Author: FIONA CILIOTTA
Weekend Trip To Baja California
In March Colby and I took a spontaneous road trip from San Diego to Ensenada, Mexico shortly after getting engaged. Like all spur-of-the-moment, unplanned trips, we learned a few lessons along the way and have some valuable insight to share on what you need in order to plan the best trip to Baja California.
What to expect at the border crossing (if you are driving):
- The way into Mexico from the U.S. went relatively smooth. We did experience some traffic starting about a mile before the border but traffic was flowing and we got through in about 30-45 minutes. Crossing the border back into the U.S. from Mexico was a COMPLETELY different story. We sat in traffic, moving no more than a foot every 15 minutes for roughly 3 hours. What took us a total of 2.5 hours on the way there, took us about 6 hours on the return.
- In general, traffic at the border is very unpredictable. Prepare for your trip by downloading the Border Wait Time app to know what to expect. Also, having an off-line Google Map of Tijuana and the rest of the territory you will be in while on your trip will be very useful if you do not have an international phone plan.
Lodging In Ensenada
- We stayed at an Airbnb at San Miguel Beach that cost a total of $96.20 for 3 nights. This is an ideal stay for a traveling duo on a budget. It is also great location due to the proximity to both the beach and wineries.
- After exploring the area that weekend we found that the Punta Banda Peninsula would have been another great location to stay at for its incredible views and more remote location. On our next trip we plan on heading down to explore this area.
What to Do In Esenada
Fishing Options In Ensenada
- Fish From Land
- We had a lot of fun fishing off our local beach, San Miguel Beach. We caught a sandbass in the first 10 minutes out there and made delicious fish tacos with local ingredients we bought at the market across our Airbnb.
TIP If you’re making fish tacos in Mexico, do NOT forget to buy the fresh tortillas– the most crucial ingredient for any Mexican taco.
Get A Fishing Charter In Ensenada
For a more fishing-centered day, we recommend booking a fishing charter. These charters typically target Yellowtail, Mackerel, Yellowfin Tuna, Calico Bass, Rock Cod, Red Snapper, Whitefish, Bonito, Barracuda, and Salmon Grouper.
Choosing Your Fishing Charter In Ensenada
1) Mara’s Sportfishing is a popular one that was advertised in the town. You can contact them by phone at +52-646-141-5182 and +52-646-154-2239 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org or check out other top rated Ensenada fishing charters.
Sites To See In Ensenada
Below are a pens filled with bluefin tuna that are being farmed offshore Northern Baja
Visit La Bufadora
La Bufadora is a blowhole located on the Punta Banda Peninsula. It is a necessary stop, even if just for the photo op and the views you experience on the drive there. Make sure you are on an empty stomach when you arrive, as you will want to eat the street corn, tacos and other snacks that will inundate your senses as you walk through the town.
Wineries in Ensenada
Part of what makes Ensenada so unique is the stark contrast of having beautiful beaches and the tropics alongside mountain landscapes with a Mediterranean climate that is ideal for cultivating grapes. Within just a few miles from the ocean you can visit the “Ruta del Vino”, a stretch in the Guadalupe Valley with over 100 wineries. Like Napa, but without the big corporations and bus-load of tourists that arrive daily.
If you are looking to entertain the non-fishermen of the group, this is a great activity to add to your itinerary.
- The two wineries that we visited were:
- Cuatro Cuatros – apart from being a winery there are a ton of other activities offered here – horseback riding tours, sailing, mountain biking, helicopter rides and more.
- Alximia Vino Elemental- like many vineyards in Ensenada, this one is family owned. It has a great outdoor seating area, with hammocks and a laid back vibe ideal for big groups
March was the very beginning of wine season so many wineries were closed. If you do plan on going to wineries on your trip, we recommend booking your trip closer to the summer months.
For safe transportation (in the case you don't have someone willing to be a designated driver) you can hire uberValle and have a private driver chauffeur you around the wine route for the day.
For more information on what to do in Ensenada, Mexico you can check out the links below:
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