Back in July, my best friend and her boyfriend invited us to join them on a 3 day road trip to Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico. It was an invitation we could not turn down! Valle de Guadalupe is like the Napa Valley of Mexico. In Mexico’s wine country, you can experience beautiful wineries and exquisite dining at a reasonable cost. Our trip was short, but it was filled with amazing food and wine. Here’s how we spent 3 days in Valle de Guadalupe.
Covid Safety in Valle de Guadalupe
I was nervous about traveling to Mexico due to Covid, but we felt safe during our visit. Traveling during the week was a great way to avoid crowds. Additionally, the hotels and properties we visited all had an abundance of open air spaces. We had most of our meals outdoors, and the restaurants we ate at provided QR codes for menu access. Majority of the hotel and restaurant staff wore masks, and many places took extra precautions such as taking temperatures and enforcing mask rules.
Valle de Guadalupe Weather in July
Valle de Guadalupe is located in Baja California, so the weather is similar to that of Southern California. At the end of July, it was very hot during the day with some clouds and breezes. Nights were chilly, which was a nice escape from the heat. We would love to go back during the fall when temperatures aren’t as high.
General Notes About Valle de Guadalupe
Places in Valle de Guadalupe are designed thoughtfully with a unique, rustic feel. Properties tend to be extensive and offer a variety of experiences, such as Bruma and Cuatros Cuatros.
The food scene in Valle de Guadalupe is incredible. Expect elevated Mexican cuisine, a lot of seafood, and farm to table restaurants.
Make sure to plan out your trip thoughtfully and make reservations whenever possible. Due to the infrastructure, Valle de Guadalupe is not a place where you can easily drive and stop at places that catch your eye.
3 Days in Valle de Guadalupe
Day One – Los Angeles to Valle de Guadalupe
We left Los Angeles early on a Wednesday morning. Even with some traffic and a coffee break in San Diego, it took us less than 3 hours to get to Mexico. From the San Ysidro border, we took the scenic route along the coast to get to Valle de Guadalupe. The drive through Mexico was an easy hour and a half.
Where We Stayed:
We stayed at Hotel Contemplacion for our first night. Hotel Contemplacion is a beautiful hotel with well equipped rooms, all of which have stunning floor to ceiling windows and private patios. Even though the hotel has an intimate feel, the property is quite large. Hotel review coming soon.
What We Did:
We had our first taste of Mexican wine at Bruma Vinicola. Bruma’s wine tour was a fun and unique experience from beginning to end. The best part was wine tasting in the cellar underneath the same oak tree that welcomes you at the entrance of the winery. Bruma wines were my favorite out of the entire trip. Our reservation was at noon, and it felt like we had the whole place to ourselves. Reservations are required.
Lunch was just a few steps away at Fauna. We indulged in an 8 course meal, not knowing how much food it was and that it would turn into a 3 hour lunch. The dishes were very flavorful and unique. Don’t miss out on the octopus and freshly made tortillas. We enjoyed our meal out on the patio with a view of the vineyard. The lunch rush started shortly after we sat down at 1:30. I believe reservations are required since you can’t enter Bruma’s property without one.
Our last stop of the day was Bar Bura, a hip outdoor bar with an amazing ocean view. Bar Bura is 40 minutes from the rest of the valley, but it is an absolute must. We loved lounging here and soaking up the views. Reservations are required, and there is booking fee. Part of the fee covers shuttle transportation up to the bar, while the rest is credited towards your bill. We hung out at Bar Bura from 4:30-6:30, and it was full by the time we left.
After being out for 11 hours, we didn’t have the energy to make it to our dinner reservation at Finca Altozano. Instead, we ate at Salvia Blanca, Hotel Contemplacion’s restaurant. It was convenient, but I wouldn’t recommend going out of your way to eat there.
Make sure to get international car insurance before your trip.
Our friend recommended we take the route along the coast, 1D, to Valle de Guadalupe instead of driving through Tijuana. There are 3 tolls of $2 each, but the drive is easy and safe.
La Ruta del Vino is the main road in Valle de Guadalupe. Getting to most places requires driving through bumpy dirt roads.
U.S. dollars are accepted in Valle de Guadalupe, but having pesos can come in handy and can save you some money.
You can get by with English at most places in Valle de Guadalupe, but brushing up on your Spanish wouldn’t hurt.
Make sure to plan for longer meals as meals in Mexico take longer than what we are accustomed to in the U.S.
Day Two – Valle de Guadalupe
Our second day was the perfect balance of eating, drinking, and relaxing. We got a late check out at Hotel Contemplacion and an early check in at Encuentro Guadalupe.
Where We Stayed:
We spent our second night at Encuentro Guadalupe. The hotel looks cool from the outside, but the inside of the room was disappointing. However, the pool area is 100% vacation vibes and is what you’ll be paying for. Hotel review coming soon.
What We Did:
We had breakfast at La Cocina de Dona Esthela, an authentic Mexican restaurant that attracts locals and tourists alike. It was a nice change from all the trendy restaurants. We got there before they opened at 8:00 and were second in line. We shared the Hotcakes de Elote, Chilaquiles Verde, and Birria Gordita. It was a heavy breakfast, but everything was delicious and inexpensive. The restaurant was bustling by 8:30, so go early. They do not take reservations and do not have outdoor seating.
After some down time, we headed to Vena Cava for a 2:00 wine tasting. The winery is built impressively with salvaged materials and old boats. The wine was decent, but did not leave a lasting impression on me. Reservations are required.
We had lunch right outside Vena Cava at Troika. Troika is a food truck with outdoor seating adjacent to a pond. This was my favorite meal of the trip. We had oysters, porkbelly tacos, ceviche, and mushroom risotto. The food was so tasty and inexpensive. They mentioned reservations are required, but we were able to walk in on a Thursday without a problem.
We spent the rest of the day lounging by the pool at Encuentro. The pool, mint mojitos, and octopus ceviche make for a great combination.
For dinner, we enjoyed a 4 course prix fixe meal at Lunario. Lunario is a lovely restaurant located at Lomita Winery. The inside is beautifully decorated, but we ate outdoors to enjoy the equally gorgeous grounds. This was my second favorite meal of the trip. All the dishes were well thought out and delicious. The restaurant was very quiet on a Thursday night. Reservations are required.
We hired a driver to take us to dinner to avoid driving on the dirt roads at night. If you’re worried about your tires or just want the ease of not driving, hire a driver. If you are looking for a reliable driver, feel free to message me for our friend’s contact.
Day Three – Valle de Guadalupe to Los Angeles
We spent our last morning by the pool before heading back home. The drive home was rough. It took us about an hour to cross the border and we got stuck in traffic driving through Orange County. We ended up grabbing dinner in Irvine to wait for traffic to die down. In total, it took us about 7 hours to get home.
What We Did:
We spent our last few hours at the pool and had a decent breakfast at Encuentro’s breakfast buffet.
On our way out of the valley, we stopped for lunch at Tacos Del Valle. The tacos and adobado torta were a great last meal.
We grabbed some snacks from OXXO, Mexican version of 7-11, for the drive home.
To get back to California, we drove through Tijuana and crossed at the Otay Mesa border. Our friend has Sentri, which gets you a reduced wait time at the border. She drove the car through the Sentri lane while the rest of us crossed through the pedestrian lane.