Travelers who aren't intimidated by driving in Mexico should consider a visit to Ensenada, a first-rate tourist destination 70 miles south of San Diego, on the Pacific coast of Mexico's Baja Peninsula.
"We've been overlooked—Ensenada is Mexico's best-kept secret," says Jean-Loup Bitterlin, president of the Ensenada Tourism Board. "Since so many people get here by driving, Ensenada has been thought of as a blue-collar destination."
Ensenada at a Glance
Bitterlin, also the owner of the 60-year-old El Rey Sol
Restaurant, has some ideas on how
These wineries are easily reached by car, and many offer wine tasting and tours. Some wineries require reservations, so inquire in advance.
"The three things that put us on the map are our wineries, our main shopping street, Paseo Calle Primera, and our blowhole," says Bitterlin.
La Bufadora, which lies 22 miles south of Ensenada, is a natural blowhole that spouts seawater 70 feet into the air.
In Bitterlin's opinion, Ensenada doesn't need a mega attraction on the scale of a Disneyland or SeaWorld.
"Although we will be getting a new $6 million aquarium, adjacent to the cruise terminal, which will open within two years," he says. Bitterlin also notes that discussions are underway to build a cable-car ride, or waterfront gondola that will go from the cruise ship terminal up the mountain overlooking the town.
According to Bitterlin, there are 3,000 hotel rooms in the
"We presently have enough hotel rooms to meet demand,
but there is $1.5 billion in condo and retirement option projects
underway," he says. "
Because many visitors will have arrived with their own cars, this makes it convenient to stay at one of the resort-style hotels just outside of town.
The 48-room Las Rosas Hotel & Spa (866-447-6727) features ocean views from all of its rooms. Through August, prices start at $181 for a standard room; this will go up to $212 in September.
The $40 million Hotel Coral & Marina (52 646 175 0000) has 147 ocean view suites, 353 marina slips and a spa. Prices start at $160 for a standard room.
los Siete Patios (cell: 00 1 858 414 4825, email@example.com)
occupies a seaside setting on two acres, 10 minutes north of
The 52-room Posada El Rey Sol (888-311-6871) is a good choice for those who
want to be in the center of