Port of Ensenada
It's quite a change from 1542 when Portuguese explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo sailed into the sheltered bay in his quest for the mythical Northwest Passage, or sixty years later, when Sebastian Vizcaino named the area Ensenada de Todos los Santos after All Saints' Day. Over the centuries, many have left their mark here, from Spanish missionaries and Russian settlers to gold miners and gamblers.
The result is eclectic mix -- from Mexico's oldest winery and Baja's first cantina to a plaza featuring statues of national heroes. In addition to expected attractions like the large tourist shopping area and fish market, Ensenada also offers the unexpected - an elegant Prohibition-era casino and a blowhole that spews water sixty feet into the air.
Find a Cruise to the Mexican Riviera
Ensenada is an informal city dependent on fishing, shipping and tourism. Among the highlights are fresh seafood, cantinas, crafts shopping, sport fishing and winter whale watching. Beaches are located north and south of the city.
Top Ensenada Itineraries
Carnival Inspiration3 Day Baja Mexico ItineraryLos Angeles, Ensenada, Los AngelesNow
Royal Princess7 Night U. S. Pacific Coast CruiseLos Angeles, San Francisco, Monterey, San Diego, Ensenada, Los AngelesNow
Oosterdam17-day Circle HawaiiSan Diego, Honolulu, Honolulu, Maui, Kona , Hilo, Ensenada, San DiegoNow
Carnival Inspiration4 Day Baja Mexico ItineraryLos Angeles, Catalina Island , Ensenada, Los AngelesNow
Celebrity Eclipse15 Night Hawaii CruiseLos Angeles, Hilo, Maui, Honolulu, Ensenada, Los AngelesNow
Where You're Docked
Cruise ships share an industrial harbor with commercial and sport fishing fleets, shipping containers and tankers.
Ensenada's cruise dock features a market with numerous vendors. In addition to souvenirs, there's a pharmacy and liquor store.
The cruise ship pier is within easy walking distance of Avenida Lopez Mateos, the main tourist zone for shopping and dining. Alternatively, taxis and shuttles are available at the dock to take passengers on the short ride downtown. Taxis are also available at corner stands along Avenida Lopez Mateos.
Currency & Best Way to Get Money
Mexico's currency is the peso, divided into 100 centavos. In addition to the peso, US dollars are widely accepted in Baja, as are credit cards. ATM machines for withdrawing pesos are available in several downtown banks.
Spanish is the official language, with English spoken throughout the tourist areas.
Food and Drink
Lunch is the biggest meal of the day, enjoyed between 1 - 4 p.m. Restaurants catering to tourists use menus printed in English; local eateries combine Spanish and English. No menus are necessary for the popular street vendors selling churros (deep fried dough dipped in sugar and cinnamon) and fish tacos.
Seafood: For fine seafood and dramatic ocean views, reserve a table at Punta Morro (1.5 miles north of the city at Punta Morro Hotel 800-526-6676).
Mexican: Hungry vaqueros head to Bronco's for breakfast, lunch and dinner where mesquite-grilled steaks are the specialty (Av Lopez Mateos 1525).
Happy Hour: Near Hussong's Cantina, Papas & Beer (Av Ruiz 102) attracts a rowdy college crowd and stays open until 3 am. For a quieter setting, visit the Bar Andaluz at the Riviera del Pacifico.
Brunch: The restaurant at Las Rosas Hotel is a local favorite, serving Mexican and international dishes (north of town on Highway 1, 174-4360).
Margarita: Hussong's Cantina (Avenida Ruiz 113), the landmark watering hole, serves small but potent margaritas from 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. daily.
More Cruise Itineraries
- Carnival Imagination Cruises to the Mexican Riviera
- Carnival Inspiration Cruises to the Mexican Riviera
- Disney Wonder Cruises to the Mexican Riviera
- Grand Princess Cruises to Pacific Coastal
- Star Princess Cruises to Hawaii
- Emerald Princess Cruises to Hawaii
- Celebrity Eclipse Cruises to Pacific Coastal