Photo Friday: Ensenada, Mexico

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Back in May, I got the exciting opportunity to return to the ship, MV Explorer, that’s so dear to me and work as the Communications and PR Coordinator for the spring Enrichment Voyage. The twice-a-year Enrichment Voyages (in May and December) are operated under the same umbrella as Semester at Sea, the non-profit Institute for Shipboard Education, and are open to anyone who wants to come. Think of them as “cruises”—though we dare not say that on board; it’s an educational voyage—with a learning slant; I’ll talk more about the ship activities at a later date, but currently you can nab a great deal on Groupon Getaways for the 25-day, 10-country Enrichment Voyage this winter. But anyway…

After departing from San Diego, we had a very brief staff orientation and lifeboat drill, sailed overnight along the Pacific Coast and arrived in Ensenada, Mexico the following morning.

The best part about traveling by ship is arriving at a port in the early hours of the morning when the city is still asleep. It’s a beautiful, serene moment, as the pilot boat guides us to the dock, and I love finding a secluded, quiet area of the deck at the bow of the ship where I can take it all in.

Well, aside from the chorus of sea lions—you can see their faint outlines above—who barked in a loud, aggressive cacophony of chaos as we pulled into the bay.

The check-in process is always a lot of fun; as the shuttle buses arrived from just over the border, we greeted all the newcomers, their nervous excitement about joining the ship obvious.

Meanwhile, up on deck 7, the “old pros”—like my pal Riley, age 7, who has been on the ship four times—enjoyed a welcome barbeque.

I had heard that Ensenada was just a dusty old port town, not worthy of exploring, but I have to say the view was nice from the ship. I didn’t have time to get out and see any of the area, though my cabin mate Samantha did and gave it high praise, but it wasn’t a bad place to be docked for the afternoon. Surprisingly, too, the day was rather cool; for being Mexico, you assume it to be unbearably hot, but the climate was similar to that of coastal California (which isn’t so shocking, I suppose, given that it’s just a hop, skip and a jump south of San Diego).

That afternoon, following another lifeboat drill, we set sail under a brilliant moon.


  • June 22, 2012

    So pretty! Your posts just make me so excited to get on board!

  • June 22, 2012

    Woohoooo! So excited for the rwcap, its like living it all over again!! Thanks friend for the trip of a lifetime!

    • June 22, 2012

      I might have to get someone on board this December to guest post for me sometime… 😉

      • June 22, 2012

        Ha ha, well it just so happens that I KNOW someone that will be on the December Voyage 😉

  • June 22, 2012

    So glad you’ve started sharing the latest “cruise”. I did look at the December opportunity but it departs from Nassau, a bit of a journey in itself. Still keeping my eyes on possibilities. So when do you go again?

    (How about a little darker text for us old farts with failing eyesight;)

    • June 22, 2012

      Oh! Never thought about that. Thanks for the suggestion!

      I think I’m going next April/May with my family. That voyage is in Europe. Not sure when your season starts–I would assume not until mid-May?–but if you’re interested in going with our group, just shoot me an email sometime!

      • June 22, 2012

        Thanks for the invite but my season starts towards the end of April. Will take a raincheck.

  • June 22, 2012

    Oh thank God that I am not the only one who went on a trip in May and has yet to write about it! I have not written a single post on my 10-day roadtrip!

    • June 24, 2012

      There used to be a time when ALL my blog posts came three to six months after the actual trip. I’ve tried to be better about “blogging in almost-real time” but it’s hard at points.

  • June 22, 2012

    I used to go down to Ensenada all the time when I was younger. Now I’ve heard so many horror stories about Mexico I haven’t even taken my kids across the border. It’s too bad – the beaches and culture are beautiful.

    • June 24, 2012

      It’s so sad about what the drug industry has done to Mexico’s tourism. It really is a beautiful country with so much to offer!

  • June 23, 2012

    Pulling into port in early morning is one of my favourite parts of a cruise too – it’s a great vantage point for watching a city come to life. Love the photo of the moon too – that’s my other favourite time to be on deck!

    Love the new site design – especially the Destinations page!

    • June 24, 2012

      Thanks, Lisa! Hopefully, it will make things much easier to find (at last!).

  • June 24, 2012

    It’s a shame that travel to Mexico has come so unreliable. It’s such a beautiful country. Love the new layout.

    • June 24, 2012

      Thanks, Liza! I know–I’d really like to see more of Mexico, but SVV has prohibited me from traveling much there at the moment.

  • June 27, 2012

    I love the soft way you processed the first photos!

    And I have to say, you have a knack for posting about places that I’m not terribly interested in visiting…and then making me want to go there!

  • June 29, 2012

    Really lovely photos. We went to Ensenada on a 3 day Carnival Cruise a few years ago, but I was so sick I could not get off the boat. I was sick before we left, so I can’t blame seasickness on it! I am also guilty of not posting until long after a trip sometimes. Often, you need to process things (and time to write, which I generally don’t have a lot of). Nice work!

  • June 29, 2012

    I think one of my favorite things about cruising is that morning quiet. There’s really nothing like that, whether it’s an early morning at port or a day at sea with nothing but the ocean around. It’s so peaceful and lovely.

  • July 17, 2012

    What a lovely place,wanna go there! thanks for sharing this post

  • August 3, 2012

    OMG I’m want to punch whoever told you that Ensenada is not worth exploring! I have spent so much time there and it’s an amazing place!!! When I lived in San Diego once a month I would drive down the coast of Mexico and stay in a cheap hotel on the beach and eat lobster and drink margaritas…la dulce vida!

    • August 3, 2012

      That sounds divine! My friend Samantha, who sailed with me as my guest, found a cab driver to take her around the area while I worked, and her pictures were stunning. SAS and EV frequently use Ensenada as an embarkation point, so I’m sure I will be back!

  • July 4, 2013

    Hi Kristin,

    I came across your post while browsing the net for my research and I find this such a great post and experience .

    I have never been to Mexico, but seeing how great the place is with my endless research as well as your photos, I might push through with my plan next year and that is to visit the place (crossing my fingers)! And this place will definitely be in my list of places to go to when I’m there.

    And also, I am actually involved in a website ( that is currently on its development process which will be focused mainly on giving information to Mexico travelers that will help them ease the planning. So I hope that when it is up and live , you’ll check it out and would love to share your experiences to our users. 🙂

    Thanks Kristin!
    xxx Alma xxx

  • June 9, 2014

    We’re now in the Southern part of Mexico – Playa Del Carmen. Mexico is an amazing place to visit and it seems to be getting all the more popular.

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