Just past the vast LA Cetto vineyards and the Domecq winery on Highway 3 (Ensenada-Tecate), it is almost startling to gaze up at the craggy hillside and realize that there are modernistic earth-colored structures clinging to the incline.
Unexpected, mysterious and begging to be explored:
This is Endémico, a luxury lodging billed as an ‘anti-resort’, that prides itself on being at one with nature in Ensenada‘s wine valley.
Perched among the rocks overlooking the vineyards and lomas of the Valle de Guadalupe, Endémico — designed by Tijuana architect Jorge Garcia — is on a mission to expose the indigenous beauty of the region, catering to a high-end clientele who seek to combine travel with a deeper understanding of the lands that they are visiting. Key to this is Encuentro Guadalupe, which is propelling the slow food and sustainability movement in Baja, and that is associated with Endémico.
Working in conjunction with a program called Indómita, Aventuras Educativas (which roughly translates into Indomitable: Educational Adventures), Encuentro has created an experience that includes wine tasting, escorted nature hiking, as well as innovative and chic accommodations.
Your journey begins in the lobby of the spectacular Encuentro, where travelers are sometimes met by renowned Ensenada photographer Edgar Lima of Indómita and Moisés Santos-Mena, Indómita’s terrestrial nature guide.
The two will be quiet at first, letting you be dumbfounded by the stunning panoramic vista from this sophisticated reception area, a 180 degree view of valley vineyards and steep hills that play out below and around.
From the lobby, visitors are treated to a panoramic view of Ensenada's Wine Valley.
In the open expanse of the reception area and bar are shiny stainless steel fermenting tanks and other wine production equipment, which add to the room’s sleek ambiance.
Encuentro’s wines are available for tasting there, and can also be taken downstairs to a sub-level cafe area that includes a subterranean cava and a presentation room that has been carved out of the earth and features some of the huge boulders that were displaced in the construction of the building.
Wine tasting in Encuentro's presentation room, in Ensenada's Wine Valley