Charles and I both really enjoyed Ensenada, and we (and others that we talked to) were surprised by how much it felt like Mexico (instead of a border or tourist town). Except for the days the cruise ships showed up – more than half our days there. The most startling was the Disney cruise, which loudly played a few bars of “When You Wish Upon a Star” to get people on & off the ship. Very surreal awakening.

Notes for boaters:

  • You will need to both check in & check out with the local port captain. Make sure to leave a day at the end of your trip to get the check-out completed.
  • Because of our minor snafu with a marina reservation, we ended up at Ensenada Cruiseport Village (ECV). ECV docks are in excellent condition (better than Baja Naval, but BN is fine for a short stay). Showers are cleaned constantly.
  • ECV is cheaper for a month than for 5 days, and they do not charge an additional fee for the documentation process.
  • The water in Ensenada is all salty, their local desalinization plant is not effective enough. Elsewhere, you can filter dock water, but in Ensenada, buy water. ECV has a dispenser near the office, or the office can arrange delivery.

We stayed 10/19 to 10/28, and spent most of that time eating out, working on boat projects, taking long walks, and taking it easy (i.e. a 3 day bout of food poisoning for Charles).

We finally got our starlink mounted on our aft rail, so we have good connection while sailing without needing to set up & tear down the satellite (and worry about high side, errant waves, etc.). We also got AIS set up! Soon we will work out how to let people track us through this site, but for now, you can sign up for free to watch Charles, Nora and Ayala as we sail south on Mexico’s pacific coast!

We ate at so many fun spots! Across the gamut of taco stand to nice restaurant. I think our most expensive meal was $30, and everywhere pricey, we were able to use credit card.

Here’s everywhere we tried that is on Google Maps.


  • El Buen Provecho – Really nice folks, little hole in the wall, fantastic food. Huevos divorciados, beans, posole rojo… The only place we went more than once.
  • Mojik Vegan Tacos – Shares a wall with 7/11, in the parking lot, but some of the best food we had in Ensenada. Vegan, with creative (not just soy) options for meat replacements. The sopes with “cochinita pibil” (carrots stewed with the same spices and pickled onions) were………..beyond compare.
  • Calma – Really fun, even if the servers are a little over-attentive. They love cocktails, and start by asking you what kinds of flavors, alcohols, etc. you like. We were not feeling boozy, but they had a house-made mango syrup and made us some very refreshing mocktails. Food superb, portions surprisingly good.

We also got to visit good friends (Trouble!) who were doing work in the Baja Naval yard and had an apartment for that time. We brought some local wines and they let us do laundry! So relaxing.

In our many walks, we also visited a local solar shop and got some MC-4 connectors (impossible to get in a retail setting in California), went to a fabric store (extremely confusing experience, where you go into one line to get fabric cut, but do not stay with it, then go pay, then get into a 3rd line to pick up your fabric – but it was only $14 for everything we wanted so it was worth it!), and just wandered through local parks.

Overall, Ensenada was a delight. There are lots of local things that were recommended (La Bufadora, a tour in wine country) that we did not have the will or means to do, but even just on the ground in the town it was a great time.