Moon Tijuana, Ensenada & Valle de Guadalupe Wine Country
Formats and Prices
- Trade Paperback $14.99 $19.99 CAD
- ebook $9.99 $12.99 CAD
Also available from:
- Flexible itineraries including a five-day road trip, a weekend in Tijuana, three days in wine country, and a four-day getaway to Ensenada
- Strategic advice for road-trippers, foodies, wine enthusiasts, outdoor adventurers, and more
- Outdoor adventures and unique experiences: Cruise down Mexico’s Highway 1 and feel the warm Baja breeze on your face. Catch a local fútbol game or peruse an art gallery in Tijuana’s buzzing Zona Centro. Spot great white sharks off the volcanic shores of Isla Guadalupe, hike to the El Vallecito cave paintings, or trek through canyons to hidden waterfalls. Catch a wave in Rosarito or explore a sunken ship on a diving expedition
- The best local flavors: Sample varietals from indie winemakers, head to Tecate for Mexico’s favorite cerveza, or hit a modern craft brewery for an afternoon tasting. Grab fish tacos, ceviche tostadas, and steamy tamales from a food truck. Indulge in fresh pastries at a 24-hour bakery. Feast on fresh lobster in Puerto Nuevo, enjoy a wood-fired meal at an outdoor campestre restaurant, and try the unique Mediterranean and Asian twists of Baja Med cuisine
- Expert insight from Baja tour guide Jennifer Kramer on where to go, how to get around, and how to support local businesses
- Full-color photos and maps throughout
- Reliable background on the landscape, climate, wildlife, and history, plus health and safety advice and information on border crossings
- Handy tools including a Spanish phrasebook and travel tips for families with kids, seniors, travelers with disabilities, and LGBTQ+ travelers
DISCOVER Tijuana, Ensenada & Valle de Guadalupe Wine Country
5 TOP EXPERIENCES
Planning Your Trip
The Best of Northern Baja
Ensenada Beach Getaway
THE CUISINE SCENE
Northern Baja has a unique flavor. The influence of the United States, just over the border, can be felt everywhere as the region balances the two cultures with a subtle finesse. While many peninsula road-trippers skip this region in favor of destinations farther south, just as many make it their final destination thanks in part to a thriving culinary scene whose food, craft beer, and wine are being recognized worldwide.
The five regions that define this area—Tijuana, Tecate, Rosarito, Ensenada, and Valle de Guadalupe—are as different from each other as they are from the rest of the peninsula. Tijuana is the big city (the largest on the entire peninsula), with a population of 1.7 million. The infamous party town of yore has reinvented itself in recent years as a culinary and cultural destination that should not be missed. Young creative types and entrepreneurs are turning vacant dance clubs into tech offices, art galleries, and craft breweries. Regional chefs are leading a food movement emulated around the world by renowned chefs such as Rick Bayless.
To the east of Tijuana, the tranquil border town of Tecate is a designated Pueblo Mágico. The small town is set amid the mountains and ranchland that characterize the region. Down the coast past Tijuana on Mexico 1 is the beach town of Rosarito, popular for a weekend of sipping margaritas at sunset, feasting on seafood, and relaxing. An hour south of Rosarito, the port town of Ensenada is a destination for road-trippers and cruise travelers with a sophisticated culinary scene.
Just east of Ensenada, the serene Valle de Guadalupe is home to over 150 wineries and quickly becoming the new tourist draw for Baja California. The restaurants have followed the wineries, and many of the well-known chefs from Tijuana and Ensenada have opened their own campestre restaurants in the valley. While the valley has grown incredibly in the past few years and is gaining worldwide recognition, it remains a tranquil destination marked by dirt roads, boutique wineries, and specialty accommodations.
Come enjoy the unique flavor of northern Baja. You’ll find yourself returning for another taste.
5 TOP EXPERIENCES
1 Go wine-tasting: Visit the highly acclaimed wineries in Valle de Guadalupe, as well as lesser-known Valle de la Grulla and Valle de Santo Tomás.
2 Savor the local cuisine: Tijuana is famous for its street food, while seafood reigns supreme in Ensenada. Enjoy gourmet farm-to-table food at outdoor campestre restaurants in wine country.
3 Sample craft beer: Get a taste of Baja’s growing craft beer scene in the local breweries and tasting rooms of Tijuana and Ensenada.
4 Catch a wave: Ensenada and Rosarito are home to both epic surf spots and milder waves for beginners.
5 Join the action downtown: Take in the vibrant bustle of Tijuana’s Avenida Revolución, Tecate’s Plaza Parque Hidalgo, and Ensenada’s Avenida López Mateos.
Planning Your Trip
Where to Go
Tijuana is undergoing a cultural renaissance with exquisite restaurants, street food, craft breweries, and art galleries taking over the spaces where the nightclubs and bars used to be. The large, buzzing city attracts adventurous foodies in search of the best street tacos and beer aficionados who frequent the craft breweries along Avenida Revolución.
The small town of Tecate is a sleepy destination where visitors can relax around the town plaza, check out the growing culinary scene, visit the nearby cave paintings of El Vallecito, or enjoy a stay at one of the region’s ranches. As the “gateway” to the Ruta del Vino, many travelers pass through Tecate for the easy border crossing, stopping for a meal or to get some goodies at the town’s famous bakery.
Rosarito and the Northern Baja Coast
Rosarito is most famous for its beautiful beaches, fresh seafood, and relaxed vibe. The region sprawls along the picturesque coastline and comprises a number of smaller communities, each with their own offerings. Convenient to Tijuana, Valle de Guadalupe, and Ensenada, Rosarito can be used as a jumping-off point for exploring the region.
Down the Pacific coast, Ensenada draws foodies to its high-end restaurants, famous street carts, fish taco stands, and craft breweries. With an easy ambience, gorgeous coastline, and world-class surfing, Ensenada has a variety of experiences to offer and is a popular weekend destination. Many visitors who want to tour the nearby Valle de Guadalupe wine region stay in Ensenada, which is just a 30-minute drive from the valley.
Northern Mexico Wine Country
Ensenada’s Ruta del Vino takes travelers east into the nearby Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico’s premier wine region, popular for its charming boutique wineries, campestre restaurants, and intimate hotels. South of Ensenada is a second, smaller wine region, the Antigua Ruta del Vino, comprising Valle de la Grulla and Valle de Santo Tomás and offering a handful of wineries and fewer crowds.
Know Before You Go
High and Low Seasons
Spring and fall are generally considered the best seasons for traveling anywhere in northern Baja, when the weather is pleasant throughout the region. The week before Easter, called Semana Santa, is a very popular time for Mexicans to travel; reservations for this period should be made in advance and beach areas will be very busy.
Tijuana has temperate weather year-round. There aren’t high or low seasons here; hotels may be slightly more expensive in the summer months, and the city will be quiet around the holidays and in January.
Temperatures reach over 100°F (38°C) in Tecate during the summer, making late summer the low season for this region. Hotels may offer specials during the month of August when temperatures are highest. The cooler winter months are the high season for this region.
ROSARITO AND THE NORTHERN BAJA COAST
Summer is high season for Rosarito. Hotel rates will be the most expensive during summer weekends, but be aware that the Rosarito coast can experience the marine layer during early summer, with “May Gray” and “June Gloom” causing cloudy, cool weather along the coast. Winter is low season for tourism in Rosarito. The temperatures are pleasant here year-round so most businesses will still be open during the winter, although a few restaurants may close for a few weeks in January. You’ll get cheaper rates on hotel rooms in the winter.
Summer is also high season for visiting Ensenada. Hotel rates will be the most expensive during summer weekends, especially during the Valle de Guadalupe Fiestas de la Vendimia wine harvest festival in July and August, when many visitors stay in Ensenada. Winter is considered more of a low season for Ensenada. The temperatures are pleasant year-round so most businesses will still be open, but you’ll get cheaper rates on hotel rooms.
NORTHERN MEXICO WINE COUNTRY
Summer is the high season for Valle de Guadalupe and the Northern Wine Region, although the temperatures can reach well over 100°F (38°C). Be prepared for large crowds, especially on weekends and during the three weeks of the annual Fiestas de la Vendimia wine harvest festival in July and August. Winter is considered the low season and hotel rates may be lower. All of the wineries will still be open, but the outdoor seasonal restaurants will be closed.
Passports and Visas
Passports are required to visit Baja California. Non-Mexican citizens must also obtain a forma migratoria múltiple (FMM) tourist permit in order to travel in Mexico. If you are flying into northern Baja from outside of Mexico, this will be included in your ticket. If crossing by land, you can obtain your permit at the border crossing.
Many travelers explore northern Baja by car. Mexican auto insurance is required by law, so don’t forget to purchase it before you leave on your trip.
It’s best to reserve a rental car for use during your trip if you are flying into northern Baja; the only commercial airport in this region is Tijuana’s General Abelardo L. Rodríguez International Airport (TIJ).
The Best of Northern Baja
The northern coastal border region is one of the most fascinating and culturally interesting on the Baja peninsula. The beautiful beaches and countryside provide the perfect backdrop for an incredible culinary scene, world-class wine region, and bourgeoning craft beer industry.
Day 1: Tijuana
29 KM (18 MI) 1 HOUR
Get an early start to cross south at the San Ysidro border crossing into Tijuana. Head to Mercado Hidalgo to explore the market’s stalls of fresh produce, regional spices, and local artisan goods. Tijuana has some of the best street food in the world, so get some birria at nearby Tacos Rio, or enjoy street tacos at Las Ahumaderas. After lunch, catch an exhibit at CECUT Cultural Center. For dinner, try a nice restaurant like La Justina or Misión 19 to get a taste of Tijuana’s incredible culinary scene. If you like craft beer, cap off your night at Plaza Fiesta, Tijuana’s collection of craft beer tasting rooms.
Day 2: Ensenada
105 KM (65 MI) 1.5 HOURS
Head to breakfast at the original Foodgarden and then drive down the coast along Mexico 1 to Ensenada. Check out the Mercado de Mariscos and grab some of Ensenada’s famous fish tacos at one of the stalls outside the market, or walk over to Muelle 3 for incredible ceviche and fresh seafood. Spend the afternoon shopping and taking in the sights on Avenida López Mateos (Calle Primera). Enjoy dinner at one of Ensenada’s prime restaurants like Boules or Manzanilla. After dinner, stop in at the long-established Hussong’s Cantina for a beer or margarita.
Day 3: Valle de Guadalupe
29 KM (18 MI) 30 MINUTES
Grab a breakfast featuring local cheeses and other products at Casa Marcelo before driving east to the Valle de Guadalupe. Stop in at the Museo de la Vid y el Vino to learn about the history of winemaking and the valley. Enjoy lunch alfresco at the campestre Finca Altozano and visit a winery such as Vinos Paoloni to enjoy your wine with beautiful views. Enjoy a gourmet six-course dinner while looking out at the garden at the famous Corazón de Tierra restaurant.
Day 4: Wine-Tasting
Enjoy a hearty breakfast of huevos con machaca at La Cocina de Doña Esthela before heading off for a day of wine-tasting at boutique wineries like Vena Cava, Vinos Pijoan, or Lechuza. Enjoy a Mexican-style late lunch/early dinner at Malva. Then catch sunset with incredible dramatic ocean views at the cliff-top Bar Bura at Cuatrocuatros.
Day 5: Tecate
79 KM (49 MI) 1 HOUR
Drive north on Mexico 3 to the Pueblo Mágico town of Tecate and grab some fresh-baked goods for breakfast at El Mejor Pan de Tecate. Head to the Museo Comunitario de Tecate to learn about the history and culture of the region. Grab a carne asada taco for a quick bite at Taqueria Los Amigos and enjoy a stroll around the town plaza, savoring the shade of the mature trees and listening to the mariachis. If you want to have a drink before dinner, head to the locals’ spot Bar Diana, right on the plaza, for a beer or margarita. Then go to El Lugar de Nos to enjoy a memorable meal before crossing back to San Diego through the laid-back Tecate border crossing.
Tijuana is a gritty and vibrant city with an incredible culinary scene and plenty of cultural attractions to make it well worth a weekend getaway. From street tacos to fine dining, the city has been luring foodies for years, and with a new craft beer scene emerging, beer aficionados are now flocking to the city as well.
Drive or walk across the San Diego/Tijuana border at San Ysidro and head to the center of the action on Avenida Revolución in Zona Centro. Explore the pasajes, do some artisanal shopping, and get your photo taken with one of Tijuana’s famous zonkeys. For lunch, duck into Caesar’s Restaurante, where you can have a Caesar salad prepared tableside in the very spot it was invented. After lunch, sample some craft beers at one of the many breweries on Revolución such as Norte Brewing Co. or Teorema/Lúdica Co-Tasting Room. Enjoy a delightful gourmet dinner nearby at Verde y Crema or La Justina. If you’re in the mood for a nightcap, head to Dandy del Sur or La Mezcalera before heading back to your hotel.
Head west to Playas de Tijuana and enjoy a fresh breakfast with the locals at El Yogurt Place. Spend some time walking along the expansive Playas boardwalk and check out El Parque de la Amistad (Friendship Park) before heading back to Zona Rio to grab some gourmet tacos for lunch at Tras/Horizonte. Spend the afternoon checking out an IMAX movie or the current exhibits at CECUT Cultural Center. Don’t miss your reservation for dinner at Misión 19, one of Tijuana’s top restaurants. After dinner, head upstairs to Bar 20 for cocktails, or go to Plaza Fiesta if you’re looking for a boisterous beer scene.
Head to Tijuana’s famous market, Mercado Hidalgo. Take in the sights and smells of the produce, spices, and artisanal goods before checking out some of the awesome street food around the market such as Tacos el Franc or Los Perrones. Head north to Estación Federal to grab a coffee or drink before getting in line at the border to cross back to the United States.
Valle de Guadalupe is Mexico’s premier wine country and is home to unique boutique hotels, incredible campestre restaurants, and over 150 wineries. The area is perfect for a tranquil or romantic getaway and is drawing visitors from all around the world who are starting to hear about the award-winning wines and fantastic food.
121 KM (75 MI) 2 HOURS
Drive across the San Diego/Tijuana border at San Ysidro and keep going two hours south to arrive at the Valle de Guadalupe. Check into your intimate B&B at La Villa del Valle or Casa Mayoral. Start your explorations in the valley with a quick visit to the Museo de la Vid y el Vino to learn about wine and the history of the region. Check out a few boutique wineries like Vinícola 3 Mujeres, Vena Cava, or Alximia. Enjoy a six-course gourmet meal at chef Diego Hernandez’s Corazón de Tierra.
Have breakfast at your B&B before heading out to your first winery such as Lechuza or Bodegas F. Rubio. Then enjoy a lunch of octopus, brussels sprouts, or lamb birria at Javier Plascencia’s campestre restaurant, Finca Altozano. Leave enough time before or after your lunch reservation to enjoy a glass of wine atop one of the giant wine barrel lookouts perched around the property. After lunch, enjoy another wine-tasting at a boutique winery like Vinos Pijoan or Vinos Paoloni. For sunset, head to the cliff-top Bar Bura at Cuatrocuatros, where you’ll bask in stunning Pacific Ocean views. Finish off the day with a memorable dinner at Fauna.
80 KM (50 MI) 1 HOUR
For your last morning, enjoy a delicious homemade Mexican breakfast of corn pancakes or huevos con machaca at the famous La Cocina de Doña Esthela. Enjoy one last wine-tasting at Viña de Frannes or Torres Alegre y Familia on your way up Mexico 3 to Tecate. Grab some baked goods at El Mejor Pan de Tecate before crossing back over the border to the United States.
Ensenada Beach Getaway
Two hours south of the U.S. border, the town of Ensenada is a prime getaway with a lot to offer visitors, including beautiful beaches, delicious seafood, craft beer, and a lively downtown area.
Drive across the San Diego/Tijuana border at San Ysidro and keep going two hours south on toll road Mexico 1 to arrive at Ensenada. Along the way, stop at El Mirador, a half hour north of Ensenada, to take in the impressive Pacific views. Once you get into Ensenada, head downtown to the Mercado de Mariscos fish market to see the day’s catch and walk along the malecón. Walk a few blocks inland to Avenida López Mateos (Calle Primera) and grab a ceviche tostada at the famous La Guerrerense food cart. Check into your hotel just north of town at Torre Lucerna or Las Rosas and take some time to enjoy the pool area and the beautiful sunset over the Pacific. Enjoy craft cocktails and dinner at Manzanilla restaurant.
- On Sale
- Oct 27, 2020
- Page Count
- 176 pages
- Moon Travel