5 Things To Do in Downtown Ensenada, Mexico

By Shannon Gurnee
In Cruising Life
February 23, 2015
73 Comments
26990 Views

#Travel #Ensenada #Mexico #FrankAndShannon 

#Travel #Cruising #FrankAndShannon #Ensenada

Frank and I love to go on cruises! Every cruise I’ve been on has been with Carnival Cruise Lines and I am so impressed. In fact, we have two more cruises already booked (including our upcoming wedding cruise).

#Travel #Cruising #FrankAndShannon #Ensenada

Last year, we went on a cruise to celebrate Frank’s 40th birthday with a group of our close friends. It was so much fun! It was also the first time Frank and I got off the ship in Ensenada and explored downtown. In this post, I will share 5 things to do in Downtown Ensenada, Mexico.

#Travel #Cruising #FrankAndShannon #Ensenada

When we got off the ship, we took a little tour bus to Downtown Ensenada. We decided instead of going on any excursions that we would all just explore Downtown Ensenada. As we departed the bus, several children approached us trying to sell trinkets, souvenirs and snacks. We smiled and politely declined and continued our walk. There were lots of different shops on the street (and even a Starbucks as you first start walking on the street). We stopped in there to use the restrooms and buy some bottled water.

#Travel #Cruising #FrankAndShannon #Ensenada

1 – Grab some food and drinks at one of the local Cantinas.  Our first stop was a little cantina (I don’t remember the name). The owner actually approached us as we walked towards his restaurant and invited us to come in on the patio and enjoy chips and beer. We figured we would check it out, so we followed his lead. It was actually one of our best experiences of Downtown Ensenada.

#Travel #Cruising #FrankAndShannon #Ensenada

We ordered beers and chips with homemade salsa and guacamole. Wow were those cold beers with lime and chips with fresh salsa and guacamole good! We had a great time talking and drinking and laughing and drinking some more! Plus, the cost of the food and drinks was some of the most affordable of what we spent in Downtown Ensenada. Also, you’ll want to make note that you CANNOT drink alcohol on the streets. You must drink alcohol on the restaurant’s premises!! 

#Travel #Cruising #FrankAndShannon #Ensenada

#Travel #Cruising #FrankAndShannon #Ensenada

2 – Buy handmade souvenirs from the locals. While sitting in the Cantina, we had a few different locals approach us trying to sell things. We had one teenage boy approach us and he was selling handmade bracelets. Not only did we get personalized souvenirs for an affordable price, but we got to watch him make them. It was pretty amazing! Frank and I bought one for each of our 6 kids with their names on them.

#Travel #Cruising #FrankAndShannon #Ensenada

#Travel #Cruising #FrankAndShannon #Ensenada

3 – Stop for a drink at Papa and Beers. Before getting off the ship, I heard from lots of different people about the infamous Papa and Beers. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but what I did know about it was that it was a place you could hang out and get drinks. I’ll be honest (and hope I don’t sound prudish), but I wasn’t that impressed with Papa and Beers. First, it was really expensive. Second, I didn’t like the demeaning manner in which the women were treated (and allowed themselves to be treated). I think it just wasn’t really my scene, but at least we had a good time watching people make fools out of themselves – ha ha! I definitely would not be one of those volunteering for the shots or dancing on the tables. 

#Travel #Cruising #FrankAndShannon #Ensenada

#Travel #Cruising #FrankAndShannon #Ensenada 

#Travel #Cruising #FrankAndShannon #Ensenada 

While at Papa and Beers, I tried on (and didn’t buy) a giant sombrero! Photo opp? Heck yes! We also ordered drinks, ate fries and laughed! I had so much fun being in the company of my amazing fiancรฉ and close friends. While I wouldn’t talk up Papa and Beers, I’ll still say we had a fun time.

#Travel #Cruising #FrankAndShannon #Ensenada 

#Travel #Cruising #FrankAndShannon #Ensenada

#Travel #Cruising #FrankAndShannon #Ensenada 

4 – Grab a few pictures in Downtown Ensenada. As we were walking back to the ship, we saw different photo opps on the street. Locals would stand ready to take photos for tourists with sombreros, mules and more! We stopped at one and posed for a picture with the the mule sculpture and paid the local to take our photo. I would say to definitely bring cash with you for out of the ordinary pictures (like this one). It was a lot of fun and worth the few dollars we paid each!

#Travel #Cruising #FrankAndShannon #Ensenada

#Travel #Cruising #FrankAndShannon #Ensenada 

5 – Buy souvenirs to take back with you. On our way out of Downtown Ensenada, we stopped at a few different shops and bought a few souvenirs. One thing that I bought and loved was a Corona hat. When we visited, you could not find anyone selling Coronas in Downtown Ensenada. The Cantina owner told us that one of the beer companies had actually paid everyone to not sell Coronas specifically. I think this has changed since then because on our last trip, we were able to buy Coronas at the Blowhole in Ensenada with no problem at all (or maybe it’s just a downtown thing).  

#Travel #Cruising #FrankAndShannon #Ensenada

Have you visited Downtown Ensenada, Mexico before? What were your favorite things to do?

About Has 1259 Posts

Shannon Gurnee (formerly Shannon Gosney) is the author of The Mommy-Files, a national blog with a loyal following. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Marriage, Family, and Human Development with a Minor in Business Management. Shannon and her husband, Frank, have a large family with 6 awesome kids and love living on the Central Coast near San Luis Obispo, California, as well as traveling around the world. A full-time Social Media and Professional Blogger, Shannon also serves as a National Brand Ambassador for many well-known companies. Her blog focuses on motherhood, family fun activities, traveling, fashion, beauty, technology, wedding ideas and recipes while providing professional opinions on products, performances, restaurants, and a variety of businesses.

73 Responses to “5 Things To Do in Downtown Ensenada, Mexico”

  1. Caroline Hileman-Schaffer says:

    Fun times and good advice

  2. Terra Heck says:

    Y’all look like a fun bunch to hang out with! I’ve never been on a cruise but it’s on my bucket list. Those bracelets are nice souvenir trinkets.

  3. Angelic Sinova says:

    I’ve never been on a Carnival Cruise but I heard they’re the BEST when it comes to cruises! I’d love to Mexico one day. One of my good friends is from Mexico and she always encourages those who visit to buy handmade souvenirs from locals (just like you suggested!) <3

  4. I have been to Ensenada, Mexico 3x already! It’s such a fun place to visit…particularly where you went…Papas & Beer! Love it!

  5. Michele says:

    You sound like you had a marvelous time! I doubt I would go there by cruise but I would like to travel to Mexico one of these days. I will make sure to go to Ensenada if I do.

  6. James says:

    I love Ensenada, looks like you guys had a great time!

  7. That looks like a really great time! I think my favorite thing picture is the one of that giant sombrero.

  8. That large sombrero is epic on you! Looks like you guys had a really great time. Our family took a cruise with Carnival after I graduated H.S. over a decade ago and we loved it!

  9. Robin (Masshole Mommy) says:

    That sounds like you guys had a blast. And congrats on getting married ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. R U S S says:

    I’m sure you and Frank had a blast – your photos tell us how much fun you guys had. You also gave me an idea as to where to go and what to do next time I celebrate my birthday. I haven’t been on a cruise and I would love to go to one in the nearer future.

  11. Debbie Denny says:

    Mexico is so awesome. I need to look into this town. Glad you are having a great trip.

  12. Christie says:

    Sounds like you guys had a fabulous time! I’ll have to tell the hubby to take me

  13. I’ve visited Mexico before, but never Downtown Ensenada. I like to shop or spend time on the beach. Site seeing some of the Mayan ruins is also fun!

  14. lisa says:

    Great pictures! Looks like you guys had a fabulous time! And I love the sombrero!

  15. Thanks for this great post! I’ve never even heard of Ensenada before. Thanks for showing me another great travel destination.

  16. We love cruising! I’ve been to Ensenada three or four times now just because the cruises out of Long Beach are closest to us, and lots of them stop there. My family tends to do excursions on that stop, so it’s nice that exploring downtown can be fun, too. Maybe next time!

  17. I have never been to any part of Mexico yet. Your photos makes me want to go, right now! Love those happy faces, it exudes love and pure happiness. That jalapeรฑo looks so spicy!

  18. Jeanine says:

    Sounds like it is a great place to visit for a fun time. I’ve always wanted to go to Mexico!

  19. michele d says:

    I’ve never been to Mexico but I really want to go with my husband. It must of been so much fun going with friends. Looks like you guys had a blast!

  20. I love the idea of number 2. I am going to start doing that when I travel. Thanks for the wonderful list.

  21. Sara says:

    I’m passing this onto my mum! She loves Mexico and is planning a trip back soon!

  22. I am going there (to Mexico) in August so this post has me even more excited. You look great in a sombrero btw.

  23. Loving the food down there! I’ve never been to Mexico before so thanks for sharing, looks like a fun place to visit.

  24. Ricci says:

    I have never been on a cruise but when I do go I want to go to Mexico!! Your pics are great and you are making me want to go drink a beer and eat chips and salsa!!

  25. Roselynn says:

    It looks you had a fantastic vacation with your friends and loved ones. I’ve never been to Mexico before, but I’m not surprised at all of the things you got to do. I’m so impressed with that boy being able to create those bracelets on the spot and they look great!

  26. Veronica says:

    What a fun trip that must have been! There is so much to do there

  27. Liz Mays says:

    What a fun time for you guys. I’ve never been to Mexico but it sounds like an awesome destination!

  28. Pam says:

    I have never visited there before. It looks like a really fun time though.

  29. Catherine S says:

    Looks like you had a great time. I love the Sombrero. I have been to Cozumel twice and really enjoyed it.

  30. Crystal says:

    I loved Ensenada when I was last there! We shopped and ate throughout the city. It’s time for me to go back.

  31. Marcie W. says:

    We have been to Ensenada a few times and loved every experience. We are considering another cruise to Mexico this fall, next time with the kids!

  32. Echo says:

    I have never been to Ensenada, but I would love to visit someday. It looks like you guys had an amazing time and I will definitely keep your tips in mind.

  33. Colleen says:

    We love Carnival Cruise too! We are going again for my mother’s 60th birthday party in September.

  34. I’ve never been to Mexico but have always wanted to. Looks like a great place to visit!

  35. Theresa says:

    It looks like so much fun! I’d get all touristy with the big sombreros and chow down on the delicious food they have!

  36. Erin says:

    Wow! It looks like you had a wonderful time! I’ve never been on a cruise but its definitely on my list!

  37. Daniela says:

    This looks like a great place to visit. Especially Papa and Beers!

  38. Looks like you had a ton of fun, Mexico looks super beautiful too!

  39. Looks like so much fun. When I was younger and lived in OK, my best friend had family in Austin, TX. We would constantly drive across the boarder. Street tacos are the best.

  40. HilLesha says:

    I have never been to Ensenada, Mexico or any part of Mexico for that matter, but it’s definitely on my list! I’ll have to keep this part of Mexico in mind whenever I visit someday.

  41. Elizabeth O. says:

    Grabbing local goods is the best thing about vacations. Iโ€™m always looking for new tastes!

  42. Tanya Lara says:

    I have not heard of Ensenada before, but it looks gorgeous and chill.If the Mexican restaurants in Manila are anything to go by, I’d love to go food tripping in Mexico โ€” and tequila drinking, too, haha. Bring on the giant sombreros!

  43. Looks like you had a great time. Congrats! Looks like an amazing place to visit.

  44. Myrabev says:

    I have never been but it looks so awesome, at this point I would just be happy to go on a cruise. Thanks for the tips and love the hat.

  45. Lauren says:

    This is an awesome list! I’ve never been to Mexico but when I do I am going to come back to this post and do some of these things!

  46. Ron Leyba says:

    Haven’t tried cruising before. I wish I could soon! MEXICO is an awesome place to visit!

  47. Looks like a great vacation! I’ve been to Cabo and Playa…my husband and I have actually been talking about finally going on a cruise!

  48. Felicia says:

    I have so enjoyed seeing your beautiful pictures on Facebook lately. You are gorgeous and look so happy. It looks like Carnival provided an awesome even as well!

  49. Beth says:

    I haven’t been there yet, but it looks like you guys had a lot of fun! Kind of reminds me of Playa del Carmen from the photos!

  50. I haven’t visited Ensenada. But it looks like you had a lot of fun.

  51. Looks like you had a really great time! I love fresh guacamole and salsa.

  52. We took a cruise to Cozumel last December and loved it. A nice, cold beer on the beach in Mexico and some chips and salsa is the perfect vacation.

  53. Krystal says:

    I love cruising to Mexico! We did this on our honeymoon but our ports were different. It was so much fun to be able to hop through Mexico via cruise ship. We saw the ruins, drank too much, and got a lot of sun! Congrats!

  54. Shell says:

    Looks like such a fun time! I’d love to go on another cruise. We haven’t been since our honeymoon 12 years ago!

  55. Shannon this looks like lots of fun! I am glad you were able to enjoy Downtown Ensenada so much and get more immersed in the culture in Mexico.
    ๐Ÿ™‚

  56. Bailey K. says:

    I’d love to go on more cruises. I went on one in college with my family, but it was super short (only one port). And this past summer I went on one with my brother to Alaska that was AMAZING. My husband and I won a Caribbean cruise so we’re excited about that. I live close to a very popular departure port, so I have no idea why I haven’t been on more cruises!

  57. Manu Kalia says:

    Wow. I am amaze on the handmade in the locals, I hope I can get one of that when I can visit Mexico. I’m sure it was full of fun.

  58. This looks like it was an amazing trip. I have never been to Mexico before. It is on my bucket list to go. These are great photos.

  59. This looks like so much fun! I can’t wait to finally go on a much needed vacation later this month.

  60. Rosey says:

    Good tips. I’d have paid for the photos too. ๐Ÿ™‚ Your hat is awesome. ๐Ÿ™‚

  61. SO nice. I loved going on a cruise. We celebrated our honeymoon with a cruise to Mexico. I’ve never been on Carnival. I hear it’s a fun ship to sail on. I can’t wait to sail again.

  62. Debbie L. says:

    I have never been to Mexico – looks like you guys had a fantastic time!

  63. Lynndee says:

    Totally agree with the souvenirs. I do that too whenever we visit a new place. We have Papas & Beer here in the city and we love it!

  64. Amanda says:

    This looks like a great vacation! I would love to visit there!

  65. This is a great list of activities to go do. When I go down there I will have to try out some of these things.

  66. Looks like you had an awesome time! We love going on cruises as well. I haven’t been to mexico though. It looks amazing.

  67. Danielle says:

    I’ve always been scared of cruising but my parents have always told us great things. Congrats on the upcoming wedding, that’s so exciting!
    I’ve only been to Cancun (for out honeymoon) but had a great time. We loved the hand carved statue we bought from a local.

  68. Looks like it has been a lot of fun and excitement to me. I cannot wait till the time I visit the place!

  69. CourtneyLynne says:

    omg sounds like you had a pretty fabulous time!!! I went to Ensenada years ago and had a great time!!!

  70. JoAnna says:

    These are some great travel tips! It looks like you had a really good time. Also, all those hats look incredible on you, especially the sombrero! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  71. Megan @ C'mon Get Crafty says:

    Yea, a new fun place to visit in Mexico! I love seeing the local scene when we go on vacation, and it is obvious you guys had a blast!

  72. Ina Sander says:

    Thanks for Sharing! That sounds so good, I am planning to go to Ensenada next week ๐Ÿ™‚

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