 40 activities built around ecological and sustainable tourism. The biggest attractions here are wild animal feeding and interactions, but you can also participate in zip lining, tequila tasting, off-road Rzr driving, and Go-Kart Racing.

There are several different packages for animal experiences, so be sure you purchase the correct ticket for the animal experience you want to have. You can book a package from Pai Pai that includes transportation from the cruise terminal, but be prepared that it takes 35-40 minutes to get here.

Ensenada cruise port

6. Try Famous Local Dishes at La Guerrerense

Ensenada is known as the birthplace of fish tacos, so you won’t want to miss the chance to sample the famous local fare. There are food stands throughout Ensenada, but this street food stand, in particular, has the Anthony Bourdain seal of approval.

Try the sea urchin tostada, ceviche, and fish tacos for an unforgettable Ensenada experience.

7. Drink It Up at Hussong’s Cantina 

Hang out with locals and drink at Hussong’s, the oldest cantina in Baja, California. Open since 1882, this busy cantina is an affordable Ensenada favorite.

The bar serves large bags of peanuts to patrons, resulting in a unique peanut shell floor. Enjoy their famous margarita, listen to a Mexican band, or watch your favorite sporting event on the cantina’s big screens.

8. See the Power of Nature at La Bufadora 

Ensanada cruise port

One unique natural wonder in Ensenada is the world’s largest underwater blowhole.  La Bufadora is located on the Punta Banda Peninsula and spits water 100 feet in the air. 

There are excursions that include kayaking to La Bufadora or you can take a 45 minute bus or taxi ride from the cruise port. Be aware that you will have to pay to park or use the bathrooms here, but on the plus side there is a flea market onsite with food and souvenirs. 

Ensenada cruise port

9. Relax or Learn to Surf on Playa Hermosa

If the beach is on your priority list, one of the closest options to port is Malecon de Playa Hermosa. A short 9 minute taxi ride away, you’ll have a great time here snorkeling, learning how to surf, or just relaxing in the sun.

Food vendors walk the beach here and there are public bathrooms available as well as chairs and umbrellas for rent.

Related: 12 Tourist Scams that Cruisers Need to Know

10. Sample Superfood at Maya Cacao

If you love chocolate, come learn about the superfood for the ancient Mayans at the “Bean to Belly” workshop. For $35 for adults and $17.50 for children under 12 years, during this delicious excursion you can learn the history and origins of chocolate from cacao trees to beans to tasty treat. You’ll also get to make your own healthy dark chocolate drink. 

11. Horseback riding at Rancho Los Bandidos 

Experience a taste of what it is like to be a Mexican cowboy at Rancho Los Bandidos. This excursion has amazing reviews and is located a short 20 minute ride from the cruise port.

Your 1.5 hour long horseback ride will give you lovely views of the ocean and the rugged beauty of Baja, California. The guides are kind and informative, the horses are well cared for and helmets are included. Plus, this shorter excursion means you’ll have time to shop or sightsee before or after your horseback ride. 

12. Fish Tacos at Mercado de Mariscos/Mercado Negro 

Cruisers will not want to miss Ensenada’s fresh and tasty seafood at budget prices. Mercado de Mariscos (also called Ensenada Mercado Negro) is located next door to the large seafood market on the waterfront.

The market has multiple restaurants and street vendors serving up delicious mariscos including shrimp and fish tacos, ceviche, tostadas, whole fried fish and shrimp or mixed seafood cocktails. 

One fun element of this street market are the variety of tasty sauces, salsas and condiments on each table. If you love seafood you should definitely add this location to your Ensenada plan. 

Mercado Negro is about a 20 minute walk through downtown. If you are in a hurry grab a taxi or Uber, which will get you there in about 8 minutes. 

Ensenada cruise port

13. Golf by the ocean in Bajamar

Golfers will love the chance to play 9 or 18 holes at this gorgeous oceanside golf course dubbed “The Pebble Beach of Mexico.” Just a 40-minute taxi or Uber ride north of the cruise port, Bajamar is an inspiring place to spend a port day and get in a round of golf. 

14. Caracol Museum

Science lovers will enjoy visiting this unique natural history museum in the shape of a ship located at the harbor. The Caracol features exhibitions on earth, sea and art. Most of the exhibits are in Spanish but tour guides are great at offering English explanations and hands-on learning opportunities. Entrance fees to Caracol are inexpensive (less than $5 per person, around 60 pesos). 

Free Excursions in Ensenada

Ensanada cruise port

15. El Parque de la Bandera

As we mentioned earlier in this post, you can’t miss the giant Mexican Flag in Ensenada. The “Banderas Monumentales Project” flag pole is over 300 feet tall and the flag measures 50 meters (164 feet)  long by 28 meters (92 feet) wide.

The park surrounding the flag is a wonderful place to visit. It hosts a playground, a band shell with live music events and a giant fountain. After 8 p.m. the fountain dances to music (think a smaller version of the Bellagio show in Las Vegas). 

16. Downtown Ensenada

Enjoying the streets of downtown Ensenada is a great way to spend time in this port. You can enjoy the atmosphere and spend as many (or few!) pesos as you’d like. 

First Street Market: One block inland from the huge Mexican flag you’ll find First Street, a main shopping street in Ensenada. An outdoor market with street vendors selling Mexican cuisine and colorful souvenirs, the First Street Market is open every day from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Ensenada cruise port

17. Plaza Civica Cultural Center

In Hispanic cultures, city plazas or town squares are a culturally significant place to gather. In the central area of Ensenada, the Plaza Civica Cultural Center has gorgeous ocean vistas and is a lovely place to people watch. 

A guided trip is a great option, where you can learn more about Mexico’s history as well as more information about three important figures honored in the plaza with golden busts: Benito Juarez, Miguel Hidalgo, and Venustiano Carranza. 

Ensenada cruise port

Ensenada Cruise Port Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best time of year to visit ensenada .

Weather wise the best time of year to visit Ensenada is Late May to mid-October. This will give you the most pleasant temperatures for outdoor excursions. 

How far is downtown Ensenada from the cruise port? 

The main downtown area of Ensenada is an easy 15 minute walk from the cruise port. There are many taxis near the port area if you want to catch a ride and save your legs for walking downtown. 

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Final Thoughts On Things to do in Ensenada Cruise Port

Ensenada is one of the best places to get a glimpse of the beautiful Mexican culture as well as eat tasty seafood tacos, drink refreshing margaritas and experience exciting excursions.

Have you been to Ensenada, Mexico? If so what do you enjoy most? Please let me know in the comments below.

Happy Cruising!

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The Best Things to Do in Ensenada on a Cruise

23 of the best things to do in port, along with some recommendations for all travelers

J. Souza

If you’re looking for things to do in Ensenada, Mexico, you don’t have to go very far if you’re arriving by cruise ship.  It’s only a short walk from the cruise terminal to all kinds of local attractions.   Here are my top things to do in Ensenada.

palm trees on sunny day near Ensenada sign by cruise port

You will spot the massive 300 foot flagpole with the Mexican flag waving proudly in the sea breeze as your ship nears the port.  This is one of the largest Mexican flags in the country, and some say it is THE largest.

Either way, it’s big, and a great reference point when navigating Ensenada.  Take a right at the flagpole and take a left after the 2nd intersection to go right into the downtown area.  The name of the main area of tourism along this stretch is called Avenida Lopez Mateos.

If you keep walking passed the flagpole you will find all kinds of shops and eateries along the Malecon (paved seawall along the coast).

What’s it like in Ensenada?

The landscape of Ensenada is full of mountains, valleys, and beaches.  The city has a calm and chill vibe, in my experience, while the market along the Malecon is vibrant and full of both tourists and locals looking to shop, find a place to eat, or just hang out on the weekends.

Disclaimer : This article contains affiliate links that may compensate us if a purchase is made through the link. Thank you for your support!

The Cruise Port of Ensenada

Ensenada as seen from Carnival cruise ship at sunset

Ensenada is one of the busiest seaports in Mexico, and it’s also a popular cruise destination.  Being able to accommodate two cruise ships at once, the port offers easy access to all the things to do in the city, being very close to the action.

Called by some the “Cinderella of the Pacific”, Ensenada provides a warm climate, popular with California residents as a perfect vacation spot that’s only a short trip from home.

Located on the northern part of the Mexican state of Baja California, the coastal city is only about 80 miles from San Diego.

As one of the deepest ports along the Baja Peninsula, Ensenada is also a navy base and an important commercial fishing port for the region’s exports.

Many cruises to Hawaii out of the U.S. will also stop in Ensenada as the closest foreign port to California, and you will see Mexican Riviera cruises to this port as well as Cabo San Lucas , Mazatlan , and Puerto Vallarta .

overlook of Ensenada, Mexico at night

Best things to do in Ensenada

From scenic coastal drives, lovely vineyards, and long-stretches of quiet beaches to savory street food and historic landmarks, a visit to Ensenada offers tons of variety for people looking for things to do and see… and taste.  Make sure you add some of these things to your itinerary when you visit Ensenada.

Check out some of the most popular attractions in Ensenada through our partners here .

Enjoy a free water show

fountain show in ensenada cruise port area

It may not be the Bellagio fountains, but the free water show in Ensenada is fun to watch and totally free.  Parque De La Bandera is a popular park in Ensenada, Mexico and it’s only a 10 minute walk from the cruise port.  Just walk toward the gigantic 150 wide Mexican flag and you will find it.  The show features synchronized fountains that are illuminated with vibrant colors.

The spouts of water spray to the rhythm of the music, and at night it’s even more spectacular.  Although if arriving by cruise ship you will probably won’t be able to see it at night.  It’s a great way to spend an evening in Ensenada and take in the sights and sounds of the beautiful city if you are staying overnight, especially.

Shop along First Street Market

busy shopping market on first street and vendors in Ensenada

First Street Market in Ensenada is an outdoor market filled with vendors selling a variety of goods, including local handicrafts, jewelry, apparel, food, and souvenirs. The market is open every day from 9am to 8pm and provides a great destination for visitors looking to experience traditional Mexican culture. Shoppers can find unique items that are handmade by local artisans. Additionally, the market features numerous restaurants and cafes serving delicious Mexican cuisine.

Take a horse-drawn carriage tour

A horse-drawn carriage buggy in Ensenada

You will see these horse and buggy operators as soon as you walk into the city in Ensenada. There are several tour companies that offer these rides, allowing you to explore the city and its attractions from the comfort of a carriage that is usually covered. The rides usually last for about an hour and include stops at various points of interest. Some companies also offer private tours for those who want a more personalized experience.

If you’re planning on taking a horse-drawn carriage ride I would recommend doing it as one of the first things you do in Ensenada, as it gives you a good overlay of the city and what you will want to come back to later on.  Plus, it saves you from having to do all that walking and you’ll be in the shade the entire time.

Check out Mercado Negro

Mercado de Negro in Ensenada for fresh fish

The Ensenada fish market, also known as Mercado Negro, is a popular seafood market located right off the main boardwalk of the Malecon. The market is known for its fresh seafood offerings, including a variety of fish, shellfish, and even octopus. You can buy seafood to take back or try it on the spot at one of the many street vendors. You can actually pick out the fish you want and have it prepared  fried up right there.

In addition to seafood, the market also offers a range of local products, including fresh produce, spices, and traditional Mexican food. The Mercado Negro is a popular destination for both locals and tourists, and it’s worth at least a walk-through so you can appreciate the smell.

Book an excursion in Ensenada through our partner here .

Visit Plaza Civica

Plaza Civica, also known as “plaza of the three heads” is a public square located in the center of the city.  The plaza was constructed in 1941 to honor three prominent figures from Mexico’s history: General Ignacio Zaragoza, Admiral Agustin de Iturbide and Don Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon. The plaza features a bronze sculpture of the three historical figures standing side by side atop a large stone column.

You can also find several benches, trees and lush gardens surrounding the plaza.  On any given day you can find people taking leisurely walks around the area or enjoying a meal at one of the many eateries. There are also often performances held in the plaza from local musicians or dancers. Whether you’re looking for a place to relax or simply want to soak up some of Enseada’s culture, Plaza Civica is definitely worth visiting.

Visit Rancho Los Bandidos

If taking a horseback adventure along the hills of Ensenada sounds like a perfect day to you, Rancho Los Bandidos has you covered.   Rancho Los Bandidos is a family-friendly ranch located about 20 minutes from the Ensenada cruise port.   The horses are kept in great condition and the tour operators try to pair horses and riders based on experience.  So even with zero horseback riding experience you should have no trouble at all.

Not only are the views from these mountain trails spectacular, but your guide will teach you a lot about the region along the way as well.  So while you can see the city, cruise port, and valley below as you ride along the meandering trail, you will learn some history from these local cowboys.  Once back at the ranch you will be treated with chips and salsa, and you can buy some souvenirs as well.

Try the incredible street food

“The best street food in the world.”  That’s what the late Anthony Bourdain thought of the food from one particular food cart in Ensenada.  La Guerrerense Carreta offers fish tacos, seafood tostadas, and all kinds of other offerings at it’s now famous location.  Every morning the fish is purchased fresh from the local fish market, and this food cart is a popular place to eat.  It’s a must-try if you’re a foodie of any type, and you can see for yourself if La Guerrerense Carreta lives up to it’s fame.

The owner of the food cart is Sabina Bandera, and she and her family have run the food cart for over 60 years.  The family also owns a restaurant nearby called Sabina Restaurante if you want to sit down and try some foods not offered at the cart.

Tacos Fenix is another food cart in Ensenada that has some great fish tacos.  This vendor lays claim to the original Baja style fish taco, so you might as well try both locations to which you like better.  Try some ceviche tostadas and experience true Baja cuisine.

Take a boat tour along the coast

Ensenada marina with boats and cruise ship in background

Just take a walk along the Marina and you will find plenty of options for taking a boat tour along the coast of Ensenada.  Often you can find operators that charge as little as $3-$5 per person if you’re going on a charter with other people.  A private charter will cost more, but either way, exploring Ensenada by boat is a great, relaxing experience to get a feel for the area.   The fishing industry is a large part of the economy for the region and these boat operators know the area very well.  You can choose an informative, entertaining, or relaxing boat charter.  And if you have the time a sunset boat tour is pretty spectacular.

Hike El Salto Canyon

El Salto Canyon near Ensenada Baja California

El Salto Canyon is an amazing natural geologic formation located about 45 minutes from Ensenada.  The hiking trails are quite rocky and uneven and may not be suitable for everyone, but if you are able to go on this excursion the views are well worth the visit.  And depending on the climate when you go you may find some beautiful waterfalls.  These are rain-fed waterfalls so you have a better chance of catching them during the rainy seasons.

It’s about a 20 minute hike to the El Salto Canyon and once there it’s a pretty amazing sight.  The canyon features stunningly beautiful views of the surrounding landscape, as well as a variety of unique flora and fauna that can be observed along the trails. There are several lookout points throughout the hike, giving you an opportunity to take in the sights and sounds of nature.   You can even spot King Birds and red tailed hawks.    This is definitely one of the most over-looked of the Ensenada attractions.

Visit Pai Pai Ecotourism Park

Less than an hour from Ensenada you will find the perfect place for animal and nature lovers.  And you may even get to pet a tiger cub.   Pai Pai Ecotourism Park is dedicated to preserving the local ecosystem and promoting sustainable tourism practices.  The park has a rescue program for animals in need and allows visitors to get up close and personal with exotic animals like tigers, leopards, and tigers.

You can purchases a package to spend time with one of three different age groups of these big cats: cubs, medium-sized cubs, and juveniles.  You will get to spend a few minutes interacting with these amazing cats, petting them, playing with them, and getting plenty of pictures.  If the cubs get too aggressive a handler is always right there to help, but you might get pawed at or nipped at a few times.

Not only are there snakes, lemurs, tigers, and llamas on the property.  You can also enjoy a zip line, bike on a tight wire, or jump on a trampoline.  The park even provides RZR tours along the hills of Ensenada.  With more than 40 activities available at the park, there are plenty of things for families to do.

Another ecological park you can visit is Cañon de Doña Petra Ecological Park .  This park is only a few miles away and while it doesn’t have as many wild animals and things to do, it offers some stunning views and natural trails to enjoy along the coastline.

Grab some lunch at Plaza Contenedores

Here’s something unique to check out in Ensenada.  This entire plaza is made from shipping containers and is full of wonderful restaurants.  And since it’s only a few minutes from downtown Ensenada it’s a place you can check out and still have plenty of time for other activities.

Plaza Contenedores is right on the beach, so as you eat your lunch you can soak in the gorgeous views along the coast.  The multi-level plaza offers everything from hamburgers and fish tacos to middle eastern food and pizza.  It’s a great option for a large group to eat since everyone can pick the restaurant of their choice and still sit together, kind of like a food court.

See the views from El Mirador overlook

Great for spectacular views of Ensenada and a good hiking workout, El Mirador is one of the best places to view the city and coastline.  Some people will hike El Mirador just so they can grab a photo, since the overlook allows you to see the entire city, cruise port, marina, and mountains all around the area.

Besides the beaches and Malecon in Ensenada, El Mirador viewpoint is one of the more popular things for tourists to experience.  You can hire a cab to bring you to the base of the overlook if you don’t want to walk it yourself.  The views at night are really great if you’re staying overnight in the city.

Visit the Riviera de Ensenada Cultural Center

Riviera de Ensenada Cultural Center is a great place to learn about the culture and history of the region.  It’s also one of the most beautiful buildings in the area.  The building had been a hotel and casino (Hotel Riviera del Pacifico) since the 1930’s but today is used for all kinds of things.  A tour of the grounds will have you marveling at how well-preserved the building is as you appreciate the artwork and carvings in the ceilings.

Besides visiting the Ensenada Museum of History in the building to learn more of the culture and past of the region,  you can also explore the beautiful grounds and take in the stunning views of the harbor and surrounding area.

The beautiful Spanish architecture, tiling, and stately archways around the facilities are the perfect setting for all kinds of events, including weddings.  There is also a bar called B ar Andaluz on the property that is one of two in the city that claim to be the birthplace of the original margarita.

Al Capone had made use of the casino in its heyday and you can still see the tunnels he would use to access the downtown area from the building.  Part of the tunnel has collapsed but you can still see a good part of it today.

Visit La Bufadora, a natural blowhole

La Bufadora, about an hour drive from Ensenada, is an amazing natural wonder that is a popular attraction in the area. This breathtaking blowhole is one of the largest blowholes in the world, spraying ocean water over 100 feet into the air.

As you approach La Bufadora, you’ll be greeted by the strong sea air and the sound of crashing waves. The sound of the blowhole alone is worth the visit, as it booms and bellows with each wave that rolls in. But when you finally see the actual blowhole, it’s a pretty amazing experience.

In addition to the blowhole, there’s plenty to see and do in the surrounding area.  In fact to get to the actual site you may have to walk through a gauntlet of vendors selling all kinds of souvenir items on the roadside.

And if you want some beach time, there is a great beach right at La Bufadora.

You can book a shore excursion to La Bufadora along with a city tour with our partners here .

Visit Ensenada’s Vineyards

Ensenada wine country

Ensenada is home to some of Mexico’s most renowned vineyards and wineries. Visitors can explore the rich wine culture of this city by taking a tour of its many vineyards. Popular stops include La Escondida Vineyard, Monte Xanic Winery, Adobe Guadalupe Vineyards, Bodegas Las Nubes and La Cetto Winery. Each winery offers unique experiences that range from wine tastings and tours to sightseeing, dining and more. There are also a variety of activities available for visitors such as horseback riding through the vineyards, hot air ballooning over the valley or simply relaxing at one of the area’s many spas and resorts.

Valle de Guadalupe is one of the most popular destinations near Ensenada, Mexico. The valley, great for a day trip,  is home to lush vineyards, wineries, and many restaurants known for their fresh and local ingredients.  You can also explore the area’s hiking trails, mountain biking routes, or even go horseback riding.

The area around Valle de Guadalupe is full of activities for tourists looking for adventure or relaxation. For those seeking more active adventures, there are plenty of options including kayaking and snorkeling in Bahía de Todos Santos or exploring one of the many nearby beaches such as Playa Hermosa or Playa El Sauzalito.

Relax at the beaches of Ensenada

Ensenada is known for its great beaches, but not all of them are the same.  There is quite a variety of different types of beaches in the area to enjoy.  Some are better for surfing, others for snorkeling, and of course some have calmer waters great for just relaxing and cooling off.

  • Playa Ensenada: This is the most popular beach in the area and is located close to the city center. It has a long boardwalk and is perfect for a relaxing beach day, with plenty of restaurants and bars nearby.
  • Playa Hermosa: A quiet and secluded beach that is ideal for sunbathing, swimming, and relaxing. This beach is closest to the cruise port, being only a few miles south of the downtown area.  Estero and San Miguel Beach are close by this beach as well.
  • Playa Baja Beach : Surrounded by resorts, this is a family-friendly beach with plenty of access to modern amenities nearby. Not only is it a beautiful beach but you can engage in all kinds of water sports here as well like kayaking, snorkeling, and water-skiing.
  • Playa En Rosarito : Located in a beach town and known for great surfing conditions and nightlife.  Playa En Rosarito is well over an hour from Ensenada to the north.
  • Playa San Miguel : Another great surfing spot.  The water is shallow and clear but is quite rocky.  There are bathrooms on site.  This beach is very close to Ensenada.

All of these beaches offer stunning views and are a great place to relax, swim, and soak up the sun. Keep in mind that like most beaches in Mexico, they can get crowded on weekends and during peak tourist season.

Keep in mind that for some of these beaches you can take an Uber to get there, but for the way back you will have to walk a bit as the service doesn’t always reach out there.

Take a Surfing Lesson

As mentioned with some of the beaches above, there are many great spots for surfing in Ensenada.  Whether you’re a slightly experienced surfer or total beginner you can have a professional instructor teach you everything you need to know.

The excursion listed below is for surfing at Playa Hermosa and after some stretching and instructions will allow you to surf for about an hour.  All the equipment will be provided and Ensenada offers some great conditions for surfing.

Book your surfing lesson in Ensenada through our partner here.

Take a whale watching tour

cruise ensenada mexico things to do

Whale watching in Ensenada, Mexico is a popular activity for both tourists and locals. The city is located on the Pacific coast and is a prime location for watching gray whales during their annual migration. The best time to go whale watching in Ensenada is between December and April, when the gray whales are passing through on their way to their breeding grounds in Baja California. During this time, there are lots of whale watching tours available.   You might even spot some great white sharks while you’re out there.

Go on an ATV tour

ATV tours in Ensenada are a great way to explore the rugged terrain of the Baja California Peninsula. You can explore mountains, deserts, and beaches while enjoying breathtaking views of the Sea of Cortez. The tour usually starts with a briefing from experienced guides and then you can choose your own route through the desert. Tours usually last for two to three hours and you can choose to go for half day or full day trips. There are many ATV tour companies in Ensenada that offer different routes depending on your skill level and experience.

Visit the Todos Santos Island and see the lighthouse

Todos Santos Island is located just a few miles off the coast from Ensenada.  The island is home to a historic lighthouse, which stands out at the highest point of the island. The lighthouse was built in 1875 and offers visitors an incredible view of the Pacific Ocean and nearby islands. You can also explore nearby beaches and often catch some local wildlife on this secluded island.

Stop by Hussong’s Cantina

The building itself is a historical landmark in Ensenada.  Hussong’s Catina dates back to 1892 when it was first established and still lays claim to being the originator of the first margarita, a claim also made by the aforementioned B ar Andaluz.

Visit the Caracol Science Museum

The Caracol Science Museum’s exhibits cover a wide range of topics, from natural history to science and technology. You can explore hands-on activities, interactive displays, and educational films that help to explain the world around us. In addition to the permanent collections, the museum also offers various temporary exhibitions throughout the year.   This is a great stop for families on a cruise as it’s right across from the cruise terminal and has a lot of interactive displays that are great for kids.

Check out Museo Historico Regional

I already mentioned one history museum in the Riviera Cultural Center building, but this regional history museum is a great place for history buffs as well.   The building itself is an old jail with plenty of photo-ops of the old cells.  There is some artwork throughout and exhibits that show the examples of indigenous pottery and artifacts from the Kumiai and Pai Pai.

The old military garrison, then prison, and now museum is completely free to visit as well, so there’s another reason to put this Ensenada history museum on your to do list.

If you’ve been to Ensenada before, I’d love to hear from you.  How do you like to spend a trip to Ensenada?  Let us know in the comments below.

FAQ on Ensenada

Is ensenada walkable.

Yes and no. The city’s downtown area, in particular, is packed with restaurants, shops, and attractions that can easily be explored on foot. Additionally, Ensenada’s waterfront promenade offers a scenic walking route for visitors to enjoy.  But for many of the things on our list above you will need transportation.  I’ve visited Ensenada before without a car or taxi and just walked around and it was great, so it really depends on what you plan on doing during your stay.

How do you get around in Ensenada?

The most popular way to get around Ensenada is by car, taxi, or Uber. Public transportation is also available in the form of buses and trolleys. Bicycles are another option for getting around Ensenada, as the city has many dedicated bike lanes throughout the downtown area.  One fun way to get around in the city is to take a Tuk Tuk tour which is very affordable.

What are the best day trips from Ensenada?

1. Valle de Guadalupe: This scenic wine-producing region is a popular day trip from Ensenada. Visitors can enjoy tastings at some of the area’s many wineries, learn about the local wine-making process and explore the charming village of Santa Maria.

2. Todos Santos: Located about three hours away from Ensenada, this historic town is home to stunning beaches, art galleries and craft stores. Tourists can also visit La Bufadora, an impressive sea geyser located nearby.

3. San Felipe: This coastal town is located two hours north of Ensenada and offers visitors fun activities such as fishing, swimming and kayaking in its calm waters.

4. Tecate: Just over an hour drive from Ensenada lies Tecate, a small city known for its colonial architecture and hot springs. The surrounding countryside is perfect for hiking and biking.

5. El Sauzal: Located in the Valle de Guadalupe region, El Sauzal is a small town famous for its traditional Mexican restaurants serving delicious seafood dishes and homemade wines.

What is Ensenada known for?

  • Wineries and vineyards – Ensenada is home to numerous wineries and vineyards, making it a popular destination for wine lovers.
  • Scenic coastal drives – The scenic drive along the Pacific coast from Ensenada to Todos Santos is a popular activity for tourists and locals alike.
  • Adventure activities – Ensenada offers a range of adventure activities, such as kayaking, snorkeling, and scuba diving.
  • Great food – The city is known for its delicious street food, fresh seafood, and authentic Mexican dishes.
  • Baja 1000 – Ensenada is the starting point of the Baja 1000, an off-road race that takes place in the Baja California peninsula.
  • Beautiful beaches – Ensenada boasts some of the most beautiful and pristine beaches in Mexico, making it a popular destination for sun-seekers and beach-goers.

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27 Best Things to Do in Ensenada: Complete Guide

Ensenada Malecon beach promenade

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Wondering what are the best things to do in Ensenada? Look no further. I just came back from an epic road trip to Ensenada and in this post, I am going to tell you all about this exciting city!

In this article, I’ll cover 27 of the top things to do in Ensenada that you don’t want to miss, ranging from must-see attractions to off-the-beaten-path gems that you won’t find in your typical travel guide.

Ensenada is an underrated city on the Pacific coast of Baja California (Norte) that offers a variety of attractions and activities for travelers of all ages and interests.

Whether you want to explore the stunning scenery, learn about the rich culture, enjoy the lively nightlife, savor the local flavors, or something else, you’ll find no shortage of amazing things to do in Ensenada that will make your trip memorable. 

Ensenada lookout point - things to do in ensenada

 What Are The Best Things To Do In Ensenada?

 1. shop for local arts and crafts at avenida lopez mateos.

Avenida Lopez Mateos is the main tourist street in Ensenada that runs parallel to the waterfront. Here you will find many shops that sell souvenirs, clothing, jewelry, leather goods, cigars, and more.

You can also find some of Ensenada’s best restaurants and bars that serve delicious local cuisine and drinks. 

Probably the best shop to discover the local arts and crafts here is Bazar Casa Ramirez, which, as of writing this article, is also the #1 shopping destination in Ensenada on TripAdvisor.

This two-story store offers a stunning collection of festive items that showcase the creativity and diversity of Mexican artisans.

You can find everything from folk art, silver jewelry, crosses, and mirrors to pottery, textiles, masks, and sculptures. Each piece is hand-made and imported from different regions of Mexico.

On these streets, I also loved trying the delicious cafes, bakeries, and restaurants.

Ensenada souvenir shop

2. Discover The Rich History Of Ensenada: Museo De Historia and Regional Historical Museum

Those looking for a cultural and historical experience in Ensenada should not miss the Museo de Historia de Ensenada and the Regional Historical Museum in the city.

These museums will take you on a journey through the past of this beautiful city and its surroundings, from prehistoric times to the modern era.

At the Museo de Historia, visitors can see artifacts, photographs, and interactive displays that bring Ensenada’s history to life.

The exhibits cover the history of the area, from its pre-Hispanic origins to its role in the Mexican War of Independence, as well as its development as a center of fishing, agriculture, and tourism.

The Regional Historical Museum is housed in a beautiful neoclassical building that was once the municipal jail. One of the most interesting features of this museum is the old prison cells where paintings by former inmates are preserved on the walls.

The museum also offers an exhibit of “Peoples and Cultures of Mesoamerica” and colonial and indigenous collections related to Ensenada’s past. 

Ensenada park

3. Wander Around Plaza Civica For Some Historical Facts, Street Food, And Souvenirs

Plaza Civica is home to three giant bronze heads of Mexican heroes: Benito Juarez, Miguel Hidalgo, and Venustiano Carranza.

You can learn more about their roles in the Mexican Revolution and independence movement from the plaques below each statue.

It is also a great spot to enjoy some local cuisine and shop for handicrafts. There are many vendors selling tacos, ceviche, churros, and other delicious snacks along the sidewalks.

You can also browse through stalls offering pottery, jewelry, clothing, and souvenirs. Don’t forget to haggle for a good price!

ensenada souvenir street shop

4. Ride A Horse At Rancho Los Bandidos

Riding a horse at Rancho Los Bandidos is a fun and relaxing way to explore the scenic beauty of Ensenada.

The ranch offers guided horseback tours through the hills and valleys of Ensenada. You can choose from different trails and durations, depending on your skill level and preference.

This family-owned ranch has been offering horseback riding tours of the area since 1991 and has a variety of horses for all levels of riders.

You can enjoy the scenic views of the mountains, valleys, and the ocean as you ride along well-maintained trails with friendly and experienced guides.

la bufadora Ensenada

5. Discover The Second-Largest Marine Geyser In The World: La Bufadora

La Bufadora is a blowhole and tourist attraction located on the Punta Banda Peninsula in Baja California, Mexico. It is one of Ensenada’s most impressive tourist attractions, being located about 21.7 miles (35 kilometers) south of the city.

Along the way, you can enjoy the scenic drive along the Pacific coast and stop at various viewpoints to admire the views.

Once you reach La Bufadora, you will find a lively place with souvenir shops, food stalls, and other services. 

If you’re not up for driving there (which I recommend), you can also join a tour that includes transportation and a local guide who will show you around this amazing place. 

La Bufadora overview

6. Hike Through The El Salto Canyon And See The Waterfall

Adventure seekers who are visiting Ensenada should not miss this one. The hike is challenging but rewarding. You will need to use ropes, and boulders, and scramble over rocks to reach the bottom of the canyon. 

The trail is not marked and can be slippery, so make sure you wear good shoes, gloves, sunscreen, and insect repellent. You will also need to pay a small fee to enter the area.

Once you get to the canyon floor, you can enjoy the scenery and relax by the waterfall. You can also camp there if you want to spend more time exploring. The El Salto Canyon and Waterfall is a hidden gem that will make you feel like you are in another world.

Disclaimer. I didn’t have time for this hike, but since I read it was a great hiking experience I still wanted to include it in the post for you to learn about it.

You can contact them and learn more or just drive to the campground where you can also set up your own tent and spend the night.

ensenada malecon seagull

 7. Visit Rosarito Beach

Rosarito Beach is a popular destination for tourists who want to enjoy the sun, sand, and surf of the Pacific Ocean.

The Beach offers a variety of activities and attractions for all ages and interests. You can relax on the beach, go surfing, kayaking, or fishing, explore the local culture and cuisine, or visit nearby attractions, like the Fox Studios Baja (where the Titanic was filmed).

Rosarito Beach is also known for its nightlife, with many bars, clubs, and restaurants to choose from. You can find various options to suit your mood and taste, from live music and dancing to karaoke and comedy shows.

Whether you want to party with your friends, meet new people, or just relax and have a good time, this will be a spot you’ll surely enjoy.

Ensenada Beach

 8. Stroll Along Ensenada’s Waterfront Marina: El Malecón Ventana Al Mar

A stroll along the Malecón is a must-do activity for visitors to Ensenada. This half-mile boardwalk offers stunning views of the harbor, where you can watch sea lions lounging on the rocks, boats sailing by, and the sun setting over the ocean.

Being a popular tourist attraction, the boardwalk is also lined with restaurants, cafes, and shops, making it the perfect place to grab a bite to eat or a souvenir to take home.

As you walk, you can watch the boats come and go from the marina, and catch a glimpse of local fishermen bringing in their catch of the day. 

Ensenada sign

In addition to the stunning views and bustling atmosphere, El Malecón Ventana al Mar is also a great place to experience local culture.

You can often find street performers and musicians entertaining crowds, and there are plenty of opportunities to try traditional Mexican snacks and drinks. 

If you are in luck, as I was, you can see the fountains dancing around the huge Mexican Flag towering over the Marina.

PRO TIP – You can ask one of the fishermen by the pier to take you on a brief tour along the bay to admire the coastline and the cute sea lions swimming around. It only costs 500 pesos, for 1 hour and they will do it even for one person.

ensenada playa hermosa front

9. Hike the challenging trail in Cañon de Doña Petra Ecological Park

Cañon de Doña Petra Park is located just 15 minutes away from downtown Ensenada and offers one of the best opportunities for hiking enthusiasts. The challenging trail here is 13.3 miles (21.4 kilometers) long and takes about six hours to complete.

If you’re looking for a challenging hike while you’re in the area, you can’t miss this one. The trail is rated as moderate to hard, with some steep and rocky slopes that require poles.

You will encounter different microclimates along the way, from desert landscapes to oak forests.

The dense vegetation in some areas provides shade and coolness on hot days.

Before embarking on the trail, make sure to bring plenty of water, and sunscreen, and wear sturdy shoes.

It’s also a good idea to bring a snack or two to keep your energy levels up. With the right preparation, hiking this trail will be an unforgettable experience.

If you are traveling solo I would hire a local guide as it’s not very smart to be in the wilderness on your own. Also watch out for rattlesnakes, especially in the summer.

Ensenada malecon fountain

 10. Visit the Caracol Museo de Ciencias (Caracol Science Museum)

The Caracol Science Museum is dedicated to promoting the natural wonders of Baja California and the scientific research that studies this beautiful peninsula.

The museum is divided into three main galleries: Sala del Cielo y Planetario (Sky and Planetarium Room), Sala de la Tierra (Earth Room), and Sala del Mar (Sea Room) where you can learn about astronomy, biodiversity, and oceanography respectively. 

In the planetarium room, visitors can immerse themselves in a 360-degree view of the night sky.

It’s a truly awe-inspiring experience that will leave you feeling connected to the vast expanse of the cosmos. 

Ensenada main street

11. Taste The Original Margarita at Baja California’s Oldest Cantina: Hussong’s

Hussong’s Cantina is a legendary bar that was established in 1892 by John Hussong, a German immigrant who came to Ensenada during the gold rush.

His bar, as it stands today, is among the top of Ensenada’s tourist attractions.

It is the oldest and most famous bar in all of Baja California. And for good reason, it is reputedly the birthplace of the margarita, the iconic cocktail made with tequila, lime, and orange liqueur. 

According to the story, bartender Don Carlos Orozco named the drink in 1941 after Margarita Henkel, the daughter of a German diplomat who was visiting the bar at the same time as Don Carlos was experimenting with a new drink.

The drink was received very well, and on the same day, it was named after Margarita Henkel.

Ensenada murals

12. Discover The Art of Chocolate-Making at Maya Cacao

Who doesn’t love chocolate? But not a lot of people know that the Mayans played a significant role in the history of chocolate as we know it today.

They revered chocolate and it was an important part of their culture and belief system.

Maya Cacao is a place where you can experience the ancient art of chocolate-making as practiced by the Maya civilization.

You can taste cacao beans from colorful pods, grind them with stone tools, and enjoy a traditional dark chocolate drink that was reserved for the elite Mayas.

You can also participate in a workshop where you will learn about Mayan culture, and make your own chocolate (following the authentic recipe of the Mayans).

Surfer in Playa hermosa

13. Relax in The Uncrowded, Clean Beaches of Playa Hermosa

If you’ve ever been to a beach in a tourist destination that’s known for its beaches, you know a lot of those beaches can get very crowded. 

Playa Hermosa (meaning “Beautiful Beach” in Spanish) is different. It is one of the best-kept secrets in Baja California, offering uncrowded, clean, and serene shores for you to enjoy.

Best of all, it’s easily one of the top free things to do in Ensenada.

Whether you want to sunbathe on the soft sand, swim in the clear water, surf the gentle waves, or explore the pristine beach, you can do all that (and more) in peace.

Ensenada Playa Hermosa

14. Try Deep-Sea Fishing

Ensenada is renowned for its diverse marine life, including yellowtail, tuna, dorado, and more.

As such, it is also a great place to go deep-sea fishing, suitable for all levels of experience, from beginners to experts.

You can choose from different types of boats and equipment depending on your preferences and budget.

You can also hire a professional guide or captain who will help you find the best spots and techniques for catching fish.

With experienced and knowledgeable local guides, you can explore the deep blue waters of the Pacific Ocean and test your angling skills against some of the most challenging game fish in the world.

You can either keep your catch or release it back into the water.

You can find a lot of fishing boat tours on the Malecon.

Ensenada tours at Malecon

15. Take A Boat Trip Around The Bay

One of the best ways to enjoy the beauty of Ensenada is to take a boat trip around the bay.

If you’re not into fishing, you can choose other options, such as a whale-watching tour or a sunset cruise. However keep in mind that for whale watching Ensenada, is not the best destination as you will find closer whale encounters in other spots located in Baja California Sur.

However, taking a boat trip in Ensenada is still a cool thing to do to watch the sea lions and birds, over the Pacific coastline.

ensenada marina flag

16. Try The Food From The Famous La Guerrerense Food Cart

La Guerrerense is a humble street stand that has been serving fresh and delicious ceviche and tostadas for over 40 years and has earned the praise of celebrities like Anthony Bourdain and Mark Wiens.

You can choose from various toppings, such as sea urchin, octopus, clam, scallop, abalone, shrimp, and more, and spice them up with their homemade salsas. 

But it’s not just the food that makes La Guerrerense special; it’s the experience. The food cart is located in a bustling street market, where locals and tourists alike gather to enjoy the lively atmosphere and mouth-watering dishes. 

The service is fast and friendly, and the owner, Sabina Bandera, is always ready to greet you with a smile.

The experience is so good that some reviewers have called this the “best food cart in the world.” Whether that title is true or not you will tell me.

To be honest, I didn’t try that one, but I found another incredible food cart that I recommend. See below.

El rey Sol

17. Eat Your Way Around Ensenada

Besides the iconic places that everybody knows, you will find a lot of food carts in Ensenada that offer equally delicious seafood. I have tried a few of them and here below are my favorites:

El Güero is where I had the most delicious seafood tostada in my life! I am serious. The food cart itself is a must-see, so well organized and clean and the guys dressed up in yellow and blue uniforms. Adorable.

The seafood looks extremely fresh and the way they serve it is incredibly professional. It’s more expensive than a regular street food cart but you pay what you are getting.

Also, the amount of seafood that you get is giant. It makes a full meal.

El Guero Taqueria

La Floresta Taqueria – Try the delicious shrimp and fish tacos in this historical taqueria downtown.

Ensenada la floresta tacos

18. Learn How To Scuba Dive, Snorkel, and Other Water Activities

Ensenada is a water lover’s paradise, with plenty of options to suit your preferences and budget. Whether you want to dive deep or float on top, you will find an adventure that will make your trip unforgettable. 

For those who prefer to stay on the surface, snorkeling is a great way to discover Ensenada’s diverse aquatic world. Snorkeling tours take you to the best spots to view schools of tropical fish, playful sea lions, and other underwater creatures.

If you want more adventurous water activity, try kayaking or paddleboarding along the rugged coastline.

Looking for something a bit more daring? Try scuba diving. You can choose from several dive sites, such as Campo Kennedy, Arbolitos Coves, and more, where you can see colorful sea life, shipwrecks, and even great white sharks.

You can find dive shops in downtown Ensenada. Keep in mind that in winter the water can be very cold. So it’s advisable to wait for the summer for these activities.

sea lions

19. Ride the Desert Nest Zipline in El Sauzal

If you are looking for an adrenaline-filled adventure, you should try the Desert Nest Zipline. This zipline course is located in El Sauzal, about 15 minutes north of downtown Ensenada.

You will soar over the desert landscape and enjoy panoramic views of the landscape and the mountains.

The zipline course is divided into 5 lines, the longest of which is 5,100 meters! The Desert Nest Zipline is safe, fun, and suitable for all ages.

The staff is friendly, and professional, and will go above and beyond to make sure that you have a safe and enjoyable experience.

Ensenada bars

20. Enjoy The Nightlife In Various Bars and Clubs

If you love the nightlife you will love Ensenada even more. The city is also known for its live music scene, with many bars and clubs featuring local musicians and DJs.

The city is also known for its live music scene, with many bars and clubs featuring local musicians and DJs. They each have their vibe and atmosphere, so you’ll never be short of things to do in Ensenada at night.

In addition to the venues themselves, the atmosphere in Ensenada’s nightlife is unmatched. The city’s friendly locals and visitors create a welcoming and inclusive vibe that makes it easy to meet new people and make new friends.

Whether you’re traveling solo or with a group, you’re sure to have a great time exploring Ensenada’s nightlife scene. Just take precautions and stay safe.

Bar Andaluz

21. Taste The Local Craft Beer

Whether you’re a beer enthusiast or simply looking for a new and delicious drink to try, Ensenada’s craft beer scene is worth exploring. 

Ensenada’s local craft beer is characterized by its use of locally sourced ingredients and innovative brewing techniques. Many of the beers are made with local fruits, herbs, and spices, giving them a distinct and refreshing taste. 

The city’s brewers are also known for experimenting with new brewing styles and flavors, meaning that there is always something new and exciting to try.

Best of all, there are a growing number of microbreweries and taprooms in the city that offer a wide variety of unique and flavorful beers.

Valle de Guadalupe aerial view

22. Rent A Car And Take a Day Trip Through the Valle de Guadalupe Wine Route

Valle de Guadalupe region, located about 40 minutes drive from Ensenada, is home to over 120 wineries that produce some of the best Mexican wines.

It is easily one of the best places to visit in Ensenada. Even if you’re not a fan of wine, you shouldn’t miss out on exploring this region.

You can explore the diverse and beautiful landscapes of the valley, taste different varieties of wines, learn about the winemaking process, and enjoy delicious meals at local restaurants.

Valle de guadalupe domeq wine pouring

There are both small micro wineries and large commercial ones in the area, and you will find something to suit your taste and budget. 

The vineyards are surrounded by rolling hills and scenic vistas, providing a picturesque backdrop for your wine-tasting adventure.

I stayed in the Valle de Guadalupe for two nights in the beautiful B&B Casa Mayoral , and I suggest you do that too, for the best experience.

However, it’s possible to visit in one day as it’s only 30 30-minute drive from Ensenada.

If you don’t feel like driving there are great tours offered from Ensenada where they take you to visit different wineries and lavender fields.

Valle de Guadalupe domeq wine tasting

23. Watch The Sunset From The Ensenada Mirador

Right above the main road Calle Primera, at 10 minutes winding road, you will get to the mirador of Ensenada where you can enjoy spectacular views over the city and the port.

The sunset is on the other side but you will still be able to enjoy the city in a spectacular light. Perfect for stunning pictures.

Ensenada lookout at sunset

Recommended Guided Tours in Ensenada

24. las cañadas canopy tour in ensenada.

This tour lets you experience the thrill of flying in five zip lines, two of them about 500 meters long and crossing multiple hanging bridges, each with a unique challenge.

You will enjoy breathtaking views of the mountains, forest, and lake as you soar through the air and test your balance and courage.

Don’t worry about the safety aspect, though. The tour is very safe and suitable for all ages. You can take part in the activities here as long as you are at least 50 inches tall and can fit the safety harness.

The grounds also have swimming pools, the biggest children’s water park in the whole state, ATV rentals, paddle boats, camping, and more.

25. La Bufadora Tour in Baja California

As we’ve already covered in #5 on this list, La Bufadora is the largest sea geyser in North America and one of the most spectacular natural attractions in Mexico.

The drive to La Bufadora is quite scenic, where you can enjoy the views of the Pacific Ocean and the rugged cliffs.

You might also have a chance to stop at a local market, where you can find a variety of souvenirs, crafts, snacks, and drinks.

But, of course, the main highlight of the tour is witnessing the amazing power of La Bufadora, which shoots water out of a sea cave more than 100 feet into the air with a roar. The water spray creates a rainbow effect that adds to the beauty of the spectacle.

The best time to visit La Bufadora is when the tide is high and the waves are strong, as this makes the geyser even more impressive.

If you don’t feel like driving on your own you are in luck because you can find a lot of affordable tours some of which combine different activities so you can squeeze more attractions in one day.

More Highly Rated Tours To La Bufadora

26. guadalupe valley wine route tour in baja california.

Want to tour the Guadalupe Valley but aren’t up for renting a car and taking the drive? No problem! This tour will take you to the best spots along the wine route in Guadalupe.

Hotel pickup and drop-off are included, which means you just have to book the tour and hop on the bus; the company will do the rest.

Along the tour, you’ll visit four different wineries, each with its style and personality.

And you will have the opportunity to taste a variety of wines , from reds and whites to roses and sparkling wines. You will also learn about the winemaking process and the characteristics of each wine.

Valle de guadalupe field

Other Tours To The Valle de Guadalupe

27. horseback riding.

Horseback riding is a great activity for people of all ages and skill levels, and it allows you to explore the scenic coastline and estuary of Ensenada at your own pace (and in a very fun way).

These tours take riders on scenic routes through the countryside, vineyards, and coastal areas, offering stunning views of the landscape.

There are many companies offering horseback riding tours in Ensenada in a variety of different places.

la cetto valle de guadalupe

28. ATV Off-Road Adventure in the Valle de Guadalupe

Want to ride on a powerful and easy-to-use ATV through the scenic backcountry of the wine region, passing by vineyards, hills, and valleys? Say no more!

Tons of tours in Ensenada will take you on a wild ride through the region’s most beautiful natural areas, including valleys, hills, and vineyards.

Many tours include stops at local landmarks and points of interest, providing visitors with a unique glimpse into the history and culture of Ensenada.

Food and beverage options are also available (though not always with every tour), with many tours including wine tastings and local cuisine.

29. Lavender Field Tour

At Aires de Lavanda farm in Valle de Guadalupe, you can take a guided tour of the lavender fields and learn about the cultivation, harvesting, and distillation of this fragrant herb. The farm is one of the hidden gems in Ensenada.

You will also get to sample some natural cosmetic products made from lavender, such as soap, lotion, and oil.

You can even make your bouquet or sachet of lavender to take home with you. The tour lasts about an hour and includes a refreshing lemonade drink and a lavender dessert.

Levender

When is The Best Month To Go to Ensenada?

The best month to go to Ensenada depends on personal preferences and interests. Generally, the peak season in Ensenada is during the summer months of June through August when the weather is warm and many festivals and events are happening.

However, as you can guess, prices for accommodations and activities will be high during this time.

For those looking to avoid crowds and save money, the shoulder seasons of March through May and September through November offer a good balance between good weather and slightly lower prices.

You’ll still enjoy many of Ensenada’s attractions and festivals during these times, with fewer crowds and more affordable accommodations and activities.

If you want to maximize your savings, visit during the winter months of December through February, when temperatures can be cooler and rain is more common.

However, you’ll find great deals on accommodations and activities during this time.

I was there in February and I loved the cool weather, and most of all I loved that I didn’t see any snakes around.

In the summer it is most likely that you see rattlesnakes around your hotel room, easily. I know I freaked out when I learned about it. Just make sure you close your hotel room door and window and you’ll be fine.

ensenada cafe

Where to Stay in Ensenada

When I visited Ensenada I stayed in an Airbnb on the main coastal road which was away from the busy downtown and I loved it. But I had a car.

If you don’t have a car I would recommend staying Downtown so that you will be at walking distance of shops and restaurants and the main attractions.

In my Where to Stay in Ensenada post, I will share all the best hotels and home rentals that I have specially selected based on location and guest rating.

Here I am sharing a few options as well.

Hotel Villa Fontana Inn – budget-friendly hotel in downtown Ensenada

Casa Asturias – luxury hotel in downtown Ensenada

City Plus Ensenada – Mid-range hotel on the beach just outside Ensenada

Ensenada drone view at sunset

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you spend a day in ensenada.

Ensenada is a beautiful coastal city that offers a variety of attractions and activities for visitors. Above, I’ve listed just 27 of them, but that list is far from exhaustive.

There’s an endless array of possibilities on how you can go about spending a day in the city. 

You can try delicious Mexican food in one of the countless restaurants in the city, spend a day learning about the history of the region in the Riviera Cultural Center, take a drive to La Bufadora, try horseback riding, visit Valle de Guadalupe and enjoy world-class wines, enjoy the vibrant nightlife of Ensenada in one of its many bars, casinos, and clubs, and the list goes on and on.

When it comes to having fun in Ensenada, the sky is the limit.

Ensenada Church in Downtown

Is Ensenada Worth Visiting?

Absolutely! I had very low expectations and I have to say that I was quite impressed by all the things Ensenada has to offer, especially the food. Soo good!!

is a city that’s packed with fun opportunities for visitors of all ages and backgrounds.

From stunning beaches and vineyards to outdoor adventures and cultural experiences, there’s something for everyone in Ensenada.

Where is Ensenada Located?

Ensenada is located in the Baja California State of Mexico only 64 miles (107 km) south of Tijuana .

Is Ensenada Walkable?

Generally, yes. But it also depends on what you want to do/see here and where you’re staying.

Ensenada is a walkable city if you are staying near the port or the downtown area, where you can find many things to do and see within walking distance. 

However, if you want to enjoy more of Ensenada’s attractions like Hermosa Beach, or if you want to go all the way to La Bufadora, you need to take a taxi or a bus to get to some of the places that are farther away from the port.

Ensenada Marina

Can You Swim in Ensenada?

Yes, you can swim in Ensenada, but it’s important to be aware of the conditions and take necessary precautions.

Ensenada has several beaches that are safe for swimming, like Playa Hermosa, Playa Estero, and Playa Baja.

However, some beaches may have strong currents or rough surf, so it’s important to pay attention to warning signs and be cautious when entering the water.

With proper precautions and awareness, you can enjoy a safe and enjoyable swimming experience.

Are Ensenada Beaches Clean?

Ensenada has several beaches that are clean and well-maintained, offering visitors a safe and enjoyable swimming experience.

Playa Hermosa and Playa Baja are two of the most popular and well-known beaches in Ensenada and are known for their clean and clear waters.

However, generally speaking, the more popular and crowded beaches tend to be less clean than the less frequented ones.

This is because they receive more visitors who may leave behind trash, debris or pollution.

This does not mean that these beaches are unsafe or unhealthy.

They still have their charm and appeal, and many people enjoy them for their convenience and amenities.

ensenada playa hermosa

Do I Need Pesos in Ensenada?

Yes, I highly recommend that you carry pesos when traveling to Ensenada.

While some businesses may accept US dollars, the exchange rate they’ll provide you is not favorable and you will end up overpaying (by at least 10%). 

Additionally, many businesses, notably the smaller ones, only accept pesos.

Visitors can exchange their currency for pesos at banks or exchange houses in Ensenada, or withdraw pesos from ATMs using a debit card (this approach is not recommended as the ATMs will charge you extra).

Overall, having pesos on hand will make your trip to Ensenada smoother and more enjoyable.

Is Ensenada Safe for Tourists?

Yes, Ensenada is generally a safe destination for tourists. Thousands of tourists visit Ensenada each year without any unpleasant incidents.

However, that doesn’t mean you can throw caution to the wind when you’re here. So be aware of your surroundings.

Like any popular tourist destination, Ensenada has its share of petty crime.

While you’re in the city, please take common sense precautions such as avoiding walking alone at night, not flashing expensive jewelry or electronics, and keeping valuables out of sight.

With just a little bit of caution, you’ll have a very enjoyable trip to Ensenada.

Ensenada main street restaurants and shops

Is Driving to Ensenada from San Diego Safe?

Yes, driving to Ensenada from San Diego is generally safe, but you should do prior research on the driving conditions and take necessary precautions. 

The route from San Diego to Ensenada is heavily traveled.

However, traffic can be heavy during peak tourist season, and you should be prepared for long wait times at the border during this time. 

It’s also important to have proper documentation, including a valid passport and valid driver’s license, when crossing the border.

Additionally, visitors should be aware of local driving laws and customs, such as the use of turn signals and the requirement to have Mexico-specific liability insurance . 

You can also check out Baja Bound Mexican Insurance , one of the most popular car insurance for US travelers to Baja.

How Far is Ensenada From the US Border?

Ensenada is around 70 miles (110 kilometers) from the US border.

What Food is Ensenada Known For?

Ensenada is famous for its seafood and wine, as well as its fusion of Mexican and Asian cuisines.

One of the most iconic foods of Ensenada is the Baja-style taco , which consists of crispy fried fish or shrimp wrapped in a soft corn tortilla and topped with shredded cabbage, salsa, and crema.

You can find these delicious tacos at street stalls, markets, and restaurants all over the city.

Another popular food of Ensenada is ceviche , which is raw fish or shellfish marinated in lime juice, onion, cilantro, and chilies. Ceviche can be served on a tostada, in a cup, or on a plate with crackers or chips.

If you are a fan of spicy food, you should try Aguachile, which is a version of ceviche with a green chili sauce that covers the shrimp or scallop.

Ensenada’s cuisine also has a strong influence on Chinese food, which can be seen in dishes like Camarones enchiladas.

This is a dish of pan-fried shrimp cooked in olive oil with garlic, Pequin pepper, and salt. It is usually eaten with rice or in a taco.

Cruise Ensenada

Why Do Cruise Ships Go To Ensenada?

Cruise ships visit Ensenada for several reasons. First, Ensenada is a popular port of call for cruises departing from California, offering a convenient and accessible stop along the coast of Mexico. 

Additionally, Ensenada is known for its scenic coastline, picturesque harbor, and vibrant culture, making it an attractive destination for cruise passengers. 

The city is also home to several popular tourist attractions, including wineries, beaches, and historic sites, providing visitors with a variety of activities and experiences to choose from. 

Finally, Ensenada is a gateway to other popular destinations in Baja California, such as the Valle de Guadalupe wine region and La Bufadora, a natural blowhole attraction.

Overall, Ensenada’s combination of accessibility, natural beauty, and cultural attractions make it an ideal destination for cruise ships.

Ensenada Main Street

Things To Do in Ensenada: Final Thoughts

As you may have realized by now, Ensenada is a gem of a destination, offering visitors a wealth of activities, attractions, and experiences to enjoy.

Whether you’re interested in history, culture, outdoor adventure, food, and drink, or simply soaking up the sun on a beautiful beach, this city has you covered. There’s no shortage of fun things to do in Ensenada.

From exploring museums and historical sites to hiking through canyons and sampling local wines, the city and its surrounding areas are full of unique and memorable experiences.

You can easily spend a week or more exploring all the attractions and activities that this beautiful city has to offer.

I hope this guide has helped you plan your trip to this pretty city of Baja California.

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Isabella is traveler and animal lover, a former tourism professional with an multinational background that lead her to Mexico, that she can proudly call home. After seven years in Cancun where she's still a resident, she took a bold leap, leaving her fancy job to embrace a nomadic lifestyle. She traveled all over Mexico, from Baja California to Ciudad Juarez, Oaxaca, Chiapas Hidalgo exploring and living like a local. Isabella founded Let's Travel to Mexico to help travelers plan their own trip on and off the beaten path in this beautiful land that she loves so dearly.

View of the ship from the waterfront

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Things to Do in Ensenada While on Cruise (One Day in Ensenada, Mexico)

So you’re on a cruise on Princess or Celebrity from California to Hawaii and back, or one of Carnival’s short little 3 or 4 day jaunts from Los Angeles to Catalina Island.   But there’s this pesky law called the Jones Act.  The Jones Act requires cruise ships that travel within the USA, including Hawaii, must make a stop at a foreign port.  So, for cruises originating in California, there’s a need to make a stop in northern Mexico.  Since Tijuana isn’t a nice destination, the ships stop in the lovely Ensenada, Mexico.  These are the best things to do in Ensenada while on cruise – the best things to do with one day in Ensenada. 

Ensenada Self Walking Tour

It’s possible to do your own walking tour, the total walking time is about 1 hour which leaves plenty of time to make stops along the way.  This post details the best things to do in Ensenada, which are all along the path marked in this Ensenada walking tour map, and these items are in order if you do a counterclockwise trip along this path. 

cruise ensenada mexico things to do

Take Your Photo at the Ensenada Sign

As you walk towards town, the first notable sight is the Ensenada Sign.  If you leave the ship early, you should be able to get some pictures without loads of people in them. 

cruise ensenada mexico things to do

Visit the Hotel Riviera del Pacifico

From the sign, you will walk over to the Hotel Riviera del Pacifico.  This hotel was all the rage during the US prohibition.  Americans would come down to Ensenada to imbibe in tequila and other drinks.  This hotel was a hangout for movie stars and mobsters.  If there’s no event going on, you can wander the halls of this place that’s now an event center.  There are some interesting murals and chandaliers.  The hotel is supposedly haunted so watch out for the ghost!  There are several souvenier shops in the courtyard and the Bar Andaluz that is one of the two places in town that claim to be birthplace of the Margarita, the limey, tequila drink. 

cruise ensenada mexico things to do

Go Shopping

From the hotel, you’re going to head towards Hussong’s Cantina via Primera Street, the main shopping street in Ensenada.  There are loads of shops along this street with everything from Mexican goods to knock-off NFL stuff. 

One of the recommended shops is Bazar Casa Ramirez, a 2-story shop with some unique Mexican crafts.  Check out the snack and drink selection at 7-11.  They have loads of products that aren’t available in the USA.  Pop into a drugstore where you can buy many drugs without prescriptions, at a fraction of the prices of the USA.  Hey, you might even pay for your cruise by the savings!

When you’re done shopping, head up to Ruiz Avenue.  It’s time for an alcoholic refreshment.  If you want to visit a historic cantina, head over to Hussong’s Cantina.  Hussong’s also claims to be the birthplace of the Margarita.   If you want loud music and something more modern, head over to Papa’s & Beer, just next door.   There’s also a gift shop in the vicinity if you want to bring home some Hussong’s or Papa’s gear.

Hussongs Cantina

Go Look at the Seafood at the Fish Market

From the bar you will head towards the pier.  At the pier, look for the big white arches which are the entry into the Ensenada fish market.  The market is in a big blue building, with the names “Mercado Negro” and “Mercado de Mariscos” painted on the side.  You will see the catch of the day including fish from small to large and all kinds of weird seafood.  While you probably shouldn’t buy fish to bring back to the US, you likely could purchase something to have cooked at one of the restaurants flanking the fish market.

cruise ensenada mexico things to do

Eat Fish Tacos

If you want some authentic food, stop at one of the restaurants next to the fish market.  I walked around and selected one that had more locals eating.  Despite the cruise ship in town, I didn’t see any of my fellow cruise mates dining at the fish market.  Prices are moderate, I paid about $4.50 for a beer and two fish tacos with a wide selection of salsas and other condiments. 

cruise ensenada mexico things to do

Go for a Harbor Cruise With Locals

From the fish market you will go back out to the waterfront.  Walk about a block towards the cruiseship and look for a sign on a wooden building with a sign that says “Juanitos”.  If you walk around here, you will likely have a guy come up to you and offer you a private harbor cruise (i.e. you pay for the whole boat), but if you look around and see a bunch of Mexican people getting on a boat, this is likely a boat taking tourists.  Go down the ramp and ask the boat captain “Puedo?” which is “may I?”   If he says “Si” then grab a seat on the boat and put on a life jacket (required in the port).  They will come around and collect the fare for the 45-60 minute ride, which is 50 pesos, or about $2.50 USD.  I paid my money and sailed away, the only non-Mexican passenger.

cruise ensenada mexico things to do

As we pulled away from port, they cranked up the volume on lively Spanish music and I danced in my seat.  The boat pretty much drove under the bow of the cruise ship.  It’s amazing how small I felt under the bow.  The tour boat honked at the ship and I waived at the cruise ship passengers as we sailed by.   From there, we went out further and cruised by some buoys and platforms that had California seals.  I wasn’t very animal-friendly, but the boat bumped into one of the platforms gently, so the seals jumped in the water.  This is the most fun you can have for about $2.50 in Ensenada! 

cruise ensenada mexico things to do

Hit the Park and More Shops Before You Head Back to The Ship

There is a park and a few more shops to check out are you near the ship.  Into perfumes?  The best perfume shop is near the port… a big white building called French Parfum Perfumería. 

cruise ensenada mexico things to do

Watch the Seals

Seals seem to love the rocks near where the cruise ship docks.  You can either watch them from the shore or spy on them from the ship.  It’s so fun to watch them play in the waves and watch them warm themselves in the sun.

cruise ensenada mexico things to do

Want to Travel Further?

Lots of people like to visit the wineries or Walmart.  There are tours, shuttles, and taxis available at the port or thru the cruise line.  If you want to get out of town, you can get a tour to La Bufadora, a blow hole that blows up to 100 feet in the air!

Can You Use US Dollars in Ensenada?

Every time I spent money in Ensenada, I was able to spend USD.  You may get change in either Pesos or USD.  You might get a slightly better rate if you pay in pesos, but it’s not worth an ATM fee if you’re only going to be spending a few dollars (I spent less than $10 on my Ensenada walking tour). 

Is Ensenada Safe?

I felt very safe walking around Ensenada using the route mapped above.  The least comfortable thing about walking around is the aggressive salespeople on the shopping street, but it’s fine if you have a sense of humor about it. 

This post contains affiliate links.  This website earns a small commission for items purchased through these links with no additional cost to you. 

Not visiting on a cruise and have more than one day in Ensenada?  Check out Rates and Availability for Hotels in Ensenada

Check out other things to do in Mexico .

Like this post? Click on the picture below to save to pinterest.

cruise ensenada mexico things to do

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  • Cruise Ports , Cruise Tips , Cruising , Mexico

cruise ensenada mexico things to do

  • Candy on April 27, 2019 at 7:31 pm

I’ve taken many cruises, but haven’t made it to the Pacific Coast of Mexico yet. Pinning this for when I finally make it there!

cruise ensenada mexico things to do

  • Tori on January 9, 2020 at 3:35 pm

Great blog. Thanks for sharing. Yes … the seafood photo doesn’t look very good)

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5 ½ Things To Do While In Port In Ensenada, Mexico

cruise ensenada mexico things to do

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Over the years, Ensenada, Mexico, has become one of my favorite places to visit. I’ve arrived in Ensenada by land, cycling on the Rosarito-Ensenada bike ride, and by sea via cruise ship. The weather is pleasant year-round, but high winds between mid-January and mid-February could potentially disrupt your cruise itinerary or some shore excursions.

Ensenada lies about 67 miles south of the U.S.-Mexico border and 89 miles south of San Diego . The Port of Ensenada is one of Mexico’s most visited ports of call for major cruise lines. And as you would expect, there are many activities to keep all those cruise ship guests busy. Below are 5 ½ things to do while in port in Ensenada. Yep, 5 ½.

Whichever activities on this list you choose to participate in, you will be doing a fair amount of walking. Comfortable walking shoes are recommended.

The first three activities can be experienced without the need for any transportation other than your feet; they are just a few blocks from the port. The remaining ones require an organized tour  to reach. These will most likely be offered as shore excursions by whichever cruise line you sail with. Or, you can take a taxi on your own.

1. Centro Social, Cívico Y Cultural Riviera Del Pacifico De Ensenada

Your cruise ship will probably offer excursions that include a visit to Centro Social, Cívico Y Cultural Riviera del Pacifico . But it’s so close to the port that you may prefer to walk there yourself. At press time the entrance fee was $2 USD.

Centro Social, Cívico Y Cultural Riviera del Pacifico was formerly the Hotel Riviera del Pacifico. Its storied history involves Prohibition, Mexican businessmen and politicians, and Hollywood celebrities. After Prohibition ended, things went downhill for the hotel. It was restored beginning in 1978 and became Centro Social, Cívico Y Cultural Riviera del Pacifico. What survived are the beautiful tiles, murals, ballroom, chandeliers, woodwork, gardens, and casino room.

I recommend getting a guide so you can learn about the history behind the building and hear some stories that go with it. One of my favorite stories is how, during dances in the ballroom, boys and girls were able to arrange dates while still under the hawk-like watch of the chaperones. I also recommend a visit to the museum.

Fun Fact: Bar Andaluz at Riviera del Pacifico claims to have invented the margarita . See below for the other origin story.

Fish taco stand in Ensenada, Mexico

2. Fish Taco Tasting

It is almost universally agreed that the fish taco as we know it today originated in Ensenada. What better place to create your own fish taco tour than Ensenada! The Ensenada-style fish taco contains battered and fried fish. Angel shark ( angelito ) is a commonly used fish because it holds up well during frying. Dogfish and Mako shark (my favorite) are also used. Cod, pollock, halibut, and whitefish are other options. It is topped with cabbage (sometimes lettuce), pico de gallo, sour cream or citrus/mayonnaise sauce, and served on a flour or corn tortilla. Variations on toppings, salsas, and other condiments help each stand establish its own unique, um , flavor, as does the type of fish used. I found one stand on Lázaro Cárdenas right outside the port that served manta ray tacos.

If you start at the corner of Avenida Adolfo López Mateos/Calle Primera and Castillo and work your way northwest along López Mateos, you’ll encounter any number of restaurants, cafés, and patio diners that serve fish tacos. You’ll find more shacks as you near Miramar. And it is these shacks that tend to serve the more authentic fish tacos, though the places you passed to get here do make very good ones.

My personal tour included La Guerrerense (their cart doesn’t sell fish tacos but their restaurant does), recognized by numerous international travel and food publications, a restaurant called Mariscos Playa Azul , and a final stop at a small stand simply called The Original Fish Tacos Ensenada, or Los Originales Tacos de Pescado de Ensenada .

Pro Tip: If you’re going to do a fish taco tasting, eat a light breakfast or skip breakfast altogether. The tacos may look small, but after visiting three or four or more places, you will be quite full. I was, and I have a huge appetite. Consider going a few blocks further up Avenida Adolfo López Mateos/Calle Primera to Avenida Ruíz. Turn right. Just before Calle Segunda is the famous Hussong’s Cantina . It is rumored the margarita was invented here in 1941. A (very strong) margarita from Hussong’s makes a historic and satisfying finish to your fish taco tasting tour.

3. Shopping

Shopping on Avenida Adolfo López Mateos/Calle Primera should not be missed. Small electronics, souvenirs, silver and turquoise jewelry (especially jewelry from Taxco, a city celebrated for its silver and turquoise), curios, and arts and crafts abound. Leather goods such as jackets, handbags, duffle bags, et cetera, are your best bargains.

Start out by walking northwest on López Mateos. You’ll see shops on both sides of the street. As you reach Miramar, you’ll notice more jewelry stores. Turn right on Miramar and you will encounter more clothing, electronics, and general stores. 

Pro Tip: Most of the vendors know or assume you arrived in Ensenada via cruise ship. So, although most will bargain, they will start with the higher tourist prices. The best way to get the better deals is to shop around. It may be as simple as going across the street to a competitor.

Vineyards in Guadalupe

4. Wine Tasting Tour In Valle De Guadalupe

I was surprised to learn during one of my earlier visits that there were vineyards in the area. Located around 45 minutes north of Ensenada, Guadalupe Valley (V alle de Guadalupe ) is a booming wine-growing region, home to over 120 wineries. The region is said to rival that of California’s Sonoma and Napa Valleys . You can book a wine tasting tour through your cruise line.

You will likely be visiting two to four wineries depending on your tour. Most wineries are located along what is known as La Ruta del Vino , or “The Wine Route.” Some exceptional wineries can be found on dirt roads off the main highway. Be sure to look at the gorgeous surrounding valley on your way to the wineries. Our tour stopped at two wineries in Valle de Guadalupe: La Casa de Doña Lupe and pioneering area vintner L.A. Cetto . In addition to producing wine, Casa Doña Lupe makes sherry, tequila, and brandy. L.A. Cetto has a bullring on the property. From their estate, you have a beautiful, commanding view of the valley below.

These tours will usually either return you to the ship or drop you off downtown. Taxis from downtown back to port are plentiful but if you don’t mind walking a few blocks, you could save the cab fare and spend it on a souvenir.

Pro Tip: Buy your wine while you are visiting the winery. It is more expensive elsewhere. Check with your cruise line for their policy on bringing alcohol back on board.

Kayaking La Bufadora

5. Kayak To La Bufadora (“The Blowhole”)

La Bufadora, or The Blowhole, is one of the world’s largest marine blowholes. Seeing it from sea level in a kayak is a unique experience. Air and water become trapped in a cave underground. When a wave approaches, pressure in the cave builds. When the wave recedes, the pressure is released, blasting water up to 100 feet in the air.

From shore, you will paddle a short distance out to the blowhole. As you near the blowhole, you’ll bob up and down as each swell passes beneath your kayak. It is pretty humbling when you realize that each swell that lifted your kayak will soon crash against the rocks, resulting in that hundred-foot-tall spray and thunderous sound the blowhole is famous for. Most guides will set you up to take photos with the blowhole erupting at a safe distance behind you. Bring a waterproof camera. Note: Kayaking tours normally operate only during the summer months.

Pro Tip: Before you begin the tour, ask the guide or driver whether the tour will be stopping at Lidia’s. They will know about Lidia’s. If yes, you will be able to enjoy the remaining ½ thing to do…

Food vendor near La Bufadora

And A Half: La Bufadora Up Close From The Lookout

From the parking lot, head down the paved road. You’ll find vendors lining both sides of the road selling a huge variety of souvenirs. Churro vendors will offer you samples fresh out of the fryer and point you to their stalls. The ones we liked best were sold by the last vendor on the right, at the bottom of Restaurant Blanquita. One vendor had giant clams topped with cilantro and onions, tomatoes, and cheese cooking on the barbie.

Continue walking down the pathway until you reach the viewpoint overlooking the blowhole. There will be a small crowd there where many will be taking selfies. Bide your time and you can get right up to the wall to take your own photos. Don’t stand too close or you’ll get wet.

Pro Tip: If you like fish tacos, you absolutely must stop at Lidia’s Tacos Grill, or Tacos Lidia. This formerly well-kept secret has long been out. Expect a crowd, but the line does move fast.

My next visit to Ensenada is already in the planning stages and will include an encore of a few of these activities.

Image of Stan Thomas

Stan is a freelance writer based in Southern California. He has worked in the aviation industry for more than 30 years. Additionally, he co-edited a trade show newsletter and was a contributing writer for a local newspaper.

So far, Stan and his wife have traveled to four continents. He loves the Caribbean, having made well over a dozen trips to the region. When he’s not traveling, you’ll find Stan either on his bicycle, playing in a band, behind a camera, in front of a plate of food, or being a weekend warrior.

Stan’s dream is to travel the world. Follow along with him via his website Kanale Travels as he makes his dream come true, one trip at a time.

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What to Do in Ensenada on a Cruise

Written by The CruiseExperts team . Posted in Mexico

Got a port stop in Ensenada? You’re in for a treat!

Ensenada is a fun port where you can enjoy the flavor of Mexico, it’s history, and culture. Enjoy a variety of activities suitable for the family, the history lover, the adventurer, and the wine connoisseur. This pretty city on the Baja California peninsula has much to offer the visitor. You can fill your day with local activities or venture out on a tour to see the mountains or visit the wineries. Here at CruiseExperts.com, we want to be sure you know what to do in Ensenada on a cruise , so we put together a few suggestions we think you’ll enjoy.

Click here to browse all our Mexico sailings. Happy Traveler Comment I started the week singing in my Senior Choir and one of my members cornered me and said, "I know you know Hawaii better than anyone. I want to take some friends there....who do you recommend?" I told her I would hook her up with my California connection and the very best travel agent in America and gave her your phone number! — Betty D.

The Malecón

There are so many things to do in Ensenada while on cruise . When you leave the terminal, the first thing you will notice is the Malecón, a wide walkway along the oceanfront where you’ll find tourist attractions, shops, and restaurants. Among the popular seafood dishes the area is known for is fish/prawn tacos. You may choose to start your day on the Malecón or wait till the end of your visit if you plan to make purchases you’ll have to carry.

Deep Sea Sport Fishing

If fishing is your sport, you’ll enjoy an adventure with possible catches of marlin, tuna, barracuda, and other deep sea species. While on your deep sea excursion, you may spot dolphins and gray whale. You could wind up in a photograph with a catch that will be the envy of all your friends.

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Plan a Vacation to Ensenada, Mexico

cruise ensenada mexico things to do

If you're a history buff looking for a new place to explore, plan a vacation to Ensenada . The third-largest city in Baja California, Ensenada is full of thrilling sites with strong links to Mexico's history. Here are three you can't miss:

Riviera del Pacífico

Legend has it that this former hotel and casino was funded by the infamous American gangster, Al Capone. Back in the 1930s, the Hotel Riviera del Pacífico was frequented by Hollywood stars, who often flew in on private planes from Los Angeles. They were greeted with luxurious and eclectic decor like gold leaf ceilings, Indian cedar wood, and Italian tile floors.

Today, a tour of Riviera del Pacífico will give you a glimpse into this famed piece of Ensenada's history. The shore excursion will take you through the grand ballroom where the rich and famous danced the night away. You'll also have a chance to look through the Museo de Historia de Ensenada (Ensenada Museum of History), stroll through the gardens, catch displays in the gallery, and visit its elegant salon. While outside, you can experience a folkloric music show, or take in local artisans' craft displays.

Bodegas de Santo Tomás

If you're a wine lover, don't miss the chance to visit Bodegas de Santo Tomás , the oldest operating winery in Baja California. It was originally founded in 1888 by Miguel Ormat and Francisco Andonaeguí using vineyards that were first established by missionaries.

In 1932, the winery was sold to General Abelardo Rodriguez. He was responsible for transforming it into a successful business that produces award-winning wines, including chardonnay, cabernet, pinot noir, and merlot.

During a visit to the Bodegas de Santo Tomás you can tour the winery, learn about its history, and even taste some of its famous wines.

Plaza Civica

Don't leave Ensenada without an excursion to Plaza Civica . This picturesque square is home to the largest Mexican flag in the country, as well as bronze statues of some important figures in Mexican history. The magnificent busts are all local heroes: Venustiano Carranza, one of the principal leaders in the Mexican Revolution, Father Miguel Hidalgo, considered the father of Mexican independence, and Benito Juarez, who fought against Emperor Maximilian and the French army.

There is no shortage of meaningful things to do on a getaway cruise to Ensenada, Mexico. Plan a trip to this exciting city where you can step back in time through the city's history and immerse yourself in its culture via one of our amazing West Coast Getaway itineraries or Classic California Coast cruises .

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons/Beau Hudspeth

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Cruises to Ensenada, Mexico

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Ensenada Cruises Port Guide

On a cruise to Mexico , an Ensenada cruise port of call takes you to a colorful, exciting city where you can enjoy the bustle along its broad promenade, head into the quiet of wine country, or dive into local history and culture found at its museums. Aside from its cosmopolitan sights, Ensenada is also close to impressive natural wonders and long, sandy beaches.

The second-largest commercial port in Mexico is found here, which connects to over 68 ports in dozens of countries around the world. In addition to being a major maritime hub, Ensenada is also home to the largest production of wine in Mexico, thanks to its proximity to the Guadalupe Valley.

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Top sights & attractions for cruises to ensenada, riviera center of ensenada.

Experience the culture of Ensenada on a visit to the Riviera Center, which is located in a former hotel and casino. The building features stunning architecture with ornate detailing on its impressive woodwork and beautiful tiles. Here, you’ll find the Museum of History, which houses a number of significant artwork and artifacts. You can learn more about the history on display and the building itself on a docent-led tour through the museum. The center is also home to an adjacent garden where visitors can walk around.

This exciting boardwalk is a must-see in Ensenada. It’s home to two of Ensenada’s most iconic sights: the colorful Ensenada sign and a huge Mexican flag that weighs over 300 pounds. After you get your photo op by the sign, explore the rest of the Malecon, which has a farmers-market feel thanks to the many vendors selling local produce, artisan crafts, and other goods. You’ll also find pretty water fountains shooting out of the ground which light up at night.

Rosarito Beach

If you’re looking for a beach experience during your time in Ensenada, Rosarito Beach is a great one to visit. Located a short distance south of Ensenada, this laidback beach town is perfect for sunbathing or doing water sports like surfing, bodyboarding, and kitesurfing.

La Bufadora

La Bufadora is the name given to a huge blowhole located by Ensenada. At one of the largest blowholes in North America, watch as Pacific waves rush through a cave and up into the air every few minutes, sometimes with a blowhole fountain that reaches 100 feet high.

Learn More About Pacific Coastal Shore Excursions

Top things to do in ensenada, take a boat ride in the harbor.

From the Malecon, hop on a boat for a tour of the Ensenada harbor. Along the way, you’ll see a different angle of the boardwalk and get panoramic views of this part of the Baja Peninsula coastline.

Zipline Over Las Cañadas

If you want some adrenaline-inducing adventure during your time in Ensenada, embark on an excursion that will take you ziplining high above the Mexican wilderness in Las Cañadas. Marvel at the wide canopy of the treetops as you zoom above the breathtaking scenery. Two of the ziplines you’ll go down are over a quarter of a mile long, giving you plenty of time to take in the views as you squeal in excitement.

Wine Tasting in Guadalupe Valley

The nearby Guadalupe Valley is quickly becoming one of the hottest wine destinations in the world for wine connoisseurs to visit. The region’s unique blends are gaining international attention, and a tour around the valley to its various wine tasting rooms provides you with an unpretentious wine experience. You’ll learn about how wine is made in the Guadalupe Valley, which varietals are the most popular, and how they taste, all while soaking in gorgeous vineyard views.

Top Food and Drink Spots Near the Ensenada Cruise Port

One of the top things to try in Ensenada is the Baja fish taco, which consists of deep-fried fish placed within a corn tortilla and topped with a tangy white sauce and a heap of cabbage. The secret to this simple yet delicious dish is in the white sauce. You’ll find them in stands along the malecon. Other popular dishes to try include burritos, tamales, mole, and quesadillas.

During your Ensenada cruise port of call, don’t miss tasting local wine from the Guadalupe Valley. For one of the best margaritas in town, head to Hussong’s Cantina, a landmark bar that serves up potent margaritas.

Culture & History of the Ensenada Cruise Port

The origins of Ensenada are traced back to the Yuman People, who inhabited the area when Spanish settlers arrived in the mid-1500s.The city was originally called San Mateo by the settlers. In 1602, its name was changed to Ensenada, which means “cove” in Spanish. Today, Ensenada is a bustling, vibrant city that continues to evolve into more than just a quick getaway for cruisers and those visiting from north of the border. It was added to the UNESCO Creative Cities Network in 2015, mostly due to a local food scene brimming with delicious cuisine that incorporates innovative approaches to sustainability and intercultural elements. The nearby fisheries and wineries also contribute to the food culture in Ensenada as well as to the economy. 90% of Mexico’s wine production occurs in Ensenada, and the region is home to over 50 wineries encompassing over 500 wine labels.

Ensenada Port Facilities & Location

The Ensenada, Mexico cruise port is conveniently located close to the city center, making it easy to see top sights, do some shopping, and get a bite to eat or drink shortly after getting off your ship. You’ll also find a market selling souvenirs right by the cruise pier, along with a liquor store and pharmacy.

Transportation in Ensenada

If you don’t want to walk to town (which is roughly a mile away from the pier), simply hop on one of the many shuttle buses that run between the cruise pier and downtown Ensenada. There are also taxis waiting by the cruise port to take passengers into town or to one of the outlying sights. One of the most stress-free ways to get around is on a shore excursion that will get you to where you’re going in comfort and guarantees you’ll be back to the ship before it departs the Ensenada, Mexico cruise port for another destination.

Shopping Near the Ensenada Cruise Port

he place to shop in Ensenada is along Avenida Lopez Mateos, an avenue lined with a variety of shops and restaurants. It’s a great place to find a souvenir to remember your Ensenada cruise port of call by. For a memorable piece of jewelry, go the Opal Mine, which is set up to look like an actual opal mine. Opal is the national stone of Mexico, and this unique jewelry store is a great place to get a ring, necklace, or other piece of jewelry featuring the stone.

Local Currency & Tipping Customs

The official currency in Ensenada is the Mexican Peso, though many businesses will accept the U.S. Dollar as well. It’s good to double check before hiring a service or dining somewhere if you’re planning to pay in cash and use dollars. If you need to withdraw some pesos, you can find an ATM at one of the several banks downtown. Credit cards are widely accepted here. When tipping in Mexico, use similar customs you would use in the U.S.A. Generally, you’ll want to tip 15% to 20% of the total bill for service in a restaurant or bar, or when hiring a taxi service. Tips for tour guides are also appreciated.

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Mexico Travel Buddy

10 Best Things to Do in Ensenada, Mexico

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Brenna Harris is a digital nomad and travel writer with a deep passion for exploring the world, reading, and beach-combing. More info

Are you planning to visit Ensenada, Mexico? A popular stop along cruise ship routes, this Baja Peninsula gem draws over four million tourists to its streets every year for wine tasting, shopping, sightseeing, and nightlife.

Whether you are trying to build an itinerary for an afternoon-long port stop or a whole week of fun in the sun, this list of the top things to do in Ensenada, Mexico, is the only resource you’ll need.

Top 10 Things to Do in Ensenada, Mexico

Now you might be asking yourself, “What is Ensenada known for?” and the truth is, there is no one singular answer. This Port City has everything from craggy sea cliffs and azul waters to historic architecture and cultural experiences. With so many options, it can be hard to narrow it down and create a vacation bucket list, but here are the top 10 things you must do while in the area:

Go Hiking at El Salto Canyon

cruise ensenada mexico things to do

Up for a bit of a challenge? Lace up those hiking shoes and hit the trails! The El Salto Canyon is a popular choice since it’s relatively accessible, even for true beginners who haven’t spent much time trekking through the desert. The park boasts several miles of trails leading down to the canyon floor, where you’ll find a secret waterfall and several impressive rock formations.

This makes a great base camp for enjoying the great outdoors, so consider bringing a light picnic or a book and stay awhile. To take things to the next level, you can also book a repelling lesson to test your bravery or pitch a tent and stay overnight.

cruise ensenada mexico things to do

Sip Your Way Through the Valley

cruise ensenada mexico things to do

Thanks to its proximity to Mexico’s wine country, Ensenada certainly has a reputation for its sprawling vineyards and wine-tasting experiences.  In fact, it might be considered THE best thing to do in Ensenada if you had to choose just one . 

The best way to do so is through a guided wine tour because there are so many-literally hundreds- of amazing wineries to visit. This way, you can enjoy a full pour or tasting flight everywhere you go without worrying about the drive home. You’ll also have an expert on board telling you all about the region, local lore, and the best varietals. 

See also: How To Get To Ensenada: A Quick Guide

Try the O.G. Margarita at Hussong’s Cantina

Did you know that summer’s official patio cocktail, the “Margarita, ” started right here in Ensenada?   This famous tequila and salt-rim concoction was created by Don Carlos Orozco, the Hussong’s Cantina’s bartender in 1941. 

As if that’s not reason enough to pop in for a happy hour treat, it’s also the Baja Peninsula’s oldest Cantina, opening its doors for the first time in 1892. Order a round, listen to the live mariachi music, and get a festive taste of Ensenada’s history.

Experience a Force of Nature at La Bufadora

cruise ensenada mexico things to do

La Bufadora is the second-largest ocean blowhole in the world, making this a “must-see” even for the most experienced traveler who tends to skip the more popular attractions. This marine geyser promises a salty spray that reaches 100ft in the air, thanks to the force of water hitting a sea cave below. 

Just a word to the wise, be sure to bring a rain poncho or other clothes you don’t mind getting wet because these waves are POWERFUL, and the entire observation deck is considered a part of the “splash zone”. You’ll also want to check the tide schedule and surf forecast before you go, as this natural phenomenon is most impressive at high tide and when the waves are the largest. 

Take the Reins at a Local Ranch

Embrace your inner cowboy and saddle up for a journey across the Baja Desert. Rancho Los Bandidos is Ensenada’s premier location for horseback riding tours that wind through surrounding valleys, suitable for all skill levels. Whether you choose a short scenic route to a mountain overlook or a day-long excursion that loops back toward the ocean, your guide will be happy to show you the ropes and take photos of your travel crew. After all, this is the stuff vacation memories are made of.

After working up an appetite under the Ensenada sun, the group will settle back at the ranch and chatter over plates of homemade chips and salsa. 

See also: Best Ensenada Mexico Beaches

Try Your Hand at Deep Sea Fishing

Take advantage of Ensenada’s Pacific Coast location and get out on the open ocean. Local captains are waiting to set sail with you and school you the best practices of sportfishing. With the pros on your side and deep blue waters teeming with marine life, you’re practically guaranteed to make a big catch! 

Plenty of boats operate on a catch-and-release basis, but you can also keep and preserve your prize fish of the day if you’d like to brag about your expert angling when you arrive home. For more advice on deep sea excursions, be sure to check out our Ensenda Fishing Guide with the inside scoop on our recommended charters.

Get Your Thrills on a Ziplining Tour

cruise ensenada mexico things to do

Looking for things to do in Ensenada with family? Kids as young as five will love flying through the sky, but don’t let this tour’s family-friendly status fool you. This bucket-list activity is sure to appease even the most intense adrenaline junkie.

When it comes to tour providers, you’ll have a few different options. Desert Nest Zipline offers incredible birds-eye-views of the region’s mountains and deserts. At the same time, check out the Las Canadas Canopy Tour  has a more traditional tree-top setting comprised of 5 zip lines and swinging rope bridges.

Go on an Undersea Adventure

If you’ve ever wanted to learn to scuba dive, this is your chance. You can easily sign up with one of the dive shops scattered throughout the downtown core and take a quick crash course before heading out to sea. 

Not only are you guaranteed to see an abundance of sealife (who knows, you might even make friends with Ensenada’s cheeky sea lions), but you’ll also be able to choose from a huge array of dive sites. Especially if you’re already an experienced diver, the possibilities could range from the swaying kelp forests of Arbolitos Coves Marine Park to specialized “Panga” boat dives.

Find Something Special to Bring Home on First Street

cruise ensenada mexico things to do

We all want to find that perfect souvenir that will carry the memories of our holiday forever. In Ensenada, First Street is the ideal shopping district for locally-made handicrafts like pottery, jewelry, and hand-embroidered textiles. 

See also: Is Ensenada Safe? – Top Safety Tips

We recommend spending the entire afternoon exploring at your own pace because there’s so much to do here. Once you’ve officially shopped til’ you dropped and supported the local vendors, you can change the pace with a horse-drawn carriage ride, take a selfie with the colorful Ensenada sign, or slip into a bar for some nighttime entertainment. 

Sample Ensenada Street Food

Without a doubt, one of the top things to do in Ensenada Port is chow down. It’s a foodie paradise! The most popular food stall in the entire city is El Guerrerense. Not only is their menu of ceviche and tostadas a celebrity favorite but it’s also earned some serious accolades, such as being named the “Best Food Stall in the World” for several years running. 

Want to taste-test a wider variety of Ensenada’s eats? Stop for tacos at Birrieria Soto and finish off with a sweet treat from Churros El Tio Gelos. 

BONUS!!! Embark on a Road Trip

cruise ensenada mexico things to do

If you have extra time to play with, why not check out some of the top destinations within the arms reach of Ensenada? Just hire a rental car, fuel up, and head on down the road to one of these Baja Penninsula cities: 

  • San Quintin :  A seafood lover’s dream with ocean-to-table restaurants around every corner.
  • Ejido Erendira : A sleepy seaside surfer town with beaches and fishing charters galore.
  • Valle De Guadalupe :  World-class vineyards and sweeping mountain views? Say no more. 
  • San Felipe :  Your official destination for sunbathing and swimming in the famous Sea of Cortez.
  • Tijuana :  A buzzing border city filled with nightlife, restaurants, and shopping. Yes, please! 
  • Rosarito :  A beach bum’s favorite big city, featured in several Hollywood blockbusters.

FAQs On The Best Things To Do In Ensenada

When is the best time to visit ensenada.

The summer (July through September) is the best time to visit Ensenada, thanks to warm temperatures that hover around the mid-80s and a low chance of rain. However, this is regarded as peak tourist season, so this is when you can expect rates to be the highest and crowds to be the largest.

How do you get to Ensenada? 

Many tourists arrive in Ensenada by boat since it is a popular cruise ship port of call, but you can also get there by car, bus, or plane, depending on your starting point. Read more about how to get to Ensenada .

What is the best way to get around in Ensenada?

Ensenada is considered a highly walkable destination, so the best way to get around is usually on foot. That said, if you want to take a longer trip to the outskirts of town or save yourself some time, rental cars, taxis, and even Uber rides are widely available.

What currency can I use in Ensenada?

While most businesses, especially small local vendors, prefer you to pay with Mexican Pesos, many will allow you to pay with smaller U.S. bills. Anything above a $20 bill, however, might not be possible. There is a Casa de Cambio (currency exchange) right at the cruise port for you to acquire pesos and a few others throughout the downtown core.

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Brenna Harris is a digital nomad and travel writer with a deep passion for exploring the world, reading, and beach-combing. Her life as a digital nomad enriches her writing, blending unique global experiences with a love for the great outdoors. When not wandering the globe, she cherishes her time in Canada with her husband and puppy, eager to share her top travel tips and discoveries. Brenna's articles are a treasure trove of insights for fellow travel enthusiasts, born from a life lived on the move.

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The Mexican port city of Ensenada, located in the heart of Baja California, has long been a popular choice for travellers who prefer to bypass Tijuana and enjoy an alternative town close to the USA border.

While the majority of visitors who spend one day in Ensenada arrive via a cruise ship, it is also entirely possible to experience this Mexican city as an independent traveller, even if you choose to travel to Ensenada by bus and don’t have your own car. 

Having spent three days here on our recent trip to the Mexican city, we found that were plenty of things to do in Ensenada and a number of fantastic places to eat with the highlights possible to enjoy even if you only have one day to spend in this lovely coastal town.

Table of Contents

1-Day Ensenada Itinerary 

1. start your day with fish tacos and coffee.

Chances are if you’re coming all the way to Ensenada, then one of the things that draws you here is the amazing food on offer. Therefore, there’s no point in wasting any time: start your day with a fish taco!

While some taco stands tend to open mid-morning there are plenty of great options if you want an early breakfast or have arrived in early on a cruise ship.

One of the best places for fish tacos is Tacos Fenix  – a small, unassuming cart located about a ten-minute walk from the harbour area that makes some of the best street food in Ensenada. They serve freshly made fish and shrimp tacos for 18 pesos each and have a wide range of salsas and fixings to doctor up your tacos. 

As with nearly all taco stands that we visited during our time in Ensenada, simply order what you want, take a seat at the bar or stand while eating and pay once you’re finished. 

If you want somewhere to eat breakfast closer to the harbour then another great option is  Tacos y Mariscos Alan . The owner here speaks basic English and you can get some delicious fish tacos as well as other breakfast options such as pozole soup and other local favourites.

If the salsas from the fish tacos haven’t quite woken you up then make sure to head to Cafe Kaffa  for your morning coffee. They have a range of drip coffee and espresso options and claim to be the first coffee shop of its kind in Ensenada. The regulars that we saw here over our repeat visits only further validate the quality of coffee here! 

Fish tacos from Tacos Fenix in Ensenada

2. Explore the harbour area

Whether you’re arriving by cruise ship or exploring Ensenada independently, it’s worth spending the morning in Ensenada exploring the harbour area. 

If you’ve had your morning coffee at Cafe Kaffa, you can walk down to the harbour and then walk across the esplanade, enjoying the ocean on one side and plenty of stalls to explore on the other.

One of our favourite stalls was Luci’s stand, located in the small congregation of stalls near the giant Mexican flag. She serves a wide range of drinks (as well as tamales) that are perfect as the temperature starts increasing in the morning. 

There are plenty of benches along the harbour where you can stop for a short rest to people-watch or enjoy the ocean view. It’s also worth walking down to the Mercado Negro – a local seafood market where fisherman sell their daily catch.

It’s interesting to see all the different types of fish on offer and while there are a number of restaurants nearby they tend to be more geared towards tourists rather than locals. 

Ensenada Harbour

3. Eat delicious ceviche for lunch

While Ensenada is best known for fish tacos, you can’t visit the city without trying some of the delicious ceviche tostadas on offer!

The place to go is undoubtedly La Guerrerense  – a small food cart that was originally started in 1960 and has grown in fame over the years due to famous chefs visiting such as the late Anthony Bourdain and being featured in international newspapers.  They even have a large sign outside their stall highlighting all the famous people that have visited!

The menu here is simple and absolutely delicious. They offer a wide range of basic ceviches such as shrimp, octopus, scallops and mixed fish and serve it on top of a tostada with a couple of slices of avocado.

There are then a wide range of their homemade salsas that you can add to your tostada – if you’re not sure which one to get the friendly staff will undoubtedly try to help!

Due to their growing popularity, they have also opened a restaurant across the street where you can also enjoy all their famous dishes. Both the cart and the restaurant are located only a few minutes’ walk from the harbour and is undoubtedly some of the best street food in Ensenada.

Ceviche Tostada from La Guerrerense in Ensenada

4. Enjoy wine or (and) tequila tastings

If you only have one day in Ensenada then you might not have enough time to go out to the wineries located in Valle de Guadalupe – the famous nearby wine region. 

Luckily, you can still sample some Mexican wines by visiting the  Bodega de Santo Tomas which is located only a short ten to fifteen-minute walk from the harbour. Santo Tomas is one of the oldest wineries in Mexico, having been founded in 1880 when wine had previously only typically been produced by churches.

While there are no native grapes to Mexico, wine has been produced in the region since the 17th century with grapes being bought over from Europe.

You can enjoy a tasting at Santo Tomas that includes a few of their different wines with generous pours! They also produce their own olive oil and chocolate which they also offer to sample.

The people that worked here spoke English and were able to provide a lot of detailed information about the wines which makes this a great experience for wine enthusiasts! You can also purchase any of the wines you try but there is certainly no pressure to do so.

Wine Tasting at Santo Tomas in Ensenada

If the wine tastings weren’t enough or you prefer to sample a different type of drink, then head to the Tequila Room located in the heart of Ensenada. They are extremely passionate about their tequilas and mescals here and source unique brands and bottles from all over Mexico.

They offer tip-based tastings at the store and we were able to sample 8 different tequilas and mezcals with different ages as well as learn a lot more about the production process. 

The Tequila Room is definitely a great place to develop a new level of appreciation for the drink as the quality you taste here is a lot better than the typical tequila brands you buy outside of Mexico. 

Tequila tasting at the Tequila Room in Ensenada

5. Dinner at a local restaurant 

One of the surprising elements of our trip to Ensenada was that many of the street stalls close fairly early in the evening so if you’re after an evening meal you should head to a local restaurant instead.

We had a great meal at Tacos Maru  which is a local home-style restaurant serving all types of traditional Mexican food. They do get quite busy in the evening so you might have to wait for a table however service is very quick and they give you menus and take orders while you’re waiting to speed up the process.

If you’re unsure what to order then I recommend one of the combination plates that each give you different numbers of burritos, tostadas, flautas  and enchiladas.

If you’re insistent on eating at a street stall then I recommend you have an early dinner and heading to Juarez Avenue (5th Street) where there are more local options that stay open for longer compared to those near the harbour. Los Originales Fish Tacos on the corner of Gastelum Avenue & Juarez was one of our favourite stalls on that street!

Once you’re done with dinner, Alta Baja Cervecería  is a great place for a nightcap to finish off your day. They have a great list of craft beer, both local and imported, which can be enjoyed on an outdoor terrace while overlooking Ensenada. 

Sunset over Ensenada from Alta Baja Cervecería

Is an Ensenada Day Trip from San Diego Worth It?

Ensenada’s close proximity to the US border lends travellers to consider taking a day trip from San Diego. While this is technically possible to do, it will result in a very long travel day, particularly as you risk getting delayed at the border coming back to the USA.

If you choose to travel from San Diego to Ensenada by public transport then expect about 2.5 to 3 hours of travel time each way. Driving time between the two cities is only about 2 hours but delays are very common coming back into the USA. 

There is plenty to do and places to stay in Ensenada and I, therefore, recommend visitors at least spend one night in the city rather than taking a day trip. 

San Diego to Ensenada border crossing

Have More Time?

While it’s possible to see the highlights of Ensenada within one day, there are a number of reasons why you should consider extending your trip and spending at least two or three days in Ensenada.

1. Day trips from Ensenada 

Ensenada is a great base to explore some of the region’s nearby attractions which can be difficult to go to if you only have one day in the city.

One of the most popular day trips is to visit Valle de Guadalupe – a region that has been described as the Napa Valley of Mexico. You can spend an entire day here, sampling delicious wine from different wineries, enjoying the scenic countryside and stopping for a gastronomical lunch. 

Another option is to head to the beach town of Puerto Nuevo which is known for its delicious and affordable lobsters. This can also be a great lunch stop if travelling back to San Diego in the morning rather than evening.

Finally, arguably the most popular day trip in the region is La Bufadora – a large geyser that shoots water into the air approximately every minute. This is a fairly touristy spot so I recommend trying to get there early in the morning to avoid the crowds.

2. Eat more great food

One of the best things about spending three days in Ensenada was the fact that we were able to sample so much great food in the city! Some of the other best street food we ate not mentioned in our itinerary include:

Tacos Don Zefe – Best known for their fish tacos but you can also get enchiladas, burritos and tostadas. They have table seating as well as a bar to eat at if you’re in a rush. Make sure to try their calamari taco which is difficult to find at other taco stalls.

240 Grill  – A great place to try traditional Baja dishes with an innovative twist. They have a small menu but some of their staff speak English and are very willing to help you decide what to eat! The octopus taco is sensational!

Tacos Nemo – A small cart located close to the ABC bus station. Traditional fish tacos some of the most affordable you’ll find in Ensenada!

Fish tacos in Ensenada

3. Plenty of affordable accommodation

Another great reason to spend more than one day in this lovely city is that there is plenty of affordable accommodation to choose from, irrespective of the type of traveller you are! Some of the best places to stay in Ensenada are:

Hotel Cortez – a fantastic mid-range boutique hotel that is located 5 minutes walk from the harbour. They have lovely clean and air-conditioned rooms as well as a gym and swimming pool at the hotel.

Hotel Posada El Rey Sol – Located in the centre of town but also within walking distance of the beach, this hotel offers modern rooms suitable for couples.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to search for other hotel rooms in Ensenada

Ensenada is a fantastic town to visit as either a short trip from San Diego or as part of a longer itinerary through Mexico. There are plenty of interesting things to do and fantastic places to eat that will ensure you will have a memorable trip.

Are you planning to visit Ensenada? Have any questions? Let us know in the comments below!

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About Michael Rozenblit

Michael is a co-founder and writer for The World Was Here First. Both solo and with his partner, Maggie, he has travelled to over 50 countries across the globe and has a particular affinity for the Balkans and Eastern Europe. He’s lived in numerous countries worldwide but currently resides in his hometown of Melbourne, Australia. Read more about Michael

Going to have 1 day in Ensenada on January 28th (from a cruise ship). Have you thought of creating a walking map to go with your suggestions? It would be most helpful. Great article. Thank you very much.

Hi, if I’m going to stay on late December for a week with kids. Would you recommend Ensenada to be my hotel base or Valle de Guadalupe?

Hi Jaime, I would suggest staying in Ensenada as I think it has more kid-friendly activities.

Hi, thanks for this information. Do you know if you need special car insurance if traveling to Ensenada by private car?

Hi Carmen, Yes – I believe you need special insurance for driving to Mexico. It would be best to check with your current provider to see what is covered.

We are visiting in October just for a day from a cruise ship. so thank you for the tips.

Great content!..I been wanting to go to Ensenada for the longest.My husband lived their as a kid for a couple years. However we always wondered how safe is the drive from Tijuana to Ensenada…seems it’s not bad!..thnks!

Thanks, Maggie! Hope you manage to visit Ensenada soon!

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A family of cactus standing tall during a sunset in Ensenada, Mexico

4 - Day Baja Mexico from Los Angeles, CA

Cruise itinerary.

The beach and beach activities in Long Beach, CA

Day 1: Long Beach (Los Angeles)

Day 2: catalina island, day 3: ensenada.

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Day 4: Fun Day at Sea

Day 5: long beach (los angeles).

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Get to Know Carnival Radiance

The warmth of being together — it's just so nice, right? It fact, it inspired us to create Carnival Radiance, to delight folks like you and your closest travel buds. And wouldn't you believe it, Carnival Radiance makes it all happen with a little help from some friends… For starters, can we just say how excited we are to be tipping things off with the culinary influence of Shaq? This man knows his fried chicken, and in case you have any doubt, every meal we serve at Big Chicken puts the proof on your plate. Still on the taste tip, there's two delicious spots on Carnival Radiance from Mr. Fieri himself: Guy's Burger Joint and Guy's Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse. We're not going to apologize for all the bragging about our famous friends. Not when there's so much onboard fun for kids courtesy of Dr. Seuss ® favorites like The Cat in the Hat… who you'll meet! And with all the flavor from our own homegrown RedFrog and BlueIguana spots — like tacos, pub grub and great drinks — you'll be thrilled to get acquainted with such colorful creatures. (And the cuddly ones at Build-A-Bear Workshop ® At Sea!) Big names aren't all there is to know about Carnival Radiance. There's amazing entertainment up on stage at Playlist Productions ™ , so many chances to be a champion at SportSquare ™ featuring our Ropes Course, and potentially unlimited relaxation potential for grown-ups at Serenity ™ Adult-Only Retreat. Plus the adults have plenty of spots for a drink, like the fan-favorite Alchemy Bar ™ and Heroes Tribute ™ Bar, which refreshes everyone while paying tribute to men and women of the military. For the kids, don't worry — there's three youth spaces where you can hang out with others your age, plus we've got real Zumbini ™ classes for the even-littler ones. But since we're talking together-time, your whole bunch will never run out of stuff to do on Carnival Radiance! Let's highlight some of the togetherest: Dive-In Movies ™ screens flicks everybody loves poolside, while at mini-golf you're always guaranteed to sink a hole-in-some… and really, who doesn't love select family-friendly comedy shows at Punchliner ™ Comedy Club? We're so excited about Carnival Radiance bringing all this fun together… emphasis on the “together.” (And the fun!) So come join us!

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3 Night Ensenada Cruise

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Family’s cruise ship vacation canceled days before setting sail after making brutal mistake with ‘company rep’

Family’s cruise ship vacation canceled days before setting sail after making brutal mistake with ‘company rep’

Mom brittany paine was hoping to upgrade her cabin when things suddenly fell apart.

Emily Brown

Emily Brown

A family looking forward to a cruise to Mexico were devastated to have it canceled just days in advance due to a mistake with a so-called 'company rep'.

Mom Brittany Paine was excited to be spending Mother's Day weekend with her family on board the Carnival cruise ship in May, after booking the trip one year earlier.

The ship was set to travel to Ensenada, Mexico, and a few days before setting off, Paine decided to try and make the experience even more enjoyable with a cabin upgrade.

Brittany Paine called Carnival trying to get a cabin upgrade. (NBC4 LA)

In an interview with NBC Los Angeles, the mom recalled phoning to ask about a potential upgrade, but was surprised when the alleged representative told her she had an unpaid fee.

“We noticed here that you have an outstanding balance on your upcoming cruise for $294, and you will not be able to board if that’s not taken care of,” they said, according to Paine.

Not wanting to miss out on the trip, Paine handed over the money for the unpaid fee and hung up.

But something didn't feel quite right, so she called Carnival back - this time on a different number she found.

The second time, Paine was told by the company that the first interaction she'd had was a 'scam'.

"We wouldn’t have charged you a deck fee," the actual Carnival rep said." Go ahead and dispute that with your bank.”

Carnival made it clear the first 'rep' was not legitimate. (Kevin Carter/Getty Images)

Paine quickly disputed the charge and she was refunded - but sadly, the ordeal didn't end there.

With just a matter of days to go before they set sail, Paine got an email on her phone.

“It says ‘Your cruise has been canceled.’ And my heart sank,” she recalled.

Paine called Carnival and learned someone had managed to log in to her account and cancel the cruise.

She had no idea who it was, but acknowledged that she may have shared her booking number with the person posing as a representative when she called to ask about the upgrade.

When Paine tried to rebook, she learned the cabin had already been sold on and the ship was full.

Due to Carnival's late cancelation policy, she also lost out on the $900 she had paid for the cabin.

“To come up with $900 for a trip for my kids, it was only feasible by making payments and taking out a loan. So it was a lot of money for me,” she said.

The mom was out hundreds of dollars after the scam. (NBC4 LA)

After sharing her story, NBC's investigative team did manage to reach out to Carnival and get Paine's money back.

In response to Paine's ordeal, Carnival commented: “Unfortunately scammers target travelers.”

With her initial trip canceled, Paine is now hoping to take her family away on a trip later this summer.

She's also hopeful that her story will prevent others from falling from similar tricks.

“Nobody is safe from these scams. And they get better and better,” she said.

Colleen McDaniel, editor-in-chief of the website Cruise Critic, told NBC that scammers wreak havoc if they have access to a booking number, whether it's shared via call or posted online.

“Do not share too much information about that booking," she said. "That booking number is unique to you. The second anybody has access to it, they have access to your booking."

UNILAD has contacted Carnival for comment.

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Emily Brown is UNILAD Editorial Lead at LADbible Group. She first began delivering news when she was just 11 years old - with a paper route - before graduating with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University. Emily joined UNILAD in 2018 to cover breaking news, trending stories and longer form features. She went on to become Community Desk Lead, commissioning and writing human interest stories from across the globe, before moving to the role of Editorial Lead. Emily now works alongside the UNILAD Editor to ensure the page delivers accurate, interesting and high quality content.

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The 8 best Hawaii cruises in 2024 and 2025

C ruising the Hawaiian Islands offers U.S. travelers an immersive South Pacific escape with all the comforts of home. In fact, the Aloha State is in many ways an ideal cruise destination. It has year-round sunny weather, four main islands featuring varied topographies — including sandy beaches, cascading waterfalls, volcanic mountains and vibrant green valleys — and a wide array of land- and water-based activities.

The main caveat? Hawaii cruise options are somewhat limited — just a fraction of what's available in the Caribbean — and many itineraries involve multiday crossings from the West Coast. Only one cruise line offers Hawaii itineraries throughout the year; most others visit during specific months or when repositioning ships in spring and fall.

For more cruise news, reviews and tips, sign up for TPG's cruise newsletter .

Looking for the Hawaiian Islands sailing that's right for you? Here's a look at the eight best Hawaii cruises for every type of traveler.

Norwegian Cruise Line's 7-night Inter-island Hawaii

For travelers who want more aloha time than the typical eight-hour port call allows, Norwegian Cruise Line has a solution. Its 2,186-passenger Pride of America lets vacationers sample four Hawaiian islands over seven days, with overnights in Maui and Kauai, plus port calls on both Hilo and Kona on the island of Hawaii. In total, this itinerary offers nearly 100 hours of shore time.

Pride of America sails round-trip from Honolulu every Saturday year-round. As a U.S.-flagged ship, it's the only large vessel permitted to sail this way. Not only do you skip the long Pacific crossing that most cruise ships do to reach Hawaii, but passports are not required for U.S. citizens, and you can tack on pre- or post-cruise stays on Oahu.

The overnights on Maui and Kauai also mean it's possible to try several of Hawaii's signature experiences that most port calls don't allow. Passengers can catch dusk or dawn from atop Maui's massive 10,023-foot dormant volcano with sunrise and sunset excursions to the Haleakala Crater. And with the ship in port all night on Kauai, guests who want to enjoy traditional Hawaiian cuisine, music and hula performances can book the Luau Kalamaku for a fun evening out.

Pride of America, which has been cruising Hawaii since 2005, doesn't have the onboard thrills (race track, virtual-reality gaming, waterslides) of Norwegian's newer ships , but that's okay because the islands, not the ship, are your main destination. Its American-themed decor celebrates U.S. cities in a vibrant, and at times, kitschy way, but a 2021 refurbishment left its cabins and public spaces feeling refreshed.

Many of Norwegian's specialty dining venues (which incur a surcharge) are on board, including Cagney's Steakhouse, Le Bistro (here, it's Jefferson's Bistro), Moderno Churrascaria and Teppanyaki.

Who should go: Anyone seeking a convenient way to island-hop — and see a lot of Hawaii — by making the most of the generous shore time with a combination of independent exploration and shore excursions. Most sailings attract couples ages 50 and older, although summer and holiday sailings have plenty of families on board.

Related: Best time to cruise Hawaii

UnCruise Adventures' 7-night Hawaiian Seascapes

Cruisers seeking a less traditional, more carefree Hawaii experience can have it from November to April aboard UnCruise Adventures ' 36-passenger Safari Explorer. The seven-night Hawaiian Seascapes itinerary, which begins either on Molokai or the island of Hawaii, is an unconventional one designed for those who enjoy going off the beaten path in an intimate and more authentic setting. U.S. passports aren't required to sail.

UnCruise visits four islands — Maui and Lanai plus Molokai and Hawaii — and focuses on not only their striking landscapes and underwater beauty but also the cultural traditions, cuisine and music of the Hawaiian people. On Molokai, where there's not a single traffic light and the lifestyle is slow-paced, passengers get a chance to "talk story" with locals and enjoy a pa'ina (feast) and evening jam session. Lanai activities range from snorkel, paddleboard and kayak excursions to off-road adventures exploring the privately owned island's dramatic sea cliffs, red rock formations and vast fields once filled with Dole pineapples.

Most UnCruise sailings are during Maui's humpback whale season, so sightings while cruising off the coast of Maui are possible. You might also catch glimpses of dolphins and sea turtles. A "Captain's Choice" day is a wild card determined by the weather, marine life in the area and other factors, while the final two days are spent exploring the Big Island of Hawaii — including a hike up Hualalai volcano and a skiff ride along the rugged coast.

Constructed in 1998, Safari Explorer was designed with adventure itineraries in mind (in summer the U.S.-flagged ship repositions to Alaska). Its size allows it to navigate areas larger ships can't reach, which in Hawaii means bays and coves ideal for snorkeling or watersports.

With such a small number of passengers aboard, guests get to know each other — and Safari Explorer's friendly and knowledgeable crew — quite well. Passengers come together over meals featuring locally sourced ingredients, and as all UnCruise fares include unlimited wines, spirits and microbrews, shipmates can raise a glass without worrying who's buying a round. It all lends itself to an exclusive yet utterly relaxed week of cruising.

Who should go: The ship's laid-back onboard vibe paired with its land- and water-based activities make the Hawaiian Seascapes itinerary ideal for active travelers seeking a nature-focused itinerary — although cruise fares (which start around $5,900 per person) are among the priciest for a Hawaii cruise.

Related: Why it's easier to meet new people on a smaller cruise ship

Holland America's 17-night Circle Hawaii

Travelers who have more than two weeks to spare and who prefer to arrive in Hawaii via ship rather than an airplane can do so on Holland America 's 17-night Circle Hawaii itinerary. They'd better also love sea days because crossing the Pacific from San Diego or Vancouver to Honolulu and back requires 10 days.

That means passengers enjoy five or six days in Hawaii on Kauai, Oahu, Maui and the island of Hawaii. Some itineraries stay in select ports overnight. Cruises departing from San Diego also call on Ensenada, Mexico. With either departure port, passports will be required.

The itinerary is offered in 2024 and 2025 on the 2,650-passenger Koningsdam and 1,432-passenger Zaandam.

Travelers with more time on their hands can also visit Hawaii as part of longer Pacific island cruises with Holland America. Koningsdam will sail a 35-night Hawaii, Tahiti & Marquesas itinerary in 2025 that combines visits to four Hawaiian islands with calls on five islands in French Polynesia and Fanning Island, Kiribati (and 20 sea days).

Related: Holland America unveils epic cruise to Hawaii and Alaska for 2025

Zaandam will also sail 51- to 56-night Tales of the South Pacific itineraries that visit multiple islands in Hawaii and French Polynesia along with ports in the Cook Islands, American Samoa and Fiji.

Holland America is popular with cruisers ages 60 and older, many of them retired, who have time to enjoy longer itineraries on ships that offer good value with a focus on culinary and musical enjoyment. Two of Koningsdam's most popular venues are its live entertainment area with three venues — B.B. King's Blues Club (for Memphis-style rhythm and blues), Billboard Onboard (for chart-topping hits played by a live pianist) and Rolling Stone Rock Room (for a live band playing classic rock), and World Stage, a theater with a 270-degree screen used for both special BBC Earth in Concert and theatrical productions.

Onboard specialty dining options (at an added cost) include Pinnacle Grill for steaks and seafood, Tamarind for Pan-Asian cuisine and Rudi's Sel de Mer for French Brasserie specialties and seafood.

Who should go: Mature travelers who prefer not to fly and who enjoy a more traditional cruise experience. They should also love sea days as much (or even more so) than port exploration.

Related: 16 mistakes cruisers make on cruise ship sea days

Princess Cruises' 15- or 16-night Hawaiian Islands

Princess Cruises is also a good option for longer sailings. The cruise line offers numerous round-trip itineraries to Hawaii from Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego in the fall and winter.

The majority of sailings are aboard the 3,080-passenger Crown Princess and Ruby Princess from San Francisco, and the 2,600-passenger Grand Princess and 3,080-passenger Emerald Princess from Los Angeles.

Ships are in port for nine to 11 hours in Hawaii (Hilo), Kauai and Maui and for 16 hours in Oahu. Itineraries include a stop in Ensenada, Mexico (so passports are required), plus nine or 10 sea days.

The ships feature many of Princess' popular dining venues, including Alfredo's Pizzeria (a sit-down venue serving personal-size pizzas), Crown Grill for steaks and Sabatini's Italian Trattoria. There's plenty of outdoor space for soaking up the sun — including an adults-only sun deck — and a dazzling Piazza for enjoying cocktails, gelato and pop-up street performers.

Fans of Princess' Movies Under the Stars poolside screenings (with free popcorn) and Discovery at SEA enrichment programming will have ample time to enjoy these perks on a Hawaii sailing.

Who should go: These sailings will appeal to couples or groups of friends who prefer to have a wide choice of sailing dates, can take the time to enjoy a leisurely Pacific crossing and appreciate Princess' focus on quality cuisine and a sun deck designed for relaxation rather than thrills.

Related: Best Hawaii cruise shore excursions

Celebrity's 9- to 12-night Hawaii Cruise

Travelers seeking modern interior decor on a ship designed with couples in mind can visit Hawaii aboard Celebrity Cruises ' 2,852-passenger Celebrity Solstice or 2,918-passenger Celebrity Edge on itineraries ranging from nine to 13 nights — but only if the timing is right. That's because the line offers only two sailings per ship each year (in spring and fall) as the ships reposition between Alaska and destinations in the Pacific. The itineraries are one-way (Vancouver to Honolulu or vice versa) with passports required.

These cruises call on three ports on two islands: Honolulu (Oahu) and Hilo and Kona (Hawaii), with one or two overnights in port and 10 hours ashore on one-day visits. All include five days in a row at sea. Since the itineraries either begin or end in Honolulu, there's also a chance for some pre- or post-cruise exploration.

Sea days offer opportunities to enjoy the chic, grown-up ambience and amenities aboard these ships. Each vessel offers multiple complimentary and extra-fee specialty restaurants. Celebrity Solstice features Tuscan Grille for Italian specialties and steak and Murano for modern French cuisine, while Celebrity Edge offers the whimsical Le Petit Chef and the international Eden Restaurant.

Celebrity's signature Martini Bar and many other onboard watering holes keep the grown-up vibe going day and night. Choose cruise fares that include alcohol and Wi-Fi, or pay a lower rate and pay for your drinks as you go.

Who should go: The slightly shorter one-way sailings and the ships' contemporary ambience make these itineraries ideal for couples and groups of friends seeking a relaxing escape — especially Gen Xers in their 40s and 50s, who are Celebrity's target market.

Related: 6 national parks you can reach by cruise ship (and 2 are in Hawaii)

Carnival's 14- or 15-night Hawaii from Los Angeles

If fun is your cruise mantra, the "Fun Ship" brand Carnival Cruise Line offers a handful of round-trip sailings to Hawaii from Los Angeles (Long Beach) aboard the 2,984-passenger Carnival Radiance. Like other roundtrips from the West Coast, these itineraries spend just five days in Hawaii, offering eight to 14 hours of shore time in ports on four islands: Maui, Kauai, Oahu and Hawaii. Along with enjoying eight sea days, guests will also call on Ensenada, Mexico, so passports are required.

Carnival Radiance first sailed under that name in 2021, but it's not a new ship. Before an epic makeover, it sailed for the cruise line as Carnival Victory. Ship features include many of Carnival's signature complimentary and extra-fee dining venues, including Guy's Burger Joint and Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse, BlueIguana Cantina, Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse and Bonsai Sushi Express.

Additional guest favorite destinations on board include the RedFrog Pub, Alchemy Bar and WaterWorks aquapark. Expect high-voltage theater shows from Playlist Productions at night and poolside interactive contests by day.

Who should go: Socially inclined cruisers who love Carnival's emphasis on onboard fun and can appreciate a colorful ship with a lively ambience and lots of day and evening activities.

Related: Best Hawaii cruise tips for getting the most from your island-hopping trip

Royal Caribbean's 9- to 13-night Hawaii Cruises

A megaship cruise experience to Hawaii is available, too — with pricing that's quite affordable. Royal Caribbean cruises there on two vessels in one of its newer classes of ships: the 4,180-passenger Quantum of the Seas and Ovation of the Seas.

All are one-way cruises just before or after the Alaska cruise season (so late April or early October) between Oahu and Vancouver (or vice versa). The ships call on two Hawaiian islands and spend four or five days in a row at sea. Passports are required since these itineraries begin or end in Vancouver.

Ovation of the Seas and Quantum of the Seas feature a mix of thrills for all ages. These include RipCord by iFly simulated sky diving, FlowRider simulated surfing, bumper car racing in the SeaPlex indoor activity complex and the North Star sightseeing capsule, which ascends 300 feet above the top deck for 360-degree views.

Both ships also offer 14 dining venues, including the innovative Wonderland, Jamie's Italian by Jamie Oliver and kid-favorite Dog House, as well as bar options that include Schooner Bar for by-request piano tunes, Boleros for mojitos and merengue and Bionic Bar for drinks poured by robotic bartenders. Entertainment includes live cover bands in the Music Hall and multimedia music and dance performances in Two70.

Who should go: Cruisers who love a big ship with a wide array of dining choices, all kinds of evening entertainment and plenty of exciting activities to pass the time on sea days. Quantum-class ships are great for families, but the sail dates might not work for those with school-age kids.

Related: Do you need a passport for a cruise?

Viking's 16-night Hawaiian Islands Sojourn

For a guaranteed adults-only sailing in a relaxed, boutique-style setting, upscale cruise line Viking also offers round-trip Hawaii cruises from Los Angeles in late 2024 and early 2025 on its 930-passenger Viking Neptune.

What sets Viking apart from most of the other lines offering Hawaii cruises is that it includes a free shore excursion in every port. These include a highlights tour of Honolulu and Pearl Harbor on Oahu and a visit to a scenic waterfall and the Kilohana sugar plantation on Kauai. Additional excursions can be booked at an extra charge.

The 16-night Hawaiian Islands Sojourn sailings visit four islands — Hawaii (Hilo), Oahu, Kauai and Maui — and like other round-trip sailings from the West Coast include 10 sea days and a call on Ensenada, Mexico, so passports are required.

Viking Neptune will also do 32-night Grand Hawaii and Polynesia sailings round-trip from Los Angeles in late 2024 and early 2025 that visit four islands in Hawaii and four in French Polynesia.

The ship, which debuted in 2022, features sleek Scandinavian-inspired decor, a soothing spa with a complimentary thermal area, an aft infinity pool and hot tub, a panoramic Explorer's Lounge and five onboard restaurants. Specialty restaurant Manfredi's serves an extensive menu of Italian specialties, while The Chef's Table offers rotating five-course themed menus, including Asian, French and California-inspired.

In addition to the free shore excursions, pricing includes complimentary wine or beer with lunch and dinner, specialty dining at no extra charge, crew gratuities and transfers.

Who should go: Couples who prefer the quieter ambience of a ship that doesn't allow anyone under 18 onboard, doesn't have a casino and offers presentations by regional experts that enhance immersion into local culture. Viking cruisers are generally over age 55.

Planning a cruise? Start with these stories:

  • The 5 most desirable cabin locations on any cruise ship
  • A beginners guide to picking a cruise line
  • The 8 worst cabin locations on any cruise ship
  • The ultimate guide to what to pack for a cruise
  • A quick guide to the most popular cruise lines
  • 21 tips and tricks that will make your cruise go smoothly
  • Top ways cruisers waste money
  • The ultimate guide to choosing a cruise ship cabin

Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Mysterious Misty Na Pali Coast and Waimea Canyon, Kauai, Hawaii

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10 top christmas cruises for 2024 & 2025.

Set sail for the holidays on your next cruise vacation.

Top Christmas Cruises

Laughing Azamara crew members in Christmas attire walking arm-in-arm on deck.

Courtesy of Azamara

If you're ready for a break from holiday traditions and family gatherings at home, consider booking a Christmas cruise. What makes a better present than the chance to leave all the planning, cooking, cleaning and decorating behind – and celebrate the holidays in beautiful destinations in the U.S., the Caribbean or other countries around the world?

If you're dreaming of a white Christmas, you can book a festivity-filled river cruise along Europe's iconic waterways and bundle up in your winter gear to explore the Christmas markets in the snow. If you prefer sunshine and warm temperatures, celebrate the holidays in an exotic locale in the South Pacific Ocean, sailing crystal-clear turquoise waters and relaxing on white sand beaches surrounded by palm trees.

Whether you prefer to stay close to home or jet off for a bucket list adventure, one of these cruises may just be the perfect gift to celebrate your holidays in style.

Find your perfect cruise

Hallmark Channel Christmas Cruise

Christmas on beach -chair lounges with Santa hats at sea beach

Getty Images

Put your name on the waiting list for November 2024 if you want to set sail on what Hallmark touts as the "jolliest vacation ever." The Hallmark Channel – known for its year-round holiday-themed programming with Christmas in July, Countdown to Christmas and Christmas Fridays – will host the first-ever Hallmark Channel Christmas Cruise sailings in November 2024 from Miami to the Bahamas . Lucky fans of the television channel will travel with their favorite Hallmark stars on one of two four-night cruises on Norwegian Cruise Line 's Norwegian Gem during the 2024 holiday season.

Highlights of the Hallmark Channel Christmas Cruise include photo opportunities and panels to meet the stars. Attend Christmas craft workshops or tastings with Hallmark's winemaker – the wines have names like Jingle (cabernet sauvignon) and Joy (sauvignon blanc). Guests can also look forward to "carol-oke" singalongs, cookie decorating, an ugly sweater contest and a world premiere viewing of the new Hallmark Channel Christmas movie "Countdown to Christmas."

AmaWaterways

A Christmas market stand at an AmaWaterways cruise destination.

Courtesy of AmaWaterways

AmaWaterways offers more than a dozen itineraries to visit the Christmas markets in 2024 and 2025 along the Rhine, Moselle, Main, Danube and Rhone rivers – and to see the holiday splendor of Europe's grand cities, such as Vienna , Budapest, Amsterdam and Prague. Travelers can stroll through snow-dusted medieval squares and fairytale markets. Enjoy the chalet-inspired stalls, thousands of colorful lights, festive decorations, ice skating rinks, whimsical handmade gifts, Christmas carolers, carousels and more.

The river cruise line's seven-night Iconic Christmas Markets itinerary sails from Nuremberg, Germany, to Budapest, Hungary , along the Danube. It features a visit to Nuremberg's Christkindlesmarkt – one of the world's oldest and most famous Christmas markets. Sip hot mulled wine or feuerzangenbowle (a red wine and rum punch) and sample savory specialties like Nuremberg bratwurst, flammkuchen (pizza) and kartoffelpuffer (fried potato pancakes). Be sure to save room for sweet delights like schaumkuss (also known as schokokuss), a chocolate-covered marshmallow, or lebkuchen, a traditional spiced cookie.

While on board the ship, guests can participate in festivities like tree-trimming, cookie decorating, caroling and "Shoes for St. Nick." This European tradition encourages passengers to leave their slippers outside their stateroom door before bed. In the morning, they wake up to slippers filled with tasty treats like children in Europe find on Saint Nicholas Day.

Celebrity Cruises

The Celebrity Infinity ship on the Celebrity Cruises' Canaries, Morocco, Spain Holiday itinerary.

Courtesy of Celebrity Cruises

Celebrate Christmas Day at sea in the South Pacific Ocean during Celebrity's 2024 New Zealand Holiday cruise on board Celebrity Edge. This round-trip 13-night itinerary embarks on Dec. 20, 2024, from Sydney . It includes seven ports of call and five sea days. After ringing in the new year sailing between the Bay of Islands, New Zealand and Sydney, guests will disembark the ship on Jan. 2, 2025.

If you'd prefer to travel to the Canary Islands to celebrate Christmas and usher in the new year on the Mediterranean Sea in 2025, then reserve a stateroom or suite for Celebrity Cruises ' Canaries, Morocco & Spain itinerary. The 12-night voyage sails round-trip from Barcelona , embarking a few days before Christmas 2025 on Celebrity Infinity. The festive voyage features eight ports of call, including island of Gibraltar; the Moroccan cities of Casablanca and Tangier; three destinations in the Canary Islands; and Malaga, Spain.

On the ships, guests can revel in the joyous spirit of the season with festive Christmas trees, traditional holiday meals created by a Michelin-starred chef, themed shows and pop-ups, carolers, gingerbread winter villages, and even a visit from Santa. The onboard bars serve up holiday-inspired cocktails along with other seasonal favorites, including spiked apple cider and classic mulled wine. On New Year's Eve, plan to join in the merriment with fellow cruisers during the big countdown bash.

Christmas carolers on the Azamara Onward cruise ship.

If you want to cross South Africa off your list of must-visit destinations , consider spending Christmas and New Year's Eve sailing round-trip from Cape Town on Azamara 's 15-night South Africa Intensive Voyage. The 2024 voyage departs Dec. 20 on Azamara Quest and includes stops in Port Elizabeth, home to one of the densest elephant populations in the world, and Richards Bay, which is teeming with exotic wildlife and stunning landscapes. For a once-in-lifetime experience, reserve a spot on the Safari 4X4 Hippo Cruise in the Hluhluwe–iMfolozi Park. This protected park is a white rhino sanctuary, home to South Africa's "big five": lions, elephants, buffalos, rhinos and leopards.

If the Land Down Under is at the top of your list of places to visit, plan ahead for next year to spend the holidays aboard Azamara Pursuit in 2025. The line's 21-night Australia Intensive Voyage will set sail on Dec. 14, 2025, from Singapore . This extended sailing features 10 ports of call in three countries, with two overnight stays, before travelers disembark in Melbourne, Australia , on Jan. 4, 2026.

Guests on board the holiday cruises will be treated to Christmas performances, including singalongs and carols performed by the crew. There will be special menus in the restaurants, holiday-themed buffets, religious services and a tree-trimming party. Festive treats like hot chocolate, cookies and snacks are provided throughout the cruise. The New Year's Eve White Night party, where all the guests don their best white attire, will take place throughout the ships and on the pool deck with entertainment, music and light bites.

People stand on the front deck of a Viking Christmas cruise on the Rhine.

Courtesy of Viking

Viking's 12-day Christmas on the Main & Moselle cruise sails between Paris and Prague in 2024 and 2025. The adults-only sailing affords passengers 18 and older the opportunity to visit four European countries: France, Germany, Luxembourg and the Czech Republic. In addition to browsing the chic boutiques in Paris and a variety of Christmas markets in Germany, you'll want to explore iconic landmarks like Reims Cathedral in France and the Luxembourg American Cemetery. Don't miss the famed wines produced in the regions, including Champagne, Moselle, riesling, Müller-Thurgau and gewürztraminer. In Cochem, Germany, you'll want to sample white mulled wine and regional delicacies produced from the red vineyard peach.

The holiday spirit continues on board the ships with Christmas-themed cooking demonstrations in addition to festive decorations with garland, lights and gingerbread houses. Guests will also taste regional cuisine, enjoy cultural performances on board the ship and ashore and learn about the history of the Christmas markets and local holiday traditions.

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Disney Cruise Line

Goofy, Mickey and Minny characters on a Disney Cruise Line Very Merrytime cruise.

Kent Phillips | Courtesy of Disney Cruise Line

Disney Cruise Line offers dozens of Christmas-themed cruises from November through December in 2024. Cruisers looking to celebrate the holidays with Disney's cast of characters can book a Very Merrytime cruise as short as a three-night sailing from Port Canaveral, Florida, to the Bahamas . For a weeklong getaway, consider the line's seven-night Eastern Caribbean voyage on board Disney Fantasy that sails round-trip from Port Canaveral. Ports of call on the itinerary include Tortola in the British Virgin Islands; St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands; and the cruise line's private island , Disney Castaway Cay.

On the first evening of every sailing, guests can gather around the 24-foot-tall Christmas tree for the tree lighting ceremony, a holiday singalong and the introduction of Santa Claus. Other festivities on Disney Cruise Line include the fun-filled Mickey and Minnie's Holiday Party, themed Very Merrytime activities for children of all ages, carol singers, and Christmas-inspired food and beverages. Disney characters like Mickey and Minnie Mouse will be sporting jolly new holiday attire during the special voyages.

Windstar Cruises

Christmas tree next to a winding staircase on a Windstar Cruises ship.

Courtesy of Windstar Cruises

Celebrate the holidays with a bucket list getaway to the sun-drenched islands of Tahiti . On this voyage, you'll set sail a few days before Christmas 2024 aboard the 312-passenger, all-suite yacht Star Breeze for Windstar's seven-day Dreams of Tahiti cruise. The round-trip sailing from Papeete, Tahiti, includes stops in the islands of Moorea, Raiatea, Motu Mahea (Tahaa), Bora Bora and Huahine. In Bora Bora, guests will be treated to a special evening Windstar Destination Discovery Event with dinner under the stars and traditional Polynesian fire dancing.

For an extended European holiday in 2025, the line's Star Collector: Winter in Spain and the Rivieras cruise sails from Malaga, Spain, to Rome on Dec. 13 aboard the intimate Star Legend. The 14-day itinerary includes ports of call in Spain, France, Italy and Gibraltar. During the cruise, you can visit must-see attractions like Michelangelo's sculpture of David in Florence and explore the historic Roman theater ruins in Cartagena, Spain. Cruisegoers will also have a chance to sample wines from the famed appellations of Tuscany in Italy and Andalusia in Spain, and taste culinary specialties like bouillabaisse in France.

On board the ships, guests can join in the holiday spirit with festive Christmas trees and decorations as well as holiday-inspired cocktails and treats. Special programming for the voyages includes a Christmas movie, a gala tea, an interdenominational Christmas service and a Christmas Eve dinner. Christmas morning brings more celebrations throughout the day, with holiday meals, a Yuletide afternoon tea and a Christmas dinner followed by a variety show in the evening.

Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Gem on open water.

Courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line

Grab the swimsuit, flip-flops and sunglasses – and check the Panama Canal off your must-visit list – for a tropical holiday aboard Norwegian Cruise Line 's Norwegian Gem. The line's 11-day cruisetour begins Dec. 9, 2024, and includes three days to see the canal that some consider the "eighth wonder of the world" and visit vibrant Panama City. After embarking on Dec. 11, you'll transit the canal and then sail to ports in Costa Rica; Jamaica; Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands; Cozumel, Mexico; and Norwegian's private island, Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas, before disembarking in Miami on Dec. 20.

Plan ahead to Christmas 2025 by reserving accommodations on Norwegian's newest vessel – and the first in the Prima Plus class – Norwegian Aqua. The seven-day Caribbean round-trip voyage from Miami on the new ship (scheduled to launch in April 2025) will set sail on Dec. 21, 2025. The cruise includes tropical ports of call in the Dominican Republic, the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, and Great Stirrup Cay. For a special celebration, splurge on luxurious suite accommodations in The Haven. The ship-within-a-ship retreat features a private restaurant, a lounge, a sundeck, a concierge desk and 24-hour butler service.

Holiday-themed activities on Norwegian's vessels vary by itinerary and ship. Still, guests will find plenty of festive fun on board, including traditional holiday fare and holiday-inspired musical sets, trivia, and family and youth programming. Guests are invited to offer interdenominational services for fellow passengers during the sailing. You'll also find Hanukkah services listed in the Freestyle Daily Program.

Holland America Line

Christmas trees and other decor on a Holland America Line cruise ship.

Courtesy of Holland America Line

Celebrate the Christmas holidays in Hawaii during Holland America Line 's round-trip Circle Hawaii Holiday voyage from San Diego on the ship Zaandam, embarking on Dec. 18, 2024. Guests aboard this voyage will sail to Honolulu, Hilo and Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii as well as Kahului, Maui . You'll also get to enjoy scenic cruising at the Kilauea Volcano; visit Ensenada, Mexico; and join in the holiday festivities on the ship during relaxing days at sea.

If you've been dreaming of visiting far-flung destinations in Asia, such as Halong Bay, Vietnam, or Bangkok, Thailand – or seeing Komodo dragons in the wild in Indonesia – the 28-day Far East & Indonesian Holiday Collector itinerary will be an adventure of a lifetime. The voyage on board Westerdam embarks in Hong Kong on Dec. 7, 2025, with exotic ports of call in Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. On Christmas Day, guests will visit the picturesque port town of Probolinggo on the coast of East Java in Indonesia. On New Year's Eve, the ship docks in Semarang, Indonesia; here, you can visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Borobudur, home to an impressive Buddhist temple site dating back to the eighth and ninth centuries.

Back on board the ships, holiday celebrations include a Christmas tree lighting, Santa's arrival, a midnight mass, a Christmas concert, special menus for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and a New Year's Eve Party and countdown. There are Hanukkah festivities with candle lightings and latkes served in the Lido. Guests will also enjoy viewing the holiday villages around the ship created by Holland America's culinary team.

Silversea Cruises

Penguins on an iceberg seen from a small excursion boat from the Silversea Cruises Silver Cloud cruise ship.

Courtesy of Silversea Cruises

For a life-changing experience and the merriest Christmas of all, spend the holiday with several species of waddling penguins, giant seals and majestic whales while visiting the ice-covered shores of the White Continent. The 10-day round-trip expedition from Puerto Williams, Chile, on Silversea 's Silver Cloud sets sail a week before Christmas in 2024 for the Antarctica Peninsula. Five days of excursions allow travelers on this Antarctica cruise to explore this surreal and magical part of the world. Weather permitting, guests will even take a Zodiac cruise with the expedition team in the South Shetland Islands the day after Christmas.

If you're planning ahead to 2025, consider a longer adventure where you'd fly the infamous Drake Passage one way from Puerto Williams (saving two days at sea) and land on King George Island in Antarctica. This 15-day expedition aboard Silver Cloud begins on Dec. 21, 2025, and features four days of excursions in Antarctica and three days in the South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands. You'll also spend three days in the Falkland Islands, where you'll have more chances for unforgettable wildlife encounters with black-browed albatrosses, fur seals, Commerson's dolphins, imperial cormorants, and adorable rockhopper and Magellanic penguins.

Festive touches on the ship include Christmas trees and lights, gingerbread houses, holiday arts and crafts, caroling, religious services, and musical performances by the crew and professional entertainers. Guests will also enjoy a traditional holiday dinner on Christmas Day.

Why Trust U.S. News Travel

Gwen Pratesi has been an avid cruiser since her early 20s. She has sailed to destinations around the globe on nearly every type of cruise ship built, including the newest megaships, luxury yachts, expedition vessels, and river ships in Europe and on the Mekong River. She used her extensive knowledge and experience with the cruise industry to write this article. Pratesi covers the travel and culinary industries for major publications, including U.S. News & World Report.

You might also be interested in:

  • The Top River Cruise Lines
  • The Top Cruises on Small Ships
  • The Best Themed Cruises
  • The Best Christmas Lights Displays in the U.S.
  • The Best Christmas Vacations

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    Ultimate Flexibility: Free Cancellation & Full Refund if You Cancel up to 24 Hours Before. Top Tours & Activities in Ensenada! Easy Book & Flexible Cancellation Policy.

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    Get Everything You Want in a Hotel: Low Rates, Great Reviews & More. Search for the Best Ensenada Deals on TripAdvisor's Reviews.

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    20. Go on an ATV Adventure. The best way to explore Mexico's rugged terrain is on an ATV. Board one and explore Ensenada's golden coastline, La Bufadora, the Wine Country, and the hot springs ...

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    13. Golf by the ocean in Bajamar. Golfers will love the chance to play 9 or 18 holes at this gorgeous oceanside golf course dubbed "The Pebble Beach of Mexico.". Just a 40-minute taxi or Uber ride north of the cruise port, Bajamar is an inspiring place to spend a port day and get in a round of golf. 14.

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    Enjoy a free water show. It may not be the Bellagio fountains, but the free water show in Ensenada is fun to watch and totally free. Parque De La Bandera is a popular park in Ensenada, Mexico and ...

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    Swimming, fishing, kayaking and other water sports are all among the options for fun things to do in Ensenada. 3. Deep Sea Fishing. Venture by boat into the open ocean in search of marlin, tuna, barracuda, wahoo and many other species on a deep sea fishing excursion, departing from the marina downtown.

  7. Top 10 things to do in Ensenada, Mexico on a cruise

    The Valle de Guadalupe is the premiere wine region in Mexico, producing around 80% of Mexican wine. This region is around 30 miles from Ensenada's port, making visiting the valley a popular activity to do while docked in Ensenada. Excursions to the valley typically include tours of local wineries and a wine tasting.

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    3. Visit The Fish Market. Ensenada fish market building. A popular attraction in Ensenada is the Ensenada Fish Market, located near the waterfront. This local market, known as the Mercado Negro is a must-visit for seafood lovers, as it offers a wide selection of fresh catch of the day.

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    Best of all, it's easily one of the top free things to do in Ensenada. Whether you want to sunbathe on the soft sand, swim in the clear water, surf the gentle waves, or explore the pristine beach, you can do all that (and more) in peace. Ensenada Playa Hermosa. 14. Try Deep-Sea Fishing.

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  11. What To Do at The Ensenada Mexico Cruise Port

    One of the best cruise excursions from Ensenada, Mexico, this trip is also easy to do on your own. Map: Google Maps. Visit this natural blowhole, one of the largest in North America, where ocean waves create an impressive water spout. This attraction is about 45 minutes by car from the cruise port and is best visited with a pre-arranged ...

  12. 6 Enchanting Ensenada Day Trips

    The Bufadora Ensenada Baja California Mexico. One of the most enchanting Ensenada day trips takes you 17 miles south of Ensenada to La Bufadora (The Blowhole) at the Punta Banda peninsula. Get your phones ready to catch the world's second-largest marine geyser shoot water over 60 feet in the air!

  13. Things to Do in Ensenada While on Cruise (One Day in Ensenada, Mexico

    Since Tijuana isn't a nice destination, the ships stop in the lovely Ensenada, Mexico. These are the best things to do in Ensenada while on cruise - the best things to do with one day in Ensenada. Ensenada Self Walking Tour. It's possible to do your own walking tour, the total walking time is about 1 hour which leaves plenty of time to ...

  14. 5 ½ Things To Do While In Port In Ensenada, Mexico

    Ensenada lies about 67 miles south of the U.S.-Mexico border and 89 miles south of San Diego. The Port of Ensenada is one of Mexico's most visited ports of call for major cruise lines. And as you would expect, there are many activities to keep all those cruise ship guests busy. Below are 5 ½ things to do while in port in Ensenada. Yep, 5 ½.

  15. What to Do in Ensenada on a Cruise

    The Malecón. There are so many things to do in Ensenada while on cruise. When you leave the terminal, the first thing you will notice is the Malecón, a wide walkway along the oceanfront where you'll find tourist attractions, shops, and restaurants. Among the popular seafood dishes the area is known for is fish/prawn tacos.

  16. Plan a Vacation to Ensenada, Mexico

    There is no shortage of meaningful things to do on a getaway cruise to Ensenada, Mexico. Plan a trip to this exciting city where you can step back in time through the city's history and immerse yourself in its culture via one of our amazing West Coast Getaway itineraries or Classic California Coast cruises. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons/Beau ...

  17. Ensenada Cruises: Best Cruises to Ensenada, Mexico

    The Ensenada, Mexico cruise port is conveniently located close to the city center, making it easy to see top sights, do some shopping, and get a bite to eat or drink shortly after getting off your ship. You'll also find a market selling souvenirs right by the cruise pier, along with a liquor store and pharmacy.

  18. Ensenada Cruises

    Ensenada, Mexico. Thanks to its stunning coastline, Ensenada will give you plenty of postcard-worthy moments…, and it couldn't be easier to get there. Escape to Mexico's original seaside getaway with Carnival cruises to Ensenada. Once a favorite hideaway for high-rolling Hollywood stars, Ensenada is now one of Mexico's most popular ...

  19. Cruises to Ensenada, Mexico

    Best Deals to Ensenada, Mexico. These cruises are selling out fast, get them while you can. Discover all you need to cruise to Ensenada, Mexico. Visit royalcaribbean.com to get information on Ensenada, Mexico cruises, including things to do, dining, ports of call, cruise ships, shore excursions, offers, and more.

  20. 10 Best Things To Do In Ensenada, Mexico

    La Bufadora (marine geyser), Ensenada, Mexico. La Bufadora is the second-largest ocean blowhole in the world, making this a "must-see" even for the most experienced traveler who tends to skip the more popular attractions. This marine geyser promises a salty spray that reaches 100ft in the air, thanks to the force of water hitting a sea cave ...

  21. How to Spend One Day in Ensenada (or More!)

    1-Day Ensenada Itinerary. 1. Start your day with fish tacos and coffee. Chances are if you're coming all the way to Ensenada, then one of the things that draws you here is the amazing food on offer. Therefore, there's no point in wasting any time: start your day with a fish taco!

  22. Cruises to Ensenada, Mexico

    Cruise to Ensenada, Mexico As you prepare for your trip to Ensenada, Mexico, you may wonder what awaits you in addition to the golden, palm fringed shores of Estero and Mona Lisa beaches. Ensenada offers a bevy of activities and experiences, whether you hike to the towering waterfall of El Salto canyon, or take to the sea on a whale watching boat.

  23. 8 BEST Ensenada Shore Excursions: Things to Do, Cruise Day Tour

    Ensenada, once a quaint Mexican fishing port, has become the second-busiest port in all of Mexico. The city has a casual feel but offers cruisers lots of the expected and unexpected when it comes ...

  24. 13 Thrilling Things To Do In Ensenada, Mexico

    The post 13 Thrilling Things To Do In Ensenada, Mexico appeared first on San Diego Explorer. Located on the Baja California Peninsula, Ensenada is a bustling port city just 80 miles south of San ...

  25. 4-Day Baja Mexico Cruise from Los Angeles

    Book a 4 Day Baja Mexico Cruise From Los Angeles, CA today at Carnival.com aboard the Carnival Radiance. ... Carnival Radiance. Start: Long Beach (Los Angeles) > Catalina Island > Ensenada > End: Long Beach (Los Angeles) From $ 0 * average per person, 0 person ... 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM. SHORE EXCURSIONS. Day 3: Ensenada. 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM. SHORE ...

  26. 3 Night Ensenada Cruise

    The 3 Night Ensenada Cruise visits Los Angeles, California; Ensenada, Mexico; Los Angeles, California. Explore our cruise itineraries and choose from a variety of rooms depending on your needs and budget. Start planning your next cruise vacation by selecting a destination and departure port.

  27. Family's cruise ship vacation canceled days before setting ...

    Mom Brittany Paine was excited to be spending Mother's Day weekend with her family on board the Carnival cruise ship in May, after booking the trip one year earlier. The ship was set to travel to Ensenada, Mexico, and a few days before setting off, Paine decided to try and make the experience even more enjoyable with a cabin upgrade.

  28. The 8 best Hawaii cruises in 2024 and 2025

    Cruises departing from San Diego also call on Ensenada, Mexico. With either departure port, passports will be required. The itinerary is offered in 2024 and 2025 on the 2,650-passenger Koningsdam ...

  29. 10 Top Christmas Cruises for 2024 & 2025

    AmaWaterways offers more than a dozen itineraries to visit the Christmas markets in 2024 and 2025 along the Rhine, Moselle, Main, Danube and Rhone rivers - and to see the holiday splendor of ...