For having no real plans for Labor Day, this past weekend turned out to be pretty memorable.
Jay and I have been keeping busy with another side project, our actual jobs, moving, and settling back into our routine after 2 weeks in Costa Rica. By the time we started thinking about Labor Day (which we would, of course, spend in Baja ????), hotels and Airbnb’s weren’t an option, so we decided to camp at one of our favorite spots, Alisitos K58.
As a former city girl, I’ve grown to really like camping – it’s romantic, allows for spontaneity – but I’ve realized the comforts I feel probably have a lot to do with Jay’s great camping gear. He has the basics, so the Jeep still has room for surfboards and a cooler ????, but they are quality basics. On any camping trip, this is what we’ll bring:
We packed all that up on Friday night, made a margarita, and went to bed early so we could drive down to Mexico early Saturday morning. As it happens, one of Jay’s friends from Dana Point would also be in Baja for the weekend with his girlfriend and another couple, so we decided to join forces and spend our weekends together.
They were staying at a spot called Club Marena that they found on Airbnb. The price was $150 per night for 2 beds/3 baths and they were legit right in front of the ocean. I would 100% say this was a steal and would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a place to stay in Baja. There were several security guards/booths, two pools, safe parking and they also had a private deck. And for those that surf, there is a pretty decent break right out front. (For girls with boyfriends that surf, a private deck directly in front of the break = margaritaville ????.)
After the first surf session of the weekend, it was time for tacos, beer, and wine. We traveled south toward Ensenada to go to a taco shop Jay and I frequent called Taqueria El Trailero. This is the spot for Al pastor. I did veer off course and try the fish tacos, but they were deep fried and flavorless so I wouldn’t do it again. There are a few different “stations” at this place depending on what you want and it’s all honors-system-based, so just walk up, order, and pay at the cashier afterward.
After the tacos, we set out for Aguamala, a brewery about 4 minutes south of Taqueria El Trailero. You could probably walk, but both places are on the main highway so it’s probably safer to drive (that’s what we did). This brewery is cool – it’s not on the water but you can see the ocean from the 2nd floor and it has great artwork & awesome beers. There are a bunch of tables, so this place is awesome for big groups and they pour a hefty tequila shot if beer isn’t your thing.
It’s hard to go to Ensenada without finding yourself in Valle de Guadalupe, which is exactly where we ended up next. I keep a list of places I want to go to and Agua de Vid was at the top. We had to trek pretty deep into the valley but it was worth every bump and piece of dirt on my white Jeep. This place is easily my new favorite bar in Valle de Guadalupe or at least tied with Cuatro Cuatros, and I already can’t wait to go back.
Everything from the music to the views to the vibe was just really, really cool. It’s a 3-story bar/restaurant with an art gallery and a hotel plus a pretty awesome DJ (on the night we were there, at least). The design of the place was probably my favorite, with everything having the rustic yet contemporary Valle de Guadalupe feel but still felt young and funky.
To close out an already epic day, we ended the night at Baja Calypso. The hospitality we felt at this place was unparalleled, especially since we rolled in as they were closing… ????. Nonetheless, we were greeted with smiles and promptly served our beer & a shot combos. Next time we’re in Baja I’m definitely making it a point to go back to check out their food, margs, and sit at the bar located directly on the ocean.
The next day, we decided to go to brunch at Dmitry’s La Fonda.
Jay and I go to this place all the time – it’s definitely my favorite spot for margaritas (and I’m confirming that, since last time, they are still the strongest margaritas I have ever had). But this day we went for brunch, which is what Dmitry’s is most well-known for. A few recommendations:
- Definitely go to Dmitry’s La Fonda for Brunch – it’s awesome.
- If you like a lot of food and a lot of options, you will love this place.
- Get there early – we were there around 9/10am and it was perfect. Around 11am/12pm, the line was out the door (not fun)
- The crowd was clear and available for ocean-front margaritas again at ~ 2 pm (we created this blog to tell you the important stuff, remember?!)
The boys did some surfing out in front of Dmitry’s which is yet another good girls-with-boyfriends-that-surf spot because the live music that Dmitry’s always seems to have is heard perfectly from the beach down below.
The next spot we ended up at was found from simply wanting more wine and asking Google where to find it.
Bottega Santini, another new favorite spot, is a wine bar right off the highway with seriously good wines! We sampled their reds by the glass and we each had a genuinely hard time choosing just one. Not to mention the wine was paired with a great charcuterie board, and Jay and this blog knows I love a good charcuterie board ????
For our final stop of the weekend, we dined at Puerto Nuevo, home of the best lobster and, in my opinion, the best tortillas. Jay and I split the regular lobster tail plate but next time we’ll order the XL. The lobster plate comes with all the fixings (including the bomb tortillas) so you can make some of the best lobster tacos you’ll ever have and wash it down with a margarita in a glass the size of your face. Heaven is a place on earth.
We stayed the night and woke up early to beat the LDW traffic back into the states. This plan worked and we were through SENTRI in under 30 minutes. I’m starting to wonder if the tears-of-joy-feeling will ever subside as we cruise through the SENTRI lanes, but part of me feels like it just keeps getting stronger and I’m not mad about it ????!