Ensenada, Baja California

Ensenada, Baja California

Infobox Settlement
name = Ensenada
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imagesize = 300px
image_caption = The Port of Ensenada

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pushpin_map_caption =Location in Mexico
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subdivision_name1 = Baja California
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population_total =460,075
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Ensenada (its full name is: Ensenada De Todos Santos) is the third-largest city in the Mexican state of
Baja California. It is located 116 km (about 70 miles) south of Tijuana, at coord|31|47|N|116|36|W|. The city had a 2005 census population of 460,075.Ensenada is also the municipal seat of Ensenada Municipality, one of the five into which the state is divided. Ensenada is locally referred as La Bella Cenicienta del Pacífico (The Cinderella of the Pacific). Located in the Bahía de Todos Santos — an inlet of the Pacific Ocean — Ensenada is an important commercial and fishing port as well as a cruise ship stop. There is also a navy base, an army base and a military airfield, which functions as an airport of entry into Mexico.

The city is backed by small mountain ranges. Due to its location on the Pacific Ocean and Mediterranean latitude, the weather tends to be mild year-round. Although the winter rain season is short and the area is prone to prolonged droughts, Ensenada sits in the heart of a wine country that is widely regarded as the best in Mexico. It is said that the first "vitis vinifera" made it to the peninsula (specifically to the San Ignacio Mission) in 1703, when Jesuit Padre Juan de Ugarte planted the first vineyards there.


Ensenada is the only deep water port in Baja California and is part of standard shipping routes that directly link it with the Mexican cities of La Paz, Manzanillo, Mazatlán, Acapulco and Lázaro Cárdenas, as well as the U.S. cities of San Diego, Long Beach and Los Angeles, the Guatemalan city of Puerto Quetzal, the Chilean city of Valparaíso, the Japanese city of Yokohama and the Chinese city of Hong Kong.

Ensenada is not part of any rail transport grid, although there are plans to build a rail line to the United States border in the short to mid-term future.


Ensenada is conveniently located some 120 kilometers south of the border with the United States, connected via a four lane toll road MX-1D and a two lane free road, which makes it a natural destination for tourists on short vacations by car. Ensenada's proximity to California also makes it a destination for short cruise ship trips from the Los Angeles area. There are four ships that make weekly trips to Ensenada as of 2005. One of these ships, The Monarch of the Seas, operated by Royal Carribean Cruise Lines will cease operations in the Pacific in mid October 2008.

A few minutes south of town on highway 1 is the second-largest of three known major marine geysers in the world. This one is known as "La Bufadora" ("The Blowhole").

Ensenada area has several celebrated surfing spots, such as San Miguel Beach, California Trailer Park, Stacks and 3 M's (Tres Emes in Spanish), which are located in the north coast of the city. Todos Santos Island (better known as 'Todos') is a small island located west of Ensenada (about 2 hours by boat), and a world famous surfing spot. The Billabong XXL surfing contest has been held at Todos Santos Island several times. Wave faces can reach above 60 feet on the island. Brad Gerlach, 2006 winner of Big XXL, surfed a wave of 68 feet in December 2006.

Further south in the municipality are spots famous for their excellent windsurfing.

The world-renowned Baja 1000 off-road race is held in Ensenada every year in late November, while the Baja 500 race is held in early June. Off-road enthusiasts use Ensenada year-round as a starting point to explore Baja California.

The grey whale's annual migration from Alaska to the lagoons of Baja California Sur between the months of December and March, and back in the months of April and May, can be seen from the coast of Ensenada. Sightseeing tours are available every day during migration season.

The nearby town of Guadalupe, was founded by immigrant Russian Molokans in the late nineteenth century. Most of the Molokan community re-migrated towards California's Central Valley in the mid-twentieth century, and a Russian Museum commemorating their legacy in the region has been established. The traditional economic activities in Guadalupe are olive and wine production. Currently, about 90%of wine production in Mexico originates in the valleys of Guadalupe and adjacent Calafia. Many local wine producers offer tours and tastings.

Every year during the month of August, the beginning of wine harvest season is celebrated in the Guadalupe Valley and in the city of Ensenada with a two week long series of cultural and culinary events, all under the title banner of Fiestas de la Vendimia (Wine Harvest Festival). This event attracts people from all over the world.

The Ensenada Carnaval is one of the country's largest, as thousands of people gather in the streets for six days and nights.

The Sierra San Pedro Mártir mountain range and National Park is located within the municipality of Ensenada, about 240 km SE of the city of Ensenada.

There is a street in Ensenada called "la primera" (meaning "the first" in English). It's a classic tourism spot in Ensenada due to its many "Curios, Curiosidades" (trinquet and souvenir stores), restaurants, hotels, bars and popular clubs such as the Hussong's Cantina and Papas & Beer. There are plenty of things to buy and see as well as many places to go. "La Primera" is a very busy street, filled with tourists and locals. It is normal to go through a lot of traffic, especially at nighttime. "La Primera" is just one block away from "Ventana al Mar" (Window upon sea), a boardwalk/seawall avenue where an enormous Mexican flag is located.

La bufadora or the blowhole, its the second biggest marine geyser in the world. It is located at the end of a long strip of shopping and markets.

Commercial fishing

More than 90 species are commercially fished in Ensenada, the most important of which are tuna, shrimp, lobster, abalone, sea urchin, sardine, mackerel and seaweed. A large percentage of all catches are exported to the Far East.

A tuna embargo imposed on Mexico during the 1990s caused most of the fishing fleet to relocate to the ports of Guaymas, Sonora, and Mazatlán, Sinaloa, further south. In order to survive, Ensenada's tuna industry has shifted its focus to tuna farming, exporting the highly valued meat exclusively to Japan.

port Fishing

Ensenada Baja California has been known for sport fishing over fifty years. Each year hundreds of anglers head for Ensenada to go fishing and take advantage of the shorter distances needed to travel by sea to get to the big catch. The short range day trips are good for cranking in Bass, Bonita, Barracuda, Cod and Yellowtail, while the long range trips pull in Tuna, Albacore, Dorado.


The municipality of Ensenada has three main agricultural zones: the Guadalupe-Calafia valleys to the north, the Ojos Negros valley to the east and the San Quintin valley to the south. The main crops are grapes, olives, tomato, wheat, alfalfa, asparagus, green onion and broccoli.


One of the earliest activities in the Ensenada region was gold and silver mining, and some of these mines are still in limited operation. In recent years, very large amounts of gravel have been extracted from creekbeds in rural areas and exported for infrastructure works in the nearby state of California in the United States. However, this has been a controversial activity, as environmentalists have argued that depleting the creekbeds will decrease the amount of water that is absorbed by the soil during the brief rain season, thereby negatively impacting the agricultural industry. As of November 2005, the extraction of gravel remains unchecked. Said extraction activities have been linked to former Governor, Ernesto Ruffo.

Maquiladora industry

Ensenada has six major industrial parks, compared to 26 in Mexicali and 51 in Tijuana.


The following higher education institutions are based in Ensenada.
* [http://www.ens.uabc.mx/ Ensenada campus] of the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California (UABC)
* [http://xochicalco.edu.mx/ Universidad Xochicalco]
* [http://www.itensenada.edu.mx/ Instituto Tecnológico de Ensenada] (ITE)
* [http://www.ens.cetys.mx/ Ensenada campus] of the Centro de Enseñanza Técnica y Superior (CETyS)
* Centro de Investigación Científica y de Educación Superior de Ensenada (CICESE)
* [http://www.tecbc.mx/ Tecnológico de Baja California] (TBC)
* [http://bufadora.astrosen.unam.mx/indexeda.html Instituto de Astronomía sede Ensenada] (IA-UNAM).
* [http://www.ccmc.unam.mx/ Centro de Ciencias de la Materia Condensada de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México] (CCMC-UNAM).With UNAM's research headquarters, the Marine Sciences Department of the UABC and the thriving CICESE scientific institute in town, Ensenada boasts the highest concentration of scientists and science students in all of Latin America, chiefly in the fields of astronomy, physics, biology, geology and oceanography. Fittingly, Ensenada has been coined The City Of Science.

El Tigre International Airport

An international airport is to be built at km. 80 of the Tijuana-Ensenada toll road. It will be the third airport serving the greater San Diego-Tijuana metropolitan area, together with the other two major airports of Tijuana and San Diego. Construction is expected to begin on the first quarter of 2008 and initial investment is estimated at around $230 million dollars. The airstrip will be able to receive large aircraft including the Airbus A380 and the Boeing 747. International flights to Hong Kong, Singapore, Shanghai, Tokyo, Frankfurt and Bogotá are planned. [ cite journal
quotes =
author = Karla Lorena Lamas
date = 27th
year = 2007
month = July
title = Será internacional nuevo aeropuerto
journal = El Vigía
volume =
issue =
pages =
doi =
id =
url = http://www.elvigia.net/print.php?seccion=generales&id=37037
language =
format =
accessdate = 2007-07-30


*Ween, a popular U.S rock band references Ensenada in their song Bananas and Blow from 2001's White Pepper. The line goes, "I went to see my mom in Ensenada/And I left a little something to help the time go by/ Just a little something to help to keep you high"

*In the animated TV series South Park, on an episode of the fourth Season (Probably), Kenny seems to be lost in Ensenada and calls to his friends from a pay phone next to the club "Papas & Beer". Thinking he is in hell, when the boys ask him to tell them what hell is like he answers: "(Um...) mariachi music is heard, and the street is lively enough". [ "Probably" Episode Transcript]

*When a cruise ship that comes from another city is about to leave port, it lets out a beautiful whale sound that alerts the passengers they have to go to the ship to leave Ensenada.

*One of the Fender manufacturing plants is located in Ensenada.

*Warren Zevon references the city in his song Carmelita: "And I'm there with her in Ensenada, And I'm here in Echo Park."

*On the 4th seasons's second episode (The Gringos) of the popular teen drama The O.C., Seth and Ryan go to Ensenada to find Volchok, who had caused the death of Marissa Cooper.

*There are strong rumors within Ensenada's inhabitants that Alphonse Gabriel Capone owned the locally famous Riviera Pacifico Casino and Hotel, which now serves as convention and cultural center.

*Ensenada's oral history also says that Leon Trotsky lived there for several months in the early 1930s, as a waiting point after applying for a passport to the United States, which was denied. Consequently, Trotsky moved to Mexico City.

*The city is also the setting of a song by Neil Diamond titled "In Ensenada". The song can be found on the album "Heartlight".

*Lyle Lovett titled his 1996 album "The Road To Ensenada" as a reference to the spectacular 100 km coastal toll-road between Tijuana and Ensenada.

*In an extended live rendition of "The End" by The Doors (released in the album "In Concert" in 1991), Jim Morrison name-checks Ensenada. Due to the proximity to Los Angeles and the fact that he could be virtually unnoticed in Ensenada, it is said that Morrison visited frequently.

*The Hollywood - based British actor Nigel Bruce, best remembered for his portrayal of Doctor Watson opposite Basil Rathbone's Sherlock Holmes, was born in Ensenada in 1895 while his parents were on holiday in the city.

*In one episode of "The Oblongs" when Pickles tries to break into a factory she says, "If we get caught, meet at the yellow rose in Ensenada."

*The city was referenced in the song "Detonation Boulevard" by The Sisters of Mercy: "I caught something weird in Ensenada." The song appears on the 1990 album "Vision Thing".

*In one episode of "Veronica Mars", there is a reference to a shot glass Logan Echolls bought for his deceased girlfriend, which read "I got baked in Ensenada."


* [http://www.inegi.gob.mx/est/contenidos/espanol/sistemas/conteo2005/localidad/iter/ Link to tables of population data from Census of 2005] INEGI: Instituto Nacional de Estadística, Geografía e Informática

External links

* [http://www.ensenada.gob.mx City website]
* [http://www.puertoensenada.com.mx/ Port authority]

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