From LA to Mexico: a journey with a difference

You don’t need to stick to the UK to take a short cruise – why not consider mixing up an overseas holiday by adding a mini cruise to your itinerary? A trip like this is the perfect way to explore a little further afield in a short space of time, without sacrificing any relaxation time.

The perfect example of this is a three-day cruise from LA to Ensenada in Mexico and back. And you needn’t worry that an addition like this will cost the earth, because you can find loads of amazing deals on sites like Cruise.co.uk.

By making this journey, you can experience Mexico as part of your trip to the US. What’s more, Ensenada has an absolutely massive range of attractions and tourist treats – everything from wineries to the chance to go whale watching – making it the ideal destination for a fun-filled visit. But before we get to talking about the attractions of Ensenada, though, let’s take a look at what LA has to offer.

What not to miss in LA

A land of quirky beaches, movie magic, designer stores and sunshine, LA has a lot to offer travellers. And with so much to see and do, it can be pretty hard to work out exactly what to prioritise – but we think we have an idea of where to start.

For instance, no trip to LA is really complete without getting a feel for its movie credentials. One of the best places to do this is Hollywood Boulevard, where you’ll find the Walk of Fame. Stars are inlaid all along the pavement here, with the majority having been filled with the names of famous faces in the film, TV and music businesses.

And if you’re keen to follow in the footsteps of the stars, you should definitely pay a visit to the TCL Chinese Theatre, which regularly hosts major movie premieres. In its forecourt, meanwhile, you can see the footprints of more than 200 big-screen legends.

In terms of the coast, don’t miss Venice Beach. This weird and wonderful place is known for attracting an eclectic bunch of eccentric performers, bodybuilders and more – so expect a show as much as a chance to relax on the sand!

What not to miss in Ensenada

Moving on to Ensenada, one of Mexico’s most famous ports, we come to somewhere that offers a massive range of tourist attractions alongside the classic combination of beaches and sunshine. Everything from playing golf and rock climbing to whale watching and vineyard touring is available here, making it an appealing destination for virtually everyone.

If the idea of whale watching appeals to you, visit during the winter and spring. During this time, the state of Baja California welcomes grey whales, which come here to give birth. To see them, join a boat tour at the port of Ensenada, which will also give you a chance to see creatures like pelicans, sea lions and dolphins.

Meanwhile, if you’re keen to see natural wonders of a different nature, make sure you don’t miss La Bufadora, which is just over 20 miles south of the city. One of the largest marine geysers in the world, this impressive sight has an interesting story behind it.

You see, according to legend, a baby whale was once separated from a group of migrating grey whales here. This little whale was playing among the rocks when it got stuck, and tried to get help by shooting increasingly large jets of water in the air. Over time, though, the whale turned to stone and became one of the local rocks – or so the story goes.

A guide to Morocco’s most exciting cities

Morocco is home to some vibrant and bustling cities that are well worth exploring if you’ve got the time to travel around the country. The following are some of the best places to visit, but this is far from an exhaustive list!

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Fes

If you’re keen to learn about Morocco’s fascinating history, Fes is the place to come, as it’s considered to be a hotspot for traditional Moroccan culture. The city is home to one of the oldest universities in the world – the Karaouiyine mosque, which set up its teaching facilities in the 9th century.

Fes also has the distinction of being the oldest Moroccan imperial city, with the ramparts that protected the settlement, as well as the monumental gates that provided access, still intact. The monumental gates are particularly stunning, with these entrances decorated using blue and green glazed ceramic pieces. You also can’t leave Fes without experiencing its vast Medina, which comprises almost 1,000 narrow alleys, all lined with stalls and shops selling everything from jewellery to cabinets.

Rabat

You can’t miss Rabat if you’re touring Morocco’s best cities, as it’s the capital and boasts a wealth of historical sites. Among them are the remains of a 12th century mosque that was designed to be large enough that the whole of Yaqub Al-Mansour’s army could pray there.

Many of Rabat’s most important monuments now house museums, with the Oudayas Palace home to the national museum, while one of the towers that guards the walls of the Oudayas Kasbah has been converted into three art galleries. The entire fortress quarter, where you’ll find these and other landmarks, is still surrounded by imposing walls topped with cannons. The main gate and its stunning carved wooden doors are among its most striking features.

Essaouira

Essaouira is a beautiful coastal city that’s well worth a visit on your holiday to Morocco – and it has much more than just a pretty beach to offer travellers. One of its most notable landmarks is the fortress that stands proudly looking out to sea. You can walk along the ramparts and visit the old artillery platform before heading into Essaouira’s medina.

The medina here is not as old as many of the others you can explore in Morocco, having been founded in the 18th century. However, what makes it particularly special is the coexistence of so many ethnic groups who have all been brought together due to the city’s status as a trading hub. Arabs, Amazighs, Europeans and Africans all live and work side-by-side within the medina.

Marrakech

The final city we’re going to talk about is Marrakech, which is a fascinating example of how an old Moroccan city has been expanded with a distinctly European influence. The period of French rule in the country – and the importance of Marrakech at this time – resulted in an entirely new and very different district (Gueliz) being developed alongside the traditional heart of Marrakech.

Among the old Moroccan sites you shouldn’t miss are the bustling medina – especially the Djemma el Fna square – the Koutoubia Mosque, Saadian Tombs and the Ben-Youssef medersa. In Gueliz, you’ll discover charming gardens (like the Marjorelle Gardens), luxury boutiques, quaint cafes and high-end restaurants. This makes Marrakech an excellent place to visit if you’re keen to see the old and new sides of Morocco in one place.