COVID-19 has challenged almost everything we thought to be ‘normal’. It has forced us to completely change the way we live, how we interact, and what we plan for our future. The fear of traveling has spread throughout the entire world. For most, being told they can’t travel is dreadful. With Travel Talk, we want to highlight and inspire our followers who are feeling that pain of not being able to travel. We sat down with our friend Laura to talk COVID traveling as well as her personal travel motivations and experiences through Mexico.
Monte and Coe: Prior to COVID, I noticed you took a road trip to Mexico. Where did you go?
Laura: Basically, my boyfriend said do you want to go to Mexico and go wine tasting? It was the first time I've ever done a driving trip over the border of Mexico. To be honest, it was very 'out of the movies'. They just let you in, you just drive across like you are going through a green light, it was crazy.
From San Diego, we drove an hour south of the Mexican border to an Airbnb in Rosarito. The drive was beautiful, we stayed at Las Olas Resort and Spa. Which is a mixed hotel and condo location, but everyone gets the restaurant and spa hotel amenities. We stayed there for two nights.
M: How were the accommodations? Is the Pacific side of Mexico swimmable?
L: You can definitely find [the water] and surf if that's what you're looking for. Our hotel didn't have beach access though, just pools. M: Mexico is not really known for wine tasting, what was that like?
L: I was surprised! Initially, I was thinking, we were wine tasting in Mexico, how nice could it really be... However, these wineries blew my mind, I couldn't believe the quality of the wine, the design, and the architecture. It was amazing.
Some of the wine is local, and some of the wine they bring in. For me, some of the local wine was very sweet and not my favorite. The majority of them were really good though. I tried an orange wine for the first time and that was great. All the wine served with dinner was a 10/10.
I highly suggest people look into it, it's not something very well known. It's very private and exclusive. M: Besides the wineries in Valle de Guadalupe, is there anything else to do in that area?
L: If you're going to drive down the Valle, you're going for the wineries. We went during the winter season there (early March) so some of the wineries in Valle de Guadalupe hadn’t opened yet. We also went on a weekday, and most of them are only open on the weekends, so we should have looked that up before.
However, there are tons of them to do, definitely a full day trip, maybe even more than a day. Especially if you want to stay down there… stay in either the Fauna restaurant villa or Encuentro Guadalupe.
I would stay there and just enjoy being in this remote, mountain winery villa experience. It could easily be a relaxing vacay.M: How was the food?
L: The quality of the food was great. When we stayed in Rosarito, we went to a place called Puerto Nuevo for lobster, right on the coast. In the winery area, we went to Fauna restaurant and we had an eight-course meal, I couldn't believe it. Everything was amazing, and there is this huge tree in the center that comes out of this massive pool.
We were going to go to another restaurant called Corazón de Tierra, which means “heart of the earth” but it was closed when we were there.M: Was there one meal that stood out to you?
L: It would be the Fauna restaurant meal, we chose the chef special and they would just bring food out. We didn’t even have to select it off a menu.
M: What to pack for Mexico? What would you suggest to others who are thinking about a similar trip to Mexico?
L: The weather is hot during the day and cool at night. Also, when the wind is blowing up in the wineries, you definitely need a jacket. So, I would probably suggest a jean jacket and a dress. For a guy, I would say the classic jeans and a t-shirt will work. There’s quite a bit of walking for these tours so pack comfortable shoes. Continue reading our packing guide here.M: Switching gears, what was it like to fly during COVID?
L: Flying was actually pretty normal, other than everyone wearing masks. I was more nervous to go because the borders are technically closed, however, there is a little bit of a loop-hole.
I was just very honest about why I was traveling, and where I was going. I told the truth and they let me go. I was more nervous about the anticipation up to that point, and not making it across rather than actually flying.
So, I was flying to LA from Toronto but I had to connect in Chicago rather than fly direct. Leaving Canada, I had to fill out a waiver, something about Canadain health and COVID issues. I also had to wear a mask at all times and there was no food service. When I was flying through America, there was no waiver, which was surprising.
My flight to Chicago from Toronto was basically empty. It was a little commuter plane with maybe fifteen people on board. When I landed, Chicago’s O’Hare airport felt like it always does, so busy! On top of that, my flight from Chicago to LA was packed.
M: I know working out is a passion of yours, do you work out when you travel? Or is it a time to relax and break your routine a bit? Do you have any tips on working out?
L: It stays steady, I try to work out when I can. For a weekend getaway, I wouldn’t worry about it. With something more long-term I try to train every day. It all depends on the trip and the type of trip. If it’s a weekend, week, even two weeks, you can get away with not doing it. Anything longer I would try my best to. M: What is one travel hack that you like to follow?
L: I always pack a carry-on. I do the 'Marie Kondo fold' and the amount of clothing I can fit in my carry on is mind-blowing. During COVID, I would pack Lysol wipes… I sanitized everything.
M: Last question, where would be the first place you would fly post-COVID?
L: My boyfriend and I want to go to New Zealand and Australia. That is on the bucket list, we are hoping we will be able to do that this year.
Stay Well and Safe - Monte and Coe