Ensenada is a Mexican town in the northern part of Baja California and a frequent port of call for California coastal and Hawaiian cruises. It doesn’t have the name recognition of Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta or Acapulco, but what it does have is one of the world’s largest blowholes, known as La Bufadora. If you find yourself docked in Ensenada for the day, a quick jaunt to see this natural wonder in action is a solid way to go.
Getting to La Bufadora
La Bufadora is located on the Punta Banda Peninsula about 24 miles (38 kilometers) south and west of Ensenada’s Zona Centro and the cruise ship docks. If you’re arriving on a cruise, they’ll definitely offer an excursion that you can pre-book. Alternatively, you can find tour vendors when you disembark the ship. Or, I should say, they’ll find you. We ended up going with this option and paid $17 per person (they take USD) for a 3.5-hour round trip guided group tour.
Non-cruise visitors can join this tour at the Plaza Pueblo Antiguo, which is in the city center and is the departure point to La Bufadora.
After the 45-minute drive out to the peninsula, the guide will help orient you to the area and then you’ll have free time to explore (about an hour and a half for us). It’s not too intricate—there’s a single main walkway lined with flea market souvenir shops, followed by a few street food vendors, and then the main attraction at the end as you reach the water.
If you love colorful city name signs like I do, Ensenada has a good one. I somehow found a wrinkle in time where all the tourists vanished from my frame. ¡Que afortunado!
Thar She Blows!
There is a ledge from which visitors can watch the La Bufadora geyser work its magic, sometimes spraying water over 100 feet in the air. It spouts arrhythmically, so you may find yourself hovering your finger over your camera shutter button for awhile as you wait for the big one. When it comes, the “oohs” and “aahs” are well-deserved.
Here’s a quick video of La Bufadora doing what it does best:
Shopping at La Bufadora
With your remaining time, you can browse around the flea market—you’ll have to walk through it when you head to La Bufadora and also on the way back. The vendors will definitely invite you to check out what they’re selling. If you enjoy bargaining, I’m sure there are many deals to be had. But, if you’re not interested, a polite “no” will suffice—none of the vendors we saw were too offended or aggressive.
Though I’m not much of a street market shopper, I do enjoy checking out the displays with all of their vibrant colors.
Baja bites at La Bufadora
If you’re all about street food, you might gravitate to the vendors selling a Baja seafood specialty known as almejas gratinadas—buttery oversized grilled clams au gratin, topped with shrimp. Yes, they’re just as tasty as they look.
Back in Ensenada
Since the La Bufadora tour is a reasonably tidy 3.5 hours, you’ll possibly have a bit of time to explore other Ensenada city highlights once you return to Plaza Pueblo Antiguo. I can’t help you with that, because, if you’re like me, you’ll simply head right across the street to Mahi Mahi seafood restaurant and order up a platter of their coconut shrimp. Some of the best I’ve ever had and my preferred way to cap a day in Ensenada.