Weekend Getaway: Valle de Guadalupe
Valle de Guadalupe has managed to remain under the radar for a while. It wasn't until recently that travel publications and blogs started writing about Mexico's wine country as Baja California's 'hidden gem,' comparing it to California's Napa Valley. I'm not a wine connoisseur myself, but I've visited Valle twice now — the first time with my former roommate, who's from San Diego/Tijuana, making her an excellent tour guide as she's very familiar with the area; and the second time with my current roommate for a 1.5-day trip. Here are my reasons for why everyone in Southern California should have Valle on their bucket list when they start dreaming about their next weekend getaway: The drive is painless. Depending on when you leave, you can get from downtown Los Angeles to Valle de Guadalupe in 3.5 hours (we left at 5 a.m. on Saturday). Just be mindful on the way home because it takes much longer to cross the border from Mexico to the U.S. It's affordable, with wine tastings ranging from $9 to $20; the pricier ones often include a tour of the winery as well. This one gets overlooked a lot but the fact that everyone accepts U.S. dollars is extremely convenient and an added bonus if you're like us and decided to spontaneously do this trip without much planning in advance (whoops). Lastly, it's stunning. You can probably find better wines elsewhere (I'm not picky) but the architecture in Valle is truly one of a kind.
To get you inspired, here's the itinerary from our latest trip along with some recommendations on places to visit when you do decide to make the drive down.
We did a lot of research on where we wanted to stay but were limited by the fact that we planned our trip last minute. We ended up staying at Bruma's Casa 8. The boutique hotel is a little pricier than most of the other options, but we both agreed that the extra costs were worth it. The property was beautiful and clean. The hotel tries to make guests feel at home with a shared kitchen and two living spaces that are open 24 hours. The free breakfast in the morning, which is served at a communal table, is also a nice touch (pro tip: make sure to order the chilaquiles). Additionally, Bruma has a restaurant and winery of its own (one of the newer ones) on the property.
Other options that we considered:
- Hotel Encuentro Guadalupe - Even pricier than Casa 8. Each room is its own tiny 'pod' (or more so huts) that overlooks the valley.
- Campera Hotel Bubble - This was actually our first choice but all the 'bubble suites' were booked up. We talked to a couple on the same wine tasting as us who managed to snag one of the rooms and they said their stay was unbelievable. They could see all the stars from their suite at night. Definitely a cool experience and at a cheaper price than Hotel Encuentro Guadalupe and Casa 8.
- Rocas del Valle - The cheapest option that we looked at was Rocas del Valle. The hotel has many lodging options, but unfortunately the one we were most excited about, The Panoramic Cabin, was also all booked up the week of our trip.
- Cuatro Cuatros - A glamping hotel that's best known for its ocean views. The sunsets here are supposed to be spectacular. Visitors (i.e. non-guests) can still visit the terrace for drinks during golden hour. Just be aware that the property is 30 minutes away from the main Valle.
Monte Xanic's wine tasting and tour was probably the most comprehensive one. For $9.41, we were able to try 2 reds, 2 whites and 1 rose. The wine tour was detailed and our guide explained the wine-making process to us from beginning to end, answering all our questions in between. Monte Xanic seems to be one of the more established wineries so I would recommend this place if it's your first time in Valle.
Decantos Vinicola was more laid back than Monte Xanic. Monte Xanic has scheduled tours, grouping your party with other guests visiting the winery at the same time. Decantos, on the other hand, was a much more personalized experience. We were told we could do the private tour whenever we were ready. I didn't enjoy the wine as much as Monte Xanic but felt like I got more out of my visit. This is also a beautiful space for you to sit back and enjoy the panoramic view. I could spend hours here.
Bruma was the most beautiful architecturally. Schedules are required for tours and tastings, though I found the tour to be quite brief and not as detailed as the first two. We took a lap around the facility but didn't really get to see or hear about the process as much as admire the architecture. The wine selection here is probably my favorite though.
I visited Adobe Guadalupe on my first trip, but unfortunately didn't have a chance to try the wines there. We went for breakfast only. All I can say is this place is really homey and gives off a luxurious bed-and-breakfast vibe that's beautiful yet comfortable. The property has a ranch as well; horseback riding is an option for guests staying at the hotel.
Other wineries we looked at but didn't get a chance to visit (Note: There are so many out there. These aren't necessarily the best ones, but just those that appealed to us. Make sure you do your research to find one that fits what you're looking for.):
- Finca la Carrodilla