Category Archives: Ensenada

Day trip to the Valle de Guadalupe

Finally, after months of wanting to go to the Finca Altozano, we were able to eat at one of the Valle’s most famous restaurants! After waiting around the house for too long and stopping to get gas, we headed to the Valle de Guadalupe. We were excited for the trip and are lucky we decided to pack our swim suits for a post-Valle swim at La Fonda. Otherwise, my sister who has been in England for the past three years, would have never wanted to return!

View of the Finca from the top. Can you think of a better place to spend the afternoon?
View of the Finca from the top. Can you think of a better place to spend the afternoon?

We left TIjuana, it was a nice high 70s/low 80s and as we started approaching the Valle, it started getting hotter and hotter; finally stopping at a pleasant 100 degrees… We got to the Finca and though it looked empty, every single table was reserved (make sure you reserve at the beginning of the week otherwise you won’t be able to get a table). Our table was in the shade, unfortunately not under a fan but there was a light breeze. While waiting for our food, we walked around the grounds. 

They have a garden where they grow their spices and vegetables
They have a garden where they grow their spices and vegetables

This restaurant is the perfect example of farm to table cooking. They take advantage of the space surrounding the restaurant and leave space for a garden and a place for pigs, goats and chickens… Which will later make an appearance on your plate. 

Goats enjoying their lunch, before knowing they'll become yours
Goats enjoying their lunch, without knowing they’ll soon become yours

For lunch, we ordered the Chorizo de Res y Chistorra a la Lena as our appetizer, chistorra is a Spanish chorizo, both are made in house.  It was very tasty and well presented; you can either eat them alone or with a piece of bread. 

Then, we each ordered our meal. My dad got the Pulpo Pacifico a las Brasas.  It came in the same platter as the chorizo and was very good. Sometimes, octopus is chewy and not very good, this was not the case! My sister and I had the Birria de Borrego (she had no idea what she was ordering). Birria is a traditional dish from Jalisco and is a soup made of many spices and served with tortillas. 

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My mom, who does not like eating meat, ordered the Mini Tacos de Ceviche Pulpo Verde and the Tostada de Ahi. Both looked a lot cooler than our warm meals but we did not complain as what we had eaten was delicious.  

Tostada de Ahi
Tostada de Ahi
Mini tostadas
Mini tostadas

To accompany our meal, there was a large selection of local wines and cocktails made in house. We chose a bottle of Don Luis from LA Cetto and tried some sangria and a pomegranate sparkling drink with, of course, a lot of water! Because it was too hot, we did not try the desserts but there are a couple that sound quite good. 

As always, it's busy at the Finca
As always, it’s busy at the Finca

The food was delicious and the setting pretty great, but in 100 degree weather it’s hard not be hot. It’s nice that it’s outdoors and you are in nature. When you’re done with your meal, or waiting to be seated, there are wooden vats that have been re-purposed for you to sit, enjoy a drink, and enjoy the view. 

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 After the Finca, we checked out Monte Xanic, one of the Valle’s oldest wineries. They have just renovated their facilities and it’s quite nice (although I can’t compare it to before). The winery is located atop a hill and looks over a lake with clear water. By the water, you can enjoy wine tastings and relax before you check out the next winery. 

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 After Monte Xanic, we drove over to Vinas de Garza for a wine tasting. For $100 pesos you can try white wines and for $150 pesos, red wine. While you taste, you can order a cheese plate or olives. 

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 It’s a pretty winery, the rows and rows of vines make you think you are in a French vineyard. There is a nice breeze at the top of the hill and a lot of shade to protect you from the sun. It would be a nice place for an afternoon drink. But we were too hot, so we tasted the wine and went straight to the beach. 

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La Fonda is a very nice beach, with a weird, noisy airplane, but apart from that it’s a great place to relax and watch the sunset. Once it starts getting chilly, go to the restaurant and order a beer or margarita. It’s probably one of the best places in Northern Baja to end the night. 

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 Though the Valle is a great place to visit and has much to offer. Make sure you don’t go there on a very hot day. Most of the places take advantage of the area’s wind and have outdoor seating with no protection from the heat. September and October should be good months to check out what the Valle has to offer, because there is much to be discovered there!

 

 

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Ensenada’s Todos Santos Bay Becomes One of Six World Surf Reserves

Because of the consistency and quality of its waves as well as vibrant marine life and history, San Miguel is where Mexican surfing started, today the Todos Santos Bay was inaugurated as the world’s sixth surf reserve. This means that no construction can be made on either of the five beaches, Salsipuedes, San Miguel, Stack’s, 3emes, and Todos Santos, and that access must be guaranteed. A win for surfers and ocean lovers!

Surfers coming back from the paddle out

The project started in 2007, when a group of friends found out that developers wanted to built ports and piers at their favorite surf spots. So, they got together and called the Surfrider Foundation asking for help. Surfrider told them they could protect their spots, but they would have to fight, no one would do it for them. Since then, an international collaboration between Surf Ens, Pronatura, Save the Waves and Costa Salvaje has helped the San Miguel bay become an international surf reserve.

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Kids describing what surfing means to them

Each of these five beaches brings something to the beaches of Mexico. San Miguel was the first spot to welcome American surfers. Although it is now private, Salsipuedes has gained an international reputation for the quality of its break and beach. 3emes and Stack’s welcome surfers of all levels while Todos Santos/Killers attract big waves and welcomes the Big Wave Tour.

Can you see Todos Santos in the distance?

The event was held at San Miguel, the first Mexican beach to welcome surfing in the 50s and today an iconic spot, both for American and Mexican surfers. It started with a paddle out, followed by a dance by an indigenous group, and a talk by people who supported the project and, most importantly, those who put the project together.

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Ensenada surfers celebrating their success

The event really was an international success. It is great to see that surfers will be able to keep enjoying these great breaks without fear they will be developed upon. And thank you to those surfers, who for the past seven years have fought hard to keep their beaches free. Thank you for your hard work!

One of the many reasons San Miguel is a world surf reserve
One of the many reasons San Miguel is a world surf reserve

Although the waves today were not the famed San Miguel waves, this meant that people were there to listen to the speakers (and were not distracted by the break’s famous rights).

*Follow Baja is Yours on Instagram @Bajaisyours to discover the beauties of Baja California.

A Unique Rosarito to Ensenada Bike Ride: I Rode the Toll Road!

Since 1979, the Rosarito to Ensenada 50 Mile Bike Ride has been inviting people from all over Mexico and the US to join in what has been recognized as the best national and international cycling event.

The Rosarito Beach Hotel welcomes riders to register the day of the event and offers week-end packages that include the hotel room and ride registration.
The Rosarito Beach Hotel welcomes riders to register the day of the event and offers week-end packages that include the hotel room and ride registration.

Because it became so popular, this race now happens two times a year, once in May and another in September. At their peak, the race welcomed 18,000 people, and it looks like the numbers are growing again.

The start of the race
The start of the race

The bike ride is 50 miles, from Rosarito to Ensenada. It’s known as being pretty tough due to the various uphills and the famous Cuesta del Tigre. However, this year we were lucky, due to the scenic road collapsing in December, the ride was on the scenic road, which was accommodated for the ride.

The Rosarito Ensenada bike riders may not get to see this view again
The Rosarito Ensenada bike riders may not get to see this view again

The ride did feel endless, and when it was time to bike was seemed like a windless, interminable gradual uphill, the people in the race and the cheerleaders (i.e: people who enjoy watching other people suffer while drinking beer) made it seem less bad.

Even the Federales were helping us ride,at the top of one hill, two smiling Federales were in their car blasting party music. Definitely lifting spirits and generating chuckles!

Not the famous never-ending uphill
Not the famous never-ending uphill, but a pleasant downhill near the sand-dunes.

The ride costs $400 pesos (about 32 USD) in presale and $450 (about 36 USD) for people who are riding for fun. And all types of people participate, from people in fleece long johns to people wearing green ballet tutus and large Mexican sombreros. If you are more intense, there is an elite category, this costs $450 pesos in presale and $500 (about 42 US) the day of the event.

Looking strong!
Looking strong!

Just remember, if you plan on biking, bring lots of water, a little snack (you get a Powerade and there are water and food stops but it’s good to be prepared), and candy. The candy is for the kids in Rosarito who are cheering you on and scream “CANDY” as you bike by them. One guy was even throwing dollar bills and the kids’ excitement was beyond belief!

And for those of you who are afraid you won’t be able to ride the 50 miles, no need to worry there is a bus that picks up people who are too tired or have bicycle problems. Everything has been planned!

So, start training for September’s, if you’re lucky enough it will be on the scenic/toll road and you won’t have to suffer the infamous Cuesta del Tigre. 

 

*Follow Baja is Yours on Instagram @Bajaisyours to see what Baja California has to offer.

Looking for something to do next week-end??

Next week-end is going to be busy in Ensenada. Starting on Friday the 22nd, you can taste local beers at the Ensenada Beer Fest. It’s $400 pesos (pre-sale) and $500 pesos (day of the event) on Friday,  you get a commemorative glass and 40 tastings while on Saturday you pay $100 pesos (pre-sale) and $150 pesos (day of the event) and  get to participate in a raffle.

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Hoping you’re not too hungover, you can check out the 4th Annual Walter Caloca surf competition. An annual charity event held at Ensenada’s famous San Miguel beach. It it one of Ensenada’s largest competitions and welcomes athletes from both sides of the border. Proceeds go to UAPO (United Athletes of the Pacific Ocean) to promote surfing on both sides of the border. 

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Don’t miss out on a Baja week-end. Drive down to Ensenada from the 21st to the 23rd and you’ll have a great time!

*I do not own the pictures, I am simply trying to promote events in the area, they were taken from the events’ websites. 

Are you afraid of heights?

On the Tijuana-Ensenada libre, you do not need to worry about the San Andres fault, about 76 kilometers away from Tijuana, there is a great canyon called El Salto.

It's about a 30 minute hike uphill to get to see this view.
It’s about a 30 minute hike uphill to get to see this view.

This can either be a day trip or a week-end long trip. You pay 20 pesos (less than two dollars) per person upon entering the park, and at around 5 pm you will get kicked out; or you can pay 60 pesos (less than 5 dollars) per person and camp. It’s reasonably priced considering you have access to a bathroom, (cold) showers, a barbecue and fire pit. The installations are clean and the staff is friendly.

Take advantage of the amenities to cook up a carne asada or some hamburgers.
Take advantage of the amenities to cook up a carne asada or some hamburgers.

The hikes are very nice, there are a couple that can be done, some more difficult than others. The first one does not have any incline and ends at a canyon where people have lunch or rappel. If you do want to rappel, you bring your own, there is no one there providing equipment. The canyon is quite big and there are lots of places one enjoy the view.

Feeling up to it?
Feeling up to it?

If you want to sweat a bit, take a left before the canyon. You will see a path, climb to the top of the path and you take a right, there you will get to a “mirador” (view point) where you can see the valley from the top. It’s pretty scary because there is no protection, but if you stay safe, you won’t fall off. If you’re not tired after that, you can keep on hiking down the hill (on the other side from where you came) and you will arrive to a tiny lake with a teeny waterfall.

If you come after a lot of rain, there is more water and you can jump off the rocks into the water
If you come after a lot of rain, there is more water and you can jump off the rocks into the water

If you are feeling adventurous, there is a little beach you can camp at. The park is already quiet, this campsite is extreme solitude! There was a tent, but keep in mind you have to pick up after yourself and make sure that you leave the area as it was when you came. And make sure you can carry everything because it’s a steep walk back to the main campground.

The way up, very slippery but easier on the way up.
The way up, very slippery but easier on the way up.

Whether you only have the day or the week-end it’s a great trip for your family and your dog. Not once did we feel unsafe or threatened; nature is for everyone and if you can experience it close to untouched, well how great is that?

Puppies (and humans) are happier outside!
Puppies (and humans) are happier outside!

Unfortunately there is no website to the place but it’s called EL SALTO near Ensenada, BC. Try to take the trip!