Baja Bliss: A Food, Wine & Activity Guide to Valle de Guadalupe

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Curated By

Marit Malewitz

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  • Mexico

  • Food & Wine

  • Adventure Travel

  • Bachelorette Party Destinations

  • Bachelor Party Destinations

  • Birthdays

  • Boutique Travel

  • Couples Travel

  • Local Culture

  • Local Food

  • Entertainment

A picture taken from a far of a field with plant and a hut.
Curator’s statement

I stumbled upon Valle de Guadalupe wine country eight years ago after my mom moved to the San Diego area. When she mentioned how close Tijuana, Mexico, was, I of course, jumped into research mode…curious of how I could put my passport to use so easily! Valle de Guadalupe is about a 90 minute drive from San Diego, California, making it an easy getaway for a day trip, weekend or even longer as I hope you will fall in love with it like I did. The Valle, as I like to call it, is so special to me as it offers picturesque landscapes, a diverse wine scene and innovative culinary destinations. The blend of the Mexican setting with Mediterranean influences is unique and memorable, continuing to bring me back time and time again!

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Insider knowledge

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Where to stay in Mexico

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Things to do in Mexico

An aerial view of a brown field during daytime.

My first stop in the Valle is always Encuentro Guadalupe. There is nothing better than to sit on the deck with a glass of Sangria and enjoy the Valley Views. Did you know that Rihanna once rented a Villa here for her birthday?

Next, Finca Altozano is not only a steakhouse but complex of restaurants, lodging, farm, coffee shops and just a great place to hang out. I could spend half the day here. The main restaurant is a well-known, featuring local flavors and dishes but there is so much to do and see here. I personally love seeing the animals in their pens! There are always some cute Pigs.

Other great activities:

  1. Relax and Unwind: Have a Spa Day at one of the many Luxurious Hotels in the Valley!

  2. Take a Hike! The nature of the valley is so stunning, there are many trails that offer scenic views.

  3. Take a Hot Air Ballon Ride: This is a new experience that the Valley offers, up up and away on a nice clear day!

  4. Visit the Museum of the Vine & Wine: Learn about the history of the area and Wine Making in Mexico

  5. If you are bringing Kids, there is even a small zoo in town!

  6. Take a day trip to nearby Rosarito or Ensenada which I go into more detail about later in this guide!

Day Trips:

  • Rosarito is a beautiful destination outside of Tijuana with stunning beaches. Go here to indulge in Seafood, explore local markets and experience the great restaurants and nightlife they have to offer. Check out the Bufadora, a scenic natural blowhole attraction on your way!

  • Ensenada is another coastal town southwest of the Valle. There are many water activities you can take part in like kayaking or boat tours. There are more art galleries and museums here. Some of the wineries in the Valle even have tasting rooms in Ensenada. And of course, enjoy more seafood! I recommend dining at Manzanilla which is an innovative seafood restaurant, the menu is always staying current with the catch of the day!

  • Cuatro Cuartos in El Tigre: They have a great restaurant, winery, event space, residences and lodging! I first visited in 2017 when they were mostly known for their Glamping accommodations. Today it has grown into a much larger experience that is very unique to the area. They offer a luxurious spa but then also outdoor activities like Horseback rides either on the beach or in the nearby mountains, zip lining, hikes, boat cruises and more Experiencias!

Places to eat & drink in Mexico

A picture of a wine glass in front of a building during the daytime.

Restaurants

  • Deckman’s en el Mogor: An unforgettable dining experience, farm-to-table with a focus on local ingredients and wine. This is my favorite in the Valle. Be sure to make a reservation and splurge on the multi-course Chef’s dinner! Chef Drew Deckman is a master when it comes to sourcing ingredients and delivering creative dishes that reflect the surrounding region.

  • Restaurant Laja is also a farm-to-table dining experience in a more rustic but still very charming setting. Before or after dining, you are free to walk around the property and see their animals. Laja is known for its ever evolving menu, reflecting seasonal produce and innovative culinary techniques but keeping it simple, straightforward and so enjoyable. It felt homey and not too fancy or upscale. True authenticity of the Valle…many people come for Deckman’s, but this is right up there with it!

Wineries

  • Vincola Adobe Guadalupe: This is a very renowned winery in the valley but still with a charming feel in a smaller setting. With its Mission Style, picturesque tasting room and old-world charm, they are modern sophisticated wine makers. It is fun to enjoy the patio, explore the estate or even stay at the hotel on site for a more immersive experience. This is the essence of good hospitality.

  • Vena Cava Winery is on an amazing property that also includes a hotel and restaurant. While the restaurant is well-known, it was not my favorite so I am going to skip to the wine! The winery is eco-friendly, a fun structure made out of recycled boats making it a unique setting for wine tasting. This is a high-quality winery, with engaged employees who make it a great experience. I visited once a year for three years in a row and the gal in the tasting room remembered my family from the previous year, it made me feel very special. This is why I highly recommend stopping here and I also recommend the hotel here, it is luxurious and an amazing stay.

  • Sol y Barro: Founded by a Swiss Winemaker, we stumbled upon this winery on a rainy day and the quaint, cute tasting room stole our hearts. The customer service was great, very conversational and intimate. The setting was so picturesque. I recommend the tasting but walked out with the Table Red.

  • Cieli Cerveza y Vino: A great spot if you have a group member who needs a break from wine, this is also a brewery! The views across the valley are also stunning.

  • Magoni: I love their wine! Similar to the others, I like this winery because it is family run, more intimate and not a big production like some wineries in the Valle that are funded out of Mexico City. The wine tasting experience here was really friendly and the wines are very affordable while being so yummy! There are so many wineries to choose from so i recommend sticking to the smaller venues and nothing too corporate!

Need to Know

A stay in Valle de Guadalupe can be so unique each time. I have done Glamping, a 5 star hotel, a home rental and just a day trip! Each time the experience has been so unique. You can’t go wrong in your winery choice, there are just so many to choose from! Enjoy the Valle and all it has to offer.

For more travel tips, check out Fora Advisor Amy Jade Dempsey's guide, 3 Days in Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico.

Marit wearing a white shirt under a brown vest posing on a cliff overlooking mountains.

Travel Advisor

Marit Malewitz

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