A new attraction in Ensenada. A new attraction in Ensenada.

Hugging the coast, literally, at Ensenada, Baja California

Similar to canyoning, 'coasteering' has visitors rappelling down oceanside cliffs

For those seeking adrenaline-fueled adventures to round out their beach holidays, tour operators in Ensenada, Baja California, have begun to offer a new ecotourism activity that has visitors rappelling down oceanside cliffs and plunging into turquoise tide pools.

Similar to canyoning, “coasteering” first arose as a guided tourism activity on the rocky coastline of Pembrokeshire, Wales, in the 1990s. Ensenada is the first and only place to offer it in Mexico.

Baja California Tourism Undersecretary Ivette Casillas said the activity is currently not even offered in the United States.

The four-hour tour takes place in Ensenada’s Bahía del Papalote, where emerald waters crash against the craggy coastline and form crystalline tide pools among the rocks.

It consists of two rappelling sections and a bit of swimming. The first rappel descends a 25-meter cliff for which participants must take that first heart-stopping step backwards over the edge of the rock face and manage their way down in the traditional method, by using their feet to guide them along the precipice.

After a short hike through the rugged terrain, the second rappel is a bit more like a zipline than the first descent. At 35 meters it’s taller, but easier to manage, as guides control the coasteerer’s fall with climbing ropes to a small rocky island among the waves.

The last leg of the tour is a 20-meter swim through the refreshing waters of the tide pool formed by the cliffs and the island of stone.

The best time of year to go coasteering in Ensenada is in the summer, when the waters are warm. There are wetsuits available for the chilly waters of winter.

The coasteering tour is offered by Baja Excursions (website in Spanish) and costs 950 pesos (US $51) per person. Participants must be at least 8 years old.

The tour can be combined with a kayaking excursion to La Bufadora, a natural “chimney” in the coastal cliffs from which white water sprays 30 meters into the air when the waves crash into it.

Source: El Universal (sp)

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