Saturday, January 23rd ~ Ensenada, Mexico
Waking up just as the sun was emerging from behind the hills surrounding Ensenada Bay, we snapped a few sunrise photos and then waddled off to meal number 572 since we boarded.
Located just 70 miles south of the international border and only a 90-minute drive from San Diego, we were looking forward to getting back on land after five days at sea.
“The twentieth-century development of Ensenada was assisted by prohibition, which sent Americans and Canadians south of their border in search of entertainment and alcohol, developing first Tijuana, then Rosarito, and finally Ensenada as tourist destinations.” ~ Wikipedia
The very first cruise Tim and I took together, the year we met in 1990, stopped in both Catalina and Ensenada. We have not been back since. Last time we were there, we simply walked around the main shopping area and did not take any tours. This time we decided to take a 1/2 day excursion that went to both La Bufadora and Riviera del Pacifico.
With just over a half hour drive before our first stop, our guide, Irma, welcomed us to Baja, and spoke about the local economy, stressing that Ensenada is a safe area to visit. Tourism is a primary source of revenue for the city, as well as an excellent wine industry, commercial fishing and fish farming.
In two different articles, I read that Ensenada boasts originating both the fish taco and the margarita. Not sure if that is accurate of not, but whomever is responsible for these culinary delights has my utmost respect!
Known for a mild year-round climate, the winter rainy season is short and the area is prone to prolonged droughts, which can threaten its grape harvests.
It is a several block walk from where the bus parks to get to see the main attraction. The roadway is lined on both sides with vendors offering samples, discount coupons, and hardy greetings urging us to step into their shops. There was time for shopping following our visit to La Bufadora, where I somehow managed to find a silver starfish that works well on my neck slide.
Besides the normal Mexican souvenirs such as leather goods (wallets, purses, belts, boots), ceramic dishes, poncho, Tequilla, vanilla, paintings and carvings, hammocks, and silver jewelry, you could also get your hair braided, buy cheap pharmaceutical drugs (Viagra, penicillin, and amoxicillin to name a few), or eat a taco or grilled clam.
According to Princess, La Bufadora is the largest marine geyser in the world, blowing saltwater up to 100 feet into the air. Other sources list Kiama (Australia) as the largest in the world, but it measures blowing only 82 feet high.
Also known as a blowhole, it is formed by a sea cave that grows inward and then upwards into a vertical shaft that extend to the surface.
In about 2006 we visited the Halona Blowhole (near Waikiki) on the island of Oahu, Hawaii with a 30 foot tall blow.
Riviera del Pacifico
“The Hotel Riviera del Pacifico was opened in 1930, briefly placing Ensenada on the international glamor map and was visited several times by President Miguel Aleman, international artists and political personalities; yet unlike the Hotel del Coronado, it was never a sustained success (despite giving rise to the claim that the Margarita was invented there). It really flourished only in the early 1950s, at which time Ensenada’s population had risen to 20,000. The hotel finally closed in 1964. It was later reopened as a cultural center and museum.” ~ Wikipedia
As with many historic buildings, I was more interested in looking at the ceilings. Here is why:
If you are interested to know more about how to make a Margarita, and some alternative stories as to its origins, you can click here.
Ensenada also has other claims to fame – the Baja 1000 off-road race, held each year in November, the Baja 500 race in June and the Newport to Ensenada International Yacht race, which begins in Newport Beach and finishes in Ensenada.
Gratitude Moment: Today I am grateful to be back on land. Did I love our sea days – YES. It has been so relaxing. I feel rested, refreshed and renewed. But now that my batteries have been recharged I was ready to explore, experience and discover something new.
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