5 Things To Do in Downtown Ensenada, Mexico
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).
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.
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.
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.
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!!
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.
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.
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 fiancé and close friends. While I wouldn’t talk up Papa and Beers, I’ll still say we had a fun time.
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!
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).
Have you visited Downtown Ensenada, Mexico before? What were your favorite things to do?