Route 1

Wine Country - Baja California

Wine Country & the Aquarium of the World

Tijuana
This is one of the most vibrant cities in Mexico. Its bars, bull fights and dancing spots have made it famous. Today, it is also a center for cultural creation, the venue of one of the most important art meetings in the continent and birthplace of a popular and electronic music movement that, in addition to making it current, connects it to the vanguard from the rest of the world. It also shares the taste for fine cuisine with the cities nearby.

Tijuana is known for many reasons, but almost no one knows that there are people who visit it solely to play golf. The choice is between an exuberant course with a lot of history in the middle of the city or one in front of the sea, 20 minutes from Zona Río. They both have 18 holes and all the services of a club to entertain those who are not playing: pool, gym, spa, restaurant, etc.

Ensenda
This is the most important port in the region, famous for its cantinas and its delicious food. You can’t expect the best beaches, but you will find the best plans for sport fishing, the most delicious street-food stalls, and streets full of surprises for you to take home. Lopez Mateos Avenue, where shops are located, is also full of small bars and coffee houses, perfect for a great afternoon. There is also a movement led by proud local chefs, with environmental and organic consciousness, and incomparable designer cuisine.

Both a port and a culinary Mecca, Ensenada is an essential stop for addicts to good food. If you want to have delicious meals until you have your fill, you must begin with the famous wheelbarrows around the Mercado Negro, birthplace of the famous “fish tacos”, and continue your pilgrimage with the classics on Avenida López Mateos and the coastal boulevard. Obviously, marine flavors predominate combined with wines from the region, although the creative local chefs have managed to leave their mark.

In Ensenada, you must take into account that the bay is  home to an important number of oceanic inhabitants. From November to March, you can see gray whales swimming comfortably off the coast, and marine lions also make an appearance. If this isn’t enough, you must put on your diving gear and plunge into the waters to come face to face with more timid creatures.

Valle de Guadalupe
Mexico is famous for its tequila, but Valle de Guadalupe (Guadalupe Valley) is an important place among lovers of fine dining. Wines from this region are earning international awards. A visit to this valley not only brings you the opportunity of discovering the tasty Mexican varieties, but also of trying world-class restaurants and staying at small and adorable hotels that seem to be custom made.

It would be strange to visit the ultimate wine-producing area in Mexico without finding good food to accompany the wonderful wines. Fortunately, in Valle de Guadalupe there is high cuisine any time of day; from the traditional breakfast in San Pedro de las Minas to special dinners that the best wine houses prepare in their properties. The detail added by the Pacific Ocean is super-fresh fish and seafood, but other rare delicacies can also be found, like quail.

The fabulous Mediterranean climate at Valle de Guadalupe made it the ideal place for grapevine production, and it would be a sin not to try one of the many wines produced there, without a doubt the best in the country. Many of the wine-producing houses offer tastings to those who want to have a go at being expert sommeliers, with a view of the fields covered in green by vineyards, which is the perfect complement. There is a vast variety: from a bottle to take as a gift for a dinner party, to signature wines of limited production.

Isla de Todos Santos
Actually, this is not one but two small islands. It is the perfect place for a one-day round-trip escape. For those who love surfing, this is the perfect spot for the sport, since the island is famous for having the highest waves on this coast. Simply contemplating its impressive waves is worth a visit to the island, but you can also admire the area’s diverse marine fauna, such as whales passing by, during season; you can also practice deep-sea diving and sport fishing.

These are really two islands – South and North – which are located less than 20 kilometers in front of the Baja California coast, at Todos los Santos bay. In addition to surfers in search of some of the highest waves in the continent, boats and sailboats arrive from Ensenada or La Bufadora to this shore of hills and rocky formations, to fish in the fertile waters. The favorite catch for enthusiasts who come here are sea bass, halibut, green jack, but opportunities are infinite.

These two green islands, with their crumbling lighthouses, have much to offer the eye. Around them, there is an abundance of whales and dolphins, but they share the scenery with marine lions, seals, bearded vultures (which are already extinct in Europe), pelicans, cormorants and the king serpent (an endemic species). This is in plain sight, but in the depths of its caves there are underwater gardens waiting to be discovered by those fortunate enough to be prepared for diving.

La Paz
Sunsets in this city are famous for their splendor. But this is not the only thing that La Paz has to offer; its pier is ideal for strolling around and eating  fresh fish tacos, and its beaches, especially Pichilingüe north of the city, are not only beautiful because they are peaceful, but they’re also ideal for a swim.

The bay in La Paz and its surrounding islands are home to thousands of marine species; it is no coincidence that the famous underwater Explorer, Jacques Cousteau, named the area “The World’s Aquarium”. A tour to the Espíritu Santo islands is indispensable, to admire the underwater diversity or have a close encounter with a sea lion. And, like at the rest of the Sea of Cortés shore, in La Paz it is possible to witness one of the best spectacles of marine nature: gray whales swimming by.

Since the 1940s, La Paz has been a magnet for people who practice sport fishing, particularly from the USA, and therefore, it has the perfect infrastructure for this activity. There are tours, guides and all sorts of ships to sail into the sea in search for one specimen of the thousands of varieties there are in the bay and the waters of the Californian gulf. Ecosystems around the surrounding islands are perfect for getting a good catch and returning as a total expert.

No one can deny that these are the best beaches in the country and, perhaps, the world. It does not matter that there are a lot of water activities for those who feel guilty when they’re not active, but everyone else – and even they – at some point must surrender to the white sand in front of the sea, to simply lay there and watch the eternal turn of the waves as you await the perfect sunset.

Los Cabos
Made up of two towns, San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas, this is a stretch of land in the extreme South of the Baja California Peninsula. The traveler will find a landscape integrated not only by the gorgeous contrast between desert and beach, but also by luxurious hotels, golf courses and the most exclusive spas in Mexico. During season, this is a splendid place for whale watching and observing other marine life, and it is always a starting point for a visit to the natural rock arch in the finisterre.

A luxury destination relies on good food.  In the case of Los Cabos, this goes even further, for one could travel there just for the pleasure of enjoying the quality of cuisine in the city. Some of the best chefs in the world have already made Los Cabos their home and the food they offer is very broad: Italian, Chinese, Thai, Japanese, Spanish, French, and – naturally – Mexican. It goes without saying that sea products – all kinds of fish and seafood – could not get any fresher.

Los Cabos is one of the primary destinations for those who like to travel to see gray whales, because from December to March, the enormous mammals swim around the waters off this coast, boasting their offspring and doing spontaneous pirouettes for curious onlookers. A sighting of these animals is a unique experience. Also, the sea depths are full of animals in all sorts of shapes and colors, and to see them you only need to dive, or at least snorkel, almost anywhere on the coastline.

Because of the huge variety in underwater fauna found here, a gift from the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortés, Los Cabos is the venue of international fishing tournaments and a favorite destination of marlin aficionados, who actually consider it the “World Capital” of this fish.  The scenario for this adventure, with fishing rod in hand, is unbeatable: crystalline turquoise waters.

It has been some time since tourists decided that Los Cabos was a luxury destination, and the demand has made the city currently offer more than 10 golf courses of international quality, with landscapes that are out of the ordinary. The variety of places and the diversity in degrees of difficulty offer opportunities for everyone: from professional golfers to aficionados. Without a doubt, it is the best place for golfing in Mexico, and it is no coincidence that some of the most important tournaments, like the PGA Senior Slam Tour, take place here.

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