Just before I left Southern California headed east across the continent, I first went south to visit some very good friends of mine as well to have some fun! My first stop was Ensenada, Mexico. Translated it means bay or cove. It is both a commercial and fishing port of call and a popular tourist destination. It is located on the Mexico Highway 1 approximately 80 miles south of the US border. It is a beautiful beach town with a lot of culture and a lot to do. According to the locals it is also the birthplace of the margarita as well as the starting point of the famous annual Baja 1000 off road race.
Coming into Ensenada is beautiful. The Mexico Highway 1 snakes around the peninsula and runs right along the Pacific ocean with jagged cliffs on your left hand side that cascade down into the beach. As you come around a bend the mountains and cliffs open up to reveal the city and bay in the valley down below.
Near the corner of Primera Street and Ruiz Avenue is the central hub of the nightlife in the city. There are many restaurants and bars all over this area including Papas and beer (which is a tourist trap) and Hussongs Cantina, which is the oldest and best bar in Baja as far as I am concerned. It is the equivalent of La Revolucion Street in Tijuana but much much cleaner, safer and all around better. If you want to go out for drinks then this is the place to come.
Of all of the places that I went down in Mexico Hussong’s Cantina is one of my favorite places to go. It is the oldest bar in all of Baja California. It was established in 1892 and has run ever since. It is also the birthplace of the margarita. Both locals and tourists frequent the place and there is always live music, dancing and culture. The drinks are cheap and the atmosphere is electric. It is one of the coolest places to go check out, have a few margaritas, dance and listen to great live mariachi music. If you go to Ensenada you have to go check out Hussongs. You will not be disappointed. I loved it so much I bought the sweatshirt….. Literally
Where to Stay
Last time we went down we stayed at the San Nicolas Hotel/Casino. It is an old hotel but it is maintained very well and it is clean. It is also the starting line for the Baja 1000 off road race. They have three hot tubs and a pool located right next to the bar. It is not very expensive and I feel that you get more than what you are paying for. It is a very short and safe walk to down town night life as well. The food is pretty good and The margarita’s they make there are the very best ones I have ever had….. and I have had a lot of margaritas. They hand squeeze the key limes to make it and whatever else it is that they put in it…. simply makes it nothing short of incredible. Even if you do not stay at this hotel…. stop by for the margarita.
There is so Much good food in Ensenada! As always, If you find an Adobada/El Pastor vertical Spit anywhere… Stop for a taco. In addition I would highly recommend the Carmen Restaurant. It is a little shop that is locally owned and operated by wonderful people and the food is great. While it is not your typical Mexican fare it is fantastic. While I was there I had an Octopus burger that was exquisitely prepared. If you see Alejandra’s Mariscos street cart is amazing! you can usually spot it because it is surrounded by people… which is always a good sign you have struck food gold.
Given that this was the beginning of our travels, Baja is one of my favorite places int he world and I am not certain when I will get a chance to go back to the peninsula again, I felt that a new Tattoo was appropriate. After a lot of research and talking with the locals I went to check out a few parlors in the area. Now I know what your thinking…. (Ewww gross, Mexico is unsanitary and ill bet they use dirty needles.) This could not be farther from the truth if you go to the right places. We chose to get ink at a place called Inkduction located in downtown Ensenada. It was clean, professional, everyone spoke English and the work they did was great!
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