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Ensenada .... worth getting off the ship?


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Good morning,

 

We'll be on a short 4 day cruise in January on the Sapphire anchoring at Catalina and docking in Ensenada. We've cruised Princess in Europe and Alaska and have always done some great shore excursions. My "gut" is telling me that there isn't much to do/see there. My "gut" is also wondering if we do go ashore should we worry about eating the seafood?

 

Would love to hear back from those of you who've been there. Thanks in advance.

 

Mike

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We've got Ensenada as our last stop for our upcoming Hawaii cruise. Based on what I've read, I'm not optimistic for going ashore. I understand it's a requirement for the ship but I don't think it's a requirement for me! I've got a spa day scheduled....

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I have been going to Ensenada and Rosarito for many years as it was always a fun day trip for those of us who live a short drive away. We would eat tacos off the carts and shop. IMHO it is really not worth getting off of the ship. The shopping bargains really aren't there anymore and the shore excursions are very limited. I have only gotten sick one time in 40 years of visiting this area and it was when I ate in a hotel at the insistence of a friend who was nervous about eating "street" food. If I feel like it I get off the ship and get a couple of fish tacos from a street vendor and get back on. Most of the time I treat it like a sea day.

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"Worth it" means different things to different folks!

IF you have not been to Ensenada before it would be a decent new experience to get off the ship and wander.

I'd also consider taking the shore excursion that goes to the wineries nearby and/or to La Bufadora, the blowhole just south of town.

I wouldn't worry about the food as folks from San Diego go down there all the time for local getaways! There are also lots of snow birds from the USA who make their winter homes nearby!

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We had a great day in Ensenada on our May Coastal cruise. All the other ports were pretty overcast and cool. We got off in Ensenada and it was nice and sunny. Walked into town, went to Papas n Beer and went upstairs and had a margarita and people watched while we talked to another couple from the ship that was there.

As we left to go back to the ship, a bar had a buffet set up on the sidewalk and a few tables outside and it was free with the purchase of drinks. While there, we had our picture taken by a street vendor for $5 with an old poloroid camera. It was a great day! I would love to go back again.

Edited by pppiglet
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We always get off the ship in Ensenada. Town is a 10 minute walk or you can take the shuttle for a few dollars ($2?)pp.

 

There are some adventure tours (Carnival offers them no idea about Princess)- Horseback riding, ATV, Jeep.

 

Other tours go to the Bufadora or several wineries.

The Bufadora is a blowhole and is very good after a storm. The winery tour goes to two wineries- Dona Lupe also has housemade jams & jellies, La Cetto is a full winery tour of the barrels, etc.

The town shuttle drivers also offer a tour to the wineries.

 

When walking off the main tourist streets be mindful of the sidewalks, there are open utility holes in them.

 

Do a search and there are several threads about where to eat and what to see. There are at least two museums in town that are nice.

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There was a time I would never get off in Ensenada, however my last few cruises it has really been nice. Very clean and no pesky peddlers hounding you.

 

Did the Cello wine tour and really had a good time.

 

Doesn't hurt to try it, you just may like it. :)

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  • 3 weeks later...

We stopped in Ensenada during our April 2012 Sapphire Princess cruise. We had not planned on going ashore until a couple we met during dinner encouraged us to take the winery excursion through PCL. At that time it was only $35/pp and it was fantastic! We were each given a bottle of wine as well. It's now $45/pp. :( Sign of the times I guess.

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We stopped in Ensenada during our April 2012 Sapphire Princess cruise. We had not planned on going ashore until a couple we met during dinner encouraged us to take the winery excursion through PCL. At that time it was only $35/pp and it was fantastic! We were each given a bottle of wine as well. It's now $45/pp. :( Sign of the times I guess.

 

Since princess has stopped letting passengers bring a bottle of wine on from shore, did they let you keep it, or hold it until the end of the cruise?

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Since princess has stopped letting passengers bring a bottle of wine on from shore, did they let you keep it, or hold it until the end of the cruise?

 

They let us keep it. We were surprised it wasn't taken from us upon return from the excursion. I didn't see them taking the bottles from anyone else on our excursion either.

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My reason for getting off in Ensenada is to buy vanilla flavoring. I like to bake and Mexico has wonderful pure vanilla. Make sure you get the good stuff (pure not artificial flavoring). I always buy several bottles until I can get back for more. LOL

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  • 2 weeks later...

I like Ensenada for a few reasons:

1. small town --- quiet for the most part.

2. Great place to get a new pair of glasses or contact lenses if its time for your eye exam and you need a new Rx.

3. Great prices on fabric --- great fabric shop just off the main drag near Rositas Cantina

4. Great little places to eat, get Mexican coffee (yum!) and pastries ---these are everywhere

5. The cops don't hassle me when I set up my easel to paint in whatever area I want --- cops in Ensenada are very cool and nice to me. Always. A couple have even bought paintings from me. (and like a good neighbor, I give them a great discount.)

 

 

La Bufadora is no big deal in my opinion...when you get there, you will say to yourself, "I came xyz hundred miles to look at a hole...."

 

The mercado near La Bufadora really doesn't offer much in the way of bargains if that's what you're looking for...most is overpriced junk. But, that's just me...

 

Winery tours are nice also. Ensenada is what YOU make of it...nice, quiet little town with time for shopping, and then back to the ship for lunch and pool time.

Edited by artist47
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Edit time expired so I want to add:

 

6. There is a little Russian shop (believe it or not) off the main drag, around the corner from Hussongs. (They might have moved in the last few years but someone will know where they are...) They are a Russian family who import and sell beautiful Russian handi-crafts. I am a Russo-phile and speak Russian, as well as being Eastern Orthodox, so this family is on my "favorite list"...really nice people and very cool stuff--- a great chance to buy /have a piece of the "Mother Russia" if you cannot afford to actually go there. :)

 

RE: the mercado flea market at La Bufadora .i have always gotten better prices in town on the main drag and there are fewer "chicklet children" begging....and that brings me to a very important point:

 

please do NOT give money to the begging children---the police don't like it, and the social services in Mexico want those children in SCHOOL. if pax continue to support them, their parents will not send them to school....PLEASE... I know it's hard to resist them, because they are so sweet and you *think* you are helping, but you are NOT...you are not supporting that child..you are supporting the parent(s) who refuse to send them to school and are using them as child labor. If you see one or more of these children, find a police officer and tell them. (off my soap box now.)

Edited by artist47
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My reason for getting off in Ensenada is to buy vanilla flavoring. I like to bake and Mexico has wonderful pure vanilla. Make sure you get the good stuff (pure not artificial flavoring). I always buy several bottles until I can get back for more. LOL

 

Sort of a silly question...can you buy vanilla in small bottles? As in 3 oz so you can put it in your carry on when flying?

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We love Ensenada. We grab shrimp cocktails at the marina, then head over to Hussongs for a few beers.

 

We made the obligatory legal stop in Ensenada on the way back from Hawaii in December. It's really a nothing town. So we were strolling on the sorry main drag and saw this intriguing looking old bar. In fact, I spotted cowboy hats inside and told my wife, "Hey, let's go."

 

Hussongs is a real-life tavern, with sawdust and peanut shells on the floor, historic pictures on the wall and lots of authentic atmosphere. While we were sipping our Coke and agua con gas, a wedding party came in. Priceless.

 

Chances are you might see a bridal party during your visit, too, because Hussongs seems to be a favorite watering hole after weddings. Since the place consists of one big room, everything is on the stage.

 

Hussong's might even have mariachi music later; I don't know.

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Sort of a silly question...can you buy vanilla in small bottles? As in 3 oz so you can put it in your carry on when flying?

 

I've never seen it in little bottles. Also, the last time I bought some and flew home, I just put it in my checked luggage and Customs let me count it as "duty free alcohol". I don't know why??? LOL...

But in any case, if it doesn't work out to buy some while you are there (the purser's office should be able to tell you if you will be able to take it home) you can buy it locally in the US, in any Mexican bodega.

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I took a cruise in 2008 that stopped in Ensenada. My dd's were young adults and this was the first trip we had taken together since they became adults. We went shopping for a while and just explored the town. Found a nice restaurant and enjoyed lunch with a pitcher of Margaritas. My older dd then bought us all tequila shots. Needless to say, we were a bit inebriated but not sloppy or out of control. Although none of us are big drinkers, it remains a very fond (and funny) memory for us. We also found a local supermarket and bought vanilla and tequila to take home at a good price. Even if you get off the ship for just a few hours, it's always nice to wander around town.

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Ensenada has a lot to offer ,I can name you atleast more than 50 great things to do.... it also depends on what you like to do...

 

From kayaks.atv tours,ziplines,lots and lots of great food options,indian reservations, cave paitings I can go on and on..

 

 

Ensenada is the biggest county in Mexico .. when you get off the cruise you only see very little most great things to do in Ensenada are a bit outside the donwtown area ..

 

it's very hard for tourist to get to know Ensenada . even long time visitors, and even locals dont know all that Ensenada offers becuase there is so many hidden great stuff..

there ....

 

yes the blowhole is cool , but there is lots lots more great options .

 

i have found super great stuff that's not even on the local tourist info ..

Edited by Dave_Baja
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  • 2 weeks later...
I've never seen it in little bottles. Also, the last time I bought some and flew home, I just put it in my checked luggage and Customs let me count it as "duty free alcohol". I don't know why??? LOL...

But in any case, if it doesn't work out to buy some while you are there (the purser's office should be able to tell you if you will be able to take it home) you can buy it locally in the US, in any Mexican bodega.

what store do u buy vanilla at? i'd be curious to get some.

and also i want to find the RUssian store! thats really neat.

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  • 4 weeks later...

thinking of getting off ship for a brief visit - little shopping, lunch/drink....but back with many hours to spare! As I keep hearing that the boat doesn't wait for you....so I'd rather be back with HOURS to spare!

 

rpcv77 - sounds like my idea for an onshore visit....with my young adult children (to keep them within my sights while enjoying a little outing when docked). going in June.

Whereabouts did you go for shopping and your luncheon/margaritas?

as an avid baker, gotta buy some mexican vanilla to bring home....

 

what is the 'russian store'?

 

where abouts are ziplining? is it something that is recommended to be done through a cruise ship excursion? Dave_Baja - is there some place close to ship docking that this can be done by going on our own?

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Califor6,

The two main shopping areas were Avenjda Juarez (more local) and Avenida Mateo Lopez (more touristy, but fun). We had our lovely luncheon at a small restaurant that wasn't touristy, but I'd be hard put to remember the name :)

We walked from the ship into the town and it was nice to walk back so as to walk off the lunch and drinks. There was also a little shuttle that was inexpensive, but the ship is very close by. English is widely spoken but bit of Spanish never hurts.

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