Whether you’ve hopped the border from San Diego or you’re taking a trip around Baja California, Ensenada is a popular beach spot. It makes the overwhelming streets of Tijuana feel worlds away as you munch on tacos while watching sea lions frolic in the water.
But first, you need to get there.
Luckily, taking the bus to Ensenada from Tijuana is a breeze. And the journey has a special place in my heart since I went with my mom.
We started from San Diego, making a day trip out of our Ensenada visit. But you can follow these instructions even if you’re already in Tijuana.
Accessibility Note: Unfortunately, the buses from Tijuana to Ensenada aren’t accessible. So, wheelchair users will need to take a private vehicle from San Diego or Tijuana.
How to Purchase Ensenada Bus Tickets
ABC is the primary company that runs the route from Ensenada to Tijuana.
You can purchase ABC bus tickets in one of two ways:
- In person
Since I was traveling with my mom and wanted our bus trip to go as smoothly as possible, I crossed the border from San Diego before she arrived to check out Tijuana’s bus station situation.
I ended up buying our tickets on the spot. The ticket attendant informed me that while I could purchase Ensenada bus tickets online, the system sometimes doesn’t work.
It seemed silly to ignore his warning, given that I had a 2+ hour wait ahead of me to cross back into the U.S. for what ended up being a 20-minute stay in Tijuana.
So, I forked over my Visa credit card and became the proud owner of two Ensenada bus tickets.
How To Buy Online ABC Ensenada Bus Tickets
Don’t sweat it if you’re not near the border to buy your Ensenada bus tickets in person. You can book your bus from Ensenada to Tijuana online by visiting ABC’s website.
I recommend trying to buy your tickets online first. There’s no need to buy them in person unless you’re taking an impromptu trip or can’t get your credit card to work on ABC’s website.
ABC offers the option to translate its website to English. From there, you’ll need to input the following information:
- Origin (Tijuana)
- Destination (Ensenada Central)
- The date you want to travel
- Number of passengers
You’ll have several choices in the drop-down bar for where to catch the ABC bus to Ensenada within Tijuana. We took the bus from Tijuana Línea, which is a short walk from the San Diego border.
As for Ensenada, there are two choices: Ensenada Central and Ensenada Calle Sexta. Choose the Central stop, for it’s closest to the tourist center.
That said, no one checks tickets when you get off the bus.
So, you’re free to disembark at Ensenada Calle Sexta or vice versa if you change your mind or select the wrong Ensenda stop. Both stops are near each other, so you can walk to the Malecón promenade from either.
Tijuana to Ensenada Bus Ticket Cost
As of November 2022, bus tickets from Tijuana to Ensenada cost 225 pesos per way.
The tickets cost the same if you buy them online or in person. And there’s no discount if you purchase a round-trip ticket.
A Note on Round Trip Tickets
ABC’s online system doesn’t offer the option to purchase round-trip Ensenada bus tickets.
So, if you’ll be returning to Tijuana after your visit, you’ll need to make two separate online ticket transactions: Tijuana to Ensenada and Ensenada to Tijuana.
In contrast, you can buy a round-trip ticket at the ABC bus station in Tijuana. In my case, they gave me an open ticket, although in hindsight, I suspect there’s a way for them to book a return bus for a set time.
The open tickets are beneficial because you don’t have to worry about returning to the bus stop on a particular date or time.
But there are two downsides:
- The bus could be full.
- You need to allow time to validate your ticket before boarding.
I hadn’t known about this validation rule.
Long story short, it forced me to flee back to the bus station (which is confusingly on a different road than the bus stop—more on that soon), leaving my mom on the street with the bus driver, who was departing within minutes.
Thankfully, I exchanged our open tickets for tickets on that bus, and we boarded without further hiccups.
But there were only a few open seats left on the bus, so we would have had to wait for the next departure had it been full.
Is Availability an Issue on the Bus to Ensenada?
Availability can be an issue on the bus to Ensenada. But if you depart Tijuana for Ensenada in the morning on any day, it’s unlikely you’ll encounter a full bus.
My mom and I traveled on a Monday. Our 8:05 am bus was practically empty, but our 11:45 am bus only had a few vacant seats.
What a difference!
According to the ABC ticket employee I spoke with, tickets for the bus from Ensenada to Tijuana often sell out for afternoon departures on:
Since ABC operates the route from Ensenada back to Tijuana until late in the evening, you shouldn’t have issues returning to Tijuana at some point on the same day if you’re taking a day trip.
Nevertheless, it’s not a bad idea to book your ticket from Ensenada to Tijuana for a set time in advance if you’re on a tight schedule to reduce the chances of availability delays.
Tijuana to Ensenada Bus Schedule
The bus to Ensenada from Tijuana typically runs every hour.
Below is the approximate bus schedule for the bus from Tijuana (the Línea station) to Ensenada. That said, I encourage you to visit ABC’s website for specific departure times on the date you want to travel, as ABC’s schedule can vary.
|Departure From Tijuana
|Arrival in Ensenada
No, that 8:05 pm and 8:10 pm situation isn’t a typo. I imagine they have two buses running close together to accommodate a larger number of passengers.
The Truth About How Long It Takes to Get to Ensenada
In the chart above, I included the arrival times ABC listed on its website.
However, it’s nowhere close to the travel experience my mom and I had—the bus trip was shorter.
By a lot.
Our travel time on the bus from Tijuana to Ensenada took 1 hour and 25 minutes.
On our return, it was only 1 hour and 20 minutes.
I’m inclined to believe that we got lucky with traffic, though. The ABC staff had informed me that the bus trip takes anywhere from 1 hour and 40 minutes to 2 hours one-way.
And, of course, ABC lists the time on their website as 1 hour and 50 minutes.
Arriving at the Ensenada Bus Station in Tijuana
My mom and I departed for Ensenada from the ABC Tijuana Línea bus station.
“Línea” means “line” in English, which is what Mexicans call the beastly area where people wait to cross into the United States. So, the Tijuana Línea sits conveniently by the Línea.
If you’re arriving in Tijuana from the San Diego border (East Pedestrian side), head to the right when you exit the turnstiles of immigration. You’ll need to walk a bit outdoors to get to this point, but you’ll know what I mean when you encounter the turnstiles.
You’ll be on Avendia Frontera, which is the road that leads to the ABC bus station.
Avenida Frontera will take you past the line of people waiting to enter the U.S. You’ll also cross the bridge that passes over the entrance to the U.S. for vehicles.
Once you arrive at the roundabout, look up and slightly to the left. You’ll see the ABC Ensenada bus station sign.
From there, it’s “simply” a matter of crossing a couple of crosswalks in the roundabout to get there. It’s a busy area, and drivers don’t always stop for pedestrians.
The walk from the immigration turnstiles to the ABC Tijuana Línea bus station takes about five minutes. It’s safe to do during the day, but I’d take an Uber if you’ll be walking there after dark.
Speaking of Uber, that’s another great way to arrive at Tijuana Línea or any other ABC bus station you’ll be using to travel to Ensenada. Ubers are plentiful and safe in Tijuana (and in Ensenada).
Bus Station Amenities
The Tijuana Línea bus station is small, but it has more than enough amenities to make your short visit there comfortable.
They have a convenience store inside the station where you can grab snacks or coffee. There’s also a cute coffee shop by the roundabout before you cross over to the bus station, if you have some time before your bus departs.
There’s also a restroom. The cost is five pesos to enter, and the ticket desk can give you change if you only have larger bills.
You’ll find a few rows of old metal chairs in the waiting area where you can sit before getting on your bus from Ensenada to Tijuana.
Don’t expect to see fancy screens announcing departure times or other modern amenities like you might be used to if you’ve traveled through certain other bus stations in Mexico.
But you’ll be well looked after by the staff at the Tijuana Línea station, and they’ll ensure you get on the correct bus when they announce it’s time to get on.
Boarding the ABC Bus
They typically start boarding the ABC bus a few minutes before departure, especially if there aren’t many passengers.
You should listen for the driver or ticket attendant shouting, “Ensenada!”
If you have any doubts, go to the ticket counter and ask. Many locals in Tijuana have a grasp of English from living so close to the U.S. border, but it’s always a good idea to install a translation app if you don’t speak Spanish, just in case.
If you have luggage, now is the time to place it under the bus.
Just be sure to bring valuables in your carry-on. It’s also never a bad idea to lock the bags you put under the bus, just in case.
You’ll need to show the driver your ticket before boarding the bus to Ensenada from Tijuana. They’ll scan the QR code, and you’ll be ready to head to the beach.
Picking the Best Seat
Whether you book your Ensenada bus ticket online or in person, you’ll need to choose your seat in advance.
I was thrilled to be the first customer to buy a ticket on the bus my mom and I took (I bought our tickets one week in advance) because I snagged front row, passenger side seats.
In hindsight, the front row part wasn’t important; the ABC buses have a wall in front of those seats, so you can’t see out the front window.
However, booking passenger-side window seats was a very good idea.
By sitting at any window seat on the passenger side of the bus, you’ll have views of the ocean nearly the entire trip.
Views on the Ensenada to Tijuana Bus Trip
When you start your journey on the bus to Ensenada from Tijuana, you’ll see the U.S.-Mexico border wall if you’re sitting on the passenger side.
You’ll have some views of it from a distance, like this:
And other times, you’ll drive beside the wall, practically within touching distance:
Once your bus leaves Tijuana, you’ll follow Highway 1D all the way down the coast to Ensenada.
There are some heart-racing, steep drop-offs at times as you make your way along coastal cliffs. But you’ll get to enjoy views of the water and the resort-style homes that line it.
The bus only makes one stop in Rosarito to pick up passengers.
Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for Castillo del Diabo along the way. Translating to “Devil’s Castle,” this gothic-looking cathedral is someone’s home.
Tony Wells built his $4 million head-turning home as his dream place to live. But he’s since concluded he packed it with so many statues and antiques that it’s no longer comfortable for living.
Plus, satan worshipers have been flocking outside his doors, and tourists have been trying to climb his home’s walls to get a peek inside.
So, he’s turning Castillo del Diablo into a museum.
Amenities on the Bus to Ensenada From Tijuana
ABC operates their Plus bus from Ensenada to Tijuana. My mom and I were super impressed by its comfort, minus an issue with many of the seats remaining permanently reclined.
The Plus buses have a good amount of legroom, wide seats, and a personal tv.
Oh, and how could I forget?
It has seats that recline, to many passengers’ chagrin.
Other amenities on ABC’s Plus bus include:
- Window curtains
- Air conditioning and heat
Each bus only has 36 seats, allowing the seating to be more spacious than many other buses of a similar size.
What to Expect When Arriving in Ensenada
The Calle Sexta (Sixth Street, in Spanish) is the first stop when you arrive in Ensenada. Disembark there if you want a shorter walk to the waterfront promenade.
Most passengers get off there, and the bus will automatically stop without you needing to ask the driver.
The walk to the promenade takes less than 10 minutes; it’s a straight shot to the ocean.
We used Google Maps to orient ourselves upon getting off the bus, and the street it took us on led to the fish market. It was a perfect spot to start our exploration.
If your goal is to get closer to the inner non-touristy part of Ensenada, stay on the bus until the next and final stop.
Taking the Bus Back to Tijuana From Ensenada
Ironically, despite Ensenada being a small town, getting back to Tijuana from Ensenada isn’t as easy as taking the bus there.
That’s because the Calle Sexta bus stop is in a different area from the ABC office. It’s on an entirely different road, in fact.
Finding the Complicated ABC Bus Stop
The ABC bus stop in Ensenada to return to Tijuana sits around the corner from Ensenada’s ABC Calle Sexta bus station. You’ll need to walk about 50 meters to get there.
That’s not far.
But it’s confusing since there aren’t signs telling you you’re in the right place.
The Tijuana bus stop in Ensenada is on Avenida Gastellum between 6th Street and Avenida Juárez.
From there, look for a group of people looking like they’re seemingly waiting for a bus. Or better yet, ask a local if you’re standing in the right spot.
Be sure to bring sunscreen or an umbrella; there aren’t many options for getting out of the elements.
You can also catch your bus from the Ensenada Central station, which is where the bus departs from.
Ensenada to Tijuana Bus Schedule
Below is ABC’s bus schedule, keeping in mind that these times depart from the Ensenada Central bus stop.
As with your trip to Ensenada, visit ABC’s website to double-check specific Tijuana departure times for your travel date.
|Departure from Ensenada
|Arrival in Tijuana
Ready to Visit Ensenada?
Aside from our ticket snag, my mom and I had a smooth experience taking the bus to Ensenada from Tijuana. And once we arrived there, we gorged on chilaquiles, churros, and stunning views from the promenade.
Do you have questions about taking the bus from Tijuana to Ensenada?
Leave a comment, and I’ll be happy to help. I’d also love to hear about your experience after your bus trip.
Psst! Will you be exploring the Yucatan by bus? If so, don’t miss my guide on taking ADO buses across the peninsula.