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2 Nights Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico

We've visited various areas of Mexico over the years, and probably have traveled to this favorite country of ours at least one dozen times. This is the first time that we took advantage of our proximity to Baja, Mexico, and decided to embark on an adventure to Valle de Guadalupe, just over a two-hour drive from San Diego. The landscape in Valle de Guadalupe is like none we have seen in the many Mexican coastal towns we have vacationed in. Instead, Valle is a stunning contrast to the blue waters we are used to, boasting endless views of bright green vineyards that are surrounded by rolling hills. Surprisingly, some delicious wines are produced in this region, and along with fantastic wineries, comes a thriving food scene with award-winning, and Michel-starred, restaurants. There are tons of activities to enjoy while visiting, you'll quickly find yourself planning your next visit. I've already planned our next itinerary!

Day One:

We hired an Uber to drive us 45 minutes to the Mexican border, where we very quickly crossed the pedestrian crossing into Mexico. We were surprised by how easy the process was- less than fifteen minutes once you leave San Diego's side of the border and enter Mexico! We hired a driver in advance to meet us once we crossed over who stayed with us throughout the day while we enjoyed making discoveries.

When visiting the area, consider reserving an excursion with Off Roads Tours Valle Guadalupe who delivered a thrilling off-road ATV ride on rugged terrain along the vineyards. Sergio, our guide, is full of contagious energy and often pulls over to motivate his riders to continue on the challenging course.

After a heart-beat-inducing adventure, you'll be ready to sit down in a serene environment and enjoy a big lunch. Bar Bura Cuatro Cuatros is guaranteed to provide you with an unforgettable, immersive dining experience from start to finish. Cuatro Cuatros is a massive project incorporating private residences, restaurants, vineyards, horseback riding, zip lining, spa services, etc. Bar Bura, a restaurant on the project, is one of its star concepts and as a result, making a reservation here is done in a non-conventional manner. Minimum spend commitments are based on the seating location - the closer you sit to the breathtaking views, the more you will be asked to spend towards dining. In addition, you must fully prepay your minimum spend upon making the reservation. Although the booking process may seem daunting, you won't regret making a reservation- the entire meal and the setting are out of this world (including the bathrooms!). Tip: you can only access the restaurant via the property's shuttle. Give yourself an extra twenty minutes to find the shuttle and embark on the steep climb to the restaurant's location perched on a cliff.

pros: stunning vistas of the Pacific Ocean, live DJ, unique bathrooms, great menu

cons: at this altitude, it can get chilly, bring a warm layer with you

must order: the prime rib sandwich and the rib eye are fantastic

You'll likely need a nap after a morning filled with adventures and great meals. We chose to stay at Banyan Tree, a new luxury hotel in the Valle that just opened on May 1st. The property is exquisitely designed on a sprawling mountain that overlooks vineyards and lush, green hillsides. Most rooms are free-standing casitas with spacious living quarters and a small plunge pool. Privacy is highly honored here and this is a great lodging choice to retreat to after a full day. However, don't book your room just yet, they still have many kinks to work out. Give them about a year to get the rhythm of operating such a large resort smoothly.

pros: gorgeous design that incorporates the surrounding nature, nicely appointed rooms, friendly staff, rooms provide a sense of utmost privacy

cons: the shared pool on the resort is tiny. it's more like a large plunge pool than a pool. many guests at the hotels complained about this design overlook. if you like lounging by the pool when on vacation, this property isn't for you

Hopefully, you'll sneak in a nap and will be ready to regroup for the evening. We enjoyed drinks at the hotel's bar and grabbed seats on the swinging chairs that looked directly into the vast vineyards below. The views at Banyan Tree are honestly spectacular!

For dinner, reserve any of the area's most popular restaurants in advance. They fill up fast! We were super excited to finally experience dinner at Fauna after all the raving reviews it received from our foodie friends and its reputation as a top fifty restaurant in Latin America and more recently "best restaurant in Mexico". You'll be immediately struck by the communal tables, bringing diners together in a lively room filled with excited chatter. The place was packed and the energy was contagious. We tried oysters, tuna fin sopes, smoked broccoli, grilled lettuce, octopus with grilled tomato, and charred cabbage. Everything was good, and some dishes were really good, but none were worth the hype. I am convinced that those who rave about Fauna, have not yet eaten at Animalon.

pros: bustling space, great service, interesting menu

cons: does not meet my standards of what a "top restaurant" should deliver

must order: the oysters and the tuna fin sopes

Day Two:

On your second day, consider staying put at your resort and taking advantage of any amenities offered. We began with breakfast at Aldea, Banyan Tree's all-day dining restaurant. The menu combines traditional Mexican dishes and standard American options to start your day off with. I loved the way my chilaquiles were prepared- not too overloaded with tortilla chips and prepared with homemade sauces using fresh ingredients.

Next, we walked off the calories we consumed for breakfast along the hotel's walking trails, which led us to breathtaking lookout points and a meditation garden comprised of a walking labyrinth. Starting the day soaking in the vistas and blue skies was a perfect way to set a tone of gratitude.

Finally, we grabbed a spot by the hotel's pool and had it to ourselves until a crew from Los Angeles that we met earlier that morning came to join us. When it was just us for the first few hours, it was pure bliss. When others joined, it was too close for comfort so after eating some delicious poolside tacos we headed to our room to enjoy the outdoor space it offered in privacy. Hopefully, the pool at your resort is larger so you can plant yourself there the entire day in true vacation format.

There is no better way to end your day than with dinner at Animalón. A meal under the massive oak tree was outstanding - one of the most memorable meals you will have. This restaurant is Michelin-star worthy, touching on every one of your five senses brilliantly, and delivering each course in a masterfully artistic manner. We chose the six-course tasting menu, which in actuality comprised twelve courses counting the many thoughtful add-ons from the kitchen.

pros: stunning setting, immaculate attention to detail from the staff, an unforgettable experience that engages all the senses

cons: none

must order: ordering a tasting menu is required

Day Three:

Make sure to talk to the locals and get some insights from them. We asked our driver where locals like to eat breakfast while in Valle and he suggested Cuarzo. They serve a great Mexican breakfast in a modern setting with fast service. Those who know me well can easily guess what I ordered for breakfast... chilaquiles! The side of beans that accompanied my dish were delicious and the red sauce was just the freshest. My husband loved their unique twist on enchiladas for breakfast.

pros: fresh food in a bright, open setting

cons: none

must order: chilaquiles and enchiladas

Next head over to Puerto Nuevo, "the lobster capital of the world". This colorful town is filled with restaurants showcasing lobster on the menu, art galleries, and local shops with crafts and trinkets. You may even catch some live music as you stroll the streets. We were too full from breakfast but I've heard that Sandra's is the place to eat when visiting.


If you're from Southern California you may wonder whether you should drive across the border or hire a driver to get you around. For our first time getting into Baja, we opted to Uber to the border and cross the pedestrian crossing into Mexico where we had a driver waiting for us. Our driver stayed with us all day, drove us everywhere on our itinerary, and waited for us while safeguarding our luggage as we explored. During the three days that we were there, we played with the Uber app to see how readily available their drivers are in Valle, and we ruled out relying on Uber in the future as drivers were not always available, especially on a busy weekend. On our second day when we didn't need a driver with us the entire day, we hired transport through our hotel to take us to dinner, for a whopping $175, roundtrip. Hiring drivers to transport us over the three days cost us $800.00. Now that we have familiarized ourselves with the roads into Valle and feel very comfortable with the route, we will drive ourselves next time to avoid these unnecessary high costs. Just be aware, that if you do not have Global Entry and your car isn't registered with Sentri, you will be forced to wait long lines to cross over. So, my recommendation is that if you have the latter two documents, take the easy drive yourself.

There is no town square or main street in Valle de Guadalupe. Once you are there, there is no convenience store to run to for snacks or water. Stock up beforehand in Rosarito or Ensenada.

Valle de Guadalupe is made of very dusty dirt roads. Wear closed-toed shoes, but not your favorite ones as they will get dirty. Finally, if you plan on embarking on an ATV excursion, bring a bandana; this was not suggested by our tour, but it should have been. Our faces were covered in dirt after our excursion and we had dirt in our mouths that took hours to get rid of. It was totally worth it though!

Valle gets very chilly in the evenings so bring layers with you.

My final tip is: plan a visit Valle de Guadalupe ASAP for a wonderful, relaxing experience filled with adventure, great food, gorgeous scenery, an endless array of wineries, friendly locals, and an overall great getaway.


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