The Real Baja

Ensenada remains open to all, says Baja's tourism head

New solutions for the problem

Ensenada remains open to all, says Baja's tourism headPhoto: Elizabeth Rosales/SanDiegoRed.com
Photo: Elizabeth Rosales/SanDiegoRed.com

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TIJUANA.- During an interview with SanDiegoRed.com, the Baja California Tourism Secretary, Óscar Escobedo Carignan,reassured would-be travelers and local residents that Ensenada remains open for business after the scenic road linking the city to the Tijuana and the U.S. collapsed, with alternate routes available and with little delay in travel times compared with the scenic road.

The terrible collapse of the Tijuana-Ensenada scenic toll-road last December 28, which left a portion of the important highway completely destroyed and looking like a sagging rope line, immediately sent millions in the regions thinking that somehow, the port-city of Ensenada would be left without any way to drive into or out of the city.

Escobedo also talked about some of the repercussions from the collapse and how it has forced to find new tourism sources for the region.

No events have been canceled, he added, and the the port itself was still the second most important in Mexico during the first weeks of 2014.

VIDEO : Óscar Escobedo talks about the Tijuana-Ensenada scenic road problem

Why did the collapse happened in the first place?

To those who regularly commuted through the highway, signs of stress and cracking were already visible throughout it, with repairs taking place here and there that told of something not being right. Escobedo adds that, even though authorities knew of risk in the area, it was impossible to measure the magnitude of the coming problem. "It has always been known that the area has fault lines under it... there were also a series of quakes both in November and December, that and years worth of heavy traffic weight and the road's own weathering, along with the fact that it was built in the 1960s and thus in an era with road technology not as advanced like today's and well, the hillside collapsed in a similar way to how it happens in La Jolla and other parts of the world, that was the reason. Finally, one must be prepared always, but there are things that one cannot prevent, but the important thing here is that Ensenada remains connected."

Alternate routes.

There are several other ways to get to Ensenada. Firstly, Escobedo reminds everyone that the scenic-road remains safe and open to all traffic up until La Misión a couple of miles north of Ensenada, where traffic is then diverted towards the old state route to Ensenada further inland, or head from the border and to Tecate and take the Tecate-Ensenada road south. It is important to highlight that the travel times are not that much longer, with only a few minutes more difference.

Besides the port city of Ensenada, there are other important tourist sites travelers can visit before arriving at the "La Misión" detour, with the tourism ministry handing out pamphlets with information to citizens and visitors at the first and second toll booths.

For those planning on visiting the Wine Route, officials recommend taking the "El Tigre" exit from the scenic-road. There, they will also be able to enjoy some of the new tourism developments in the region, such the "Latitud 32" and "El Cielo" restaurants.

Around 2.5 miles after that, there's "El Sauzal", another entrance to the more traditional destinations in the region. "I wouldn't recommend a trip that I myself wouldn't take with my own family", stressed Óscar Escobedo in regards to the entire alternate route proposals and destinations, saying he has personally traveled to all those places and assured the safety of all of them.

The tourism chief said that a large part of the problem has been misinformation that some in the media have reported on, leaving people with the impression of an inaccessible Ensenada, cut-off from the rest of the world somehow. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In Escobedo Carignan's opinion, the issue of the scenic-road is of great national importance and removed the option from the table of the Baja California state government assuming control over the highway, although both governor Kiko Vega and the mayor of Ensenada, Gilberto Hirata Chico were monitoring the situation if support is needed in any way.

How has this impacted the city of Ensenada?

Secretary Escobedo embarked on a media tour around Baja and Southern California, delivering pertinent information to the public. "Within the bad news, the good news is that this happened during a period of low travel, which presented us with an opportunity of moving fast", he said. Members of the business sector joined in efforts by participating in the media tours and spreading information on their sites and social media.

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