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Thursday, 19 October 2006

Fajitas & Rita's: A Long Weekend in Baja - Page 3

Written by Elizabeth Hooper
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Far from the polished resorts, white sand beaches, and all night partying of Cancun and Playa del Carmen lies another side of Mexico. Beachfront, colorful, and with a devotion to tequila that rivals any Spring Break destination, the northern Baja peninsula offers the budget traveler a perfect weekend getaway.

It really is possible to eat and drink your way through Ensenada. When you’re appropriately rested, fed, and pampered, set off to explore. Baja is known for its wine country and wine tours. The easiest winery to reach is the Bodegas de Santo Tomas Winery, located in downtown Ensenada. Established in the 1880s by Dominican monks, the winery has a tasting room and short tour available for ten dollars US. Although the tour is interesting, it’s very short and the highlight is the tasting where several reds and whites are featured and free flowing. Ask the guide to tell you a bit more about the winery’s history and allow you to taste the almond and vanilla liqueurs which are sweet and unique.

The most popular day trip is an hour south of Ensenada, to Baja’s famous “blowhole” La Bufadora, which shoots a geyser-like spray 60 feet into the air. La Bufadora itself has limited appeal, but the drive along the coast itself is beautiful and takes you into ruddy agricultural terrain reminiscent of Italy. When approaching the attraction, wander through a market of curio shops featuring everything from discount drugs to locally tooled leather jackets. Try the churros, decadent and deep-fried doughy confections.

A quick word of warning: some of the best beaches in the area are supposed to be located on the drive between Ensenada and La Bufadora. If you’re planning to hit the beach, use the public ones. Hotels along the way charge entry fees and the beaches are tiny, crowded, and side-by-side with the free ones (which are bigger and sandier).

Plan plenty of time to cross at the border at Tijuana. Mid-afternoon on a Sunday the wait was about 2 ½ hours. Have your passports ready, and enjoy the impromptu market for everything from giant plastic Winnie the Poohs to churros and Mexican blankets that have sprung up around the lines of waiting cars. Baja is perfect for a weekend destination for the budget traveler seeking good food and vibrant culture.


Los Pelicanos Hotel, Rosarito Beach – Tel: 011-52-661.20445

Best Value Inn El Rey Sol Hotel, Avenida Blancarte 130, Ensenada 22800 -

Tel: 011-52-646-178-1601

Hussong’s Cantina - Avenida Ruiz

Bronco’s Steakhouse - Av. Lopez Mateos 1525 ESQ. Con Guadalupe Ensenada BC -
Tel: 011-52-646-176-49-00

Bodegas De Santo Tomas Winery - Ave. Miramar #666, Ensenada. Tel: 11- 52-646-178-0836

©Elizabeth Hooper

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Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012
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