If you visit the port city of Ensenada, chances are you are going to be offered a tour to La Bufadora, a famous blowhole located on the Punta Banda Peninsula.
For many, La Bufadora has become one of Ensenada’s top attractions. As a consequence, it is a bit difficult to take off the entire area out of the “tourist trap” list.
However, I believe Punta Banda is worth well a visit due to its natural, rugged beauty. You can find cliff vistas, sea stacks, and small coves. On a sunny day, the place is just gorgeous.
On this article, I want to cover the area from the touristic and non-touristic perspectives. I’ll let you choose how you want to visit.
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About Punta Banda
Ensenada is located in the Todos Santos (All Saints) Bay. The southern portion of the bay is delineated by the Punta Banda Peninsula, a finger-like strip of land.
Almost at the tip of the peninsula (at the end of the paved road), you are going to find La Bufadora, a feature described as a marine geyser or tidewater blowhole.
The spout of seawater is the result of air, trapped in a sea cave, exploding upwards. Air is forced into the cave by wave action and is released when the water recedes. It is not only the high spray of water that amazes visitors but the howling noise that precedes the moment of action.
People say the sound is similar to the snort of a furious animal. This is one of North America’s largest blowhole shooting upwards more than 100 feet (30 meters).
How to Get to Punta Banda
From Downtown Ensenada, continue driving south on Mex-1 (towards Maneadero). After 10 miles (30-35 minutes), you are going to see the junction to Mex-23 on the right. Make the turn to traverse the peninsula.
If you are visiting on a tour, you will not have to worry about directions. But, it would be nice to visit independently in order to select your desired activities.
Visiting La Bufadora
You can reach La Bufadora by driving towards the end of Mex-23. Most parking lots charge a (small) fee to park.
To reach the blowhole, you have to walk a long market area where all sorts of goods are sold. Expect to see t-shirts, ponchos, hats, backpacks, candies, coconuts, alcoholic drinks, snacks, and other trinkets. Everything is going to be overpriced here. Bargain if you are interested in buying something.
At one point, you are going to reach the different viewpoints. Try to catch the water motion from as many angles as possible.
Note: La Bufadora is a natural phenomenon. Keep in mind you are not guaranteed to see it spouting water.
A Different Side of Punta Banda
Many visitors, take a look at La Bufadora, buy something at the market and leave.
There is nothing wrong with the approach described above but I recommend adding a little bit more fun to your visit.
Shawii Outdoors, located at Rancho La Bufadora (at La Bufadora Cove), offers kayaking and rappelling tours. In addition, they rent ocean view cabins.
Even if you decide not to kayak, you can drive to the Rancho La Bufadora area in order to get different views of the cove.
Baja Aquatics also offers kayak tours around La Bufadora. You can book in advance with this company and they will provide transportation from Downtown Ensenada. Book through Trip Advisor or a hotel.
Hiking tours (and other custom tours) of Punta Brava are offered by Baja VIP Gallo. A tour is not needed to hike (very steep) this advanced trail but I am suggesting going with a person familiar with the area.
People with off-road vehicles head to the Arbolitos Cove for more amazing sea vistas and some exercise.
For some beach time, head to La Joya or Baja Cove. The beaches in this part of the peninsula are known for its warm spots coming from underwater hot springs.
In La Joya, there are several outfitters offering sport fishing trips. As an example, Vonny’s Fleet has great reviews. If you have not researched the activity, you can head to the marina and ask for info.
When to Visit
Ensenada has year-round mild or moderate weather. You can visit Punta Banda at any time.
Now, I would not visit during an overcast day. It may sound preposterous but the experience is not the same when the sun is not out. You want to see the deep blue ocean and the gray, red and green cliffs.
Wildflowers will line the road if you visit during spring.
Checking the tides is a good idea too. La Bufadora is going to be at its best during high tide.
Where to Eat
If you are visiting for the day, I suggest you eat in Ensenada before or after your trip to Punta Banda. The food in Downtown Ensenada is too delicious to pass.
Here are my recommended places to eat:
La Guerrerense, a food cart serving seafood tostadas and cocktails. I recommend getting their specialties such as codfish, sea urchin, sea cucumber and ahi tuna. You will not find several combinations anywhere else.
For seafood cocktails and simple fish ceviche tostadas, I prefer carts like El Guero and Nuestra Senora de Novalato.
For shrimp and fish tacos, go to Tacos Fenix. Many locals rank this place as selling the best fish tacos in Ensenada.
Other taco options include Mariscos El Gordito, Tacos Marco Antonio and Taqueria El Trailero.
To eat seafood in a restaurant setting, you can go to Muelle 3, La Concheria and La Cevicheria Oyster Bar.
So, there you have it! I have provided several ideas on how to enhance any trip to the Punta Banda Peninsula. Hope you have a great time during your visit!
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