Having not visited Catalina before, and being that it was December and the water is too frigid for our warm bodies, I decided the best thing to do would be to explore the little town of Avalon. We had a few choices: golf cart, trolley, bike, or walking.
I kept reading about how walkable the town is and we are young enough, so I decided to go that route. If we had our toddler in tow, we might have opted for another option.
Since we had little idea what was around and google maps can only tell you so much about a place, I decided we would sign up for the walking tour with a Catalina Naturalist. I’m so glad we did! It wasn’t too expensive and Michael was so nice and so informative. He even ran a little over our tour time, but that was fine with us. He checked first to make sure no one had a second tour to catch. He led us around town and we got a history of the island and he pointed out the points of interest.
After the tour we were able to walk around ‘front street’. We found Catalina Island Brew House, a coffee shop that also serves beer! They have 8 taps with local Southern California craft beer. A great find for us local San Diegans. We spent quite a bit of time there. They had great selections from Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego. We shopped a little in the shops on ‘front street’ and got back on the ship for a much needed nap.
In Ensenada we got up and ready and squeezed in a quick breakfast at the MDR because we had a 9am Winery tour! It’s never too early to start, on vacation, right? We had a knowledgeable guide, Rigo (aka Curly). He gave us a brief tour on our way out of town. The drive to the winery area, Guadalupe, is not bad. It is similar to areas in Central/East San Diego County, so it almost looked like we were home! The first stop is L.A. Cetto, a LARGE commercialized winery. They gave us A LOT of samples… not small and not all good, but what do you expect, really? They are just trying to get you to drink and buy ;). They also served bread, olives, and dipping oil. They also asked for tips, which is interesting, because we were also told they all work on salary! The second stop was a little mom and pop place, Dona Lupe. Mama still works every day, at their little shop. It was homey and welcoming vs large and commercialized (L.A. Cetto). Their wine was not fantastic, but they had some interesting dessert wines, so we picked up a bottle as a gift. They served bread with hot sauces that they sell on premises and a thin pizza. In their shop they had another man selling delicious dips! All in all this tour was a good value @ $40pp. We had a good time and met some nice people. We had aspirations of exploring Ensenada afterward, but when we returned to the ship we ate and took a nap instead. ïŠ We will be back again.