Looking for a new area on the West Coast for a wine weekend? Discover the up-and-coming wine region of Baja California in Guadalupe Valley. This area has begun to produce wine in the last couple of decades, capitalizing on its unique microclimate, and is now appearing on the radar of many wine lovers looking for a compelling new experience. Grab your passport, escape the city, taste an array of excellent local wines, and enjoy the incredible scenery of the Guadalupe Valley.

Highlights

  • Admire sweeping views of the Guadalupe Valley in Baja California
  • Escape from the city and discover this lesser known wine paradise
  • Sip on excellent, local wines made from family-run vineyards
  • Enjoy delicious Mexican cuisine in and around Ensenada

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 From San Diego to Guadalupe Guadalupe, Baja California
Day 2 Discover Guadalupe Valley Guadalupe, Baja California
Day 3 Wine Tastings in Guadalupe Wine Route Ensenada, Baja California
Day 4 Explore Ensenada Ensenada, Baja California
Day 5 From the Guadalupe Valley to San Diego  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: From San Diego to Guadalupe

Photo courtesy of VisitMexico website
Photo courtesy of VisitMexico website

Just about 90 miles south of San Diego, the wine paradise of Guadalupe Valley in Mexico's Baja California awaits you. From San Diego County, drive down the 5-S until you reach the border. You'll find yourself with three options to cross into Mexico: Tijuana, Tecate, and Otay Mesa. Check current border restrictions and wait times to plan accordingly. 

As you continue your drive into Baja California, take route 3 in the direction of Guadalupe and peer out your window to admire the unique desert landscape. If you have been, it may seem somewhat reminiscent of Joshua Tree. When you arrive in Guadalupe, you'll find it offers plenty of boutique hotel options, we recommend Adobe Guadalupe or the luxury Encuentro Guadalupe.

Head into Ensenada for dinner, and try Muelle3. This small locale along the pier offers delicious authentic seafood for your first night in the country.

Day 2: Discover Guadalupe Valley

Photo courtesy of Las Nubes website
Photo courtesy of Las Nubes website

Start your morning off discovering the Guadalupe Valley and its renowned wine, an asset for which it is slowly becoming more well known. After breakfast at your hotel, head over to Domecq Winery. The property offers a tour (book in advance) of its expansive underground cellar, in which you can learn the history of Domecq, the region's oldest commercial winery, and why it is a must-see on the Guadalupe Valley Wine Route. Conclude your visit in the beautiful tasting room before continuing on. 

Nearby, be sure to try Finca Altozano for lunch. Mexico celebrity chef Javier Placensia dishes up some of his fabulous cuisine, sourced from local and organic farms, here. Be sure to make a reservation in advance! 

After lunch, head over to Las Nubes, a nearby winery on a hillside overlooking the entire valley. Be welcomed like an old friend, and sip on the quality wines produced here. Take a glass to the outdoor seating area and enjoy the gorgeous views of this stunning property. 

Afterward, visit Decantos Vinicola. This picturesque winery offers an array of quality wines in a beautiful setting with a great ambiance. Glass in hand, spend the afternoon admiring the rustic architecture somehow artfully combined with a stylish, modern atmosphere in this lovely winery. 

When you're ready, head back in the direction of Ensenada, stopping first at Restaurante Laja for dinner. This farm-to-table restaurant offers delicious, authentic cuisine paired with complementary wines to round out your day.

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Day 3: Wine Tastings in Guadalupe Wine Route

Photo courtesy of Lechuza Winery website
Photo courtesy of Lechuza Winery website

Start your day with a visit to Lechuza Winery. This stunning property is visited by reservation only, so be sure to contact the winery with an email in advance. This unassuming locale offers spectacular views and an authentic feel from its incredibly welcoming proprietors, not to mention delicious locally-produced Cabernet Sauvignon, Nebbiolo, Merlot, and Tempranillo. 

From there, head over to Casa Magoni Bodega. No reservations are needed, so pop over whenever you're ready and continue your tastings. Their delicious local wines won't disappoint, and you can also opt for olive oil and balsamic vinegar tastings for a change of pace. 

For lunch, head over to Deckmans. Run by Michelin-star chef Drew Deckman, this spot truly captures the spirit of Guadalupe Valley with its incredible cuisine. Make your reservation in advance! 

Once you've eaten your fill, jump in your car and head just a few minutes down the road to Viñas de Garza. This beautiful winery offers tastings (only on the weekends), where you can choose between a flight of reds, whites, or a mix of both. Relax on the terrace and take in your gorgeous surroundings. 

Afterward, make your way to La Lomita Winery. The expansive views from this property are not to be missed. Enjoy top-notch quality wines in this beautifully decorated tasting room, before meandering to its amazing restaurant just behind the winery. Enjoy an incredible evening meal at TrasLomita in an idyllic outdoor setting, with the best of local cuisine. 

After dinner, continue your drive down Route 3 to reach CuatroCuatros, just about 8 miles from the town of Ensenada. This seaside settlement of luxury cabins tucked away in a natural setting is a perfect place to end your day. The combination of the Pacific sea breeze and the mountainous vineyards in the distance make for an incredibly relaxing and atmospheric place to enjoy the sunset. Enjoy a drink at their ocean-facing bar, Bar Bura, and toast to a beautiful day.

Day 4: Explore Ensenada

Photo courtesy of VisitMexico website
Photo courtesy of VisitMexico website

Take the day to explore the town of Ensenada. This port city in Baja California has a lively seaside promenade and plenty of delicious local cuisine to discover. First, however, head down past Ensenada to La Bufadora, a marine geyser along a sea cave that has impressive displays, shooting up water over 100 feet. Be patient, as the water bursts up only every so often. Find a good spot and enjoy the ocean views until you catch the show. Afterward, peruse the shopping nearby before heading back into Ensenada. 

Start exploring at the Malecónthe oceanfront promenade in Ensenada with great views and plenty of good restaurants and food stalls around. Head just a couple of blocks up to 240 Grill for lunch, with delicious tacos and fresh ceviche- this casual local eatery has something for everyone. 

From there, head over to Riviera of Ensenada. This once-luxury hotel now acts as a cultural center, with a museum, souvenir shops, and even margarita tastings. Walk around the property and enjoy the atmosphere. Enjoy a margarita before heading over to the nearby Ventana al Mar, a park right alongside the harbor that is the perfect spot to stroll through. Meander through the food and souvenir stalls, people watch at the fountain and, if you're lucky, listen in on some live music. 
 
If you start to get hungry, you'll find plenty of restaurants and eateries along the harbor to try for dinner. Pop into Birrieria La Guadalajara, this cozy locale offers delicious, authentic cuisine in a welcoming atmosphere. When you're ready, head back to your accommodation for the night.

Day 5: From the Guadalupe Valley to San Diego

Downtown San Diego
Downtown San Diego

Before leaving the Guadalupe Valley, take the time to visit Monte Xanic, one of the oldest wineries in the valley and the first to produce high-quality wines. A reservation is recommended, and expect a bit of bumpy dirt road to arrive at the property. With sweeping views and excellent wines, it's well worth the trip. 

From there, pop over to Animalón for lunch, a seasonal fine-dining outdoor experience by Chef Javier Plascencia. Make sure to book your reservation beforehand, and enjoy a beautiful location and amazing food before continuing on your journey. 

Hop back in your car to make the 90-mile drive back to San Diego, starting on the 3 Freeway until reaching the border at Otay Mesa. Note, wait times to get from the Mexico side into the US are usually much longer than the other way around, so give yourself a cushion of time and check border time waits online. From there, continue up the I-5 and arrive in San Diego in the evening.

Map

Map of Mexico Wine Country Getaway - 5 Days
Map of Mexico Wine Country Getaway - 5 Days