Whether they are on a cruise from Los Angeles, driving from San Diego, or passing through on the way to points south, many travelers find themselves in Ensenada  for an afternoon or longer. Those who venture away from the commercial port and busy tourist zone into the town center find a surprisingly pleasant Mexican town to explore.
Beyond the border region but still within easy reach of San Diego, Ensenada has an identity all its own. Cruise ships bring tourists who roam the malecón by day and return to their ships at night, leaving the town to the locals and visitors who’ve driven themselves from the other side of the border for an overnight getaway.
Accordingly, the commercial district along the busy waterfront is crowded with tourist shops and services. But a few blocks inland, Ensenada transforms into a regional center of commerce with a much more local—and inviting—feel. Ranches, fisheries, and wineries all conduct their business here.
Students come to study at several universities. And travelers from mainland Mexico come to explore the wine country in the nearby Valle de Guadalupe . A Dominican mission, Russian colony, and beautiful coastline add to Ensenada’s appeal.
South of Ensenada, Mexico 1 meanders through a series of farming communities, including the rolling hills and vineyards of the Valle de Santo Tomás . Legendary sportfishing and surfable waves await all the way south to San Quintín . El Rosario , at the southern end of this region, marks the gateway to the vast central desert and the Valle de los Cirios.
Away from the Pacific coast, hikers and backpackers can explore two mountain ranges, the Sierra de Juárez and the Sierra de San Pedro Mártir, which has the tallest peak on the Baja Peninsula, an internationally known observatory, and nearly 69,000 hectares of untouched wilderness.