This past weekend was one for the books. I turned 28 after coming back from an epic 2-week vacation in Costa Rica and celebrated those 28 years in one of my favorite places with one of my favorite people – Baja, California with this guy:

Jay and I were in Tamarindo + a few other towns scattered about Costa Rica visiting his friend Javier. Our trip ended on July 26th which was perfect because my birthday landed on the following day. We gave ourselves Friday to rest so we’d be ready for yet another adventure on Saturday.

Jay knew there was one place I really wanted to go for my birthday, a bar called Cuatro Cuatros that sits on the edge of a cliff just north of Ensenada.

Those plans were set, but Jay also told me to pack a “go bag” because there were a few more surprises in store. Naturally, I was extremely excited, but when he told me our schedule and a list of what to pack, I was kind of confused:

  1. A casual change of clothes
  2. Flat shoes
  3. Bathing suit

We’d be going “somewhere” after Cuatro Cuatros and then had a dinner res.
In my head I’m thinking: I don’t think we’re going to go to the beach, because we never go to the beach when we’re on this side of Baja. A pool at a hotel in Valle de Guadalupe wouldn’t make sense just because of the nature of the itinerary he described (re: dinner plans after the place that required a bathing suit). Overnight stay? Nope, he didn’t mention a toothbrush, contact solution, etc. So the only logical place in my mind was the Tijuana Water Park ????.

I knew Jay had been in the past (and don’t get me wrong, it’s on my list!) but I couldn’t help but think… would he really take me to Cuatro Cuatros and then some water park in Mexico?

I think Jay knows a thing or two about surprising people because we most definitely did not go to the TJ water park. The bathing suit thing was completely made up, a trick used to distract me from what we’d actually be doing: glamping in a vineyard in the valley.

It doesn’t get much more “Noelle” than this. When we arrived there was a bottle of wine waiting for us, produced by the grapes from the vines we were staying in, some cheese and olives, and a romantic tent with a comfy king bed. Jay sneaked my toothbrush and some other necessities without me knowing and it really turned out to be the best birthday surprise ever.

And it didn’t end there. Jay had made a dinner reservation at this beautiful vineyard, El Cielo, where we enjoyed yet another cheeseboard (you can never have too many cheese boards – I think I forgot to mention the one we had at Cuatro Cuatros ????).

Margaritas were the drink of choice for the day so we ordered some more of those and from the food menu, we had a seafood soup, lamb, and the duck risotto (which we’d definitely order again).

We were up fairly early the next day which worked to our favor because the glamping tents do not have AC. The valley can get pretty hot between the hours of 10am and 3-4pm, so in our situation, the glamping tents were just fine (perfect, in my opinion). If you were to stay for an entire weekend in the summer months, I might recommend a hotel or glampsite with AC.

There was one more stop on the itinerary, a spot we pretty much always go to on our way back home, Las Rocas. It’s a hotel, spa, and restaurant and they have an awesome breakfast. But more than the food I think I enjoy the views and the peacefulness this place offers after a crazy weekend. The seating is spacious and it’s never too crowded – things I certainly don’t take for granted having recently moved from New York City.

All in all, the weekend was magical. And there is still no better feeling than breezing through the border wait lines via the SENTRI lane – the gift that keeps on giving!