The main shopping area in the tourist zone along Lopez Mateos is appealing with brick paved sidewalks which are cleaned every morning. Since this is in the tourist zone, expect to pay higher prices though.
Streets are packed with tourists when the cruise ships are in (Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday).
What to pay: U.S. dollars are generally accepted here, however note that the exchange rate may be better or worse depending on the store. If you plan to convert to pesos, the ATM machines at local banks like Banamex or HSBC have excellent exchange rates (better than the currency exchange houses). Visa/MC also have good exchange rates, but many banks now charge an additional 2%-3% fee for foreign purchases in addition to the 1% that Visa/MC charges to do the conversion, which seems unreasonable to me considering the bank doesn't add any value to the transaction process. Check your bank's policy so that you are not surprised after the trip.
If you would like to shop where the locals do, then simply walk four blocks into the city to a street called Ave. Juarez, which is lined with all kinds of stores, cheaper prices, and less sales pressure.
In the smaller stores you may be asked to check any bags near the door (this is done to reduce shoplifting).
The best streets to walk between Avenida Juarez and Lopez Mateos are either Ruiz or Gastellum. The other streets are OK, however there is not much to look at (mostly residential streets).
When crossing busy intersections you should wait for the green light. Also be careful where you step since the sidewalks may not be as well maintained.
From the outside the Art and Craft Center seemed to hold promise, and a man at the Ensenada Tourist Information office said we definitely should not miss it. However, we felt the selections offered by the handfull of individually owned shops were limited and the prices a little high. Maybe it's because we aren't educated to properly appreciate "art." But if you are a real connoisseur of such items perhaps you will find something here of interest.
There are two distinctly different shopping districts in Ensenada. The local people buy most of their necessities along Av. Juarez, and when Karen and I walked for several blocks down this busy street we saw no tourists at all.
Four blocks west of Av. Juarez is the main shopping area for tourists, although also frequented by locals. This newly remodeled shopping and dining premenade stretches along Av. Lopez Mateos from Av. Castillo to Av. Ryderson. Most of the hotels and restaurants can be found in this area. We strolled this colorful street several times, and enjoyed the people-watching as much as shopping.
What to buy: Karen bought a hand-crafted leather handbag in one of the shops and I captured her photo with the amigo who made it.
What to pay: Less than in the United States.
If you're going to be visiting La Bufadora while you are in Ensenada, and everyone should, then wait and buy your cheap trinkets and souvenirs there. There are literally dozens of open air shops lining both sides of the road just before you reach the Blowhole, and the competition between vendors is strong, so you should be able to get a good bargain with just a minimum of haggling. I added a refrigerator magnet to our collection here, and also bought a few postcards.
What to pay: Generally better prices than in town.
Hussong's Official Logo Store has all the logo items for Hussong's Cantina. Remember, we are talking about the oldest bar in the west logos. This is a wide open aisle store with easy to see and try clothes.
What to buy: Personally, when in Ensenada for the first time, a T-Shirt from the Hussong's Official Logo Store is a must. Of course, I am a true tourist shopper. I drool over hot logo T-shirts, I slobber over a great logo baseball style cap ( I have over 40 and counting), and I get thirsty just looking at logo tequila shot glasses. Hey, I have shot glasses from many of the Hard Rock Cafes around the world, why not four shot glasses from the oldest bar in the west, Hussong's.
What to pay: Average prices for all items. In USDollars, T-Shirts from $10-20, Hats between $15-20, Shot glasses, $4-5.
You can procure items such as...
Churos (eat while you shop)
Fresh Coconut (I personally don’t like coconut… but there I wish I did)
Mexican Wrestling Masks
Lots of other decorative stuff, including dashboard Jesuses
What to pay: $1 to $3 for parking
masks, you can get down to $6 (probably if you speak spanish and they are about to close shop)
The Brick feels like an open air bazaar with the stalls and the eclectic offers throughout the store. The part that makes it different is the unbelievable art work of a local artist Enrique Avilez. His artwork is a sculpture of great happenings with a futuristic look but an age old theme. The art titled "The Origin of Life" is about 26 feet by 23 feet in size and is both a mural and sculpture. He has several pieces of art on pedestals on the stores walkways that you can get up close and personal for all the detail work. He has been a noted artist in Mexico and is now getting world recognition. I come into this store to visit the mural more than to shop for a trinket.
Don't get me wrong, there are many fine things to buy in the stall areas, but how much tourist style shopping can one do?
What to buy: Silver is always a good buy in Mexico and there are many jewelry selections in silver. In alcohol, Tequila and Kahlua are priced low.
What to pay: Prices of goods are from a little to a lot depending on what you buy. There is no set price.
It is a place where you can buy genuine cuban cigars and rum. They are not counterfiters or rip off artists. I have beeen buying from them for 3 years now and every purchase has been a great deal.
What to buy: Ask for the Monte Cristo seconds. Monte Christos cost about $15.00 each but the cosmetically flawed ones are about $2.00 each and taste the same. I buy them in packs of 50 at a time. Also they have Havana Club rum. Don't get the white rum. Bacardi is just as good, get the dark rum. It is the smoothest you have ever tasted
What to pay: $2.00 to $25.00 per cigar. $15.00 for 750 ml of rum.
They made Ensenada’s blowhole a complete tourist attraction. You will park your car, for a small fee, and then while walking down to the water, you will be inundated with local arts and crafts shops, where you can buy (more like BARTER) lots of awesome to obnoxious things.
What I liked about La Bufadora, is that there was more bartering there, and it seemed that the prices you can talk down much lower than in Ensenada and due North (read: closer to SD). Less people go here, so better prices. For example, my buddy (who is fluent in Spanish) is into buying Mexican wrestling masks, (don’t ask)… and the lowest he talked those down in Puerto Nuevo was $12, and in Bufadora was $5 or $6, you do realize that this is my barometer.. take it with a grain of salt
The shop looks expensive from outside, but you can find very affordable and cheap nice stuff. If you buy enough stuff, the lady might give you 10% discount.
What to buy: Candles, wooden boxes, ceramics... nice and affordable, the best souvenirs I've seen in Baja.
What to pay: 1.20USD and up.
the liqour joint in ensenada area called licores plaza is popular for assorted mexican and international wines and spirits and liqours but their specialty is what else but the tequila! when you say tequila in mexico, they ask you what kind (like ordering a dimsum in china, they ask you what kind?) of tequila. There are two basic categories of tequila: mixtos and 100% agave. Mixtos use up to 49% of other sugars in the fermentation process, with agave taking up the remainder. Mixtos use both glucose and fructose sugars.
With 100% agave tequila, blanco or plata is harsher with the bold flavors of the distilled agave up front, while reposado and añejo are smoother, subtler, and more complex. As with other spirits that are aged in casks, tequila takes on the flavors of the wood, while the harshness of the alcohol mellows. The major flavor distinction with 100% agave tequila is the base ingredient, which is more vegetal than grain spirits (and often more complex).
What to buy: licores plaza is specializing in 100% Blue Agave Fine Tequilas and the cheapest ones are 300 mexican pesos for a 750 ml bottle (hey this is not the cheap Jose Cuervo Kind ok but the premium kind and more expensive than patron) and depending on the brand goes up to 700 mexican pesos for a 1 liter bottle.
Tequila is usually bottled in one of five categories:
Blanco ("white") or plata ("silver") – white spirit, un-aged and bottled or stored immediately after distillation, or aged less than two months in stainless steel or neutral oak barrels;
Joven ("young") or oro ("gold") – is the result of blending Silver Tequila with Reposado and/or Añejo and/or extra Añejo Tequila;
Reposado ("rested") – aged a minimum of two months, but less than a year in oak barrels;
Añejo ("aged" or "vintage") – aged a minimum of one year, but less than 3 years in oak barrels;
Extra Añejo ("extra aged" or "ultra aged") – aged a minimum of three years in oak barrels.
What to pay: again it can be as low as 300 mexican pesos a bottle to as high as 700 mexican pesos a bottle depending on the brand and depending on the kind of bottling if anejo or reposado, etc.
Casa Colonial is an Assortment of Small Shops selling assorted local mexican craft and a lot more and also has inn type of rooms for the budget tourist here in Avenida de Blancarte Street just facing the harbor. What you can see here is an assortment of Mexican Rugs and carpets with different designs, mexican clothes for men and women (not the touristy t-shirt kind ok), assorted mexican haberdasheries and potteries and assorted wooden handicrafts, mexican ceramics like plates and other kitchen utensils plus the regular touristy stuff like ref magnets, t-shirts, shot glasses and others.
What to buy: depens of what you want to buy like a mexican stone statue or a mexican aztec style pottery or a mexican blanket or others, the choices are numerous. don't forget to haggle though.
What to pay: haggling is a must and they accept both mexican pesos and US Dollars!
well this T-Shirt Shop in the ensenada area is very popular since their logo is a little mexican devil sign. They sell authentic t-shirts of ensenada and baja mexico designs and the varieties are endless like multi colored t-shirts (most have their little devil icon as part of the design) and they also sell bags, caps, jeans and other stuffs. They don't allow haggling here since this is a shop and not a street stall (the price of an ordinary ensenada t-shirt is the same as a chamuco if you don't know how to haggle for the ordinary t-shirts ok).
What to buy: what else but buy an original little devil chamuco t-shirt for 150 mexican pesos (i got it at a 20% discount so it only costs 120 mexican pesos) for me. (about the same price as an ordinary ensenada souvenir t-shirt if you don't know how to haggle ok). my friend also bought 2 t-shirts at the discounted 120 pesos each. you can pay in either US Dollars of Mexican Pesos.
What to pay: 120 mexican pesos for a t-shirt (if on sale), caps are 100 mexican pesos and bags starts at 80 mexican pesos
first a clarification, Hussong's Official Store in not in anyway connected to the popular Hussongs Cantina ok, this Hussong's Official Store is own by a different family and they say that this family (the Ampudia Family, prominent in the ensenada area) also owns the other famous bars like Papas & Beer and Mango Mango Bars (unfortunately i have not been in these bars since i was here for just a day ok). Hussong's Official Store sells what else but assorted souvenirs like t-shirts, caps, shorts, towels, beach wear, flip flops, shot glasses, ref magnets and a lot more. they have 3 branches in the area.
What to buy: depends on what you want to buy likje a hussongs t-shirt costs 160 mexican pesos, caps costs 110 mexican pesos, shot glasses costs 60 mexican pesos, reg magnets at 6o mexican pesos and a lot more. again no haggling is allowed here.
What to pay: depends on your budget