I always refer to this region as Baja, California, because when we go we typically move through the peninsula. There are so many different cities you can choose to stop at. If you want to party and drink on the beach, Rosarito is your spot. If you want seafood (lobster), Puerto Nuevo is your spot. If you want wine, aesthetic views, and gastronomy, Valle De Guadalupe is your spot. Finally, there is Ensenada which is a stop on many cruises from the U.S. Personally, I would not take a cruise there, when you could drive there. Ensenada is full of adventures, from quad riding, to La Bufadora, there are a lot of options on how to spend your day there.
In this blog, I will highlight our recent weekend adventure into Baja. We did a day and a half, ideally if it is your first time I would carve out two or three days to explore the region. However, if you are a busy person this weekend guide will be perfect for you.
The First Day….
-My husband had to work, so I drove down to his work and from there we drove down together. We drove straight down to Puerto Nuevo to eat our first meal of the day….LOBSTER. I am obsessed with the lobster meals from Puerto Nuevo. This town is cute, and colorful, and full of 31 restaurants which serve a similar menu. My personal favorite one is Villa Ortega’s (it is all the way to the left, and end). This one has a beach view, and you can dine on the outside while you hear the waves crash and feel the sun shine down on you. We normally get Lobster for two and it comes with lobster, rice, beans, tortillas, and tortilla soup!
You can walk around and explore the town, this is a good spot to shop for souvenirs, and get free tequila samples. There is also a really yummy ice cream shop and panaderia which has different kinds of bread.
from there, I recommend driving to your hotel or AirBnB to check in!
For our stay this time, we chose AirBnB and we had an amazing experience. I will link our stay below! We were nestled in the Valle De Guadalupe and we were so close to the wineries. My favorite part was the breakfast that came with our stay, it was fresh and cooked specially for us.
Bed & Breakfast located at Quinta Monasterio
Most things in the Valle close early like typical wineries they close around 7pm. There are two location which I recommend and are close to each other.
-Casa Frida is open till midnight. You can get in without a reservation, but it will be for their outside lounge or the restaurant. If you want to go to their indoor terrace, make a reservation.
-King & Queen Cantina. We got here around 11pm and they weren’t seating anyone without a reservation, so we didn’t get a chance to visit.
The Next Day (full day of Mexico)….
This was our full day in Mexico, and I had the day planned out from stop to stop to strategically maximize our time, since everything in the Valle is spread out.
Stop 1: Bruma (reservation required)
This is one of the most gorgeous and unique wineries. There is a beautiful tree in the middle which goes underground and above. The tasting is 17$ pp and includes a tour of the facility, with 3 wine tastings. A little overpriced in my opinion, but you pay for the photo ops. There is also a restaurant called Fauna, which I have heard great things about.
Stop 2: Finca Altozano
(reservation strongly recommended, if you get there before 12 you can get seated, depending on your party size. Either way I would make a reservation). This restaurant is like no other, its beautiful and has amazing selections of food. The restaurant is situated on a large spread of land, so you can walk around the property and see their animals. There are also a lot of photo opportunities! Our favorite thing to order here is the Oysters, Lengua Tacos, and Seabass Chicharones. We’ve tried other things on the menu, like Octopus, Milanesa, and Tuna. If you are lucky you might even see the two pigs walk past your table. There are also 8 or 9 dogs which live on the property and their name and photo is pictured on the menu. Save some room for desert, there is an ice cream shop located here as well.
Stop 3: Casa Frida
(reservation required). Even though we came here at night, I HAD to go back to explore during the day. We reserved the wine tasting experience, which was $40 for the both of us. Wine tasting is in a separate room that is immersed in art and paintings. If you do not do wine tasting, you can hangout at the restaurant, or hangout in their outdoor lounge which plays funky house music all day. Since we had extra time, we asked if there was space at their Mixology Terrace. I would highly recommend making a reservation for this area, there is a minimum consumption limit, but it is worth it. The views of the Valle are gorgeous, funky house music is playing, and there are delicious hand crafted cocktails to indulge in. Aside from the views, there is even more art to see and take pictures with. Make sure to check out the bathrooms for even more fun photo-ops. Basically this place is an Instagram heaven.
Stop 4: Bar Bura @ Cuatro Cuatros
(reservation required, or take your chances on waiting to get an opportunity to ride the shuttle to the top). Bar Bura, is located on the top of Cuatro Cuatros, and it is the most picturesque bar I have ever been to. You pay to ride the shuttle to the top of the mountain and you get to choose between a soda, water, or beer. You immediately feel like you are transported to somewhere in Greece. I always strategically plan the reservation around sunset hours, the sunset here is breathtaking. You can also order food here, I love their Ceviche. If you need some coffee, there is also a coffee truck at the top, which would be great for your drive home.
Crossing the border can be a nightmare, because of the waiting time. We’ve waited as much as 8 hours before. On average I would say it takes 4 hours to cross back on a weekend. Just recently on this last trip, it only took us an hour and a half on a Holiday weekend, because my husband figured out how to enter the Ready Lanes! Watch this video and save yourself time! Warning: on the weekends there is a higher volume of traffic, which makes it harder to enter the Ready Lanes, just drive back further and enter in. OH AND YOU CANNOT GET AWAY WITH GOING THROUGH READY LANES WITH NO PASSPORT. Technically you should not even risk going without a passport, however people do many times, in the ready lane they don’t mess around because they use RFID technology to process you faster.
Thanks for reading! Hope to see more of you venture off into Mexico. If you would like to book a tour, click on my Guide to Valle De Guadalupe Blog, which has my favorite company linked!