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Ensenada + Valle de Guadalupe Safe Guide

After recent memories of last summer's Mexico trip surfaced on my phone, I thought it was time to give an extremely underrated hot spot its spotlight. I live in San Diego in summer where I made my way across the border down to Ensenada, Mexico. We went with a big group of friends on a mission to chase down sunsets, crush tacos, and drowned in a combination of tequila and Baja's finest vinos. We drove down in a couple of cars, rented a beautiful AirBnb in the middle of nowhere Ensenada and made a field trip to a handful of Baja's recently face lifted wineries. Say no more, the agenda of a lifetime! There were SO many options of places to eat and wineries to hit, so we definitely plan on going back again to conquer more. But for now, here is the shortlist of wineries that we checked off and loved! As well as some tips and tricks to planning a safe, fun, and successful trip across the border to Ensenada...

Valle de Guadalupe is like the crazy uncle of wine regions; you know, the one that shows up drunk to family functions and swears a bit too much... A little scatterbrained and unfiltered, but that's what makes it so much fun. When doing the research on favorite wineries to hit, we broke it down by this scheduling list:

1. Brunch-y stop

2. Groovy and Boozy

3. Grub and Grapes

4. Booze Finale with a side of Sunset

We wanted to ensure a grand ol' time with a little bit of everything. So we need the food, the music, the fun, and of course the quality vino at each of the locations we chose.

Wineries (Reservations Important*):

* El Cielo Winery (a hot spot for large, casual groups and great rosé)

* Bruma (instagram worthy aesthetic)

* Finca La Carrodilla

* Monte Xaniac

* Vinos Lechuza (Brunch boozing)

* Vena Cava Vinicola "the hippest winery in Mexico"

* CuatroCuatros (#1 AMAZING sunset spot, more drink, less eat location - cliffside overlooking the ocean, mountain views)

* Adobe Guadalupe (lunch option)

* Vina de Frannes

* Decantos Vinicola

* Finca Altozano (lunch option or dinner and sangria, lamb or sucking pig.. they cook in "china box" try all from that)

* Deckmans (dinner)

Backtracking a little, the BORDER CROSSING low down is very necessary to understand for your return trip. Here is some info on how to prep and safely cross the border in both directions. If you want to avoid long hours of traffic returning stateside, I HIGHLY advise leaving prepared, meaning what hour and through which crossing location (because there is more than one):

* try to drive in groups, follow each other

* know your route to and from the border lines

* global entry on car/passport

* prepare for a long wait - try to cross at good hours

* have water, food packed in case the wait is long

If you'd like to refer to this adorable OG map my mom's friend made for us, please feel free to try and understand it without getting lost because it doesn't have the capability of rerouting. And for all other millennials, please refer to Google Maps.


* know/inquire for the owner's contact info

* ask about on-premise security

* scope out the surrounding area

* if you plan to cook, ask about kitchen/utencils provided


* plan food before, Costco run is always a cheap option to stock up before crossing the border

* check out restaurant reviews beforehand

* bottled water is best

* recs:

- Taqueria el Trailero Reforma

- 240 Grill - NEED I SAY NO MORE!

- any taco with grilled pineapple is a win, might I add...

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