Sparklinglala: Food|Culture|Travel|Tech Blog by Lala Castro - How To Spend One Day in Valle de Guadalupe, Baja's Wine Country
2023
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How To Spend One Day in Valle de Guadalupe, Baja’s Wine Country

If you live in Los Angeles or San Diego County, there’s absolutely no excuse to why you haven’t been to Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico’s wine country.  Less than two hours from San Diego, the Valle de Guadalupe, close to the city of Ensenada, is one of the world’s hottest up-and-coming wine regions. Us lucky SoCal peeps are lucky we don’t have to fly-in or take a cruise ship to visit.  Just grab a few friends and we could enjoy delicious Mexican wine in just a few hours.

If you follow me on Instagram you’ve already noticed that the boyfriend and I often take drives down to Baja. Why not? Its the perfect weekend getaway. Often we drive out to San Felipe for peace and quiet, as it’s a different experience from Rosarito and Ensenada and then you have Valle de Guadalupe. What was once a sleepy town, has now flourished into a beautiful location for good modern Mexican cuisine and Mexican wines.  Now we have often driven to Puerto Nuevo just to eat lobster for a day.  We have never actually driven to Valle de Guadalupe for a day, until this past Friday for a friends birthday celebration.  At first I thought it would be too much, but it was perfect!

Here’s a few recommendations and tips if you’re considering driving out to Valle de Guadalupe for the day.

Transportation to Valle de Guadalupe

Driving to Valle de Guadalupe from Los Angeles can take up to 4 hours, more like a Vegas drive.  However, driving from San Diego is even closer, like 1 hour and 40 minutes, depending on traffic of course and the route you decide to take.  Now there’s a few ways you can get to Valle de Guadalupe once you reached San Diego.

Here’s a few options:

  • Designated Driver: Obviously if you’re planning to drive to Valle de Guadalupe you’re planning to enjoy a few wineries.  If you decide to drive in yourself make sure you have a designated driver.  I strongly don’t recommend you drink and drive, especially in a foreign country.  Hope you have a SENTRI card if you decide to drive into Baja. Drive back can be brutal without it.
  • Shuttle Service/Driver: Yes, there’s actual reliable and trustworthy transportation services you could arrange for your day at the Valle. You could arrange for a shuttle to pick you up from San Ysidro, U.S.A. side, but this tends to be a bit more expensive.  I personally would recommend parking (it’s safe) your car at the PedWest entry in San Ysidro and walking across the border in foot.  Why? Because you’ll be saving a lot of time crossing back to the U.S. And let me tell you, I’ve waited in line in the past anywhere from 2-4 hours at the border trying to cross back.  Unless you have the SENTRI card, I recommend having your driver service pick you up in Tijuana. A good shuttle service, especially if you have a large group of friends, is Baja Excursion.  They pick you up in Tijuana and drive you to any winery you like in Valle de Guadalupe.  Their shuttles are comfortable, fit up to 14 guests and have AC. Their rate is $240 for 10 hours.  They can even pick you up at your hotel if you decide to stay in Baja.  If you split the ride with your friends, that’s $17 and change per person (14 seats). So worth it, if you ask me.
  • UberValle by Uber: Yeah you read that right, Uber to Valle de Guadalupe. You can get your own private driver to Valle de Guadalupe.  You now have the option to request a personal driver to stay with you while you tour Valle de Guadalupe. Now you and your friends can enjoy a day of wine tasting and the convenience of Uber. Basically how it works is once you’re in Tijuana, open the app and request valleX for parties up to four and valleXL for parties up to six. You’ll enter your destination and Uber will take you and wait for you.There’s no limit to the time or distance on valleX or valleXL trips, just a minimum fare. A full day of touring Valle de Guadalupe roundtrip from Tijuana (including approximately 5 hours of wait time) will cost you around $1,130 MXN for valleX and $1,580 MXN valleXL, that’s less than or around $100 US dollars for your private driver to Baja’s wine country.

One Day Itinerary at Valle de Guadalupe

Okay, now that you’ve figured out how to get to Valle de Guadalupe, here’s a recommended itinerary for your first visit to Baja’s Wine Country. Of course, if you see something you would like to stop by while you’re exploring, by all means…do!  Be adventurous and live life to the fullest.

Breakfast at Hacienda Guadalupe

On our visit to Valle, we all met up in San Ysidro around 8:30 a.m. for our breakfast reservation at 10:00 am.  It takes about 1.5 hours from Tijuana to arrive at the Valle.

The Hacienda Guadalupe is a beautiful boutique hotel that features only 12 rooms with a view of the Valle. On site they have a modern Mexican cuisine restaurant with a breakfast, lunch and dinner menu.  The service is outstanding and the food is delicious.  We grabbed a set outside to enjoy the view as we ate our breakfast and sipped on our mimosas and coffee.

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Vinedo Encuentro Guadalupe for Sangria

Once our bellies were nice and full we were ready to start wine tasting. So we started at Vinedo Encuentro Guadalupe, a modern boutique hotel located in in the middle of an ecological reserve. In fact the rooms are all detached, small with modern minimalistic décor and a balcony with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the valley.  It’s not a place for children, but if you’re game, it’s quite the experience.

 Personally, I say skip the reservation. There’s tons of other locations that are more comfortable and affordable. Staying at the Encuentro can not only be pricey ($500 per night) but also not very convenient to get to and from your room.  However, I do recommend you stop at their winery.  They have an awesome wine cellar and killer Sangria!
Viñedo Viñas De Garza for Wine and Wine Country Ambiance

The good thing about starting at Vinedo Encuentro is that now you can work your way down to most of the wineries, because now you’re on the official wine route.  We stopped at Viñedo Viñas de Garza for a few reasons, one, its a Mexican Family owned small winery and it features small batches of premium wines. Plus the winery ambiance makes you feel like you’re back in time on a beautiful ranch filled with vines and flowers.  You would think it would be the perfect venue for a wedding or celebration, but they actually do not host special events on the property but their own.

Vena Cava Vinícula for their Tempranillo and Sparkling Brut Rosé + TROIKA Tacos for Lunch

Every time I come to Valle de Guadalupe, visiting Vena Cava Vinícula is a must! If it’s not too hot you can lounge comfortably at their outdoor bar where they serve local craft beer and wine overlooking the valley, while enjoying Mexican gastropub fare at TROIKA. Don’t be deceived by looks, that food truck has some amazing lechon and shrimp tacos prepared by a Michelin star chef. You also can have a more formal wine tasting experience in the boat-hull roofed tasting room.  One of my personal favorites is their sparkling brut rosé which I always bring a bottle home.

Las Nubes for a Final View of the Valle

You could technically squeeze two more wineries after visiting Vena Cava, but we decided to make one final stop at Las Nubes because it really does have a killer view of the Valle.  If you been to this winery you can skip it and stop by Vinos Pijoan or one of the other 10 wineries I shared on my last article.  But if this is your first time at the Valle, then I strongly recommend you stop here.  At Las Nubes you can relax over music and a view with your final glass of wine.

The reason we decided to skip another winery was because it was nearly 5pm and we wanted to head back towards the ocean for a sunset lobster dinner at Puerto Nuevo. Getting to Puerto Nuevo from Valle can take about an hour, so you’ll arrive just before the sunset.  We ate our lobster dinner and headed home.  Now getting across the border is your biggest challenge.  Like I mentioned before, if you don’t have your SENTRI card, it can take you a while to get across.  Since it was late, we made it across in 1.5 hours.  Now, if you had your SENTRI card, you would just cross over without having to wait.  I’m in the process of getting my card now.  Once I receive it, I will write an article of the whole process.

Hope you enjoyed this itinerary, if you decide to visit Valle de Guadalupe, don’t forget to share your photos via Instagram and tag me. I would love to hear your experience. Have fun and ¡Salud!

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About the author

Hi, my name is Lala Castro and I take pictures of my food and travel adventures (also, my friends pitch in). I love different foods from all over the world and enjoy it with a glass of wine. All though I'm a foodie, I'm also a passionate geek at heart. In fact, sometimes you'll see me covering tech segments on Univision. Follow me on Instagram if you want to know more about me: @sparklinglala

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