We now live in Denver, CO but spent most of your younger lives in southern California, thus a short weekend trip to Las Vegas or Ensenada, Mexico were done quite often. One such weekend we headed down to Ensenada, which is a little city a couple of hours from the border, to enjoy a weekend reprieve.
For those of you who don’t know about Ensenada, here is a little bit of history. It is a coastal city about 125 kilometers (78 miles) south of San Diego on the Baja California Peninsula and is the third-largest in Baja California. As well as being an important commercial, fishing, and tourist port, it is also home to a navy base, army base, and Ensenada Airport. The latter being a military airfield. Of all of the times we’ve been there, I don’t think I’ve actually ever seen the airport, strange.
One thing that a lot of tourists like to see while visiting Ensenada is La Bufadora. It’s located on Hwy 1 and is the second-largest marine geyser in the world. Of course, cheap and authentic Mexican art and crafts are for sale in the area, as well as seafood restaurants and street vendors selling churros. Yum, one of my favorites.
Anyway, we took off Friday night after work and got there about 10:30 or 11:00. We finally found our hotel, unloaded the car, and got settled. I wasn’t in the mood for seafood (usually not) so we headed to Papas & Beers.
This is a wild and crazy place, to say the least. It was opened in 1983 and is now a must-see place for tourists visiting Ensenada. Hence, the place is usually packed in the evenings with people drinking and having a good time. If you are looking for a place to come, relax, and let loose, then this definitely the place to be, especially if you are 20 something. Here is some information about this cantina.
Papas & Beer
Primera 335, Zona Centro, 22800 Ensenada, B.C., Mexico
+52 646 174 0145
Open 24/7 – I know, crazy huh?
As we got there late, and the place was already crowded, we had a quick beer then headed across the street to Hussongs. The history of this place is amazing. They state that they are the place where Margaritas were born back in October 1941. It was created by a bartender named Don Carlos Orozco by adding the perfect mixture of equal parts tequila, Damiana, and lime served over ice in a salt-rimmed glass. It was created for Margarita Henkel, daughter of the German Ambassador to Mexico, thus the name, Margarita! Today it is still much the same as it was 108 years ago. The current owner, Ricardo Hussong, grandson of founder Juan, has maintained the family tradition of serving consistently great drinks, using top-quality liquor, and charging reasonable prices.
When we walked in, we could feel the history even though it was as busy as Papas and Beers that night. After a while we noticed a few people walking up some stairs near the back of the building. We found out that there was another little bar upstairs. We went up and it was great. It was open and there were hardly any people up there. We didn’t have to wait an hour to get a drink or use the restroom. It was great. The margaritas were the best. We had a really fun time. Needless to say, we went back to the hotel feeling pretty good. I have to say it’s been many years since we’ve been to Hussong’s or Ensenada, so I am not sure if this area is still available. Just wanted to throw it out there in case someone is interested and wants to try and check it out. Here is some more information about this cantina:
Av. Ruiz 113, Zona Centro, 22800 Ensenada, B.C., Mexico
+52 646 178 3210
Tuesday – Sunday 11 am – 11:30 pm
Monday – Closed
The next afternoon we did a little sightseeing and looked around town. We looked around for a place to rent horses, but none of them looked good. We still had a good time looking around. Later that evening we went to this little taco stand near Papas and Beer. We ordered two tacos and two beers a piece and it only cost about $7 American. Again, this has been many years since the last time we were there, so I am sure prices have changed. However, it was quite cheap at that time. They also gave up chips, green onions, carrots, and all kinds of other sides. It was an enjoyable dinner. Food is definitely cheaper in Ensenada than in California.
It was still early, but we headed over to Papa’s ad Beers again. There weren’t that many people there yet, so we got a seat looking out on the street. We ordered a couple of margaritas and just watched people walking around. It’s always fun people watching when you are in a new or different city. While people-watching and drinking, we noticed that there were a lot of people from a cruise ship that must have been docked in the Ensenada harbor. It was then that I decided that I really didn’t want to take a cruise ship and go into a port with so many other people. You don’t have much time before you have to head back to the ship. Anyway, about an hour later it got crazy again. We determined that there were a few locals, but mostly those from the cruise ship, as well as some like us visiting for the weekend. Eventually, we left and went back to Hussong’s. We got there and it was pretty much a repeat of the night before, except that we went straight upstairs this time.
Late the next morning the front desk called to tell us that we had to check out unless we wanted to stay another night. We forced ourselves to get up and check out. After we checked out of the hotel, we went and had lunch. After lunch, we did some shopping. We made one last stop to buy our allotted two liters of alcohol and headed home. We did make a short stop to check out the city of Rosarito. All in all, it was s short trip, but definitely a fun one.
Have you ever been to Ensenada? I know a lot of my southern California friends have been. If you have been, what is one of your favorite memories, or places you enjoyed? Hope to hear back from some of you. In the meantime, happy travels!
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