November 3, 2013-here we sit Sunday evening at Villarino’s RV Park on Day 2 after a wonderful day in Ensenda. We left for town about 10am and went to the Cultural Center and former Casino which was completed in 1932. Hard to believe this used to sit seaside! It was busy given the mammoth Cruise Ship in port, this probably had 3000 plus tourists on board.
Following this look about we headed off for lunch to Mariscos Bahia de Ensenada where we had dinner with our friends Adolfo & Belem who own and operate the campground. Good choice for sure, great food, good service and reasonable prices, what more can you ask for. After that we headed over to the Ensenada Fish Market, something else new on the tour which everyone enjoyed. This Mercado opened in 1958, after a group of people from Ensenada got together with the idea of creating a fish market. After its opening, it has been changing, little by little, until reaching what is now the great Mercado de Marisco Fish Market of Ensenada, a tradition in this port, the northeast side of the country as well as in the southwest of North American. Since it opened, thousands of visitors, nationals and foreigners have visited and specializing in preparing the best seafood of the day. You can buy fresh jumbo shrimp, octopus, fresh or smoked tuna, squid, albacore, lobster, clams and a wide variety of fish and more, much more, I purchased fresh Halibut for 100 pesos for 1 kilo. After we returned everyone returned and relaxed, Hank & Marty were gracious enough to put on their propane campfire for some evening ambiance and heat.
Our Day 0 in Potrero went very smoothly and without any glitches as everyone arrived the day before, some folks coming from San Diego other journeyed from Las Vegas. After processing our Tourist Visas at the Immigration Office we headed over to the Potrero General Store and Pub & Grub. Unfortunately the restaurant opened then closed, however Mike & Wilmena had the BBQ going for hamburgers and hot dogs, these were a hit with the group particularly sitting in the Pub & Grub watching Bonanza. Everyone was eager to learn about the tour and what to expect as we headed south to Baja. As usual Lisa’s catering skills were much appreciated and the Rendevous Reception a success.
Day 1 saw us depart the campground on schedule headed for Tecate. Not much traffic and we sailed thru with a couple of rigs getting checked by Mexican staff at the border. Before you knew it we were at COSTCO, just a small change to our routine since our parking spots were roped for repairs, not a problem, plenty of room on the side street. Following lunch we headed off to Villarino in Punta Banada with a fuel up just prior to arriving at the park. Good news, we found yet another portion of the road out to La Bufadora was under construction, poco y poco, it is getting done. Shortly after we arrived we headed off to La Bufadora, quiet seas meant not much action but lots of tourist traffic.
Did you know?
When the first European explorers discovered the region where Ensenada is today, the Yuman Indians inhabited the region, of which tribal groups such as the Kiliwa, Paipai and Kumiai still exist. These semi-nomadic indigenous people lived in the bay area and interior valleys of the Sierra Juarez and San Pedro Mártir. Bahia Todos Santos, on which Ensenada now stands, was first reached by sea by the Spanish explorer Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo on the vessels El Salvador and Victoria. The city was founded September 17, 1542 under the name San Mateo. It was not until 1602, while mapping the coast of the Californias in search of safe harbors for returning Spanish galleons from Manila to Acapulco, the city was renamed Ensenada de Todos Santos by Sebastián Vizcaíno.
The first permanent settlement was established by the Jesuits during the seventeenth or eighteenth century. After the expulsion of the Jesuits in 1768, the Dominicans took over the representation of Europe in what is now Ensenada. In 1805, José Manuel Ruiz Carillo obtained permission to establish himself in Ensenada, being appointed governor of Baja California and building in Ensenada a house that survived until the final part of that century, despite being briefly taken by William Walker, the self-declared “president” of the Republic of Lower California, in 1853-54.
In 1882, Ensenada was designated the capital of Baja California, and attempts at developing the area were made by the English Compañía Mexicana de Terrenos y Colonización. These were interrupted by the Mexican Revolution, which left the area devastated. In 1915, the capital was transferred to Mexicali, and in 1930 the population of Ensenada was only 5,000. During the early part of the twentieth century, the city’s name was shortened from Ensenada de Todos Santos to Ensenada, a change made in order to avoid confusion with Todos Santos, another town in Baja California Sur.
Currently Ensenada is the municipal seat and cultural and commercial center of Ensenada Municipality, one of five into which the state is divided. The city had a population of 279,765 as of the 2010 census, 59% of the total population of the Municipality. This city is backed by small mountain ranges. Proximity to the Pacific and a warm Mediterranean latitude create mild year-round weather (hence great vineyards). The rainy season during the winter is short and the area is prone to prolonged droughts, which can threaten its grape harvests. The National Park Constitution of 1857 created the Sierra de Juarez and San Pedro Martir National Parks, which maintain one of the best astronomical observatories in the country. Situated on the coastline of Bahía de Todos Santos — an inlet of the Pacific Ocean on the peninsula’s Gold Coast — the Port of Ensenada is an important commercial, fishing, and tourist port. Residents often refer to themselves as “porteños” (port-dwellers), in reference to the historic harbor. The city is home to a navy base, army base, and Ensenada Airport, a military airfield which doubles as an airport of entry into Mexico.