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Saturday, October 18, 2008

Ensenada’s Bright Future

by Steven Dryden

The City by the Bay the federal government has dedicated over US$35 million dollars to this port town for infrastructure development

Some things just happen by chance, but great things often happen because visionary leaders lay the foundation for future growth and success. Such is the case for the beautiful seaside port city of Ensenada, in Baja California Norte. The landscape itself is stunning; blessed with a scenic harbor, a pristine coastline, majestic mountains and island views. It’s proximity to the international border, yet it’s pleasant distance away from the border congestion and confusion, makes this charming “city by the bay” a most desirable vacation destination and home for local and international residents. In addition, Ensenada is the gateway to Mexico’s premier wine country, with over twenty high-quality wineries and tasting rooms just twenty minutes away, and offers access to the “real” Baja California south and east of town. It is the entry point to Baja Sur and maintains an important hub that leads to the serene and tranquil village of San Felipe. All in all, Ensenada is the most desirable town south of San Diego, and many people are discovering that it is the place to be for those who love perfect Mediterranean-like weather, an abundance of convenient amenities, safety and security. Furthermore, it has become Mexico’s food and wine capital, with a diverse selection of gourmet culinary businesses.

Ensenada is a close-knit community with the largest population of Ph.D.-educated individuals in Mexico, and there are over fifteen institutions of higher learning within the city limits. Many of the city’s residents have a deep commitment to preserve and improve the quality of life for all its citizens. One of Ensenada’s visionary leaders is Jorge A. Guevara Escamilla, owner of Excel Constructora of Ensenada and a founding member of Vision 2025. His company builds infrastructure for local, municipal, state and federal projects including bridges, highways, water systems, sewage treatment facilities, pavement and earth-moving projects. I spoke with Jorge over wine and salad at Capricho’s gourmet food and wine bar across from the original Hussong’s cantina in downtown Ensenada. Lately, this elegant wine bar has become a meeting place for town visionaries, planners and promoters who see the challenges and possibilities that appear in the city’s bright future. Everyone seems to agree that Ensenada’s time has come. Guevara Escamilla and other city leaders are making plans and taking direct action in preparation for the coming boom in housing, commercial development, infrastructure creation/repair and tourism development. In addition, the federal government has dedicated over US$35 million dollars to this port town for infrastructure development and for a desalination plant that will produce a minimum of 250 liters of drinkable water per second.

This region’s economy has slowed somewhat, corresponding to the similar downturn in the US financial situation, but Mexico’s economy is strong and moving steadily forward. According to Jorge, “we’ve experienced a slowdown in real estate sales and housing development, but we’re moving forward with infrastructure projects and tourism-related projects. For instance, there are four new bridges being built soon across the riverbed in downtown Ensenada. The bridge on Lopez Mateos Avenue and Castillo will feature a new pedestrian walkway for cruise ship guests and includes viewpoint decks and tourist attractions. Bids are now being accepted for construction of a new desalination plant, which in addition to proving the city with water, will hopefully provide some relief to the water crisis facing Mexico’s wine country in Valle de Guadalupe. Furthermore, there are four separate contractors that have begun construction of the new four lane road from Ensenada towards San Antonio de las Minas and onwards to Tecate. Bids are being taken for a new by-pass route from central Ensenada to Highway 3 near El Sauzal de Rodriquez. And, we have bids now being taken to build a new four-lane freeway from Ensenada to Puerto Colonet. Of course, everyone knows about the new airport coming to the region soon, so things are really moving fast here and we all have great expectations.” Jorge adds, “I just talked to a friend who is now accepting construction bids on a new 300 acre housing project in Ensenada, and several developers are moving forward with plans for residential, retirement and vacation communities in this area.”

Ensenada appears to be the choice for many people seeking a safe and secure location with nearly perfect weather and a close proximity to the international border. City leaders and planners are moving forward with infrastructure improvement projects and are setting the stage for Ensenada’s bright future. Now might be a great time to invest in this area, or at least come and take a look for yourself. Discover the magic of Baja California’s charming seaside port of Ensenada. Some things just happen by chance, but great things happen by planning. It’s there waiting for you, and golden opportunities are abundant!

Steve Dryden is a wine, food and travel writer living in Guadalupe Valley where he guides private and small group wine tours. He can be reached at: sbdryden@hotmail.com