To be honest I would not have thought to put Ensenada, Mexico on my destination list, however I am glad I came across the coastal city in Baja California, Mexico during my cruise. My cruise offered a range of excursion options, from snorkeling and laying at the beach to horseback riding and kayaking. However, I choose to do something different in Mexico than what I have done in the past. I have been to Mexico a few times before when I was younger and my family would spend the entire vacation at an all inclusive resort, so this time I choose the “City and Shopping Tour”, offered as a Carnival Cruise excursion, to get to know the city a little better.
After picking us up from where the ship had docked, our first stop was at Riviera Del Pacifico, which is a historic resort and casino. It had mentioned in the description that there was a wine tasting as part of the tour, but most people had a drink at each stop. At our first stop there were margaritas(and Cokes for people like me that are not yet twenty one). This particular tour was the cheapest up front, but depending on what you buy, you will be spending more money along the tour. At the first stop there was a short tour of the architecture in the Riviera Del Pacifico and a few carts that were selling some unique trinkets(I took home a handmade magnet).
Our next stop was at Bodegas de Santo Tomas, which was listed as a winery on the tour description so I assumed in would be a working winery(as in the kind I visited in Napa Valley). However, this was a non-working winery and the tour bus just stopped outside the wine tasting room. So it was basically a small winery storefront, and they gave out wine tastings and olive oil tastings as included in the tour cost.
The third and last stop was at the main shopping street in Ensenada. This part of the tour was a little hectic so I ended up not taking any pictures. The street is lined with shops and the sidewalk is lined with shop owners trying their best to get you into their store. From jewelry shops to clothing shops to even sketchy pharmacies, the street shopping was eclectic and an interesting experience. Most of our group also got drinks and tacos at some of the local restaurants.
Overall, our tour guide was my favorite part, as she was entertaining, knowledgeable, and truly enjoyed sharing the city of Ensenada with our group. I was disappointed with the winery as it ended up just being a small wine shop, and if you are under twenty one then this part of the tour is irrelevant. While I felt the shopping was a unique experience, if you do not enjoy crowds, bargaining, or being pressured into buying things(as in strangers approaching you and shouting at you as you walk by their store)then this might not be the best option.