Aim for the Sky at El Cielo Resort in Valle de Guadalupe

Written by Allison Levine

December 5, 2023
Home >> Travel >> Hotels and Resorts >> Aim for the Sky at El Cielo Resort in Valle de Guadalupe

Valle de Guadalupe in Baja, Mexico, is a recognized destination for wine enthusiasts, from the picturesque scenery to the flavorful cuisine and award-winning wines. Read on to create your perfect weekend getaway with a stay at El Cielo Resort.

Valle de Guadalupe is one of my favorite weekend getaways, and on each trip, there seems to be more to discover, such as El Cielo Resort.



My first trip to Valle de Guadalupe in Baja, Mexico, was in 2016. On that trip, I met Gustavo Ortega, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors of El Cielo Winery. We visited the El Cielo property that housed the winery and Latitud 32 restaurant. As we tasted the wines, Gustavo told us of the plans to build the El Cielo Hotel. He said, “If you want to dream, dream big.” And that is what they did.

Nuestra Señora de los Milagros (Our Lady of Miracles) Chapel at El Cielo Resort. Photo by Allison Levine

The Inspiration for El Cielo

Gustavo Ortega Joaquín, the founder of El Cielo winery and resort, was born in Mérida, Yucatán. Gustavo is an entrepreneur who has worked in hospitality for decades and has a postgraduate degree from Cornell University Hotel School. Inspired by hotels surrounded by vineyards that he saw on a trip to France, his retirement dream was to build a boutique hotel before age 50. On a birthday trip to Valle de Guadalupe, Gustavo fell in love with the valley and purchased his first 72 acres, including the winery. In partnership with his friends José Luis Martínez Alday and Dolores López Lira, successful entrepreneurs and pioneers in tourism in Quintana Roo, El Cielo opened in 2013.


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Villas at El Cielo Resort. Photo by Allison Levine



Over the past decade, El Cielo has grown. They started with the vineyard, winery, and restaurant in Valle de Guadalupe. In 2017, they purchased vineyards in San Jacinto Valley (81 acres) and Ojos Negros Valley (60 acres), and today El Cielo has 219 acres. 2017 also marked the beginning of the construction of El Cielo Winery and Resort, and in 2019, the El Cielo Resort opened.

A Relaxing Getaway

The original dream was to build a hotel. However, after the owners built their two personal homes on the property, they decided to build villas instead of a single hotel. Thirty-one Tuscan-California-style villas are surrounded by vineyards, olive trees, and two man-made reservoirs.

Villas at El Cielo Resort

Villas at El Cielo Resort. Photo courtesy El Cielo Resort

Each villa has a Master Suite with a kitchen, living room, jacuzzi bathtub, and an outdoor fire pit. The upstairs of each villa has either two Junior King Suites or one Junior King Suite and one Junior Double Suite. The rooms in each villa are not connected, and each room has an independent entrance. The owners’ villas are the Presidential Suites that are also available to rent.

Junior Suite Double at El Cielo Resort

Junior Suite Double at El Cielo Resort. Photo courtesy El Cielo Resort

There is a quiet peacefulness on the property. And when you sit on the patio, enjoy the fire pit, or step out on the balconies on the second floor, you will look at the expansive sky. Clear and blue during the day and filled with stars at night, it is understandable where the name El Cielo (the sky) came from.

Villas at El Cielo Resort at night.

Villas at El Cielo Resort at night. Photo courtesy El Cielo Resort

In the center of the villas, perched on the highest point, is Nuestra Señora de los Milagros (Our Lady of Miracles) Chapel. This is the only private, consecrated chapel in Valle de Guadalupe, and is available for religious ceremonies and weddings. It is also an excellent place for the best views of the property.

Nuestra Señora de los Milagros (Our Lady of Miracles) Chapel at El Cielo Resort. Photo by Allison Levine

Eating at El Cielo Resort

There is delicious food across Valle de Guadalupe and many restaurants to try. But you can also stay on the El Cielo property and enjoy meals at the resort’s restaurants. And no matter what you eat at El Cielo, many fresh vegetables and herbs come from the El Cielo organic garden.

Polaris, located near the villas, is open for breakfast and offers a menu reflecting local Baja products. Enjoy chilaquiles or huevos rancheros, or go lighter with an omelet or avocado toast.

Lunch and dinner can be enjoyed at Latitud 32 restaurant, which is attached to the winery. There is indoor and outdoor seating, which looks out on the vineyard. Latitud 32 offers dishes inspired by Gustavo’s Yucatan roots and Baja ingredients. There is an a la carte menu, but the best way to experience a range of flavors is with the six-course tasting menu and wine pairing. The six-course tasting menu can be enjoyed in the wine cellar called The Enoteca (Wine Bar) for a small group or a more intimate setting.

El Cielo Wine Cellar at El Cielo Resort

El Cielo Wine Cellar. Photo by Allison Levine

On weekends, El Cielo offers the Cocina de Homo, or Smoke Kitchen, lunch. A delicious meal of grilled meats and vegetables, salads, and homemade tortillas is served family-style outside on the grass next to the winery and outside Latitud 32.



Drinking During a Stay at El Cielo Resort

Valle de Guadalupe produces 70-90% of Mexico’s wine, and El Cielo is one of the producers. El Cielo has been making wine since 2013, and leading the charge is winemaker Jesús Rivera and his son and assistant winemaker Jesús Rivera Rodríguez, both born in Valle de Guadalupe. Rivera is the only winemaker in the history of the prestigious Concours Mondial de Bruxelles to win the top prize, the International Wine Revelation Award, in two categories: red wine with Caipirinha 2016 and white wine with Cenzontle Blanco 2019 in 2023.

Bottles of El Cielo Wines. Photo by Allison Levine

With 219 acres of vines, El Cielo grows a wide variety of grape types. They have chardonnay and sauvignon blanc for white wines. And they have tempranillo, sangiovese, malbec, merlot, syrah, zinfandel, primitivo, nebbiolo, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, grenache, and pinot noir for red wines. Wines are produced for six lines: Joven, Astros, Astronomos, Constelaciones, G&G by Sommelier Gina, and Estrellas, the highest level.

Activities While Staying at El Cielo Resort

In addition to eating and drinking, El Cielo offers activities on the property to fill your days. Along with the picturesque swimming pool and a fitness center, El Cielo rents bicycles and golf carts for guests to enjoy self-guided tours around the property and through the vineyard and orchards. Rentals are free for guests for 30 minutes daily.

The swimming pool at El Cielo Resort. Photo by Allison Levine

If you prefer a guided tour, enjoy a vineyard wagon tour. Sit in the back of a cart and learn about the history of Valley de Guadalupe and El Cielo as you are driven around the vineyards, stopping to taste El Cielo wines.

Wagon tour through the vineyards at El Cielo

Book a wagon tour through the vineyards at El Cielo. Photo courtesy El Cielo

If you want to try your hand at being the winemaker, then try blending your own wine. After touring the vineyard and tasting some of the El Cielo wines, you will be put to the task. With a bottle of cabernet sauvignon and a bottle of malbec, you can taste both wines and start playing with the proportions you want to make the blend you like. Once you have your final blend, you will bottle, cork, and label it. You can then take it home to enjoy with friends.

Blend your own wines at El Cielo.

Blend your own wines at El Cielo. Photo courtesy El Cielo

You can also book a full day of activities with “A Day At El Cielo Resort and The Wine Route.” This full-day package starts with breakfast at Polaris and is followed by a visit with the Harris Hawks to learn what they do in the vineyard.

The Harris Hawks at El Cielo. Photo by Allison Levine

The Harris Hawks at El Cielo. Photo by Allison Levine

Then, you will learn more about the vines and taste the Blancs Calypso wine, followed by a tour of the underground cellar and more wine tasting. The day includes a self-guided tour of the vineyard in a golf cart before enjoying a four-course food and wine pairing lunch on the terrace of Latitud 32. The day ends with a wine and chocolate tasting in the exclusive Wine Club Lounge.

Chocolate and Wine Tasting at El Cielo

Chocolate and Wine Tasting at El Cielo. Photo by Allison Levine

El Cielo Resort and Sustainability

El Cielo was built with ecological functionality and energy efficiency in mind. The winery features an underground cellar, tiled roof, insulated walls, LED lighting throughout the building, and plasma motion detectors with automated systems. In 2015, they installed solar panels and built a wastewater treatment plant. El Cielo’s clay-rich land is irrigated with high-quality, low-sodium water from its well.

Falconry with Harris Hawks and hunting dogs are also used on the property to balance the vineyard’s ecosystem and protect the grapes with limited sprays and pesticides. In 2015, the Ensenada City Council recognized El Cielo Winery as the First Eco-Responsible Company. Currently, 164 acres of El Cielo’s vines are certified organic, and the winery is working towards being 100% certified organic.

El Cielo Winery is the region's first Eco-Responsible company.

El Cielo Winery is the region’s first Eco-Responsible company. Photo courtesy El Cielo

Articles Related to Visiting El Cielo Resort in Mexico

Aerial view of El Cielo Resort

Aerial view of El Cielo Resort showing the pool and reservoir. Photo courtesy El Cielo Resort

Why Stay at El Cielo Resort

Valle de Guadalupe is only 90 minutes south of the San Diego and Tijuana border and is perfect for a weekend getaway. A stay at El Cielo Resort, in the heart of the valley, offers luxury and serenity. And once the spa is built, you may never want to leave the property. We invite you to explore Wander With Wonder for more things to do when you visit Mexico. We also have great suggestions for more wine-tasting opportunities and more of our favorite luxury hotels and resorts.

Valle de Guadalupe in Baja, Mexico, is a recognized destination for wine enthusiasts, from the picturesque scenery to the flavorful cuisine and award-winning wines. Read on to create your perfect weekend getaway with a stay at El Cielo Resort. | Wine Tasting in Mexico | Where to Stay in Valle de Guadalupe | El Cielo Winery

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Aim for the Sky at El Cielo Resort in Valle de Guadalupe



Written by Allison Levine

Allison Levine is owner of Please The Palate, a boutique agency specializing in marketing and event planning for the wine and spirits industry. With over 20 years of experience in communications, marketing and event planning, Allison is passionate about the world around her and the diverse people in it. Allison holds a Master’s Degree in International Communications with a focus on cross-cultural training from the American University School of International Service. She also holds a WSET Level 3 Certificate from the Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET), an Italian Wine Specialist Diploma from the North American Sommelier Association, a Certified Meeting Professional Certificate (CMP), and is BarSmarts Wired certified. Prior to launching Please The Palate, Allison worked at The Tasting Panel Magazine/Blue Lifestyle, running the marketing and events division and focusing on organizing over 75 trade events each year across the United States. Always passionate about wine and serious about making her passion her career, she started out at LearnAboutWine where she built and ran the start-up wine education business, organizing classes and private events throughout Los Angeles. After that, she was in the trenches as a sales rep at importer/distributor Chambers and Chambers where she learned about the wholesale aspect of the industry. As an industry expert, she works with wine regions around the world, organizing trade and media events around the United States. She has traveled extensively and has lived abroad in Italy, Spain and Mexico where she developed her passion for food and wine. Her work allows her to live life to the fullest and, as a freelance writer, Allison communicates her experiences into articles, as well as in her blog (pleasethepalate.com/blog). She is a columnist for the Napa Valley Register, as well as a regular contributor to California Winery. She is the host of the podcast WineSoundtrack USA where she interviews winemakers and winery owners who share their stories, insights and some humorous anecdotes. Her work has also appeared in ATOD Magazine, Wine Industry Advisor, Drizly, WineTouristMagazine, Thrillist, LA Weekly, LAPALME Magazine, BIN (Beverage Industry News), FoodableTV, Drink Me Mag, WeSaidGoTravel.com, Wine Country This Week and The Tasting Panel. Allison sits on the Board of the non-profit Vintage Hollywood and is the Wine Committee Chair for its annual food and wine charity event.

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