Valle de Guadalupe

As we approached the border crossing, the fear began to set in. Within a few hundred yards of crossing, we encountered a full-on cartel battle. Thinking quickly, we turned down a side street, and got out of there as fast as we could. But, where was the highway? After a few turns, we were lost. Fear was now really setting in, as the locals began to gather around our car. Kidnapping crossed my mind. Could this really be happening, or was it a dream? These are the images that most people have of entering Mexico. Nothing even remotely close to this happened. It had been at least 30 years since I last drove to Mexico, so I wasn't really sure what to expect.

Sunset at Poco Cielo
We got our Mexican auto insurance, and headed to the border. Expecting a long line to get in, there wasn't a single car in front of us, and we drove right on through. Within three hours of leaving my home, I was in Rosarito Beach, having lunch with a friend, at a tiny little taco shop that the locals refer to as "Juniors". The toll road is definitely the way to go. For only $2.40 we were able to zip past the largest city in Baja (Tijuana) and drive right on down the coast. We drove the old (free) road from Rosarito, to our hotel, so we could check out the coast, and the little communities along the way. Checking into Poco Cielo, we were greeted by the owner Cheryl, who took us to our ocean view room. This little hotel is located right on the ocean, and a number of the themed rooms have ocean views. We stayed in the new "Western" themed room. That night, we ate dinner at the hotel, with the guitar playing, and the ocean waves gently hitting the shore. (video from Poco Cielo)

The next day started with a quick breakfast, then we headed down the toll road to Valle de Guadalupe, the heart of the Mexican wine country. After another toll of $2.40. we turned inland, just before Ensanada. Hwy 3 led up the hillside of an east-west positioned valley. The dry terrain didn't change much as we gained about 1,000 feet in elevation. We entered the little town of San Antonio de las Minas, and saw our first signs of a grape growing community. The maps we had were dated back to 2003, so our first stop was at the Museo de la Vid y el Vino (Museum of Vine and Wine), to see if they had anything that was updated. The maps were free, and to enter the museum, was only 50 pesos/person. This was one of the nicest buildings we had seen in Baja, and they have done a nice job of chronicling the history of wine in the country. The only issue is that everything was in Spanish. With my limited Spanish vocabulary, I was able to figure out most of the information. (video from the back of the museum)

Entrance to L.A. Cetto
With our new map in hand, we traveled first to the northeast end of the valley, just past the little town of Francisco Zarco. We turned down the dirt road, bordered on each side by vineyards. The area is very hot and dry, and most of the vines looked very stressed. There is a riverbed that runs through the center of Valle de Guadalupe, but locals told us that it hasn't had water in for at least 10 years. We pulled up to L.A. Cetto, one of the first wineries in the area. This is a large operation, and (from what we could tell) the most commercially successful. Two tour buses were there. They had a full gift shop with shirts, wines. glassware and cheeses. The tasting fee was $5/person to try four of their reserve wines. The favorite was the Don Luis (a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Merlot, and Malbec). However, since we are limited to only 1 liter of alcohol, per person, to bring back across the border, we didn't purchase here. The Valle de Guadalupe is not very big, so if we didn't find something better, we could always come back. (Video from L.A. Cetto)

Next we headed back down Hwy 3, and then branched off to a parallel road  (Hwy 1 according to the maps, but I'm still not sure if that is the right information). Driving through these little towns, you see the poverty of Mexico, and then you turn down a side road, drive a ways on the dirt road, and come up to a fancy new winery (Vinicola). There is a dichotomy in the Valle de Guadalupe between the "haves" and "have nots".

Lakeside tasting at Monte Xanic
We next stopped at Monte Xanic, for an outdoor tasting alongside their "lake". No tasting fee here, but then again, you only get a taste of their "standard wine". If you want to try their reserve wines, you need to make an appointment. We found similar situations at Chateau Camou and Adobe Guadalupe (both were only open to those who had appointments). Next, upon the recommendation of a friend, we traveled up the northern side of the valley to Las Nubes. This is an ultra modern winery, overlooking the entire valley. As of this visit, they have not produced wine from their own grapes (the vines are too young). Very nice Grenache, Nebbiolo, and Carignan. we picked up a bottle of their "Cumulus". (Video from Las Nubes)

Las Nubes Winery
Baron Balche was the next stop. Outside, the temperature was getting hotter, and the humidity was picking up (tropical storm Ivo was passing through). Baron Balche has a gravity fed facility, and the lower floors are all underground. The cooler temps in the cellar room, and the tasting rooms was comfortable. Most of the people in this winery did not speak English, so we were a little challenged, but as luck would have it, there was a taxi driver, hosting some German tourists, who spoke perfect English and did some translating, which led to some long discussions, and eventually some tastes of their $120/bottle Grenache, and their Grenache based dessert wine. Yes, I did write $120/bottle. It was good, but I wasn't about to pay that price.

Pijoan Tasting room
Our last stop for the day was at Pijoan. This is a quaint little winery on a small knoll. Three dogs wandered in and out of the wine tasting room. Here we had a very nice tasting, along with some local cheeses. In addition to the regular wines, we were able to get some additional tastings including a very nice dessert "port". We would have bought a number of their wines, but we had already purchased the maximum we could bring across the border. Next time!

There was another American couple in the tasting room, and the conversation turned to restaurants in the area. They had eaten at Laja the night before. An eight course meal that they said was extraordinary. This night they had reservations at Hacienda Guadalupe. The tasting room manager also recommended his favorite seafood restaurant in Ensenada, Muelle Tres.

Valle de Guadalupe from Las Nubes Winery
Most of the wineries close between 4:00 and 5:00, so we had run out of time for this trip. We headed back down the road, and reconnected with Hwy 3. Here we noticed the fruit stands, wine & cheese shops, and local restaurants that we missed on our way into the valley. Since we were so close to Ensenada, we drove into town to see if I could find Hussong's Cantina (the home of the original Margarita). Last time I drove to Ensenada, Hussong's was on a dirt road in the outskirts of town. Now it is in the center of town, and surrounded by large, loud tourist bars. Still, I found it with no problem.

Poco Cielo
So, we didn't get kidnapped, or mugged, or caught in a cartel shootout. The biggest danger we had was finding too many good wines, and no way to get them back to the U.S.  Other than the limited amount of wine, the biggest "hassle" of the entire trip was crossing back into the U.S. The wait at the border was 90 minutes, and some serious questioning from the border patrol.

Barrel art at Baron Balche
Is Valle de Guadalupe the "Napa of Mexico"? For Mexico it probably is. For someone who has tasted wines in Napa, or even Paso Robles, there is still a long ways to go, but they are on the right track. You should visit it now, because twenty years from now, you may not recognize the place. Then again, it may stay the same, as the growth in vineyard land is limited by the lack of water. New wineries are having to import their own water. What is sure to improve is the infrastructure, the restaurants, the shops. Money is flowing to the area, and it is bound to change. I look forward to going back, soon...there are over 60 wineries to still check out, restaurants to try, and cheese shops to visit.

Hasta Luego!


  1. $120 was in pesos.....which at the time was probably about $10, which is what you can still buy decent wines from the Guadalupe Valley.

    1. Actually, that was in US dollars....pretty expensive for Mexican wine.

  2. Ultimate article post in this blog.Thanks for sharing to us.Looking for the best transportation company in Guadeloupe? The company SARL VOYAGEURS located in petit-pérou in the city of Abymes (Guadeloupe), provides the following services on Guadeloupe (group transport, school and extracurricular transportation, transport and tourist excursion).

  3. Annapurna Base Camp Trek is an amazing walk through diverse landscapes and culture complete with rich mountain views. This route lies in the Annapurna region of Nepal which is the very much beautiful place in Nepal. The trek is incorporated diverse terrain, culture, and wildlife. It is a popular choice among diverse outdoors enthusiasts, from a solo female traveler to hikers traveling in groups to Nepal. Their beauty is indescribable and they draw your attention and walking further leads to the Lush forest to waterfalls. We get the chance to see wonderful views of the mountain, landscapes, small villages, the beautiful scenery, and the small waterfalls of this route. The fabulous mountain scenery and the rich cultural diversity traverses across a wide spectrum of lush rural farmlands and pretty villages. We will walk through terraced rice paddies, lush rhododendron forest and high altitude landscapes with the Annapurna region in view most of the time. Many villages perched on ridges tops surrounded by ancient terraced fields. We cross the mountain passes, fascinating mid-hills, colorful villages and slowly gaining an altitude to the base camp of the world’s greatest peaks. The steep sides are covered in the Lush forest and it is the most dramatic treks in this region.
    Annapurna Base Camp Trek is one of the most popular walks on the earth. The starting point of this trekking route is Pokhara city which is also known as the city of the Lake. While trekking in this route, we will pass through the many suspension bridges and a small natural hot spring of this route. At the time of trekking, we get chance to know about the culture, traditions, and lifestyle of the Gurung, Magar, and Thakali people who are the local inhabitants of this route. We will have great chance to see the wonderful vies of the Mountain which includes Dhaulagiri, Machapuchhre, Annapurna south, and many other mountains of this region. During the time of trekking, we get the chance to explore the Annapurna Conservation Area which is home to many rare birds, animals, flora, and fauna. The best season is February to April and October to December for trekking in this route. The Annapurna base camp trek is one of the beautiful treks in the Annapurna region. The good trail is often neatly stepped, as far as the prosperous villages of Chhomrong. After a good scenic walk reaching the Base Camp with ample time to marvel and enjoy the mountain views.

  4. Everest Base Camp Trek is one of those journeys that create your vacation dreams return true. Hiking on the legendary foothills just under the mighty Mount Everest 8848m with exciting views of the master peaks will solely be found within the Everest Region. This celebrated trek is thought worldwide for its trailblazing routes & the landscapes speak to your senses. On this trip you furthermore Mera peak out at the celebrated Kala Patthar (5,600m/18,373ft) read purpose for a few grand direct views of the very best mountain in the world. Everest Base CampTrek additionally includes different celebrated eight thousand peaks like Mt mountain peak (8,516m /27,940ft), Makalu (8,485m /27,838 ft) Cho-Oyu (8,201m /26,906ft). The culture of this specific space is of nice notebook stuff & interacting with the native of us puts a lot of zest into your venturesome journey as you walk through the Khumbu region of the Asian country. This legendary path could be a psychological thriller for top & wild hikers World Health Organization want the tread the methods wherever legends walked before on their thanks to conquering mountain peak, some did some didn’t however the Everest Base Camp Trek path keeps those legends alive for many trekkers World Health Organization head to the present region. The trip begins with a stirring mountain flight to Lukla, one among the world’s highest mountains; & as shortly as you set down at that altitude, the remainder is history. Your hike takes you to the favored village city of Namche, referred to as the ‘gateway to the Khumbu’’ & from there on you rehearse quiet monasteries with the acknowledge Sherpa of us World Health Organization inhabit this region & their culture is price noting. On the way, we have a tendency to visit the Sagarmatha parkland, home to some rare fauna & flora, this additionally wherever we have a tendency to adapt for a few time. We head deep into the Khumbu hiking into the forest of shrub, birch trees & pine, with colorful villages wherever we have a tendency to square measure sincerely welcome by the Sherpa community. we have a tendency to square measure pleasantly stunned to return across a hospital-based mostly in Khunde and health post at Pheriche that shows this region not solely cares for the locals however also are able to look out of trekkers World Health Organization have altitude issues. Doctors square measure invariably at the post for aid treatment. The Everest Base Camp Trek is arduous however varied teahouses square measure found on the paths providing smart grubbed to shelter from the generally harsh climate. Our trek culminates at base camp so we have a tendency to create a path for Namche as we have a tendency to hike back to Lukla to rendezvous for our flight to Katmandu. we have a tendency to add an additional contingency day for inclement weather which will delay flights. It’s recommended to be pretty acceptable to undertake this journey; you only want some smart hiking exercise before doing this trip. And Nepal Base Camp Treks can do the remainder to allow you AN action-packed odyssey of a period.

  5. Trekking in Nepal is one in all the favored commercial enterprise activities in Nepal trekking is one in all the simplest means of experiencing the natural beauty and wealthy cultural
    heritage of Nepal. Nepal treks offers snow capped views of Nepal Himalaya, stunning landscape, totally different ethnic teams & their traditions, welcome, lush valleys through forests of bush, bamboo, oak, and hemlock, visiting one or 2 villages to next trekking destination. Nepal isn't merely walking hiking sooner or later when another, it's rather a gradual means of experiencing of Nepal's diversity in terms of earth science, people, faith and a large vary of culture. Shiva Excursion is Local Trekking Agency in Nepal may be each day hike to nduce to the highest on a mountain or a ridge for the spectacular views of mountain chain peaks or it may be a hiking for a month passing through villages within the shadow of lofty snow peaks, valleys, notch experiencing wealthy culture, custom and also the impressive views of the Himalaya in Asian nation. the target of Trekking in Nepal isn't simply the actual destination, however the journey itself. You travel at a modest pace, observant nature, rural communities, and spectacular mountain panoramas whereas you're trekking in Himalaya . Shiva Excursion old trekking guide can lead for path finding an introduction to the native individuals, culture, faith and mode. Under Nepal Government License holder Trekking Company in Nepal which is lead by Over 20 Years Trekking and Tour Operation Highly Recommend Everest Base Camp Trek and Annapurna Base Camp Trek. Because these Trip are most Popular and Challenging and top Destination in Nepal. Most of the Adventure, Moderate, and Easy hiking and Hard Passes Organized in Nepal. not that much enough some of Top Peak Climbing as Island Peak Climbing, Mera Peak Climbing, Lobuche Peak and Many others real adventure path of Nepal. In Nepal More then 3000 threkking Agencies and all are competion for the business sector. Some one selling cheapest and some one selling top and quality service. those Agencies as over 30% are fake travel dealing.

  6. Why Trekking in Nepal Nepal?, a land of high hills, mountains, raging rivers and verdant deep jungles of Terai & its rich lifestyle makes one of the most sought locations inside the map of the world. a destination for all season as it's miles one of the most numerous and varied international locations on this planet a unique us of a nestled inside the excellent snow capped variety is some other advent of the mom earth and it embraces worlds' 8 highest peaks from mt.everest, mt.kanchenjonga, mt.lhotse, Makalu, Cho Oyu, Dhaulagiri, Manaslu to Annapurna massive. nepal is likewise the beginning location of Buddha (light of Asia). The Buna Treks is Local Base Under Nepal Government Trekking Agency in Nepal. blessed with wealthy nature, the brilliant Himalayan in Nepal range stretches from the far north-west to the way east where the worlds highest 8th eight-thousanders are in Nepal. nepal gives a enthralling adventure with enough time to wonder the encompassing beautiful landscapes and immerse with its warm human beings, imparting you full of range and enchantment from the low lands of Gangetic plains and its verdant dense jungle where the endangered species of Royal Bengal tigers and the one-horned rhinoceros roam, to the mythical yak and yeti trail to the adventure and leisure tourism was hooked up in view that late 1960 and 70’s quality travel & trekking enterprise have mushroomed by using a tourism professionals Nepalese, and were leading countless of adventure trips in the course of Himalaya consisting of rafting, mountain climbing also organize adventure trekking, and entertainment trips which includes tailor-made itineraries for own family, college companies and company executives. Many of Trekking Company in Nepal are not perfect trip dealing, they have not enough Experienced. Trekking in Nepal, Nepal is domestic to community of trails also known as the amazing Himalaya trails, an extensive trail gadget that covers Nepal from humble and Darchula within the west to Kanchenjunga in the east. the range of Trekking in Nepal cannot be located in any other location of the world. in fact, the lowest factor in Nepal is fifty-nine m above sea-level inside the terai location even as the very best point is Everest, eight,848 m above sea-level, the two factors are, in a direct line, most effective two hundred kilometers aside. the majority of visitors to Nepal are available through the Tribhuvan international airport in Kathmandu. it's far in Kathmandu that trekkers want to accumulate their permits and other documentation, both from a trekking agent or from the best places of work. those files will be checked along the hiking route. for people with little time to spend in Nepal, there are half of-day hikes from Kathmandu to witness breathtaking Himalayan Trekking in Nepal perspectives in any other case trek for weeks over stunning tough mountain passes. as much as the mid-1960s just a few trekkers had generally visited Nepal and lower back then as part of corporations of excursion fans. the various huge expeditions of the day recommended trekkers to join up in an try to help balance the investment.

  7. The Manaslu trekking is one of the best trekking destination in the western part of Nepal Kathmandu. The Manaslu Tsum valley trek and Manaslu area is restricted for the foreigner if you want to travel in your once life you should buy special permit for the Manaslu trek. It is pretty expensive but after enter this area then you will feel wow this is the one of the real life adventure and real local culture you could get a mix tradition. Here if you want a travel normally you should more than two people with a guide as if you hire porter that is your choice. The Manaslu trek is start from Soti-khola which is reach after 7/8 hours drive from Kathmandu first day following Trisuli river then the end Budigandaki river viewing agriculture platform and tradition local houses and the lot of green hilly region jungle. This trek normally take 14 days if include Tsum valley will be more days. The Manaslu area is locally base culture and old traditional ethnic group people living area in the Nepal. All the trekking trial is follow Budi –Gundaki river till top of the Manalsu Larke which is (5106m) above the sea level most challenging all of you those travel while you are doing there.

    After the top is going downhill which is long way down inter the Annapurna Region. the manalsu circuit trek is finish Dharapani where is last check point for the special permit some one walk till Tall then from there can drive to Besi Shar and to Kathmandu any kind of drive luxury or any kind of bus. This is trekking route you will see specifically view of top of the high mount Manalsu lot of the other specutular mountain view so the people uphold the trekking route to doing but the most of people feel on them anxious due to high elevation. When you doing this manalsu Larke pass trek you should keep positively of course everyone can success trip Everest Trekking Routes help 100% trip success so kindly join us team work with ETR

    Everest Trekking Routes Pvt. Ltd.
    Khusibu, Nayabazaar, Kathmandu, Nepal
    Tel: + 977-1-4387202
    Mobile : +977-9843451231, 9843467921