Two weeks ago, I took a short 3-day trip with my dad and my grandmother to Ensenada, Mexico, a popular tourist destination with lots of shopping, great food, and nice weather.
I brought my DSLR with me to take some pictures but ended up snapping most of my photos on my phone so please forgive the quality of some of these!
The first day consisted mostly of driving all the way south to Mexico. On the way to Ensenada, we stopped at another coastal town called Puerto Nuevo, which is famous for fresh and plentiful lobster. We found an affordable restaurant and had an amazing lobster feast! They were served in halves with a warm butter sauce, along with sides of rice, beans, and freshly made tortillas.
I also ordered a refreshing lime margarita. It was small but had a nice kick to it. 🙂
After lunch, we continued on to Ensenada, where we checked into our hotel. The hotel was situated right in the heart of the tourist shopping area, which is peppered with souvenir shops, bars, and cafes.
After taking a quick nap at the hotel and touring the nearby streets, we stopped at a seafood restaurant for dinner that was within walking distance from the hotel.
At night, some of my dad’s friends, a happy older couple, came and took us to a nearby wine tasting room, but it was closing when we arrived. Instead, we bought a couple bottles and some cheese and bread, and enjoyed them at the hotel. I had a difficult time keeping up with the conversation in Spanish, but I tried my best to listen and follow along.
The next day, we woke up early and my dad’s friend from the night before picked us up to take us to breakfast at a seafood taco restaurant. The restaurant was actually an old fish cannery that was converted into a restaurant, and some of the old canning machinery was on display inside. The place had a very rugged but fresh and airy feeling to it. I ordered fried fish, chipotle shrimp, and horchata, which is a sweet rice milk drink.
After breakfast, we drove out to a wine museum. Surrounding Ensenada is a vast wine country, and there are tons of vineyards you can tour and visit. The museum had an entrance fee, so we decided to skip it, but they had a wide terrace with a great view that was free to access.
For lunch, some other friends of my dad’s met us for lunch at cafe a few blocks from the hotel. His friends had a nice daughter who new some English, and we were able to chat in a mix of Spanish and English while my dad enjoyed catching up with her parents. We both ordered vanilla frappacinos and apple pie. In Ensenada, apple pie is typically made with layers of white cheese and it’s a specialty of the area. It was an unexpectedly delicious combination.
In the evening, my dad’s friends from the night before picked us up and brought us to a theater. Their son was a folklorico dancer, meaning he and his dance school performed traditional mexican dances. It was a great show, with impressive dance steps and beautiful dresses. My favorite dance was one where all of the women gracefully balanced clay pots on their heads. It was amazing! I don’t think I could ever be that poised.
After the performance, we went to popular open-air carne asada restaurant. I went all out and ordered three big carne asada tacos, topped with the works! It was by far the most delicious meal I ate during my time in Mexico.
On the last day, we ate breakfast at a restaurant near the hotel. I ordered huevos rancheros (eggs with salsa) and enjoyed eating it on the sunny patio in front of the restaurant.
After checking out of the hotel, we drove out to wine country one last time. We stopped at a vineyard that my dad knew of and tasted a few varieties of wine. The entire property was surrounded by olive trees, and the facade of the main tasting room was embellished with colorful flowers and vines. In addition to wine and souvenirs, this winery also sold interesting skateboards made from the wood of wine barrels!
For lunch, we stopped at the couple’s house with the young daughter, and the wife made us a tasty homemade meal. The daughter showed me around the house and we were able to find some interests in common. Conversing with her was so pleasant, and definitely a highlight of the trip.
After a few hours, we said our goodbyes and headed for the border. Crossing back into the U.S. always takes quite a while, but I made it home safely by 11:30 pm.
Overall, I had a lot of fun spending time with my family and meeting my dad’s friends. Everyone was very welcoming and kind. It was a relaxing trip and I hope I can visit again in the future.