Perhaps one of the most well-known tourist spots in northern Baja is the natural blowhole known as La Bufadora. Situated just south of Ensenada, tourists and locals come from near and far to see the ocean and rocks create a natural geyser that shoots water up to 100 feet up in the air.
I’m not normally one for frequenting touristy attractions beyond the obligatory first visit, but there are two things that keep me going back to La Bufadora when I’m looking for a nice way to spend the afternoon – the stunning drive to get there and the grilled au gratin clams.
To get to La Bufadora, you make a right hand turn south of Ensenada to follow the coastline out to the beautiful point where La Bufadora is – Punta Banda. You’ll start to see views looking back at the scenic beaches and harbor of Ensenada. As you get out farther on the point and ascend up the hillside, you’ll get beautiful ocean views and mostly untouched countryside. The ocean crashing into the mountainous, rocky coastline has a grand splendor reminiscent of Big Sur scenery. I highly recommend pulling over where safe and getting out of the car to admire the views.
Once you get around the point, you’ll descend into La Bufadora. Park in one of the lots (you’ll need to pay about 20 pesos or so to one of the obnoxious parking attendants), enter under the La Bufadora arch, and walk for a few minutes down a street lined with stalls selling food (they’re big on churros and piña coladas) and Mexican crafts. The end of this street will bring you to the second-largest marine geyser in the world, La Bufadora.
You’ll see people gathered along viewing walls and will hear the thunderous noise of the blowhole. La Bufadora is formed when the waves push ocean waters into a partially submerged sea cavern, causing water and air to build in the cave. When the wave goes back out to sea, the water and air release from the cavern, shooting water several stories up in the air, producing a thunderous noise and a spectacular show.
After a little while of watching one of nature’s wonders, I head back to the stalls so that I can enjoy my favorite part of the trip, the almejas gratinadas (clams au gratin). You’ll find these sold at the last few stalls on the street at the end closest to La Bufadora. It’s hard to miss them, as they seem to beckon from the open grill to all passersby to come and eat them. These beauties are large clams that are opened up, topped with lots of cheese and some tomatoes, onions and cilantro, then grilled to perfection. Grab a clam and a cerveza and sit by the water to take in the views and enjoy life.
If you go:
-While La Bufadora can get crowded on weekends, during the middle of the week, there are fewer people.
-It’s free to see La Bufadora, but they do charge about 20 pesos for parking and it’s 5 pesos to use the bathroom. Don’t forget to make sure you have some money to enjoy the clams.
-There’s a small dirt turnoff with a gorgeous viewpoint at coordinates 31.729335, -116.722485, near the tip of the point, about a mile before you get to the parking area for La Bufadora. It’s worth it to stop for the breathtaking views.