Travel Baja California, Mexico with this definitive list of where to eat, sleep, and drink in Tijuana, Tecate, and Valle de Guadalupe.
If I told you there was a magical place less than eight miles from San Diego that had modern, high-design resorts, craft beer, incredible innovative food, gorgeous scenery, a wine country that rivals any in California, not to mention the friendliest people, would you believe me?
I just ask because I don’t think I would’ve believed me either. Not that I didn’t think I would fall immediately in love with any part of Mexico, but I was not expecting it to be so modern yet so true to its roots. So down to earth yet forward thinking at the same time. Such luxury and so incredibly close to Southern California. It is a place very much like home but the second you set foot in Tijuana, you are absolutely in Mexico. Here are a some of the places we visited starting with my favorite spot in San Diego, then Tijuana, Tecate, and Valle de Guadalupe. ¡Vamos!
San Diego, CA
Casa Artelexia Before heading south don’t miss this Mexican boutique now in two locations in San Diego. Owner, Elexia De La Parra has curated the best of handmade Mexican linens, tableware, toys, books, and more.
Once in Tijuana you must not miss Mercado Hidalgo (we went twice). This large outdoor market is fun to simply stroll through but is also an excellent place to buy tableware, candy, traditional Mexican clothes, piñatas, at ridiculously low prices.
Tecate is a beautiful town about 45 minutes from Tijuana where we stayed at the gorgeous Santuario Diegueño and stopped by El Mejor Pan de Tecate for some breakfast pan dulces.
Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico
Our next stop was the stunning Encuentro Guadalupe. Seriously. Stunning. The accommodations in its Eco-Villa; an architectural marvel of wood, steel, and stone blend seamlessly into the desert environment. Also, don’t miss a visit to their tasting room for a glass of wine.
Lunch was at Finca Altozano, Javier Placencia’s baby in the wine country. This open-air restaurant feels ramshackle but the food is not. The tacos (pictured at top) are traditional Mexican food at its best and the desserts, like the wood-roasted sweet potatoes with ice cream give simple a whole new meaning.
Our last stop of the day was Adobe Guadalupe a winery and inn on traditional Spanish-inspired grounds. Apparently their food truck is not to be missed but it was closed the day we went.
We started the next day at Monte Xanic one of the oldest wineries in Valle de Guadalupe. Make sure you get a taste of the Chenin Colombard.
My favorite meal of the trip was at Traslomita. Chef Sheyla Alvarado is making some of the most innovative food anywhere. You’ll want to eat: the octopus salad, barley agua fresca, aguachile in a sauce made from ashes, mesquite-smoked chicken, and lavender custard.
Our last night was spent at Cuatro Cuatros, which is basically my kind of campgrounds: 14 cabanas with glorious king-sized beds and indoor plumbing nestled in a vineyard overlooking the mountains and ocean. Oh, and they serve a mean breakfast too.
For more information visit the Discover Baja California site who sponsored this trip. All opinions are most definitely my own.