Ensenada is a port city in Baja Mexico, ranked 3rd-largest in the Mexican state Baja California Sur. The city covers a total area of 61 km2 (24 mi2) and has population around 0,52 million. It is located approx 125 km (78 mi) south of San Diego (CA USA).
Ensenada is one of the first settlements established in the Californias. It has emerged as an aerospace center and later was developed as premier cruise ship travel destination. There is a nearby area (to the north-east) where wine grapes are grown. In 1703 were planted the first vineyards in the region (at San Ignacio Mission).
The municipality's main agricultural zones are three - Guadalupe-Calafia (to the north), Ojos Negros (to the east) and San Quintin (to the south). The region's main crops are grapes, olives, wheat, alfalfa, tomato, asparagus, green onions, broccoli.
Port Ensenada is located on the coastline of Bahia de Todos Santos (inlet of Pacific Ocean, on the peninsula's Gold Coast). The port is an important fishing, tourist and commercial (cargo / containership) port. It is also home to a Mexican navy base (serving the country's Pacific Naval Force / RN-2 region), Airport, military airfield (doubling as airport for entry into Mexico).
The port has a major influence on the region's economy as it is Baja California's (and the Peninsula's) only deep-water port. The port is directly linked to several marine shipping routes connecting Baja California with La Paz, Manzanillo, Mazatlán, Acapulco, Lazaro Cardenas (Mexico's largest seaport), San Diego, Long Beach and Los Angeles, Puerto Quetzal, Valparaiso-Santiago, Yokohama Japan, Hong Kong China.
Port's largest revenues are from cruise ship dockings, followed by commercial fishing. The most economically important fisheries are tuna, shrimp, lobster, abalone, sea urchin, sardine, mackerel, seaweed. Most of the catches are exported to East Asia (Japan and China). The local tuna farming industry exports the meat almost exclusively to Japan.
The port has commercial, industrial and passenger (ferry and cruise) terminals. The Bahia de Todos Santos coast has numerous boat and yacht marinas. Smaller cruise vessels (including superyachts and pleasure craft) may also dock at the marinas Baja Fiesta, Cruiseport Village, Coral and Baja Naval. There also dock commercial and sportfishing boats.
Ensenada is often included in USA-based cruise itineraries (including to Hawaii) as nearest to USA foreign port. This is done in order the ships to comply with the US cabotage laws (restricting coastwise trade and passengers / goods transportation within the USA).
A "shore excursion" option from Ensenada is the bus tour to Valle de Guadalupe (approx 20 km / 12 mi north of the city). Valle de Guadalupe is increasingly popular among tourists for its wines and Baja Med (fusion) cuisine that combines traditional Mexican-Mediterranean-Asian food specialties.
Ensenada cruise terminal
Cruise ships to Ensenada dock at the Naval cruise terminal, located in the port's industrial area. The pier is located near the Malecon boardwalk avenue - famous with its enormous Mexican flag. On the terminal, there is a market with numerous shops (including for hand-made souvenirs, conveniencies, pharmacy, store for tobaccos and liquors). There is a taxi rank and a small parking area (also used by tour buses). Shuttle bus service between the terminal and the city is at extra charge.
The cruise ship terminal is located near Avenida Lopez Mateos (Ensenada's tourist area) with its numerous shops, bars and dining venues.
New Carnival cruise terminal
On February 10, 2018, Carnival Cruise Line revealed the company's multi-million-dollar Ensenada port development project. The news was announced at the re-opening ceremony for the Long Beach Cruise Terminal (Los Angeles). Currently, Ensenada is visited mainly on Carnival's short cruises (3-day and 4-day itineraries) leaving roundtrip from Long Beach.
The new port project will provide Carnival cruise passengers with unique dining and retail shopping experiences and attractions. Details on the port development are yet to be revealed.
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