Ensenada City Guide
OVERVIEW: A nice coastal city 125 km south of San Diego on the Baja Peninsula. An important tourist, fishing and commercial port. Also, part of Mexico's wine country. Betcha' didn't know Mexico had wine!
WEATHER: Semi-arid. 20-26 °C. Winters can drop down to about 12 °C.
SAFETY: Ensenada is safe. No drug violence, no armed robberies. Just a relaxed coastal town for the most part. Watch out for bag and phone snatchers, but as far as having a Glock 17 shoved down your throat over a pair of sneakers (see Caracas), it's not likely to occur in Ensenada.
MUST DO: Eat ceviche and fish tacos (Tacos El Fenix street stand is a good place to start). Cities along the coast have some of the best food in Mexico. Take advantage. Lots of surfing all along the Baja as well.
RENT AN APARTMENT IN ENSENADA: $260-$375 for a liveable 1 bedroom apartment in the centre of Ensenada. Cheaper if you're savvy.
HOSTEL DORM BED/NIGHT $15 for a hotel room.
NIGHTLIFE IN ENSENADA: 6/10
Too many drunk and intolerably obnoxious whites for the most part, but there are some places that remain less sullied. Go to Ryerson 51 if you want to try and pull something real nice, high-class and local. Go to Papa's and Beer if the self-loathing is strong and you want to take it out on a sloppy drunk white girl who won't stop talking about how much she loves the "real" Mexico.
I recommend: Ryerson 51
BOTTLE OF BEER: $2.00
CHANCE OF HOOKING-UP IN ENSENADA: 7/10
Girls in Ensenada are basically Americanized. Many of the wealthier ones will take bi-monthly shopping trips to San Diego. This means their attitudes can be slightly more difficult than ladies in the interior of the country. That being said, if you're white, attractive, and can speak Spanish, your value will skyrocket because you're a novelty among your ignorant countrymen (if you're American). Another plus is the girls won't be intimidated by you because they are so used to tourists, so many times if they're interested and you're alone or in a small group, they'll do the approaching for you. But alas, this is a small town and people talk, so it's not easy to knock 'em down night after night.
***ONLINE DATING: If you want to meet girls in Mexico the easy way, I highly recommend signing up for Mexican Cupid. You can chat with local girls and set up dates before you arrive in the country, which is a major advantage.
ARE GIRLS HOT IN ENSENADA?: 6.5/10.
I was quite impressed based on the size of the city and the fact it was on the Baja, and women on the Baja - Mexicali being the exception - can't usually hold a candle to their mainland countrywomen. Many of the girls in Ensenada are too young though - maybe 16 or 17 - because the older ones often go off to uni in TJ or Mexicali. For this reason, the best time to come would be from May-September when they come back home for the summer after an "experimental" year at college ;).
If you want to meet women in Mexico, you will need to speak some Spanish. The Pickup Spanish Program is the only course of its kind, designed specifically to teach you Spanish for meeting Latinas in Latin America.
GROCERIES: Milk (1L)= $1.10 Tortillas (1kg)= $1.00 Eggs= $1.90 Water (1.5L)= $1.00 Cigarettes= $3.50
JOB OPPORTUNITIES: Wouldn't count on working in Ensenada. But I wouldn't recommend an extended stay either so it's not much of an issue.
NOTES: Come here to party for a few days on the weekend if you want something less seedy than Tijuana. It would be a nice city for retirement, but aside from that I recommend only a short term stint.
OVERALL RATING: 6.5/10
*More city guides from Mexico here!