Ensenada, Mexico

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Nicknamed the Pearl of the Pacific, with the Pacific Ocean to the west and a mountain range to the east, Ensenada is Baja California's third-largest city and one of its commercial and cultural hubs. The weather here is pleasant year round, evoking comparisons to Mediterranean climates. But the hot days and cool nights aren't the only reasons Ensenada and surrounding towns are compared to the Mediterranean; similar crops are grown here, including asparagus, olives and grapes. It's this last crop that makes Ensenada the gateway to Baja's wine route (Ruta del Vino), where labels little known outside of Mexico are produced, often in small batches. Winery tours and tastings are a quintessential Ensenada experience. It all makes for a pleasant visit, especially for foodies and oenophiles, who will appreciate the area's farm-to-table ethic and its many alfresco restaurants. Active travelers will love the region too, their greatest challenge being how to choose among the many adventures—zip lining and horseback riding are two highlights—that await in Ensenada and its outskirts.  

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