One day we had a tour of Ensenada. We stopped at a farmer’s market where we all purchased cheese and veggies. Another stop was at Riviera de Ensenada or as it used to be called Hotel Playa Ensenada. It was opened in October of 1930. It was an elegant hotel and gambling casino. One of the members of the developing corporation was Jack Dempsey the boxer. He was hugely famous at this time and attracted a lot of Hollywood people here. The opening night act was Bing Crosby who was accompanied by Xaviar Cugat Orchestra. A local Latin singer and dancer performed here too, Margarita Cansino. She later became known as Rita Hayworth. Since Prohibition was going on in the US, this place became quite a popular hangout. But as Prohibition was lifted, and Mexico outlawed casino gambling in 1938, the place closed down. In 1942, new owners took over. One of them was Margarita Plant. It is said the bar there invented a drink for her and called it….the Margarita. Eventually the novelty wore off, and the building started falling to ruin until 1978 when the government took over and began restorations. It is now used for tours and many cultural events for the city.
Another stop on our tour was to the Museo Historico Regional in Baja. This museum has the history of the area and archeological records of the state of Baja. The building was once a fortress then a military headquarters. It was even used as a municipal jail until 1986. This is the oldest continually used building in Ensenada.
Our last stop was at Plaza Civica. It is the heart of the port. Ensenada is a cruise ship port so there are plenty of shops and places to eat. We found a place to eat and had fish tacos. There were a lot of shops in the area and we found a few more tiles for our Mexican bathroom in the camper. Most of the vendors spoke English, and accepted American Dollars. We tried to go to a bar called Hussong’s Cantina. This is the oldest bar still in use, started in 1882. This is the second place claiming to have the first Margarita, but it was way too crowded and we did not need a margarita so we opted to stroll the shops and found coffee instead. Interesting but a long day.