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Desert at Cataviña region.


Ensenada (full name: Ensenada De Todos Santos), or Port of Ensenada for its port, is the third-largest city in the Mexicanmarker state ofBaja Californiamarker. It is located 116 km (about 70 miles) south of Tijuanamarker. The city had a 2005 census population of 260,075, with the municipality having 413,481.

Ensenada is also the municipal seat of Ensenada Municipalitymarker, one of the five into which the state is divided.Ensenada is locally referred as La Bella Cenicienta del Pacífico (The Cinderella of the Pacific).

Located in the Bahía de Todos Santos — an inlet of the Pacific Oceanmarker — Ensenada is an important commercial and fishing port as well as a cruise ship stop. There is also a navy base, an army base and a military airfieldmarker, which functions as an airport of entry into Mexico.

The city is backed by small mountain ranges. Due to its location on the Pacific Oceanmarker and Mediterranean latitude, the weather tends to be mild year-round. Although the winter rain season is short and the area is prone to prolonged droughts, Ensenada sits in the heart of a wine country that is widely regarded as the best in Mexico. It is said that the first vitis vinifera made it to the peninsula (specifically to the San Ignacio Mission) in 1703, when Jesuit Padre Juan de Ugarte planted the first vineyards there.

Commerce

Ensenada is the only deep-water port in the state of Baja California and is part of standard shipping routes that directly link it with the Mexican cities of La Pazmarker, Manzanillomarker, Mazatlánmarker, Acapulcomarker and Lázaro Cárdenas, as well as the U.S.marker cities of San Diegomarker, Long Beachmarker and Los Angelesmarker, the Guatemalanmarker city of Puerto Quetzalmarker, the Chileanmarker city of Valparaísomarker, the Japanesemarker city of Yokohama and the Chinesemarker city of Hong Kongmarker.

Ensenada is not part of any rail transport grid, although there are plans to build a rail line to the United States border in the short to mid-term future.

Tourism

View of Ensenada from the sea
Ensenada is conveniently located some 110 kilometers south of the border with the United States, connected via a four lane toll road MX-1D and a two lane free road, which makes it a natural destination for tourists on short vacations by car. Ensenada's proximity to Californiamarker also makes it a destination for short cruise ship trips from the Los Angeles area. There were four ships that made weekly trips to Ensenada as of 2005. One of these ships, The Monarch of the Seas, operated by Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines ceased operations in the Pacific in mid October 2008.

A few minutes south of town on highway 1 is the second-largest of three known major marine geyser in the world. This one is known as "La Bufadora" ("The Blowhole").

Ensenada area has several celebrated surfing spots, such as San Miguel Beach, California Trailer Park, Stacks and 3 M's (Tres Emes in Spanish), which are located in the north coast of the city. Todos Santos Island (better known as 'Todos') is a small island located west of Ensenada (about 2 hours by boat), and a world famous surfing spot. The Billabong XXL surfing contest has been held at Todos Santos Island several times. Wave faces can reach above 60 feet on the island. Brad Gerlach, 2006 winner of Big XXL, surfed a wave of 68 feet in December 2006.

Further south in the municipality are spots famous for their excellent windsurfing.

The Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race, billed as the world's largest international sailing event, finishes in Ensenada.

The world-renowned Baja 1000 off-road race is held in Ensenada every year in late November, while the Baja 500 race is held in early June. Off-road enthusiasts use Ensenada year-round as a starting point to explore Baja California.

The gray whale's annual migration from Alaskamarker to the lagoons of Baja California Surmarker between the months of December and March, and back in the months of April and May, can be seen from the coast of Ensenada. Sightseeing tours are available every day during migration season.

The nearby town of Guadalupemarker, was founded by immigrant Russianmarker Molokans in the late nineteenth century. Most of the Molokan community re-migrated towards California's Central Valleymarker in the mid-twentieth century, and a Russian Museum commemorating their legacy in the region has been established. The traditional economic activities in Guadalupe are olive and wine production. Currently, about 90%of wine production in Mexico originates in the valleys of Guadalupe and adjacent Calafia. Many local wine producers offer tours and tastings.

Every year during the month of August, the beginning of wine harvest season is celebrated in the Guadalupe Valley and in the city of Ensenada with a two week long series of cultural and culinary events, all under the title banner of Fiestas de la Vendimia (Wine Harvest Festival). This event attracts people from all over the world.

The Ensenada Carnaval is one of the country's largest, as thousands of people gather in the streets for six days and nights.

The Sierra San Pedro Mártirmarker mountain range and National Park is located within the municipality of Ensenada, about 240 km SE of the city of Ensenada.

There is a street in Ensenada called "la primera" (meaning the first in English). It's a classic tourism spot in Ensenada due to its many "Curios, Curiosidades" (trinquet and souvenir stores), restaurants, hotels, bars and popular clubs such as the Hussong'smarker Cantina and Papas & Beer. There are plenty of things to buy and see as well as many places to go. La Primera is a very busy street, filled with tourists and locals. It is normal to go through a lot of traffic, especially at nighttime. La Primera is just one block away from Ventana al Mar (Window to the sea), a boardwalk/seawall avenue where an enormous Mexican flag is located.

La bufadora, or the blowhole, is the second biggest marine geyser in the world. It is located at the end of a long strip of shopping and markets.
Overlooking Ensenada at night


Commercial fishing

More than 90 species are commercially fished in Ensenada, the most important of which are tuna, shrimp, lobster, abalone, sea urchin, sardine, mackerel and seaweed. A large percentage of all catches are exported to the Far East.

A tuna embargo imposed on Mexico during the 1990s caused most of the fishing fleet to relocate to the ports of Guaymas, Sonora, and Mazatlán, Sinaloamarker, further south. In order to survive, Ensenada's tuna industry has shifted its focus to tuna farming, exporting the highly valued meat exclusively to Japan.

Sport Fishing

Ensenada Baja California has been known for sport fishing over fifty years. Each year hundreds of anglers head for Ensenada to go fishing and take advantage of the shorter distances needed to travel by sea to get to the big catch. The short range day trips are good for cranking in Bass, Bonita, Barracuda, Cod and Yellowtail, while the long range trips pull in Tuna, Albacore, Dorado.

Agriculture

Grapes from the Guadalupe Valley.
Photo by Tomas Castelazo.
Grapes from the Guadalupe Valley.
Photo by Tomas Castelazo.
The municipality of Ensenada has three main agricultural zones: the Guadalupe-Calafia valleys to the north, the Ojos Negros valley to the east and the San Quintin valley to the south. The main crops are grapes, olives, tomato, wheat, alfalfa, asparagus, green onion and broccoli.

Mining

One of the earliest activities in the Ensenada region was gold and silver mining, and some of these mines are still in limited operation. In recent years, very large amounts of gravel have been extracted from creekbeds in rural areas and exported for infrastructure works in the nearby state of California in the United States. However, this has been a controversial activity, as environmentalists have argued that depleting the creekbeds will decrease the amount of water that is absorbed by the soil during the brief rain season, thereby negatively impacting the agricultural industry. As of November 2005, the extraction of gravel remains unchecked. Said extraction activities have been linked to former Governor Ernesto Ruffo.

Maquiladora industry

Ensenada has six major industrial parks, compared to 26 in Mexicalimarker and 51 in Tijuanamarker.

Education

The following higher education institutions are based in Ensenada. With UNAM's research headquarters, the Marine Sciences Department of the UABC and the thriving CICESE scientific institute in town, Ensenada boasts the highest concentration of scientists and science students in all of Latin America, chiefly in the fields of astronomy, physics, biology, geology and oceanography. Fittingly, Ensenada has been coined The City Of Science.

El Tigre International Airport

An international airport is to be built at km. 80 of the Tijuana-Ensenada toll road. It will be the third airport serving the greater San Diego-Tijuana metropolitan area, together with the other two major airports of Tijuanamarker and San Diegomarker. Construction is expected to begin on the first quarter of 2008 and initial investment is estimated at around $230 million dollars. The airstrip will be able to receive large aircraft including the Airbus A380 and the Boeing 747. International flights to are planned.

Cultural references

  • Ween, a popular U.S rock band references Ensenada in their song Bananas and Blow from 2001's White Pepper. The line goes, "I went to see my mom in Ensenada/And I left a little something to help the time go by/ Just a little something to help to keep you high"


  • In the animated TV series South Park, on an episode of the fourth Season (Probably), Kenny seems to be lost in Ensenada and calls to his friends from a pay phone next to the club Papas & Beer. Thinking he is in hell, when the boys ask him to tell them what hell is like he answers: (Um...) mariachi music is heard, and the street is lively enough.


  • One of the Fender manufacturing plants is located in Ensenada.


  • Warren Zevon references the city in his song Carmelita: "And I'm there with her in Ensenada, And I'm here in Echo Park."




  • There are strong rumors within Ensenada's inhabitants that Alphonse Gabriel Capone owned the locally famous Riviera Pacifico Casino and Hotel, which now serves as convention and cultural center.


  • Ensenada's oral history also says that Leon Trotsky lived there for several months in the early 1930s, as a waiting point after applying for a passport to the United States, which was denied. Consequently, Trotsky moved to Mexico Citymarker.


  • The city is also the setting of a song by Neil Diamond titled "In Ensenada". The song can be found on the album Heartlight.




  • In an extended live rendition of "The End" by The Doors (released in the album In Concert in 1991), Jim Morrison name-checks Ensenada. Due to the proximity to Los Angelesmarker and the fact that he could be virtually unnoticed in Ensenada, it is said that Morrison visited frequently.




  • In one episode of The Oblongs when Pickles tries to break into a factory she says, "If we get caught, meet at the yellow rose in Ensenada."


  • The city was referenced in the song "Detonation Boulevard" by The Sisters of Mercy: "I caught something weird in Ensenada." The song appears on the 1990 album Vision Thing.


  • In one episode of Veronica Mars, there is a reference to a shot glass Logan Echolls bought for his deceased girlfriend, which read "I got baked in Ensenada."


  • In the second season of the Sam and Max series by Telltale, space mariachis sing "but it's hot, maybe it's Ensenada" in reference to a portal that leads to hell.


  • In Heroes in episode 6 of season 4 "Strange Attractors" Matt Parkman has Syler in his head and to get rid of him he tries to get Drunk with a Tequila he says he and his wife bought in Ensenada last year.


References

External links




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