GET IN THE CAR LOSER, WE’RE GOING ROADTRIPPING
Imagine Tulum meets Napa and that you can drive from Los Angeles. Now, pick your jaw up off the floor, we’re talking about Mexican wine country. Valle de Guadalupe is located a bit south & a bit inland from Rosarito and is home to stunning views of the ocean, the best wine in Mexico, and Bourdain approved meals. I’ve been before, but this trip was more focused on the valley than the beach- it was truly magical and I’ll remember it for the rest of my life.
DAY ONE: TIJUANA + ROSARITO
I left LA around 9am and was hungry & in Tiajuana by lunch. We stopped at Oryx Capital, this place was bomb, super nice and really inexpensive for what it was. Get the ceviche. They also apparently have like a chic speakeasy type bar called Nortico, which wasn’t open when we were there. Cute side note: the chef here also staged last year for Italy’s acclaimed Osteria Francescana (Master of None, anyone?).
After lunch, we continued down the coast and checked in at our first hotel: Bobby’s, which was on the ocean. It was cute and we hung by the pool listening to hiphop all afternoon; I ended up wishing I had spent more time in Valle de Guadalupe and would recommend skipping this place. Bobby’s didn’t actually have beach access which was a bit of a bummer, but they did have Margaritas that were $4. So overall, a win.
If you want some real ass tacos in Rosarito go to Tacos el Paisano. We had planned to go to a restaurant in town but these street tacos looked tastier so we changed our minds last minute. It’s a little open front spot with bomb ass handmade tortillas, we tried basically everything on the menu for $15 total and couldn’t finish it. Do not miss the asada taco.
DAY TWO: ENSENADA + VALLE DE GUADALUPE
I’m gonna rant here: Cuatro Cuatros was my favorite thing I did the whole time I was in Mexican Wine Country. It’s a vineyard with a breathtaking bar that overlooks the ocean from a mountain. You park and take a shuttle to the top of the mountain ($5) and then margaritas are around $6. Super affordable. They also have food, the grilled brie was bomb. Plan on spending a couple hours here in the afternoon, and if you can catch the sunset I’d be hella jealous.
Also, this place is a hotel where you can glamp in one of their 19 safari-looking tents. I was looking at booking a room here but the website was so lackluster that I wrote it off, don’t make the same mistake. This place is frikin magical.
After a couple margs and a lot of laughs, we drove to our second hotel: Hotel Boutique Valle de Guadalupe. Honey, this place is *stun-ning*. It’s a vineyard, there are goats & gardens on the property, horseback rides, and each section of the hotel has private hot tubs & pools. The walls of the room are floor to ceiling glass that completely stacks open, oh, and before I forgot.. you have your very own private fire pit to chill by after dark.
Pro tip: Hotel Boutique is on hotels.com, which I use all the time to book rooms. There are a lot of cheezy rooms on there, but there are some gems too- and the great thing is that if you have an account (free to sign up) you get a free hotel room after you buy 10. So whenever I travel with other people, I book everyone’s room on my account & have them venmo me. Free rooms for me : ) I learned that tip from a tour manager- not sponsored just wanted to clue you guys in on a way to save some travel dollars.
Once I got settled into the hotel, it was about time for dinner. I’ve been to Finca Altozano on a previous trip and couldn’t miss it this time around. It’s an incredible restaurant on a vineyard with rescued dogs everywhere that come sit next to you at dinner. The wine is (obviously) incredible, and is matched in excellence by the food & views. There aren’t any walls on this restaurant so bring a jacket. It’s pricier, about $50 per person with drinks; but for the quality of food & experience, it’s a great deal. I would never go to Valle de Guadalupe and miss this spot– make sure you get the Ahi Tostada.
After dinner, I went back to Hotel Boutique, took a dip in the hot tub, and had some wine at our private fire pit. Perfect end to a truly perfect day. I’ll remember this day forever, and really hope you get to make it to these spots, they shouldn’t be missed.
DAY THREE: VALLE DE GUADALUPE + POPOTLA BEACH
On my third day I slept in, got frutas and did some hard poolside chilling before we checked out.
On our way out, I wanted to check out this cool building we had passed on our way in: Emevé. It ended up being a vineyard so we did a little tasing and I took home a couple bottles of the Malbec Rosé. I also snagged some chorizo, jamón & cheese to bring back.
Sidenote: Stop if you see people on the side of the road selling olive oil. I got a super nice bottle for like $10 and have been freaking out about it all week.
For lunch on the way back toward Los Angeles, we got a tip to stop at Popotla Beach. It’s a little seedy coming off the luxury high that is Valle de Guadalupe, but it’s rad. You park and walk down to the beach, there are stands to get drinks, and fishermen drive their boats right up on the sand to sell their fish. If you buy some fish, you can get it grilled/fried right there and eat them on the beach with delicious house-made salsas- super fresh! I’m allergic to shellfish but I’ve heard the lobster & uni on this beach is pretty solid. I also tried crickets here for the first time, I liked them : ) Finding the entrance is a little difficult, so here’s a drop pin.
ON GOOD AUTHORITY
I’ve also have on very good authority (but have not personally been to) the below. I’m definitely checking them out on my next trip down!
- Corazon del Tiera (considered to be in Latin America’s top 50 restaurants)
- Laja (from a chef who used to work at NY’s acclaimed Daniel)
- La Gurrerense (ceviche cart in Ensenada)
And there you have it! How to visit Valle de Guadalupe & Mexican Wine Country like a cool kid. What did you guys think, did I leave anything out? If you enjoyed this or would want to see anything done differently, give me a holler in the comments. I want to start doing city guides on the regular, so I would love to hear your feedback! Next up… Paris, Florence, Cinque Terre & Rome 🙂
xo, Remi (Freck Founder)