Baja California is heaven on Mexican earth for foodies and wine aficionados, offering finger-licking-good tacos de birria, world-renowned lobster, and some of the best wine Mexico has to offer.
…And all of this is just a short drive south of the border. Yay!
But before we start packing up the car, we need to have a plan, which I know as a fact can become a very stressful endeavor, sometimes even souring the whole trip experience before it even began… but no need to stress here, I was born and raised on this beautiful side of the world and I have all my local knowledge and insider tips to share with you today.
So without further ado, here is my itinerary for the perfect weekend getaway to Baja Mexico with Puerto Nuevo lobster, Valle de Guadalupe wineries, and more.
Save this itinerary for later!
It will come in handy.
Where to brunch in Tijuana
First things first, if you are coming from the border then your first stop will inevitably be the buzzing city of Tijuana.
It might not be as pretty and shiny as its neighbor sister, San Diego, but what it lacks in aesthetic it makes up for in food.
Oh, so much good food!
Assuming we are doing this as a road trip I will keep it short and sweet. But be on the lookout for a dedicated post to Tijuana’s food scene.
Let’s start this road trip the right way, with everyone’s favorite meal; brunch. But not any brunch, brunch “a la Mexicana”.
First up, we have Mantequilla, a locals favorite weekend spot, serving straightforward delicious brunch and mimosas.
You can opt for your standard eggs Beni, fluffy French toast, or for the Mexican experience; some saucy chilaquiles served with a side of eggs and beans.
If the line is too long but all you can think about are chilaquiles, another great option is Alma Verde. This popular restaurant is mainly known for its variety of fresh juices, smoothies, and healthy meals, but they also offer their own yummy take on chilaquiles.
Option three is for the real chilaquiles lovers; Los Chilaquiles. Yup, pretty self-explanatory. A menu of over 30 different kinds of chilaquiles, with so many different sauces and sides, it’s so hard to choose that you might need to come back more than once.
Coffee by the beach
To start this little weekend adventure you are gonna have to take the Carretera Transpeninsular 1D, which will bring you close to Tijuana beach, so you might as well do a pit stop and enjoy a quick coffee with a view.
Head over to Playas de Tijuana, park somewhere close to “El Malecón”, the pier, and walk down the steps to Cafe Red.
My favorite here is a chai on the rocks with a shot of espresso. Make sure to take your coffee for a little stroll down the beach because you will want to be hungry again for our next stop.
Best lobster restaurant in Puerto Nuevo
If you are planning your Baja Mexico weekend getaway, chances are you have already heard about the famous Puerto Nuevo lobster—you might not have tried it yet, but you must have heard of it—but in case you haven’t, let me tell you about it, because you do not want to miss out!
Puerto Nuevo is the tiniest of sea towns, with just over 135 people actually living in it, you would never think much of it unless you have heard the rumors…
That this tiny Mexican town has some of the best lobster in the world, and for a fraction of the price somewhere else!
And let me tell you, the rumors are true.
So what IS this Puerto Nuevo-style lobster everyone keeps talking about?
Puerto Nuevo-style lobster means deliciously tender lobster drenched in melted butter, served with a side of beans, red rice, and the biggest, softest flour tortillas you will ever see.
It really is a feast for kings!
There are many different restaurants in the area all dedicated to this particular heavenly dish, but my family and I have been going to Restaurant Puerto Nuevo #1 since I can remember.
The venue is not the trendiest looking, but they are masters of what they do!
Best wineries in Valle de Guadalupe
You will have about an hour’s time to digest before arriving at the next tasty destination; Valle de Guadalupe.
Valle de Guadalupe is Mexico’s booming wine region, loved by locals and tourists alike.
The options here are endless, but to keep it short and simple; for a stunning facade go to Agua de Vid, for one of my favorite wines go to Monte Xanic, and for somewhere affordable to stay around the area I recommend Casa Mayoral. You can check my pictures and review of Casa Mayoral here.
PS: Remember to drink responsibly or hire a tour that will drive you around so you can enjoy the wine without restrictions.
Where to have the best seafood in Ensenada
Everyone knows—at least in Mexico—that the best way to cure a little hangover is with a good ceviche and a salty michelada.
So if you went a little bit too hard with the wine tasting the day before, don’t worry, Ensenada and its award winning seafood is just a few minutes away to provide you with the cure to all your pains.
After arriving in Ensenada you can take a leisurely stroll through El Mercado Negro to admire all the freshly caught seafood, but if the smell is just making the hangover worse, then head right away to the side of the market where you will hit the seafood jackpot, with a variety of little seafood stands selling all types of local delicacies, such as Baja style fish tacos, ceviche, shrimp cocteles, and more.
I normally stop at any random little restaurant by the market—and I have never been disappointed—but next time I’m there it is my mission to try the ceviche tostadas at the award-winning seafood cart called “La Guerrense“, (which was also brought to fame by the beloved Anthony Bourdain who profusely declared his love for it).
My go-to order is always ceviche de camarón (shrimp), or a cocktail de camarón, but honestly, the options here are endless so go crazy and try something new.
La Bufadora mandatory visit
We have one more stop on the itinerary, and I swear this one doesn’t involve food—but it can if you want to *wink wink*—La Bufadora.
La Bufadora is a marine geyser, or a blowhole, but to paint a better image, it basically looks like a whale that got trapped in a water cave… Its just something out of this world!
This is a natural attraction for all ages, locals and tourists alike. Growing up we would visit this place at least once a year because it truly never stops being impressive.
On the way down to the actual geyser you will pass through a street of local souvenir shops and a lot tasty snack stands. So keep an eye out for a cute souvenir to take home or a tasty snack for the walk down… my favorite is mango with Tajin (a sweet-sour chilli powder).
I hope you found this itinerary for a weekend getaway to Baja Mexico useful. Please do let us know in the comments if there is anything else you would want us to add, or if you tried any of the places recommended on this guide. We love to hear from you!