Baja California Travel Guide: Explore this Unique Mexican Wine Region

Are you a wine and food lover? Consider Baja California as your next destination.

Baja California has a national (and international) reputation for its excellent wines, exquisite cuisine, delicious craft beer, beautiful landscapes and its warm people.

Mexico is no longer only known for its beer and tequila, Mexico is also a wine paradise! Baja California represents approximately 80% of the wine that is produced in all the country.

Ensenada has different Valleys where you can find more than 200 wineries, numerous restaurants and many hotels; traveling to this region can be overwhelming! As a curious fact, not all the Valleys are called "Valle de Guadalupe"; some people have the misconception that the entire wine route is the Valle de Guadalupe, however, there are many other Valleys that are worth knowing and visiting.

This is why today we bring you a tourist guide. Whether you go for a day, a weekend, or even longer!

First of all let's talk about its location and how to access this beautiful place:

If you plan to take a flight, it is best to get to Tijuana’s airport, which is approximately 1 and a half hours by car from the wine route. You can rent a car directly at the airport (this is the most recommended) although the wineries are relatively close to each other, it is not a distance that you can travel on foot, and it is not so easy to access Uber or Taxi on the wine route.

If you plan to go by car, from your destination in the US (San Diego, LA, etc.) you can cross the Otay border and drive approximately two hours to the Guadalupe Valley.

Pro Tip: Do you like lobster? Just halfway between Tijuana and Ensenada is Puerto Nuevo, a town dedicated almost entirely to lobster, so much so it is known as "The town of lobster."

Let's start this adventure to the Baja California Wine Route!

Day Trip

If you don’t have much time, or you live close to this region, you might only want to take a Day Trip. Don't worry, in one day you will be able to visit some beauties of this region, and believe me, you will be left wanting to return!

Where to have breakfast?

The # 1 rule when you are going to spend all day drinking wine is to eat a good breakfast. If you love Mexican food, you have to visit “La Cocina de Doña Estela”. Located in the very heart of the Guadalupe Valley, you can find typical Mexican stews at a fairly affordable price. It is highly recommended to arrive early because the place fills up!

What wineries to visit?

Most of the wineries begin their tastings at 10:00 or 11:00 am. Here is a list of some of the must-sees; consider that in a day you can visit from 3 to 4 wineries.People enjoying wine3

  • Casa Magoni: Casa Magoni is a great reference in the Valley. It was founded by the Italian winemaker Camillo Magoni, it is a visionary and high quality winery.
  • Monte Xanic: Classic of Classics, Monte Xanic is a must-see on your trip to the Wine Route. In addition to being a pioneer in quality wine in Mexico, the visit is quite enjoyable and you will taste very good wines. It is recommended to book a reservation.
  • Santo Tomás (Entre Santos): Santo Tomas is located in the Santo Tomás Valley (about 2 hours from the Guadalupe Valley), however, there is a second winery, with an excellent location on the famous wine route; it is smaller but quite cozy.
  • Domecq: Are you looking for a good wine experience? At Domecq you can live a multisensory experience. The tour is incredible, it will start with a tour and a chat about the entire history of wine in Mexico and the region, the winery, the winemaking process and the tour will end with a multisensory experience where you will be touching, smelling and finally savoring good wine.

Where to eat?

Don't worry, your day is not over yet! Be prepared for one of the best parts of the day, the food! Baja California has gained fame for its gastronomy, and it is well deserved. In the Valley you can find exquisite restaurants.. Many of them appear on “The 120 Restaurants: Mexican Gastronomic Guide”

If you only have one day. You cannot miss Fauna. Fauna is located in “Bruma Winery”. The food in charge of David Castro Hussong and Maribel Aldaco is a dream come true. Pair the delicious dishes with a bottle of Bruma wine and you will be delighted!

It is really recommended to book your visit.

Weekend

It is highly recommended to stay the night when you come to visit this region, remember that you will be tasting a lot of wine!

Where to stay?

The first thing to define is your budget and where you want to be located. You can stay in the Valle de Guadalupe. There are numerous luxury boutique hotels. Some recommended are:

  • El Cielo Winery & Resort: Located in El Cielo Winery. This luxurious hotel offers a first class stay. With spectacular views, wines and restaurants.
  • Encuentro Guadalupe: Completely different and innovative. A luxury lodging where every room is set up in the mountain. A spectacular view!
  • Hacienda Guadalupe: Beautiful and luxurious Mexican Hacienda, with an spectacular breakfast.
  • Campera Hotel Burbuja: If you want to adventure into something more exotic, checkout the Burbuja hotel. This "Glamping" will allow you to see the stars, literally.Burbuja Hotel
  • Agua de Vid: If the party life is your thing, this place is for you. In addition to the luxurious rooms, they have a party heavy atmosphere with a bar and restaurant.

These are just a few options, but you can find many other hotels in the Valle de Guadalupe at different prices. If you are interested in spending a little less and staying in a chain-type hotel, you can look for something in the city of Ensenada, which is only 30-40 minutes from the Wine Route. You can find hotels like Holiday Inn, City Express or even some luxurious ones like Punta Morro, Lucerna or Las Rosas. If you’re staying in Ensenada, we recommend you stay in the Sauzal area since it is the direct exit to the Valle de Guadalupe.

What wineries to visit?

In addition to the past list of wineries that we have shared with you, we recommend some others that you should consider visiting:

  • Villa Montefiori: A great benchmark for quality wine in Baja California. Villa Montefiori or as its slogan says "Mexican Wines with an Italian Heart", is an obligatory stop on your wine route. We recommend you try their “Rosato” wine and their Premium labels: Brunello, Nebbiolo de Guadalupe and Nero d’Avola. You can also pair your tasting with exquisite appetizers.
  • La Carrodilla: This winery focuses on sustainable agriculture. Finca La Carrodilla was the first Mexican vineyard to have organic and biodynamic certification. They have a pretty laid back, country vibe.vineyard
  • El Cielo: An excellent oenological visit with an impressive visit which begins with a tour on a vintage tumbril. Visiting the “Latitud 32” restaurant is also an excellent option.
  • Vena Cava: Vena Cava is a boutique winery that is focused on quality rather than quantity. Their portfolio includes excellent examples of natural wines.
  • Adobe Guadalupe: Great wines, great venue, and a great food truck right outside the wine boutique.

Where to eat?

In addition to the unmissable Fauna restaurant, which we already mentioned, there are other incredible recommendations. Here is the list with some of the favorites:

  • Tre Galline: This restaurant focused on Italian food, is owned by an Italian chef. Exquisite gastronomy and a quite cozy atmosphere that will take you back to Italy. Take your precautions because this restaurant only opens in high-season.
  • Finca Altozano: Immerse yourself in the true atmosphere of the Valle de Guadalupe at Finca Altozano, with an exquisitely rural gastronomy, by the famous chef Javier Plascencia.
  • Lunario:This restaurant is owned by the same owner of La Carrodilla y La Lomita, and therefore has the same principles of sustainability. Excellent cuisine by Sheyla Alvarado. This place will make you fall in love with its gastronomy and architecture.
  • Bar Bura: If you want to have a glass of wine and an aguachile with some of the best views in the country, you have to visit Bar Bura, inside Cuatro Cuatros. Its location on a cliff facing the sea will make you have an unforgettable experience. It is necessary to make a reservation.Bar bura
  • Deckmans: Located within the Mogor-Badán winery, it is a sustainable gastronomic proposal where they grow practically all the ingredients of their dishes. A restaurant with a country and rustic flavor and premium quality dishes.

All Week

If you really want to deeply know this wine region, staying all week is the option for you! And believe me, you still won't even finish exploring all the wonders this region has to offer.

In addition to the recommendations already mentioned in the lodging, restaurant and wine lists, we have some other options for you! Cultural, adventure, gastronomic and many other wine attractions.

Other Activities

  • Wine Museum: If you have the time, an unmissable place to visit on the wine route is the Wine Museum. Located right in the heart of the Guadalupe Valley. This museum will give you a clear idea of ​​the most emblematic wineries in the Valley, their location, their history, as well as the history of wine in Baja California. If you find yourself somewhat lost, or it is your first time in this beautiful region, visiting this museum will give you a lot of clarity about what you should visit.
  • Zipline at Cuatro Cuatros: Cuatro Cuatros is another place you can't miss. If you are an adventure lover, do not hesitate to visit the zipline in this place.
  • Beer Tour: Baja California not only has excellent wines, but also excellent crafted beers. In the Valle de Guadalupe there are different breweries that are worth visiting, but if you want to try different beers from all over the region in one place, we recommend you visiting the "Irish Pub 4". This is the largest craft beer bar in the entire region and has a beautiful ocean view. It is located in Ensenada.

Even More Wineries...

In addition to the wineries that we have mentioned, here we will leave you a list of other wineries that you should not miss if you are staying more days. 

  • Casa de Piedra
  • La Lomita
  • Viña de Frannes
  • Château Camou
  • Viñedos de Garza 
  • Bruma
  • Mina Penelope
  • Bodegas F. Rubio
  • Hilo Negro
  • Relieve
  • Viñas de la Erre

Even More Restaurants…

We have mentioned some of the best restaurants that exist in the country and that are located in the Valle de Guadalupe. But now, we have to talk about the restaurants located in Ensenada. Seafood is the speciality in Ensenada, but there is a fairly wide and exquisite gastronomy.seafood

  • Seafood Carts: If you are a seafood lover, consider visiting Ensenada (even if you are staying in Valle de Guadalupe). Finding seafood carts in every corner of the city is very common. The freshness and quality of the seafood is excellent, two of the most famous carts are: La Guerrerense and El Güero.
  • Barra Azul Restaurant: A small and charming restaurant where specialty seafood cuisine is gourmet prepared. Order the fresh oysters, grilled octopus, and the catch of the day. You will be delighted!
  • Muelle 3: Another exquisite place on the Ensenada Pier. Ideal for seafood lovers. Pair your dishes with a bottle of chilled white or rosé wine.
  • Manzanilla: Owned by Benito Molina and Solange, this restaurant is also considered one of the best restaurants in the region.
  • Humo y Sal: A relaxed and modern restaurant, with a great cocktail bar and exquisite and unpretentious dishes.
  • Casa Marcelo: This is a must if you are a lover of hearty breakfasts. Casa Marcelo is owned by the same owners as Cava Marcelo, a cheese cellar located approximately 2 hours from Ensenada. All the dishes are prepared with their own cheeses and creams!
  • Da Toni:Another excellent Italian restaurant, located in the “La Villa” in the center of Ensenada. Da Toni cuisine is nationally renowned. As a curious fact, in 2020 the famous singer Lana Del Rey took a trip to this beautiful region and visited this excellent restaurant.

Baja California is a region that you definitely have to visit, there is too much to explore and taste. If you need a few relaxing days where the only thing that worries you is the wine that you will taste later, this is your ideal destination!

If you are interested in learning more about the history of this incredible region, click here! (will add link) 

And to learn more about this region and all it has to offer. Visit Baja Bound (will add link)

Cheers!

 

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