Whether you're newlyweds looking for an offbeat, close-to-home honeymoon or a couple of oenophiles in search of your next romantic getaway and great glass of wine, it's time to look south to Mexico, because there's a little-known Baja California destination with your name on it. Valle de Guadalupe is a bona fide world-class wine valley just an hour and a half south of the Tijuana border (just south of San Diego), and only 20 minutes from Ensenada, a fishing port lined with beautiful sandy beaches. Besides its accessibility and the strong conversion rate of the U.S. dollar to peso (meaning your money goes quite far), there's another perk of a holiday in this area: There have been zero reported cases of Zika in Baja California.
What there is lots of is wine, and great wine at that. The rural region known as Ruta del Vino is bursting at the seams with picturesque places to taste everything from dry whites to sparkling varieties, rosés, and robust reds. There are large wineries (vinicolas) with impressive grounds—not to mention fabulous views of jagged mountains in the distance—like Las Nubes and Monte Xanic, which has been operating since '89. (Grapes have been grown in the area since as early as the late 16th century.) Others worth a stop include the cavelike Torres Alegre, quaint Sol y Barro, and neighboring Viñas de Garza, whose whites are particularly refreshing on a hot day.
Also boasting spectacular vistas and easy-drinking reds: Clos de Tres Cantos, which also features interesting structures fashioned out of recycled wine bottles. The architecture at Vena Cava is about as noteworthy as its wines too, which include an excellent cabernet sauvignon. Just steps away is one of the region's best award-winning restaurants: Corazon de Tierra. The prix fixe meal you'll share there is sure to be stunning and photoworthy. Nearly all the ingredients used, from fish to quail to veggies and edible flowers, are caught, raised, or grown in the immediate vicinity. The menu changes constantly and highlights the chefs' incredible creativity, while the wine pairings show off the best of the valley. Six courses plus wine pairings clocks in at less than $100 per person if you use pesos.
The charming, intimate La Villa del Valle, next door, also happens to be a top overnight option—if you can get a sought-after reservation. The other hot-spot hotel nearby is Encuentro Guadalupe Antiresort, where you'll get your own all-white "cabin" that floats over a rocky mountainside on stilts. Children aren't allowed here, making it all that much more attractive to lovey-dovey couples who won't have to deal with getting splashed at the pool (which has its own impeccable views).
Corazon de Tierra is a rule, not an exception, when it comes to the quality of food in Valle de Guadalupe. Try Tres Mujeres, for a quaint but fantastic meal cooked with lots of love, and Deckman's El Mogor, for an innovative lunch or dinner featuring fresh local flavors with a contemporary twist. (And don't miss a tasting and tour at the French-influenced Mogor Badan behind it.) Laja is another that does fine farm-to-table dining in an unfussy setting. For a fast torta, filled with specialties like suckling pig and carne asada, try the new permanent food truck Lupe and a coffee from Das Cortez beside it, and by night cuddle up under blankets at Finca Altozano for a mouthwatering meal of Mexican-style barbecue, cooked over open flames and served outside. The flavorful food is by a local celebrity chef and, like the rest of an adventure in the valley, will be on your mind long after you leave.