I was born and raised in Los Angeles and yet, I had never driven down to Mexico. This past weekend, we made the 3-hour drive to Ensenada for our dear friend’s wedding and I’m fairly certain that my life is forever changed. In the same time it would take us to drive to Ojai, we were transported to a little slice of Mexican heaven packed with rustic scenery, delicious Baja cuisine and miles and miles of vineyards. Most are likely familiar with the Baja beach town, Ensenada but head inland into the valley and you’ll find Valle de Guadalupe a recently developed wine country where chefs and hoteliers have begun to set up shop. The area still feels relatively untapped, completely authentic, non-touristy and perfectly rustic.
When driving down, be sure to stop in Puerto Nuevo for lobster. There are a handful of restaurants on the coast in this tiny little town and each one will try to offer you the best deal. You can’t go wrong for $20 which will get you lobster, rice, beans, tortillas, guacamole and margaritas.
We stayed at Cuatro Cuatros, a heavenly glamping compound situated on a vineyard where each tent features your own private indoor/outdoor shower and the most comfortable bed you’ve ever slept on. The restaurant onsite (also housed in a tent) features delicious Mexican food where we’d dine on fresh-pressed green juice, coffee and huevos rancheros each morning. Take a trek up the hill to the awe-inspiring outdoor bar, Mirador, for the most spectacular views of the coast and sip wine that comes from the Cuatro Cuatros vineyard.
Driving into the valley can get confusing so I highly recommend taking taxis. Most streets are actually dirt roads (besides the main highway) and are not lit at night. You’ll wind down roads with no concept of time or space and then suddenly, you’re on a beautiful vineyard eating the most delicious food and you can’t help but feel like you’ve discovered the secret to life. Thanks to our gracious hosts, we spent our first night eating octopus tostadas, sliders and truffle fries from the Troika food truck while we drank wine under the twinkle lights at the Vena Cava Winery. The actual wedding took place at the restaurant Finca Altozano where the food was out of this world good.
Overall, the trip was so great that we now want to buy a vacation home in the valley! A girl can dream right?