Guide to Visiting La Bufadora near Ensenada (2024)

a large mist of water spouting from the Pacific Ocean at a distance on a sunny day with clouds. This is La Bufadora, one of the largest blowholes in the world, located on the Punta Banda Peninsula, 45-60 minutes south of Ensenada, Mexico. The rock formations next to it are the seacaves that allow the water to erupt.

Situated 17 miles south of Ensenada, Mexico, La Bufadora is among three of the world’s biggest blowholes. Water spraying from the Pacific Ocean up to 100 feet makes you in awe of what nature is capable of. If the water sprays that high, chances are, you’re going to get wet!

Most people who visit La Bufadora come from cruises. They either book through the cruise line’s excursion or a local tour company. Some visitors who aren’t on a cruise book a tour from San Diego.

When Cecilio and I went on a Carnival cruise, I booked a private tour for us to see La Bufadora. I loved the one-on-one attention from our tour guide, Eugenia. She also knew most of the vendors in the marketplace near La Bufadora, and she encouraged us to try the samples the vendors offered us while veering away from them since they were aggressively trying to sell stuff (more on that below).

If you’re wondering if La Bufadora is worth visiting from Ensenada (whether you’re coming from a cruise or San Diego), read below about this natural wonder and decide for yourself! 🙂

Disclaimer: This post uses affiliate links, which means I make a commission if you book through this post. If you do decide to book using my links, thank you so much for your support!

La Bufadora Overview

What is La Bufadora and why does it spout tall mists of water?

La Bufadora is a blowhole or marine geyser, located in Punta Banda Peninsula in Baja California. It is a 40-60 minute drive south of Ensenada. Tourists flock there to see how high the water can rise in the air.

a large mist of water spouting from the Pacific Ocean at a distance on a sunny day with clouds. This is La Bufadora, one of the largest blowholes in the world, located on the Punta Banda Peninsula, 45-60 minutes south of Ensenada, Mexico. The rock formations next to it are the seacaves that allow the water to erupt.
A seagull perched on a large rock formation, over the Punta Banda Peninsula, 40-60 minutes south of Ensenada, Mexico. At a distance, there is the waves crashing of the Pacific Ocean. This area is best known for La Bufadora, one of the largest blowholes in the world.

There is also a street you have to pass through full of shops and eateries, with vendors and store owners pushing you to buy something from them.

There’s no direct translation for bufadora, but on Google Translate, it means puffer. On SpanishDictionary.com, it’s translated to buffooner or blowhole. Bufadora is also considered an onomatopoeia, a word that sounds like what it looks like. The buf (pronounced boof) mimics the exploding sound La Bufadora makes when the water explodes into the air. BOOF!

A blowhole forms when sea caves form more into the land and upward. As the waves crash into the cave, part of the rock formation softens and erodes. The eroded part creates a hole, allowing the water to pass through and squirt mists of water up to 100 feet (30.5 meters). It’s like a water volcano!

No one can predict when La Bufadora will spout that large mist of water people travel to see. Sometimes the water erupting will just spray a light mist. Sometimes you have to wait a while for the water to come up. You can check the tide times daily in Ensenada to get an idea of when La Bufadora will erupt.

When the large explosion of water rises, be prepared, and wear clothes and shoes you don’t mind getting wet in!

a large mist of water spouting from the Pacific Ocean on the right. This is La Bufadora, one of the largest blowholes in the world, located on the Punta Banda Peninsula, 45-60 minutes south of Ensenada, Mexico. The rock formations next to it are the seacaves that allow the water to erupt.

How to get to La Bufadora

From the cruise port

If you’re on a cruise with a stop in Ensenada, you can either book a tour to La Bufadora through the cruise line or a local tour company from Viator or GetYourGuide.

Cecilio and I booked this private tour with Eugenia, where we met at Riviera del Pacifico (Ensenada’s cultural center), which is down the street from the port. She took us on a 45-minute drive to La Bufadora, talking to us about Ensenada and its history. Our tour with her was MUCH more affordable than the tours through the cruise. We got more in-depth knowledge about Ensenada and were able to interact with some of the local vendors (even if they were a bit pushy).

I highly recommend booking with Eugenia. She was fun to talk to, knowledgeable, and gave us a great recommendation on where to have lunch. Our tour ended with going back to Riviera del Pacifico, where we got to drink a margarita from Bar Andaluz, where they originated!

From San Diego

If you’re staying in San Diego, another way to get to La Bufadora is to take a day trip with a guided sightseeing tour. This tour takes you from San Diego to Ensenada with an air-conditioned coach. You’ll get to see the best of Ensenada all day, with your first stop to La Bufadora for a couple of hours.

Then, you will make a stop at Bodegas de Santo Tomas, the first winery in Baja California. Your last stop ends in Riviera del Pacifico (which I hope you get a margarita at Bar Andaluz!).

You can also rent a car. Whether you’re looking to rent a car at the airport or outside, you can skip the line and make reserve your car in advance on DiscoverCars.com. You can rent a car in California and drive it to Mexico, but limitations may apply depending on the rental car company.

Before you get to see La Bufadora, you have to walk across a street full of shopping stalls (there are over 150 stalls!). The street is about ¼ mile long, and it’s pretty crowded with tourists and pushy vendors.

A flea market lined with shops and tourists on a sunny day 40-60 minutes south Ensenada, Mexico. These shops are right next to La Bufadora, one of the largest ocean blowholes in the world. The shops sell food, clothes, scarves, and gifts. This was taken on a partly cloudy day
A shop selling Mexican-style dresses for little girls, pottery, and trinkets with bright, neon colors and floral patterns. This shop is among one of many in the flea market next to La Bufadora, one of the largest blowholes in the world locted 40-60 minutes south of Ensenada, Mexico.

I didn’t mind the vendors all that much, but that was because Eugenia was a buffer between us and them. She knew some of the vendors and encouraged us to try some of the drink and candy samples that they offered us, but also veered us away so that we could go to La Bufadora quicker.

Eugenia introduced us to local artisans who took hours, days, and weeks to craft pieces to sell. These included hand-painted wooden sculptures and plates. If I were to buy something from the market, it would be from them. Not the shops selling fake Gucci bags or penis-shaped pillows (yes, some of the shops were really selling those).

A man wearing a beanie, glasses, and an apron holding wooden sculpture of a whale on one hand, and a cutting tool on the other. There is a slab of wood in front of him he is about to sculpt, with some tools on a round wooden table. He sells wooden sculptures in a store part of the flea markets near La Bufadora, one of the largest ocean blowholes in the world, located 40-60 minutes south of Ensenada, Mexico.

Some of the vendors sold other types of food, like tacos, churros, and roasted large clam shells with filling. I wanted to try some of the food but I didn’t have cash and we ran out of time; it was for the best because we ended up going to Bar Andaluz and got to have lunch at a popular restaurant in Downtown Ensenada where Anthony Bourdain dined!

I enjoyed the drink samples (like pina coladas and margaritas) and the Mexican candies, and I would suggest buying those if you have the cash. When we walked back to the parking lot to meet Eugenia, we were bombarded with the vendors. As much as I wanted to drink more cocktail samples, Cecilio kept pulling me away lest they got more aggressive.

A few tiny plastic cups filled with tequila-based alcoholic drinks. There is 1 white drink, 4 yellow drinks, and 5 red drinks. They are on a class container on some turquoise marble counter. These drinks were made in a bar next to the flea market near La Bufadora, one of the largest blowholes in the world. La Bufadora is located 40-60 minutes south of Ensenada, Mexico.

I do understand that they are trying to make a living by selling food and other items, which is probably why they feel the need to be extra pushy. But I also understand why it can be annoying for some people, and why others haggle for lower prices.

Tips for visiting La Bufadora

  • Because you’ll be by the ocean, wear a light sweater in case it gets chilly. And wear clothes and shoes that you won’t mind getting wet in, because when La Bufadora spouts a high mist, you’re going to get wet!
  • Bring cash for parking if you’re going to drive, or if you need to use the restroom. And if you want to buy some food or trinkets in the market since most of them don’t accept cards.
  • There’s a bar right next to the parking lot and restrooms that sell delicious margaritas and pina coladas. It’s right outside the markets and it’s cheaper than the ones inside. If you want to buy a drink, I suggest buying from them instead (and Eugenia recommends it too). Also, this bar only accepts cash!
  • Try some of the samples from the vendors if you’d like, but if they start pushing you to buy from them and you’re not interested, just politely say no thank you and move on. But if there’s something you want to buy, try haggling.
  • Go on a weekday when it’s less crowded (luckily, most stops to Ensenada from the cruises are on a weekday)
  • If you don’t book a tour through the cruise line, make sure to book through a tour company that will get you back in Ensenada on time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is La Bufadora free?

La Bufadora is free, but parking and using the restroom aren’t. Parking is around $1–$2, and the restroom is 70 cents. Bring cash, whether it’s USD, CAD, or Mexican pesos.

Why is La Bufadora famous?

La Bufadora is the 2nd largest blowhole in the world (the largest one is Halona Blowhole in Oahu). Water can spout up to 100 feet!

How far is La Bufadora from the port in Ensenada?

Depending on traffic, the drive to La Bufadora from Ensenada’s port is around 45–60 minutes long. For this reason, I do recommend going on a tour with a guide that will take you there.

How often does La Bufadora erupt?

Honestly, no one can predict when La Bufadora will erupt; nature is unpredictable after all. You can check the daily tide times to get a rough idea of how much eruption there will be.

Wrapping up visiting La Bufadora

Seeing La Bufadora is the #1 thing to do in Ensenada, especially if you are coming from a cruise. You’ll not only get sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean, but you’ll witness one of the world’s largest blowholes. Be prepared to get wet!

If you’re planning to visit Ensenada, reserve a La Bufadora sight-seeing tour with Eugenia for one-on-one attention at a more affordable price than the tours offered on your cruise!

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Hannah is a travel writer, graphic designer, and the founder/editor of Hannah on Horizon. She is based in Sacramento, California, living with her husband and two adorable dogs. She shares tips on how to experience luxury travel on any budget, and how to maximize time at each trip or destination, no matter what your budget or amount of vacation time at work. She enjoys making you feel like you have visited each destination with her through her storytelling and informative writing style.

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