CuatroCuatros Offers Glamping

You know, Teddy Rosevelt style camping.
BY: TOM EMANUEL

Some people are into the rugged outdoors. They love tramping up and down hills, exploring nature, catching glimpses of wild animals. They glory in living rough with just their wits and their flimsy tents, a hunting knife, a coffee pot, a couple matches, and one set of clothes. They might have the best boots money can buy, an upscale backpack, extra thick socks, a fine micro-fiber all-weather jacket, and (if they are male) a full beard and a pony tail.

cuatro.jpgOther people,  not so much. Other folks are explorers of a different kind. They are into luxury with a dollop of nature. They think roughing it is when room service cuts off at 11 pm and that they’re camping when their hotel room has a nice view of nature.  They prefer gazing at the mountains while lying poolside under a cabana. They keep their cocktail handy on a carved wood sidetable, fluffy towels resting nearby. These folks enjoy nature without having to get too crazy close to it. They don’t get muddy, nor wear the same clothes for more than six hours, and haven’t a clue how to start a fire. (Isn’t there a clicker for that?) The men are typically clean shaven with a sleek woman at their side.

But wait. Why not combine both of these experiences into one vacation? You can, and it’s being marketed these days as glamping, a contraction of the words glamorous and camping. Before the marketers got hold of this concept it was called Teddy Roosevelt camping. Have you ever seen old photographs of his campsites? Large, stand up tents on wooden floors, easy chairs, and plenty of cowpokes standing by to cook and clean up for them.

So, if it’s good enough for TR, it’s good enough for us. You can glamp or Teddy right here in Baja California. The site is called CuatroCuatros and it’s located on Highway 1, (the Ensenada/Tijuana free road), just three miles north of the toll booth before Ensenada. Follow the small blue and white signs. CuatroCuatros means four 4’s of course, but this reporter could not find a staff member who knew why it was named that.

CuatroCuatros has been gradually building their resort for nine years now. Gradual as in glacial speed. Two families from Mexico City started this interesting project when they fell in love with the countryside south of the well known Guadalupe Valley. They purchased 1,730 acres with 1.9 kilometers, about 1.2 miles, of coastline, a lovely expansive valley, and an abundance of wild mountainous terrain. At first they planted vineyards in the valley.

They have constructed an exquisite three story  stone and hardwood winery. The upper entrance floor has a huge round table surrounded by cushy chairs where the staff meets. It also has all the equipment for winemaking including a de-stemer and crusher, a corkage machine, a bottler, and a temporary storage vat. The floor has several metal squares flush with the floor which can be lifted to allow the first fruits of the grapes to be sent to six large stainless steel tanks on the floor below.

Descending a set of stone steps takes you to a very large open area where there is a display of the entire master plan under glass. There is also a group of tasteful pictures and concepts of the existing facilities and what will be achieved in the foreseeable future. This area also boasts a bar and a lounge where guests can relax and sample the wares.

Another set of stone stairs drops you down to the storage room. This contains 35 stunningly pristine French oak casks, each containing 60 gallons of wine. There are also two other casks which contain 132 gallons and 160 gallons respectively.

The vineyards cover fully 40 acres of the 59 acres of the Canon de Tigre, as the valley is known. It is not far from the rural town of El Tigre. Of course, we were there in January so the vines were bare, waiting to flower out in spring and summer. But it was apparent that they were expertly tended and carefully planted to make the best of what the desert valley has to offer.

But what is there to do at CuatroCuatros besides drink fine wine? A multitude of things. There is a residential zone which contains 11 single and seven double cabanas consisting of luxurious canvas tents set five feet off the ground on expansive wooden platforms. (We will explore more about this in the next article in the next issue.) They sport a spa with a masseuse who offers a list of inviting relaxing massages. There is an equestrian club for those who want to explore the ocean views by horseback. Two massive wooden boats staked out on the property, looking like they are ready for the flood, make a unique conversation piece. They have many miles of walking and hiking trails. There is a bar and relaxation area on a point overlooking the ocean, and open during the late spring and all summer.

They invite you to experience the thrill of two zip lines. The shorter one whips you in a seat harness across a valley and deposits you on a mountain side where you hike a couple of hundred yards to the longest zip line in all of Mexico. That one carries you 3/4 of a mile down the mountain towards the cabanas in the breath-taking ride of a lifetime. And if you want to go again, they will come and pick you up in a massive six seat four-wheel drive truck, taking you back up to the tippy top of the zip line. This truck ride is a wild experience all of its own. Very bouncy and rough. There is no pavement here and if you are not an off-roader you will have to hang on for dear life, just to keep from losing your eye teeth. It’s about a mile and a half through dry river beds and up pretty steep mesquite-covered hillsides. But the fabulous view and the zip ride down are totally worth it.

Of course they are pet friendly and family oriented so you can pack up the kids and make a weekend of it, or perhaps just spend your whole vacation relaxing in serene contemplation, reading and enjoying the verdant nature filled with vineyards, olive orchards, flora, fauna and the sparkling sea. Restoring your balance and learning new ideas in coastal Mexico can bring true peace back into your life.

In the next article in this series we will delve into the more luxurious side of CuatroCuatros, so stay tuned and look for Glamping.2. Or, beat us to it, by going out to the place and seeing it for yourself. Tell them you heard about it in the Gringo Gazette.