Rosarito Beach, Baja

As published in the November-December 2010 issue of ENTREE Travel Newsletter.

Infinity pool on the roof of the Rosarito Beach Hotel
Infinity pool on the roof of the Rosarito Beach Hotel

In September, we were lured to Rosarito Beach, Mexico, by the Mariachi Divas, who performed a benefit concert at the Rosarito Beach Hotel.  When we arrived, we found furling rugs, in-room ice makers that didn’t work, and, despite a beautiful ocean-view balcony, no patio furniture.

To their credit, the hotel staff handled all our issues with a smile and the hotel did carry a lot of character that we appreciated, and at the end of the day we didn’t go to Rosarito Beach expecting luxury – and nor should you – we went for the Divas and the culture, and, in true Entrée form, the Mexican wine country.

Our tour guide, Fernando, exercised his personal relationships with winemakers to ensure us a great, detailed experience.  At Casa de Dona Lupe, we sampled homemade jams cleverly paired with cheeses.  The chipotle tamarindo with cream cheese and the rose petal jam were two of our favorites.

The bull ring at L.A. Cetto.
The stained bull ring at L.A. Cetto.

Visiting the bullring at La Cetto Vineyards left quite an impression, especially considering it was still stained dark from a recent celebration.  The property itself is beautiful – they were preparing for a wedding during our visit – right in the thick of the Guadalupe Valley, and worth the trip alone.  Tastings are free, too, which we haven’t come across in some time.

Baron Balche was our final stop, and it turned out to be the most memorable.  The winery is built underground in a cave that allows for natural cooling, and owner Jesus was not shy about showing us around.  If traveling with a group, call ahead and schedule a private reserve tasting to sample the wine the best thirty restaurants in Mexico City purchase, priced at over $100 a bottle (the Zinfandel was our favorite).

Fernando sets up shop in the lobby of the Rosarito Beach Hotel, so he’s easy to find and quite friendly.  He’ll even pick you up at the San Diego airport if you don’t want to deal with crossing the border.  After a day in the valley, take a bottle up to the infinity pool located on the hotel’s roof and enjoy the sunset.  Then dine at Chabert’s and be sure to try the Caesar salad, which was, believe it or not, invented in Tijuana (we were shocked, too).

For information on Fernando’s pricing, e-mail him at fernandobajatours@gmail.com.  The Rosarito Beach Hotel, Boulevard Benito Juarez # 31, Rosarito, Baja California México, http://www.rosaritobeachhotel.com, starting at $260 a night for an ocean-view suite.

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