Ensenada has long been a favorite destination for San Diegans, but crossing the Tijuana border can be a daunting, tiresome affair. Consider going the back way, via Tecate, and traveling through wine country instead. Tecate is a much sleepier border crossing and a charming town.
You might enjoy a bite from the famous Panaderia (bakery) in town before heading out. It’s quite impressive with an amazing selection of pastries, including gluten free and sugar free options. Once in Tecate, it’s easy to follow the signs for Route 3 to Ensenada– just watch out for the numerous stop signs as you leave the town.
Following Route 3 to Ensenada will take you directly through the coastal mountains to Valle de Guadalupe also known as Baja’s famous La Ruta del Vino or Wine Route. In less than an hour you will see historic haciendas and charming vineyards. There are numerous restaurants along Highway 3 and several pottery stands as well. So you can happily eat drink and shop along the way. The whole drive from Tecate to Ensenada takes about 2 hours.
Once in Ensenada, go directly to the Estero Beach Hotel located just south of downtown Ensenada. While Ensenada has grown threefold in the last 30 years, Estero Beach Hotel remains a peaceful idyllic setting with its own stretch of beach, a lovely restaurant and a great pool and hot tub.
If you like pottery and metal sculpture be sure to stop at Galeria Mexicana located just before the gates to Estero Beach Hotel. The owner there, Raul Silva Duran, is also the artist who created the beautiful grazing giraffe sculpture on the grounds of the Estero Beach Hotel.
Looking for a perfect relaxing weekend getaway from San Diego? Try taking the wine route to Estero Beach Hotel.