3 Days in Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico

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Advisor - Amy Jade Dempsey
Curated By

Amy Jade Dempsey

  • Food & Wine

  • Group Travel

  • Mexico

  • Weekend Getaways

  • Outdoors

  • Sightseeing

  • Local Food

lounge chairs with towels look out over dessert valley at sundown
Curator’s statement

As a Southern California native who loves wine and a long weekend getaway, I pride myself in knowing the wine regions in the state - Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Ynez and Paso Robles, are just some of my favorite areas! But until recently, I never knew there was a wine region just 70ish miles south of the San Diego-Mexico border. It’s in Baja, California and called Valle de Guadalupe (more like VaYAY!) and about a 45-minute drive inland from Ensenada. Once I learned about the Valle, I decided that was where I wanted to spend my next birthday, so I organized a three-day trip for myself and six friends to do just that. In short, it was: Great wine. Good food. Gorgeous views. And the perfect way to launch my 37th trip around the sun. Are you planning a girls’ trip to wine country? A birthday or bachelorette party? A romantic getaway? If you are, I’d love to help you plan your trip. Here’s a sneak peak at you could spend three days in Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico.

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Day 1: Wine, dine & enjoy!

Beautiful Mexico

It's your first full day, so if wine tasting is your main to-do on this trip, you can fit in up to three, 1.5-hour tastings and still finish up your day with a yummy dinner. There are more than 180 wineries in the Valle, but here are a few of my favorites.

Winery #1 - Vena Cava

Built inside a repurposed boat, Vena Cava offers conventional and natural wines and has several tasting areas - indoor and outdoor - for your group. The staff at Vena Cava couldn’t be more informative or friendlier. Even their resident winery cat was awesome. There is also a food truck out front for when you get hungry.

Winery #2 - Vinos Lechuza

Under gorgeous red canopies and surrounded by vines on both sides, Vinos Lechuza is a beautiful and relaxing place to enjoy delicious wine with friends. Family-owned and with a lovely origin story, this vineyard has red and white wines, as well as a great food menu with shareable nibbles for the table. My recommendations: The hummus, olives and cheese plate.

Winery #3 - Solar Fortun

Set in a canyon and with mountain views on both sides, Solar Fortun winery has tasty natural wines and a full food menu. Most of their tables are positioned underneath huge trees, which provide some nice shade, especially if you’re there during the warmer summer months. They have hammocks, it’s kid-friendly - complete with a playground, and also has event space for large parties. Let’s plan one!

Dinner at Finca Altozano

My favorite meal of the trip was at Finca Altozano. In another beautiful setting, the restaurant is also in the middle of a vineyard and is surrounded by beautiful mountains and native flora and fauna. Our group ordered many shareable plates for the table and we loved everything we ate.

Day 2: Casita Natal private speakeasy

Tasty food table

Day 1 was a big day. You may be tired, so make a later start on Day 2. I recommend a lazy morning with a home-cooked brunch and then venture to your happy hour reservation at Casita Natal for 3 pm or 5 pm. You can spend up to two hours there, giving you just the right amount of time to watch the sunset.

Casita Natal is good for your soul. It’s hidden away and can be tricky to find, which is why the mother-daughter duo that runs it calls it a “speakeasy.” They provide everything you need, including a mezcal tasting, award-winning wines, charcuterie boards and Bluetooth speakers. They’ll even provide champagne and cake - just make sure to let them know if you’re celebrating something special when you make your reservation.

Then make your way to dinner at Salvaje, Salvia Blanca or Lunario.

Day 3: Breakfast, and yes, more wine

Beautiful Cafe in Mexcio

Start your day at La Cocina de Doña Esthela for breakfast. The menu is huge, with vegetarian and gluten-free options. If you’re a coffee drinker, don’t miss the café de olla - a traditional Mexican coffee drink made in an earthen clay pot. It’s like Heaven in a mug. The restaurant doesn’t take reservations and there will be a line, so my advice is to get there before your stomach starts growling.

After breakfast, make your way to Casa Magoni for a wine tasting. They offer four tasting options, ranging from all whites, to reds and whites, to all reds. If (when) I go back, I would spend as much time there as possible. They have live music and nibbles, and it's all served to you under a big, beautiful tree whose canopy offers respite from the heat.

Getting There & Tips

Our group flew into San Diego International Airport and had our transportation company pick us up there. From the airport, our driver took us across the border at Tecate, which is a little further but a much faster crossing than San Ysidro. Once we arrived in Valle de Guadalupe, we picked up some essentials (like coffee, sweet bread, bottled water, etc.) at a grocery store and then made our way to our hacienda. If I were to travel there again - and I will! - there are a few things I would make sure to do:

  • Buy big bottled water jugs at the store; Bring medications for motion sickness - the roads in between the vineyards are unpaved and very bumpy. These ear patches or follow these tips for preventing or reducing the symptoms of motion sickness.

  • Bring chewable Pepto Bismol tablets for sensitive stomachs - just in case!

  • Bring a wine box and tape if you plan to purchase wine to take home. If you do what we did and fly out of San Diego International Airport, don’t tape it up until you’ve crossed the border and are back in the US. The border patrol will want to see inside the box. *Depending on how many bottles you take home, you may have to pay a tax.

  • Make reservations well in advance. The Valle is still kind of off the beaten path, but it’s becoming more popular for tourists and bookings fill up quickly.

Need to Know

Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out Fora Travel Jaclyn Hulburt 's guide, Exploring the Enchanting Valle de Guadalupe: A Culinary and Wine Adventure.

Advisor - Amy Jade Dempsey

Travel Advisor

Amy Jade Dempsey

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Mexico.