Often referred to as the “Love Port,” Ensenada, Mexico, attracts more than 4.5 million vacationers every year. Some come to sample the fresh seafood cuisine, while others enjoy shopping for crafts and whale-watching. If you are cruising from Long Beach, California, to Ensenada, compare excursion itineraries and allow time to explore the port.
Ensenada’s wineries and restaurants entice visitors.
Step 1Book a cruise. If you’re looking to travel solely to Ensenada from Long Beach, Carnival Cruise is your only option. The company offers two- and three-day trips, listed as departing from Los Angeles. The two-day excursion on the Carnival Inspiration offers a twisting pool waterslide and serves cocktails at the Grand Atrium Bar. Guests on board the Carnival Paradise for the three-day adventure can lounge in the adults-only section on the top deck or test their strokes at the miniature golf course.
Step 2Travel to the Port of Long Beach. The port is at the south end of the Long Beach Freeway, also known as Interstate 710. Take the 710 South and follow the signs leading toward the Queen Mary tourist attraction. For the Carnival Cruise terminal, stay to the far right of the parking ticket taker for the Queen Mary. Follow signs to park and drop off baggage. As of March 2011, the price is $15 per day, payable upon exit. The cruise terminal is approximately 23 miles south of Los Angeles International Airport and 12 miles from Long Beach Airport.
Step 3Plan excursions for your time in port. Both cruises spend approximately nine hours in Ensenada. Cabo San Lucas Tours offers several outdoor adventures. The two-and-a-half-hour Pacific ATV tour offers riding on a four-wheeler along the coast. The mountain tour takes you on rugged dirt trails that lie just outside of the city. In winter, Sergio’s Sport Fishing offers a four-hour tour during which you can often spot migrating gray whales.
Step 4Explore Ensenada. Visit the Estero Beach Museum, where you can see artifacts and Mexican folk art. Enjoy a picnic in the Plaza Civica, a picturesque, landscaped park that houses golden statues of Benito Juarez, Venustiano Carranza and Miguel Hidalgo, three important figures in Mexico’s history. Shop in the craft galleries and clothing boutiques that line the Avenida Lopez Mateos. Sample the fresh shrimp, lobster and tuna that are served in the restaurants.
Step 5Know the laws. According to Ensenada Tourism, “Each U.S. and Canadian citizen may return to the U.S. with $400 worth of merchandise, provided it is for personal use.” It is illegal to offer police officers a bribe if you are pulled over. If you are stopped for any reason, follow the officer to the nearest precinct to pay the fee. Though you do not require a tourist card in Ensenada if your stay does not exceed 72 hours, you must present your passport upon re-entry into the United States.
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