Our page below provides a brief overviews of the northern section of the
Mexican Riviera, including Ensenada,
Cabo San Lucas,
A second page covers
the southern section of the Mexican Riviera, including
Ensenada, which was discovered by Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo in 1542, is located in Baja,
Mexico, approximately 70 miles south of the border with the United States.
Ensenada, which is Baja's third largest city, is located on the Bahía
de Todos Santos and is a leading seaport for both commercial shipping and cruise
Ensenada is known for its great beaches and is a popular location with
surfers. Its Todos Santos Island is famous for large waves and has
been the site of several
international surfing championships.
The area around Ensenada is regarded by many as
the premier viticulture area of Mexico and several award winning
located here. Gray whales migrate through the area between November and May
and whale watching cruises are a popular activity during this period.
Ensenada's role as major shipping port and industrial center detracts
somewhat from its role as a tourist
haven. While many cruise ships stop here and surfers arrive by the carload,
it is unlikely that you would choose to vacation in Ensenada rather than Los Cabo.
However, it is a pleasant place to visit. You can find more detail on Ensenada at the
of its tourist board.
Cabo San Lucas is located at the very edge of Baja,
California in an area called Los Cabos (the Capes). It is here that the Pacific Ocean meets the Sea of Cortez (Cortes) in a stunning
contrast of desert landscapes and ocean currents. Although the area is a true desert, it has a unique beauty
that is magnified the azure-blue water that surrounds it. Cabo is an
area that has grown in popularity and we cover it in more detail in our
Guide to Cabo San Lucas.
See Travel Caution at the end of this article.
Mazatlan is located east of Baja, across the Sea of Cortez, on the
mainland of Mexico. It is known for its long stretch of flat beach
than runs thirteen miles down the coast. Mazatlan offers fine
sunbathing, swimming, parasailing and a wide variety of water sports. Most
of the top resorts in Mazatlan are clustered around an area known as Gaviotas Beach.
Mazatlan's Old Town is a modest sized historic center with narrow streets and
many interesting buildings from the city's past. Be sure to take in the
area around the
enchanting Machada Plaza.
Mazatlan is surrounded by the Sierra Madre Occidental mountains.
In these mountains you will find the town of
Concordia, which dates from the 15th century. It attracts many visitors to its
colonial church and other architectural attractions.
In addition, Copala, a gold mining town in the same area, dates from the 15th century
and may be of
Mazatlan is known for its famous Carnival held each year in February. (search
the official tourism site of
Mazatlan for more information). In
addition, if you visit, you might want to catch the show by the Papantla
Flyers who perform acrobatics reenacting an ancient ritual while on 75-foot
Finally, the local islands, especially the Three Islands area ( the
Bird, Deer and Wolf islands), are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Island and
Protected Areas of the Gulf of California and well worth seeing.
Consider visiting this area if you have
time for a cruise or some kayaking. If you visit, you will find
great sunbathing and opportunities to watch an abundance of local bird and marine life.
You can arrange a cruise from the
In the past, several cruise itineraries dropped and, eventually, reinstated
Mazatlan as a port of call. It is our understanding that this was due to reported attacks on passengers and crew while in port.
All travelers to Mazatlan should check locally to ensure their safety while
Vallarta, Ixtapa and Acapulco
Guide to Cabo San
Return to Best Places to Visit in Mexico
If you need information about another travel destination, try
Destination Guide Index
or Googling ThereArePlaces.