If you live in Southern California, there’s a good chance that you’ve heard of Valle De Guadalupe before. Located just two hours south of San Diego, Valle De Guadalupe is a beautiful wine region in Baja California, Mexico that produces some of the best wine around.
But even if you’re not a big wine drinker, this charming area is known for having amazing resorts and boutique hotels that attract Southern California locals for quick weekend getaways.
It was my second time returning to Valle De Guadalupe this year and on each trip, I keep finding fun adventures and something unique to do in this region.
Guide To Visiting Valle De Guadalupe, Mexico:
Where To Stay
The two biggest attractions of the Valle De Guadalupe wine region in Mexico are boutique hotels and wine tasting.
Truthfully there isn’t too much to do in Valle De Guadalupe outside of that so when we planned our trip we made sure to book a hotel that we really liked and wanted to spend time at.
After doing a bit of research we decided to stay at Oeno Wine Resort for its picturesque location and unique setting.
Oeno Wine Resort is located in a beautiful natural area surrounded by giant boulders and rocks.
This hotel has 3 different types of rooms that it offers to its guests and we ended up staying in an area with a set of wooden rooms that were centered around a fire pit.
This set of rooms was really charming and had a lovely well-maintained landscape around it with local desert plants.
The fire pit was such a nice touch and it came with a complimentary one-hour bundle of wood for the guests to enjoy.
From the room options at Oeno Wine Resort, I personally thought that these wooden rooms were the cutest ones for their looks. But all of the rooms in this area face each other and you don’t get much privacy so we ended up closing our curtains when more guests arrived.
The second set of rooms at the Oeno Wine Resort was quite interesting. This area consisted of a few rock-shaped buildings that looked like something from The Flintstones cartoon.
While these rooms surely looked different, they didn’t seem to have any windows or other amenities that the other areas had.
The third section at Oeno Wine Resort had a set of A-frame-style cabins overlooking wine fields that I really liked. These cabins were quite spacious with bigger bedrooms and individual patio decks.
These cabins felt a lot more secluded so if you’re on a romantic getaway staying at these cabins would be your best option for more privacy away from the rest of the guests.
Note that Oeno Wine Resort does not have any food or restaurant on premises so if you plan to stay here, make sure to bring your own food or you’ll have to venture outside of the property to eat – which is what we did.
There were quite a few restaurants and eateries nearby that it wasn’t a problem but none were within walking distance so we had to drive everywhere.
But overall our stay was really pleasant and the staff at Oeno Wine Resort was super friendly. If you’re looking for a hotel that has all the looks (but not necessarily the amenities) Oeno Wine Resort is a great place to stay in Valle De Guadalupe.
Location: Oeno Wine Lodge
No trip to Valle De Guadalupe would be complete without visiting a winery or two. It is after all the biggest wine-producing region in Mexico.
But now there are over 100 wineries in Valle De Guadalupe so choosing just one or two can be a bit difficult.
While you can create your own wine-tasting itinerary, you can also choose to sign up for a guided Wine Tasting tour like this one that will take you to 4 different vineyards in Valle De Guadalupe.
Here are a couple of our favorite wineries to visit in Valle De Guadalupe.
El Cielo Winery
I’ve been to Valle De Guadalupe twice now and on each trip, I keep returning to the same winery – El Cielo Winery & Resort by Karisma.
El Cielo Winery & Resort is actually one of the best luxury hotels in Valle De Guadalupe and has a beautiful resort on its property with some of the top amenities around. A lot of people travel to El Cielo just to hang out at the resort and it really offers everything to make your stay super comfortable.
But even if you’re not staying at this hotel, people come to El Cielo just for its wine-tasting tours and restaurant Latitud 32.
El Cielo’s wine-tasting tour costs around $15 USD per person and with this tour, we got to try a few different wines and explore their underground cellar while the tour guide explained more about the winemaking process. At the end of the tour, we bought a bottle of wine to take home that starts at around $20 USD – which you can also purchase at the Latitud 32 restaurant for dinner.
Location: El Cielo Winery & Resort
L.A. CETTO Winery
Another popular winery to visit in Valle De Guadalupe is L.A. CETTO.
L.A. CETTO is one of the biggest wine distributors in Mexico producing more than half of the wine sold in the country. A couple of years ago we spent over 6 months traveling through Mexico and no matter where we went or how small of a town we visited, they all sold L.A. CETTO wine at their stores.
If you buy an L.A. Cetto bottle of wine anywhere in Mexico, there’s a good chance it was produced in the Valle De Guadalupe region.
A wine-tasting tour at L.A. CETTO costs 100 pesos (around $5 USD) and with this tour, you’ll get to try four different wines from this winery.
Location: L.A. CETTO – Boutique Valle de Gpe
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What To Do Nearby
If you’re looking for something a bit more active to do outdoors to burn off those wine and food calories, renting an ATV is a great way to spend an afternoon in Valle De Guadalupe.
We signed up for an hour-long ATV tour with Off-Road Tours Valle De Guadalupe and had such a blast! We rented two single ATVs and went on a ride through Valle De Guadalupe backroads accompanied by our awesome guide Sergio.
Our ATV tour happened to fall on a day after heavy rainfall but it was still super fun racing on dirt roads through rain-filled potholes.
Halfway through our tour, we took a short break at a beautiful nature reserve with a serene lakefront before heading back.
Off-Road Tours Valle De Guadalupe offers a few different rental options. We chose to do an hour-long single ATV tour but you also have the option to go on a two-hour-long tour or pick double ATVs.
Before our trip, we made a reservation through the Off-Road Tours Valle De Guadalupe Facebook page and paid a 20% deposit to reserve the ATVs. On the day of our tour, all of the ATVs were booked up so I was glad that we made a reservation ahead of time.
If you plan to do the ATV tour we just recommend wearing clothes that you don’t mind getting muddy, especially after heavy rainfall in the winter.
Location: Off Road Tours Valle de Guadalupe
Where To Eat
During our stay in Valle De Guadalupe, our hotel did not offer any food on the property so we had to venture out for all of our meals. Here are a few of our favorite places that we dined at in Valle De Guadalupe.
La Cocina de Doña Esthela – Breakfast & Lunch
La Cocina de Doña Esthela is one of the most iconic restaurants in Valle De Guadalupe. With over 4000 reviews on Google, it’s just one of those local spots that you simply can’t miss.
La Cocina de Doña Esthela is open from 8 am to 5 pm and mostly serves breakfast and lunch. But this is a pretty traditional Mexican restaurant so if you’re expecting eggs with a side of bacon and hash browns for breakfast, you won’t exactly find that here.
We came to La Cocina de Doña Esthela for lunch before our ATV tour and it was PACKED. If you’re in a rush, this might not be the best choice for lunch because it did take over an hour to dine here.
La Cocina de Doña Esthela’s menu is pretty extensive so you can find a ton of different food options.
I got the breakfast Chilaquiles that came served with a side of beans. On top of that, every table also gets complimentary chips, a few different salsas, and local cheese.
Overall the plates at La Cocina de Doña Esthela were HUGE and we couldn’t even finish our meals. My meal cost only $8 so it’s definitely one of the best breakfast and lunch deals around.
Location: La Cocina de Doña Esthela
ALLEA – Breakfast & Lunch
If you’re looking for an amazing breakfast spot with some seriously delicious home cooking, one of our favorite meals in Valle De Guadalupe was at ALLEA Breakfast & Brunch.
But don’t let the name trick you – although in the US we always associate Brunch with Bloody Marys and endless mimosas, ALLEA is just a low-key mom-and-pop breakfast spot run by a super friendly local couple.
For around $10 I got the breakfast buffet that came with a ton of food choices like scrambled eggs, sweet potato pancakes, Chilaquiles, beans, fruit, fresh juice, and homemade tortillas. I love a good homemade meal and this place was so delicious that we almost licked our plates.
Note that since ALLEA is run by a local family, this breakfast spot is only open on the weekends from Friday to Sunday.
Location: ALLEA, Breakfast & Brunch
Latitud 32 – Dinner
Latitud 32 is always my go-to dinner spot in Valle De Guadalupe if all else fails. I’ve been there a couple of times for dinner because it’s just so nice and convenient.
Latitud 32 restaurant is located inside the El Cielo winery and it offers an upscale fine dining experience. Truthfully the food at Latitud 32 restaurant can be a bit of a hit or miss, but this restaurant is easily accessible off the main road and is open pretty late so I always end up eating at least one meal here.
I’ve tried a few different plates at Latitud 32 for dinner and my favorites are ceviche and grilled octopus. A dinner here is pretty costly with most plates ranging around $15 per person but it’s still quite cheap compared to some fine dining restaurants in the US.
Bar Bura Cuatro Cuatros – Drinks
Cuatro Cuatro’s bar Bura is located 20 minutes outside of Valle De Guadalupe but it was recommended to us as one of the best spots for drinks, especially during sunset.
With a patio overlooking the ocean, Cuatro Cuatros is the perfect place to grab a glass of wine and relax while watching the sunset over the Pacific ocean in the distance.
Location: Bar Bura Cuatro Cuatros
How To Get There
Valle De Guadalupe wine region is located in Baja California Peninsula in Mexico just two hours south of San Diego. Valle De Guadalupe is super easy to access, especially for Southern California locals, and in recent years it’s getting more and more popular for quick weekend escapes.
We were traveling to Valle De Guadalupe from Orange County in California so we decided to drive there. Since this was a girls-only trip at first we were pretty intimidated to drive in Mexico but getting to Valle De Guadalupe from Southern California was actually a lot faster and safer than we thought.
Most of the route was really picturesque traveling along the Pacific Ocean with beautiful views along the way.
Our trip took about 3 hours to get to Valle De Guadalupe from Orange County and 5 hours to get back (due to border crossing delays). For the return trip give yourself an extra 2 hours for the border crossing which can be pretty slow, especially on Sunday afternoons.
If you plan to fly, Tijuana International Airport is pretty good sized and has a lot of flight options. From there you can rent a car – which I highly recommend if you plan to explore Valle De Guadalupe outside of your hotel.
Overall driving to Valle De Guadalupe was pretty easy but some of the roads heading there don’t have names so having GPS directions turned on is a must.
If you don’t have a phone plan that works in Mexico, I recommend setting directions before you leave the US. Even if your phone doesn’t work in Mexico, as long as you set Google Map directions before you leave (and don’t exit out), they should work and guide you to your hotel.
To get to Valle De Guadalupe coming from Orange County we hopped on Highway 5 traveling south which led us all the way to the Tijuana border.
From there we took Highway 1D along the Mexico coast towards Ensenada. Highway 1D is a super nice toll road so I suggest taking this toll road instead of the regular free Highway 1. The toll fees are pretty minimal and we paid only $4.20 USD in toll fees each way.
Before reaching Ensenada (around La Mision town) you will need to turn off from Highway 1D and get on the regular Highway 1 for about 15 miles. This portion is pretty winding but it leads through lush mountains and small local towns.
Then from Highway 1, you will need to turn left onto an unnamed road (look for Valle De Guadalupe signs) for about 7 miles that leads straight to Valle De Guadalupe. After about a 3-hour drive from Orange County, we reached our hotel Oeno Wine Resort in Valle De Guadalupe.
Traveling to Mexico can be a bit intimidating. In fact, one of the most frequently asked questions I always get is “Is it safe to travel in Mexico?“
News always shows the worst stories about crime in Mexico and while there are certain areas that require extra caution, Valle De Guadalupe itself is quite secluded and safe.
Unlike Tijuana and the other cities near the border, Valle De Guadalupe caters to winemaking and tourism so it’s super nice and well-maintained. Plus all of the locals that we met here were extremely friendly and accommodating so we felt very safe during our trip.
But if you plan to drive in Mexico, there are a few things to keep in mind.
The number one tip I can give you is – DO NOT DRIVE AT NIGHT unless you absolutely have to.
It’s not because someone will try to rob or kidnap you but more so because the road conditions in Mexico can be pretty rough. We actually spent over 6 months on a road trip through Mexico in search of unique attractions and the biggest obstacle of our trip was dealing with the poor road conditions.
At first, we thought about driving to Valle De Guadalupe on a Friday night after work but we decided to wait until daylight and drive there on a Saturday morning instead.
While some portions of the route to Valle De Guadalupe from Tijuana travel on main highways, once you turn away from the coast the roads get narrow, windy, and bumpy.
You’ll start seeing a lot more potholes, stop signs, and topes (speed bumps) that rarely have warning signs. If you haven’t experienced hitting a tope going full speed in Mexico – consider yourself lucky.
Plus when driving through the smaller towns you have to watch out for local dogs running on the roads, chickens, kids, people crossing, and a million other things.
On our second night in Valle De Guadalupe, we broke our own rule and decided to drive out to a restaurant after dark through random back roads. 10 minutes in we got stuck in the mud and while (thankfully) we were able to get out of the ditch, we got quite lucky and our night could have gone a lot worse.
So unless you absolutely HAVE TO drive somewhere at night in Mexico, just try to wait it out until daylight.
One thing to consider before your trip to Valle De Guadalupe is the weather. Although the weather in Mexico is usually pretty warm, in the winter northern Mexico can get quite chilly.
If you’re checking out the weather forecast before your trip to Valle De Guadalupe, note that there are two cities in Mexico with that name. When looking up weather for Valle De Guadalupe make sure to look up Valle De Guadalupe in Baja California – NOT Jalisco.
At first glance, we thought that during our trip in February, the weather was going to be in the high 80s but after a closer look, we realized that we were looking up the wrong Valle De Guadalupe and it was actually predicted to be a bit cold and rainy. Instead of packing shorts and bikinis, we ended up packing longer pants and layers.
If you want to make sure that you’re getting the right weather forecast, look up the weather for Ensenada. Valle De Guadalupe is located just 45 minutes away from Ensenada so the weather in Ensenada will be very similar to Valle De Guadalupe.
Overall weather in the Valle De Guadalupe wine region is pretty mild varying between 50 degrees F in the winter up to 85 degrees F in the summer.
Although Valle De Guadalupe, in general, does not get much rainfall and is pretty dry, we happened to travel there during an on-and-off rainstorm. The weather during our trip was still pretty good, we just had to pack a few more jackets and long-sleeve clothes, especially for our ATV off-roading tour.
Looking for more things to do in the area? Check out our guide covering 15 Of The Top Things To Do In Baja California, Mexico.
Can’t get enough of Mexico? Here are a few of our other popular Mexico posts that you may like:
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- Main camera: Sony a7c Camera. The Sony a7c is tiny, light, full-frame, and durable – in other words, amazing!
- Polarizer Filter: Hoya 40.5 mm Filter. Polarizing filters reduce glare in water, protect the lens from getting scratched and bring out the best colors when it’s bright outside. Having a polarizing filter is a must-have if you plan to photograph lakes, oceans, rivers, and waterfalls.
- Wide Lens: Sony 16-35 mm F4. Great for capturing wide panoramas, nature landscapes, and cramped city streets. Mounts to any Sony mirrorless camera and features autofocus, image stabilization, and incredibly sharp images.
- Lightweight Travel Tripod: Manfrotto Carbon Fiber Tripod. A good tripod is essential for capturing images in low light conditions, such as during sunset and sunrise, or creating smooth water effects when shooting waterfalls. The Manfrotto Carbon Fiber Travel Tripod is very sturdy, light, and folds small so you can take it on all of your adventures!
- Memory Cards: SanDisk Extreme 256 GB. It’s always good to bring a few extra memory cards on trips. SanDisk Extreme is ultra-fast for capturing high-quality images, bursts, long exposure night shots, and 4k videos. This memory card is also durable and reliable yet very affordable.
- Camera Batteries: Wasabi Power Battery Set. I’ve made the mistake of getting to a location to realize my camera is out of battery. Always keep your batteries charged with this camera charger set.
- Camera Bag: Lowepro adventure shoulder bag. A camera bag is something you should definitely invest in! Without having a proper place to store it I would get my camera scratched, sandy, or even occasionally drop it.
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