Valle de Guadalupe El Cielo Resort and Winery is one of the most picturesque spots in Valle de Guadalupe.

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Just two hours south of San Diego, CA, in Baja California, is Mexico’s premier wine region, Valle de Guadalupe. Producing around 90% of all Mexican wines for over 100 years, this area has seen a boost in tourism within the last 10 years.

This bucolic mountainous area, about 1,000 feet above sea level, now offers around 200 wineries producing some award-winning varietals.

Since Valle de Guadalupe is about a half-hour drive from Ensenada, it has become a popular excursion for cruise passengers visiting the port of Ensenada for the day.

Learn all about El Cielo's grapes growing in Valle de Guadalupe
Learn all about El Cielo’s grapes growing in Valle de Guadalupe. Photo Jill Weinlein

Getting to Valle de Guadalupe

There are multiple ways to reach Baja’s Valle de Guadalupe. Fly to Tijuana Airport and rent a car or hire a private transportation service to drive two hours south along the Pacific scenic highway. There are toll booths, and you will have to pay around $2 at each toll. Pesos and US dollars are accepted.

Another way to travel to the area is to fly into San Diego, CA, and take the blue trolley to the Tijuana-San Ysidro border. It drops you off right at the port of entry. Board in downtown San Diego for a 35-minute trolley ride to the border. It runs every 15 minutes throughout the day.

Best Tips & Tools to Plan Your Trip

You can also drive and park your car across the street from the San Ysidro border in a pay parking lot. Walk about ten minutes on a footpath to go through customs into Tijuana. Pedestrians crossing into Tijuana at the San Ysidro crossing need to complete a Mexico Visitor’s Permit. It is free if your visit is 7 days or less. You must present this form with a valid passport to enter.

Private car services in Tijuana can be hired to take you to the destination. For those driving their own car or renting one, car insurance for traveling in Mexico is mandatory. Many insurance options are available online. 

Here is a three-day itinerary in Valle de Guadalupe’s El Cielo Resort and Winery.

Stop in Puerto Nuevo for fresh grilled lobster for lunch
Stop in Puerto Nuevo for fresh grilled lobster for lunch.
Photo Jill Weinlein

Day 1

Tijuana to Valle de Guadalupe

Arrive in Tijuana and drive to the seaside Puerto Nuevo in Rosarita Beach for a fresh grilled lobster lunch.

La Casa de la Langosta restaurant is a great stop for a margarita, grilled lobster and salads to break up the two-hour drive to Valle de Guadalupe. There are over 30 restaurants within a four-block radius, as well as Mexican arts and crafts, pottery, furniture and glass shops.

While driving to El Cielo Resort along the scenic 1D Pacific Highway, the sparkling ocean disappears as the road goes up in elevation along picturesque mountains to verdant grape-growing hills.

16 varieties of grapes grow at El Cielo Resort and Winery
16 varieties of grapes grow at El Cielo Resort and Winery. Photo by Jill Weinlein

Off the paved road, drive through the gates of El Cielo Resort and Winery and provide your name to the security guard. The road turns rustic as you pass small farms and rows of vines leading to the resort’s main lobby.

Built in 2013 as one of the most environmentally and energy-efficient resorts in the valley, El Cielo received recognition in 2015 by the Ensenada City Council as the First Eco-Responsible Company.

One never has to leave the resort and winery for the next three days. El Cielo Resort is a wine tourism resort featuring a working winery, 95 suites among lakes, a church, dining venues and enlightening activities.

El Cielo Resort and Winery has Villas next to vineyards
El Cielo Resort and Winery has Villas next to vineyards.
Photo Jill Weinlein

Arrive at El Cielo

There are three suites at each villa. The master suites on the ground floor have over 1,000 square feet of living space. There is a large and bright living room, a dining room that seats 8 guests and a full kitchen. A spacious private bedroom features a luxury king-size bed and a sliding door leading out onto a terrace.

There are two bathrooms, with one providing a full shower and the other a shower and deep-soaking jacuzzi bathtub with a large glass window overlooking a lake, vineyard or mountain.

There are two picturesque lakes at El Cielo Resort and Winery
There are two picturesque lakes at El Cielo Resort and Winery. Photo by Jill Weinlein

The living room has a double sofa bed, and there is a wine refrigerator to keep your El Cielo wines at the ideal temperature. The closet holds two plush robes, slippers and a safe.

Each of the view patio terraces has one outdoor dining table and a fire pit for dinners under the stars.

Upstairs, there are two beautifully appointed junior suites. One offers a king-size bed and the other has two double beds. There is a smaller living room, a small refrigerator, and a marble bathroom with a rainfall shower. Step out onto the balcony, offering two chairs and a table, to take in the serene views of the resort.

Baja and Yucatan flavors are presented in various menu items at Latitud 32 among the El Cielo Winery and Vineyards
Baja and Yucatan flavors are presented in various menu items at Latitud 32 among the El Cielo Winery and Vineyards.
Photo Jill Weinlein

Enjoy a Delicious Dinner

There are two specialty restaurants at the resort, Latitud 32 and Polaris. Both are surrounded by vineyards, olive trees, mountains and lakes.

After a tour of the resort, order a multi-course wine pairing dinner at Latitud 32. This is one of the best ways to learn more about the wines made at El Cielo Winery. Sample menu items may include Mayan ceviche with blackened spices thoughtfully paired with Cassiopea 2020 Sauvignon Blanc. Lamb Dzic might be paired with Andromeda 2019 Chenin Blanc and Duck Yucatan-style paired with a lovely glass of Capricornus Chardonnay.

Pork belly tacos in a dark blue corn tortilla are enhanced with a pairing of Copernicus 2020 Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot. Grilled lamb Baja style goes well with a red Orion 2019. It’s a beautifully blended wine made with Tempranillo, Grenache and Merlot. Finish with a guava mousse for dessert and a glass of G&G Sauvignon Blanc 2021. A resort shuttle whisks guests back to their villa for a restful sleep.

Day 2

Enjoy al fresco meals overlooking El Cielo Resort and Winery at Latitud 32
Enjoy al fresco meals overlooking El Cielo Resort and Winery at Latitud 32.
Photo Jill Weinlein

Explore El Cielo Resort

Enjoy a Baja California breakfast at Polaris upstairs in the hotel’s lobby. Menu items include healthy green juice and coffee with sliced baked bread enhanced with butter and preserves. Main dishes include pancakes, avocado and spinach toast, eggs Benedict with lamb or a smoothie bowl.

El Cielo is proud of their Falconry facility and offers meet-and-greet opportunities for guests to learn about the program. Make a reservation for after breakfast to learn about how El Cielo’s falcons play a large role in the winery’s sustainability ethics.

Afterward, take a vineyard guided tour on a shaded wagon or golf cart to learn about El Cielo’s mission to produce the best grapes in the region. At least 28 acres of vines are certified organic, and the winery is working to have 100% organic soon.

Learn about El Cielo Resort and Winery's Falconry program.
Learn about El Cielo Resort and Winery’s Falconry program.
Photo Jill Weinlein

The 16 varietals include Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Tempranillo, Sangiovese, Malbec, Merlot, Syrah, Zinfandel, Primitivo, Nebbiolo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Grenache, and Pinot Noir. The tour gives insight into the growing process and the winery’s history before tasting different El Cielo wines.

Enjoy a Baja-Yucatan fusion lunch on the al fresco terrace at Latitud 32 while overlooking panoramic views. The property’s expansive grape vines near majestic mountains paint the skyline. Latitud 32 serves salads, sandwiches and thoughtful dishes offering a combination of pleasing textures and flavors.

Wines are named after constellations at El Cielo Resort and Winery
Wines are named after constellations at El Cielo Resort and Winery. Photo Jill Weinlein

Wine Tasting and Making

Afterwards, make your own wine blend.

Walk into the wine-tasting room to have a certified sommelier guide guests to the winery’s underground wine cellar. Taste two different red wines and two different white wines to blend your own custom wines. Learn about the percentages of varietals before finishing and corking two bottles. Create your own custom label to place on the bottle to take home and enjoy.

Take a walk or run the loop around the lakes and vineyards during free time. There is also a lap pool for an afternoon swim before dinner.

Order room service to have dinner delivered to your villa’s fire pit for a star-gazing dinner and s’mores.

Villas at El Cielo Resort and Winery have fire pits to sit around for sunset cocktails and evening dinners
Villas at El Cielo Resort and Winery have fire pits to sit around for sunset cocktails and evening dinners. Photo Jill Weinlein

Day 3

Back to Tijuana

After a run, bike ride or swim, have breakfast at Polaris on the terrace before checking out for the two-hour drive back to the airport or border.

El Cielo in English translates to ‘Heaven’. The resort and winery appeal to international and Mexican tourists, as well as visitors from California, Arizona and elsewhere, seeking a ‘slice of heaven’ in Valle de Guadalupe.

After a day exploring El Cielo Resort and Winery relax or swim laps at the resort pool
After a day exploring El Cielo Resort and Winery relax or swim laps at the resort pool. Photo Jill Weinlein

Reservations for these experiences can be made at www.vinoselcielo.com.mx or by phone at (646) 151-6515 and (646) 978-0012. Room reservations at El Cielo Resort can be made at www.elcielovalledeguadalupe.com, starting room rates at $295.00 USD.

Author Bio: When Jill isn’t exploring new destinations around the world, she is riding her e-bike up and down the hills in Southern California and walking her dog Peanut near the beach.

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