1. Watch the Sunset
I know that Sunsets are a special time of the day, any day, anywhere; at least that’s the case for me. But if there’s something special about the West Coast of Mexico, it is the sunsets. It’s a full hour long show, at the very least.
You better come with a LOT of battery on that Iphone, or your solar charger (I see you Mr. Torrelier) because the show WILL go on and you will NOT want to stop snapping away. I have literally over 700 sunset pictures ( just of the sun over the ocean )…and that’s just on my phone.
We were lucky enough to rent places on the coast for our entire stay, and so we made this a daily event. We were also lucky enough to experience all types of weather in one week. From rain and clouds to fully sunny and warm all day. The great thing about Baja is, that no matter how warm the day gets, the sunset is bound to bring some winds and cool air with it.
Here are some of our favorite Sunset Moments in Ensenada.
2. Visit El Valle de Guadalupe
El Valle de Guadalupe is NOT just the wine route, even though that is what it is mostly known for. The entire valley is filled with gems; from wineries, to art galleries, unique stays and internationally acclaimed restaurants. To top it all off, the area is one of the most populars for hikes and nature walks around Baja.
We were surprised to see its growth, how easy it is to get to and from Ensenada, and most notably how almost every winery was Eco friendly/earth conscious AND offered VEGAN and Vegetarian options.
The cherry on top? LOTS of wineries (and obviously hiking sites) are dog friendly. Just don’t forget to clean after you pet AND keep them on a leash AT all times.
TIP: If you are looking for some authentic food, head to the very-popular-with-good-reason “La cocina de Dona Esthela“. Expect to wait at least 1 hr on weekends or busy times (after 9am) but if you are looking for traditional Mexican breakfast cuisine…GO THERE. I have also never seeing such a busy restaurant offer that level of good and caring service.
This was the taco… one taco. Singular. 😳
3. Go to Playa Aguascalientes
Ensenada is a beautiful coastal town, and one where you can take beautiful shots of the beaches. However, I have been warned by everyone, locals and tourists alike, not to go in the water. The ocean here is apparently contaminated, and even when you go to Ensenada’s most popular beach, Playa Hermosa, nobody is getting in the water.
However, you know I am not one to see the ocean and not get in, so I made it a personal mission to find, ONE, (if only) good body of water around this area.
The solution = Playa Aguascalientes!
Playa Aguascalientes ( Spanish for warm water ) is a beach mostly known by locals and expats and it is AMAZING!
Aside from being a huge beach area with plenty of room for everyone, it is also good for kayaking, paddle boarding ( although the water can be rough ) & the water is some of the warmest around. This is because of warm water currents that are easily accessible both from the sand and beach area.
You should try making a hole for yourself in the sand near the shore and digging deep enough for the warm water to come up. Then let the waves crash in, and you have your own Jacuzzi!!
If you google this beach, you may not get the exact spot, but it is about 30-40 minutes south of Ensenada. Ensenada has some of the nicest people I have ever met in my travels, just ask a local for directions, that’s what we did!
P.S. If you get famished on the way there ( like us ) just stop at El Forno, a cute family owned restaurant serving all local food made to order. It’s next to Sharky’s (amazing Micheladas….no alcohol served in El Forno) and you can get the drink from Sharky’s and bring to El Forno…and everybody wins!
El Forno has food I don’t have words to describe. If I could lend you my palate I would.
4. Taste Local Beer – There are more microbreweries than I can count.
Two years ago when we came around these parts, we did not know this was such a hub for Microbreweries. I guess the beer Gods saw Baja and thought, “Hey, this place is great, let’s make something awesome happen there!” and VOILA the most amazing beers in Mexico were born!
I am, and have been for a while, an IPA girl. Now, let me tell you, this past week, I have tried stouts I would ship to my mother!!! ( And she does not drink beer )
Baja has some amazing breweries and more than one place where you should stop.
Pressed for time? Stop at Margueritas and try different local Breweries and food trucks all in one spot with some of the most beautiful places on the planet!
There’s also a full bar in there for those of you needing a tequila shot to put up with the shock of seeing such a spectacular sunset.
5. Have a Margarita…or 5 ( they claim the famous drink originated here )
One day, I was looking for a place to get my nose piercing re-done ( it keeps closing ) and while asking around this lady borderline forced us to visit a bar nearby that had “The best margarita in the world”. I kid you not. These people are not messing around.
This is when I learned, that the traditional Mexican drink that has gotten many of us to realize the meaning of “black out drunk” was indeed (or so they say…not taking any sides, just reporting the news) born here.
And NOT just here in Ensenada… more specifically, it was born in one of two places that have been fighting for this title for over a century. YES A CENTURY!!!
We went to both, did the deed, and although I won’t deny a good time was had and the palates were happy, I personally did not think they were anything out of the extraordinary.
Mind you, Hussongs was extremely busy when we went, and Bar Andaluz was getting ready for some sort of outside theater performance.
Both places felt very local, and I would certainly recommend trying them out. However, if you are looking for a good Margarita experience, try Stella Cucina Al Forno ( also best pizza in Town ). Their tamarind Margarita made me wonder where tamarind had been all my life.
6. Go on a culinary tour – From Mariscos to Vegan
One thing I did NOT expect to find in Ensenada, is the array of amazing and diverse culinary experiences you are sure to be delighted with, no matter how long you stay. A simple search will show you an array of diverse eateries, from food trucks serving some of the freshest fish tacos , to Vegan friendly joints that use recycled bicycles as their theme….even the chairs have old bike parts. It’s such a good time in Recicleteando!!!
Don’t forget to try street food, as there are some gems Yelp and google (and even I) can’t tell you about. As a good rule of thumb, if you see a big line outside, it means them tacos are going to be GOOD!!!
What’s your favorite thing to do in Ensenada ?