My husband and I definitely got bit by the wanderlust bug this year, which goes a long way to explaining why my blogging schedule was hit or miss for most of the summer. Our most recent trip to Burgundy was definitely an incredible bucket-list-worthy trip. It was absolute perfection. Our trip to Baja on the other hand was adventure.
I’ve been meaning to share the details of this trip with y’all for a few months, and got side tracked. But after revisiting the photos, I realized I was doing the experience and you a disservice by not telling you about this gem of a trip.
Jon and I visited Baja in early July. We flew into San Diego, got a rental car and then drove across the Tijuana border to Valle de Guadalupe, an emerging wine region in Mexico.
Those two sentences need a little explanation. First – never travel to Baja in early July. It was hot. Hell-hot, 112°F hot. And that’s not an exaggeration. In fact, we left the Valle a day early because it was just too darn miserable. Restaurants, tasting rooms and even most areas of our hotel had no air conditioning, so you can imagine how uncomfortable it got. BUT— for the most part this region has a very temperate climate and you can expect comfortable weather almost any other time of year.
We stayed at Casa 8, a boutique hotel located at the Bruma Winery. Every bit of the experience at this hotel was picturesque. Hot, but picturesque. I dare anybody to get into the infinity pool and NOT instagram the moment. I don’t think it can be done.
Each day we woke up to breakfast in the vineyard, a dip in the pool, then set off to explore the dozens of vineyards and tasting rooms the region has to offer. Unlike Napa and Sonoma, the vineyards here are quite close to each other, making it easy to tasting-room hop. We made it even easier on ourselves by hiring a driver one day to take us to some of the “hot spots.”
Here are some of the trip takeaways:
Our favorite winery – Vena Cava. The tasting rooms are in caves topped with the hulls of old boats. A DJ outside spun tunes, and a food truck served killer truffle fries. And beer, which was a nice change of pace.
Our least favorite winery? LA Cetto. Corporate and boring as far as Valle de Guadalupe tasting rooms go, but it’s the largest wine producer in Mexico.
The favorite day trip experience was to La Bufadora, a street fair type experience with the end destination of a natural blowhole. Weird, and cool. Like most of the trip. We capped off that day with a visit to Ensanada, which was a fun town to walk through.
In addition to those mentioned above, other wineries we visited include: Viña de Frannes, Casa Frida, Don Tomas Vinedo, Adobe de Guadalupe, Decantos Vinícola, La Corradilla, and Alximia Vino Elemental. Yeah, we drank alotta wine.
The Valle de Guadalupe is fast becoming a top wine-destination, and there were a lot of Californian and Mexican tourists in the area. Hotels and restaurants book quickly, so this is definitely a trip you’ll want to book a bit in advance.
The food scene is incredible – with a lot of chefs looking to make their mark with seasonal foods that highlight the local wines. And, there are some incredible boutique hotels and glamping experiences.
I always felt safe when we were at our hotel and exploring. Jon and I both talked about it afterwards, and we agree – we want to go back, with a few changes. As I mentioned, it was hot. We’d probably prefer to go in spring or fall. Driving in to Mexico was no problem at all, but driving back into the US through the Tijuana was a nightmare. It took forever.
Next time, we’ll probably Uber to the border, walk across the pedestrian crossing, and then catch an Uber to the Valle. We had no trouble getting an Uber driver when we were going out and about. Alternatively, you could get a rental car in Tijuana. Either way, it’s worth it to save yourself the hassle of driving through the border back into the US.
Other than those two factors – we’d do it all again and try a new hotel, restaurants and vineyards. Anyone wanna join us?