Wine tasting, visiting vineyards and admiring sunsets are the natural things to do while in Valle de Guadalupe... but what happens when there are restless, curious kids around? Divine experience, or dreadful nightmare? In the end, it’s all about the timing, the set up, and choosing the best places.
Here we present a list of locations and activities that can be enjoyed by everyone; adults and kids alike, without having to sacrifice any of those pleasures that make up this special trip.
· Drone flying: This activity is always fun and adds a little tech to any vineyard experience; viewing the vineyards and wineries from above offers a different perspective and is always fascinating for everyone… and the best part is the recorded footage is a high-end, lasting souvenir!
· Visit the Kumiay ecotouristic center Siñaw Kuatay. This operation belongs to the original indigenous people of the region, the Kumiay. They run a “living pharmacy” and a small community museum with a replica of cave painting, original utensils, and lots of b&w photos. Upon your arrival the traditional authority, Don Agustin, gives a warm indigenous welcome, with Kumiay words in his mouth, a mallet of sage in his hand and a lot of smoke rising from it all. Tasting their gastronomy is a worthwhile experience, especially a local delicacy, the unexpected “atole de bellota”, or acorn porridge.
· Tour the LA Cetto or Bodegas de Santo Tomás wineries. Both are of industrial scale with huge steel tanks and machinery. The organized tours and wine tasting take place in truly unique settings surrounded by the endless vineyards. Santo Tomas is the oldest vineyard on the peninsula, so the visit has an interesting historical flavor to it. Each firm has a personal seal, equally interesting lying on opposite corners of the valley.
· Cuatro cuatros zip lines. Unbeatable experience for any kid under 90 years old… although the word zipline is mostly linked to an extreme, risky adventure, this is a really breathtaking experience among broad canyons and coastal scrub vegetation. The guides are very well trained, the equipment impeccable, and the whole experience ends resting in a forest of olive trees. If possible, we recommend trying this two hour experience at dusk. Cuatro Cuatros is a large project, with many other features besides the zip lines. On the site there are luxury tents and cottages, two restaurants, a wine tasting room, and the awesome “bura bar” facing the sea… this place is actually the only link between the Valle de Guadalupe and the ocean, and the sunsets are amongst the best that Ensenada has to offer on the Pacific Ocean.
· El Salto de Santa Rosa canyoning experience. This would be the plat de résistance for any nature and adventure lover in the area. This four hour tour is extremely interesting and awe-inspiring, with its deep gorge framed by enormous granite rock walls… Although it's really a short canyon, it technical somite takes up to 5 rappels to complete, and less than a mile hike to get to it. This combination makes it a perfect experience for any family: short oncoming, right amount of basic rappels, impressive natural setting and knowledgeable guides. What's not to like!
· Visit the Samarin Russian Museum and family restaurant: This establishment belongs to the descendants of Russian “Molokans” who were the first non-native settlers in the early 1900’s. A small adobe building, a curious steam-room, and all its original furniture are what remains of Samarin’s Russian grandparents, just as some of the pastries, liquors, marmalades and cheeses from today’s eclectic restaurant.
· Glamping: Although this Airstream trailer camping site lies on a rather drab hill, the experience is promising for a family staying overnight in any of their restored and super cool, metallic, vintage campers… It meets the mandatory requirements that a decent camping spot has to have (campfire, bright stars to illuminate the unusually dark nights, colorful sunsets), with the convenience of a little hotel room. Plus there are telescopes, bikes and a smiling bartender.
· Ochentos Pizza. Mostly visited by locals, this restaurant is all about the family. Its pleasant high setting on the southernmost outskirts of the valley gives this site a truly privileged view of San Antonio de las Minas and the surrounding vineyards. Their pizza is fantastic and they also include all types of pasta, salads, and entrees in their menu. Cool Clericot and “El Chivo Gruñón” handcrafted beers are the house specialties.