It’s time to sign up for the Cruising Fleet’s biennial trip to Ensenada, and we have a great trip planned, including slips and discounted rooms at the Coral Marina and Hotel.
For those who can’t make it by boat, the hotel will provide vans to make the trip from SDYC on the 18th, returning to SDYC on the 21st.
Please sign up early so we can make room and restaurant reservations. By getting started now, you’ll also be able to make sure you have arranged for your Mexican Temporary Import Permit (TIP) for your boat. (IMPORTANT NOTE: If you purchased your boat from someone else and don’t know if there’s already a TIP associated with your vessel, please contact Cruise Captain Larry Shushan at 510-701-6920 or firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible. He will arrange for the Coral Marina staff to check for you. Then, if you don’t already have a TIP (good for 10 years), you’ll need to get one. Fortunately, Ensenada is one of just two Mexican ports where this can take place on arrival, but you’ll need to gather certain documents in advance so the process can go smoothly. If you don’t have a TIP, please call Larry, and he’ll explain what you need to do. Don’t bother trying to get one online; the process of doing it in person in Ensenada with the help of the marina staff is straightforward and relatively easy. They’re eager to help us. (Larry just did it the weekend of August 11, and reports it couldn’t have been easier.)
Also, if you haven’t traveled to Mexico in a while, passports are mandatory for returning to the United States, whether by boat or overland.
Here’s our planned itinerary:
THURSDAY, OCT. 18
We’ll be enjoying the sunset from the Coral’s Marina Grill, a welcoming outdoor venue with food and drinks. The hotel has a beautiful pool, and both indoor and outdoor spas for those so inclined. Socializing and relaxation will be Thursday’s theme as your fellow Cruising Fleet members who arrive by boat get checked in with the Ensenada Port Captain.
We’ll be serving a traditional Mexican breakfast of pan dulces, fruit, Mexican chocolate, coffee and mimosas while we finish tying up any loose ends with Immigration, Customs and the Ensenada Port Captain with the help of the hotel and marina’s staff.
A highlight of the trip will be a late lunch at Malva Cocina de Baja California, the acclaimed restaurant owned by award-winning chef Roberto Alcocer at the near edge of the Valle de Guadalupe. Chef Alcocer is arranging wine pairings with a delicious lunch, as well as tastings at the boutique winery next door — Mina Penélope. That will be $65 per person, all-inclusive (food, wines and gratuity).
Dinner will be on your own, but we’ll have several suggestions for you to suit your taste.
If you’ve never been to Valle de Guadalupe, you’re in for a real treat: We will be driving about 20 minutes into the Valle for breakfast at Doña Esthela, a highly popular and much-publicized, rustic establishment in the middle of nowhere, accessible only by dirt road. Doña Esthela has taken her home and, over several years, turned it into one of the most popular destination eateries in Baja. She’s been written up from California to London, where one publication included her food as being among the best breakfasts served in the world. You’ll be surrounded by her farmyard animals (goats, pigs, fowl) and the sounds of happy people enjoying a great and authentic Mexican breakfast. Best advice: Don’t miss this!
SATURDAY after breakfast
Saturday morning breakfast at Doña Esthela in the Valle de Guadalupe will be approximately $15 per person plus a few dollars for round-trip van transportation.
Everyone will be on their own to enjoy exploring Ensenada, hanging out by the pool, playing games in the marina clubhouse — Scrabble, poker, dominoes, etc. — or socializing aboard the fleet’s boats.
SATURDAY WINE-TASTING AND DINNER
Join your fellow cruisers for a wine tasting on the Marina patio with the well-known Lechuza Winery, whose wines are among the best in the Valle de Guadalupe, and whose wine is served at Thomas Keller’s renowned restaurant — The French Laundry — in the Napa Valley. Lechuza will be coming to us for the tasting so we don’t have to make an extra trip in the vans. Then we’ll all head out for an al fresco dinner under the stars at La Hoguera, an authentic Mexican grill located in the heart of Ensenada. Fresh salsas are made at your table to go with your meat, chicken or fish — all grilled to order. (One of your Cruise Captains was just there to try it out, and he reports the food and ambience are outstanding.)
Informal breakfast at the hotel and departures on your own schedule. We will announce the van departure time back to SDYC for those traveling by land at a later date.