Frequently Asked Questions - Rancho La Puerta
Events Calendar
Types of Events:
Spa Services

Rancho La Puerta is located in Tecate, Baja California, Mexico: 45 road miles inland from downtown San Diego and the San Diego Airport (SAN). All but the last 3.3 miles of the drive are on U.S. roads. Elevation is 1,700 feet (note: we are not in the desert). The terrain is mountainous, with sacred Mt. Kuchumaa the dominant landmark above our valley of oak groves, grasslands, and a seasonal stream.  In all, Rancho La Puerta owns 4,000 acres here—2,000 of which we declared a permanent Nature Preserve and home to our extensive hiking program.

Travel FAQ's

YES! We are located in Tecate, Baja California, Mexico just 45 miles southeast of San Diego. A valid passport is mandatory for travel to Mexico from the US.*
If you are staying 7-nights or longer you will need $47 in cash to pay for a tourist permit (FMM form) to Mexico Customs and Immigration.

 

Mexico is a wonderful country that warmly welcomes tourists from all over the world. Each week The Ranch hosts 150 guests from the USA and other countries all who have enjoyed their stay in an inviting, safe, comfortable environment.

The Ranch is located four miles from the USA/Tecate border crossing. We transport our guests from the San Diego International Airport to Rancho La Puerta entirely over US roads in San Diego, except for the last four miles. We do not drive through Tijuana or anywhere near it. Once on property our on-site team of safety personnel monitor The Ranch premises and surrounding areas to ensure only guests and authorized visitors enter the resort.

We are in communication with the USA–Tecate Border Officials and the Mexican Immigration Authorities for updates on border crossing information. Should the need arise, we will work with authorities so our guests can travel with little or no impact.

If you would like to talk with a recent guest of Rancho La Puerta about any safety concerns, we are happy to connect you with one of our longtime guests.

You can also view our Events Calendar and see that North America’s top authors, thinkers, scientists, entertainers, media and others choose to vacation at Rancho La Puerta — and they are vacationers just like you.

Your wellbeing is our top priority.

Due to busy tourist traffic between the Mexico and US border we strongly advise you to leave your car on the US side of the border.  Parking is easy and secure, and we provide shuttles to The Ranch from the border.  Be advised that if you chose to drive across, border wait times on Saturday are typically between three and five hours long.

Visit our Getting to The Ranch page for all your travel options.

Current Weather

Rancho La Puerta is blessed with a mild, Mediterranean climate characterized by cool, moist winters and warm-to-hot, dry summers. Most of the gardens lie at 1,600 to 1,800 feet. This allows for some winter frost, which is a requirement for many fruit trees, but is mild enough for citrus and olives. Brief winters are followed by a long, gentle spring. Summers begin warm and end hot, with our inland valley receiving cooling afternoon breezes from the coast, and occasional drying Santa Ana winds from the desert. Autumn brings warm days and chilly nights. Average yearly rainfall is 12 inches, and water is the garden’s most precious resource.

Summer days are usually in the upper 80s (thank you, ocean!) or sometimes 90s, but our very low humidity makes the air feel dry (thank you, desert!). Rooms are cooled by fans, and insulated by naturally thick masonry walls. All rooms also have air conditioners. Our women’s and men’s health centers, indoor gyms, Main Lounge and Mercado (gift shop) are air-conditioned.

This is a helpful packing guide to help you prepare for your stay at Rancho La Puerta.

If your luggage is lost or delayed by your airline, please use the address and phone number below for delivery.

Rancho La Puerta
Attn: Your Name
406 Tecate Road
Tecate, CA 91980

When your luggage arrives, our guest service team will help you pick up your luggage on the US side of the border and transport it into Mexico. Your airlines will not bring your luggage across the border into Mexico for you.

Border hours: 6am-10pm
Phone #: 858-925-1214, Ext. 410

The Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina (1380 Harbor Island Drive, San Diego 92101) offers Ranch guests an exclusive 20% discount (on a space available basis) from the best available rate, per night (valid on stays through December 31, 2024). Located across from San Diego Airport on San Diego Bay’s Harbor Island, the Sheraton provides complimentary shuttle service to and from the airport (a 5-minute trip), making it easy for you to link with Rancho La Puerta’s shuttle bus service on Saturdays.

Reservations can be made by visiting the Sheraton website and referencing Special Rates tab, Corp/Promo Code: 86W

Note: Any applicable Resort Fees are not included in rate. Contact Sheraton for details on the cost and what it entails. Questions call The Sheraton at 1-888-544-2523.

Duty applies to products made in Mexico if the merchandise exceeds US $1,000 in value. To bring alcohol back into the U.S. from Mexico at a California point of entry please visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website for current laws. Laws may differ for California residence and non California residence.

Ranch guests must be 14 years of age or older, except for Family Week, where we welcome children ages seven and older.

We recognize that for some, traveling with a medical support dog is necessary, and we are happy to welcome your medically required service dog. We regret that we cannot accept emotional support animals.

Pre-Arrival:

  • The reason you need to travel with a Service Dog must be disclosed at the time of making a reservation.
  • A doctor’s letter stating the need to have a Service Dog and the Service Dog certification must be sent it advance to our First Aid staff (firstaid@rancholapuerta.com).
  • Vaccination records are necessary for ease of transport across the border.
  • We will inform all employees and other guests that a Service Dog will be on property. An announcement will be included in each guest’s Welcome Packet, and we’d love to address your Service Dog by name.
  • The Service Dog must be in a travel kennel while being transported to/from the property, including on the Sundance Bus and the RLP shuttles.

While at the Ranch

  • The Service Dog must wear the Service Dog Vest at all times and remain on a leash when outside of the room. Service Dogs are not allowed in the common areas where other guests will be gathered (i.e. gyms, hikes, dining hall, spas, etc.).
  • We are only able to provide housekeeping when either the dog is not in the room or if you are in the room. We cannot enter your room with the dog present unless he/she is in a cage.
  • You are responsible for cleaning up after your Service Dog. There is a $250 cleaning fee and additional fees may be applied if there are any damages.


At The Ranch

Check-in after 3 p.m.
Check-out before 11 a.m. 

If you arrive before check-in time you are welcome to take full advantage of our programs and facilities. Luggage storage is available for early arrivals, as well as those who may be departing an hour or two after check-out time.

While the room may not be ready until 3pm, we encourage our guests to arrive early and begin taking advantage of the program.

If you are planning to arrive prior to the 3 pm check-in, we recommend you include a small “day bag” with any necessary items for you to enjoy your day at the ranch without having to dig for them in your suitcase. It might possibly include water bottle, sunscreen, swimsuit, a hat, workout clothes and shoes.

Meals on Saturdays are served from 11am – 3pm (lunch) and 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm (dinner).

Drinking water fountains dispensing filtered water are located near gyms and the Dining Hall. We make all teas, coffees and ice with filtered water. All rooms have faucets that dispense water filtered by reverse osmosis. We suggest that you drink eight to ten glasses of water each day while participating in our fitness program. Adequate fluid intake enhances performance, and is important in revitalizing a body that may be unaccustomed to dawn-to-dusk movement.

Guests are welcome to bring their own laptop or other computing device. Complimentary wireless service is available in the Main Lounge, Administration Building, Flores Lounge, Bazar Del Sol, and guests have access to our computers in our Business Center.

Guests staying in Villas Luna or Villas Cielo also have the option to turn on WiFi in their rooms.

We request that you do NOT use your computing device at meals or other public areas — other guests may not want to be reminded of their workaday world.

Cell phone use in public areas is prohibited. We request that you use your cell phones ONLY inside your individual room. Other guests who are enjoying the quietude of their garden patios will appreciate that you do not use your phone on your casita’s patio. Why? Primarily because the Ranch is a retreat that values real conversation and connections. Scientific studies have shown that the presence of cell phones is disruptive and fatiguing (learn more in this interesting article by Ron Friendman at CNN).

Note: Not all cellular phones work at the Ranch, depending on your carrier. Before your trip, be sure to ask your carrier if service is available while you are in Tecate and get an idea of what your roaming fees will be.

We do not allow alcohol in our dining room or public areas throughout the week, except for at the two social functions listed below.

If you wish to enjoy a glass of wine, it is available for purchase at the Bazaar Del Sol—a gift shop and cafe with patio seating and marvelous ambiance (and views of Mt. Kuchumaa). Enjoy it there or at your own room or patio.

We serve wine at two functions: a welcome reception and a farewell dinner Friday night. This is a longtime tradition, and our guests prefer it.

Illegal drugs are prohibited at Rancho La Puerta and in any Ranch vehicle. Mexico’s Customs and Federal Border Protection has a zero-tolerance policy on illegal drugs, including cannabis. According to U.S. Customs, crossing the border with any type of illegal drugs, in any amount, may result in extravagant fines, seizure of vehicle, federal record, and/or imprisonment. Visit https://www.cbp.gov/travel/us-citizens/cbp-reqs-mexico for more details.

The Ranch maintains a smoke-free environment, indoors and out, throughout the property.

We have two complimentary self-service laundry facilities on the grounds. We provide environmentally safe detergent.

We offer laundry service as well; place your garments in a net bag (which we provide) by 8:30 a.m. and they will be laundered and returned to your room by 5 p.m. The charge is $1.50/lb (minimum charge $5.00).

For spa treatments, boutique, personal training sessions and most other incidentals, cash, checks and credit cards are welcome. We accept Visa, MasterCard, and American Express. Most expenses can be simply added to your final bill.

To purchase workout videos from instructors, you may need some cash ($50 should be sufficient). Tipping is optional, however, many guests do choose to tip in cash for some services they consider more than satisfying. (See “Tips on Tipping.”) Other incidental charges)

If you are staying 7-nights or longer you will need $47 in cash to pay for a tourist permit (FMM form) to Mexico Customs and Immigration.

Our staff makes every effort to see that your week is a total delight. Gratuities are optional and always appreciated.

These are guidelines suggested by our guests:

  • Luggage, delivered and picked up from your room: $10-15+ per guest
  • Housekeeper (to be given the end of the week):
    $15-20+ per guest
  • Dining room staff and maître d’: $25-30+ per guest
  • Villas breakfast staff: $5-15+ per guest
  • Bazar Del Sol staff: $5-10+ per guest
  • Main lounge staff: $5-10+ per guest
  • Juice bar staff: $5-10+ per guest
  • Concierge: $5-10+ per guest
  • Public areas, gardeners, and maintenance: $30-35+
  • Spa Services
    30-minute treatment: $10-15+ for each
    50-minute treatment: $20-25+ for each
    80-90-minute treatments: $30-35+ for each

Tips cannot be added to your bill.  Up to $400 USD cash advance can be charged to your credit card with a 3% transaction fee.

Gift Certificates (issued by Rancho La Puerta) in any amount are available from the Rancho La Puerta reservations office. They’re a great way to surprise a friend or loved one with a stay at the Ranch, or treat them to a few spa treatments after they arrive. Request a gift certificate here.

Each room has a telephone with a personal voice mail service that alerts you when a message has been received. Phones for use by guests are also conveniently located in the Administration Building and lounges.

The Ranch has an extensive lending library of current fiction, classics and non-fiction. Our gift shop has a small selection of books, often by authors who are speaking at the Ranch, or have recently been guests.

Your room is equipped with a digital safe deposit box.

The Ranch is a vacation sanctuary environment. We do not allow the selling of any products, or the solicitation of new business, by any guest of another guest.

Health Concerns

Our top priority is for our guests to have an amazing and healthy experience all week long.  If any health issues or injury arise during your stay, we got you covered!

Stay hydrated: There are many drinking water stations located throughout the property. We recommend bringing your own water bottle and keeping it with you throughout the day.

Pro tip: add a squeeze of fresh lime juice into your water! It adds not only a refreshing citrus taste but also essential vitamin C and minerals. 

Avoid “Tired Tuesday”: Many guests pack their schedules in the first few days and end up feeling exhausted by mid-week. Instead, we suggest gradually increasing the level of your physical activities as the week progresses.

Use sun protection: This is important all year long. We recommend applying sunscreen at least 30 minutes prior to being outdoors to allow for better absorption. Pack a sun shirt with long sleeves and a wide-brimmed hat for pool classes and other outdoor activities.

Prevent injuries by wearing proper footwear:  We recommend traveling with the appropriate footwear:

  • Court Shoes: tennis or pickleball shoes have the proper amount of lateral support and a sturdy toe box specially designed for both forward and lateral movement.
  • Cross Trainers or Running Shoes: designed for flexibility and movement in cardio activities and in the gyms.
  • Hiking Shoes or Lug-Soled Trail Runners: Hiking boots offer excellent stability and ankle support.

Hiking safely: Be aware of the trail ahead of you, as some segments of our trails may have loose gravel and protruding rocks. Pack a water bottle and a sunhat. Review our scheduled hikes ahead of time and carefully consider the difficulty level that is right for you. Remember, a safe day is a fun day.

It is ok to travel with doctor prescribed medications, but please make sure all the medication is in the original prescribed packaging with your information on it.

We recommend packing 14-days of medication in original bottles with labels and a list of the names, strengths, and dosages of all medications in case refills are required.

For cannabis products please see our drug policy.

Talk to Concierge or Front Desk, and they can help to verify with the local pharmacy if your medication is sold over the counter in Mexico. Make sure to have the exact name and dosage. If your medication requires a prescription, such can be obtained at an extra charge.

If you have not already, please provide an emergency contact phone number of somebody who is not traveling with you to an Experience Planner.

If you question your ability to participate in a vigorous fitness program, please discuss your concerns with your physician prior to your booking or arrival at the Ranch.

Given the nature of our grounds and activities, we are not suitable for guests who are experiencing serious health problems, or who have great difficulty walking or seeing.

For their safety, we request that women in their third trimester of pregnancy postpone their visit to a later date.
All others should consult their physician to discuss the guidelines.

We have a First-Aid department at The Ranch, integrated by Mexican staff physicians from 8am-4pm, and a medical volunteer (American physician or nurse) who covers the evenings and night, thus having a trained medical professional available on call 24/7. We also have a team of First Responders in case of emergency.

In conditions that are not first-aid, and/or require a prescription, may involve an external physician at an extra charge.

The nearest US medical facility is 60-90 minutes from the Ranch.

Please view our cancellation policy here:

CANCELLATION POLICY

We are committed to keeping The Ranch a safe place for all, and continue to uphold the highest levels of safety and wellness in accordance with the CDC guidelines.

Our staff are trained on COVID-19 safety measures and received certification on best health practices. Staff exercise increased precautions to protect their wellbeing, the safety of our guests, and the health of the community.

Rigorous and frequent cleaning, sanitization, and disinfection are performed throughout the entire Ranch.

Culinary FAQ's

The Ranch’s diet is lacto-ovo pescatarian including dairy, eggs and seafood but no meats or poultry. Meals are a balanced offering of fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, dairy, egg and seafood. Menus are based on low glycemic carbohydrates, plant-based protein, healthy fats and an abundance of antioxidants. Use of sodium, natural sugars and refined flour are kept to minimum. Our cuisine is designed to provide plenty of protein, vitamins, minerals, and probiotics to fuel your active fitness week.

We do not allow alcohol in our dining room or public areas throughout the week, except for at the two social functions listed below.

If you wish to enjoy a glass of wine, it is available for purchase at the Bazaar Del Sol—a gift shop and cafe with patio seating and marvelous ambiance (and views of Mt. Kuchumaa). Enjoy it there or at your own room or patio.

We serve wine at two functions: a welcome reception and a farewell dinner Friday night. This is a longtime tradition, and our guests prefer it.

We can accommodate special food needs including lactose intolerance, celiac disease, and fish, shellfish, nut, egg and soy allergies. Please advise your reservationist of any allergies, especially life-threatening allergies, upon booking.

A fresh fish “catch of the day” will be on the dinner menu four times a week, and several times for lunch. We adhere to the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program. Most of our seafood comes from the seaport of Ensenada, Baja California. A vegetarian alternative entree is always offered for those who don’t eat fish or shellfish.

Gluten-free options are available at every meal.

Our organic juice bar, Tierra Alegre, features fruit smoothies and fresh vegetable juice blends.

The Ranch kitchen is not kosher certified.

We do not serve any red meat, pork, lamb or poultry.

As much as possible, and as attuned to the seasons as we can reasonably be, we procure organic fruits and vegetables from our own extensive organic farm, and from our region’s purveyors who practice sustainable, organic farming. We cannot, however, say that we are “100% organic.”

The Ranch diet is low in refined sugar.

Avoiding foods or other products derived from animals is easy at all meals, and vegetarian entrées at dinner are entirely plant-based.

We are not a weight-loss program. Most guests who partake of our fitness program and eat in moderation will be very satisfied with their body’s response to a week at The Ranch.

Contact Us

FRONT DESK OPERATOR

By telephone: 858-925-1214 or (011) 52-665-654-9155
By Facsimile: (011) 52-665-654-1108

CONCIERGE*
concierge@rancholapuerta.com

*Please use the concierge email to contact a guest, inquire about lost items, etc. Please do not send advertising and/or marketing proposals to this address.

SENDING AN OVERNIGHT LETTER OR PACKAGE (I.E. BIRTHDAY GIFT OR FORGOTTEN ITEM) TO A GUEST

For USPS, FedEx and UPS use the following address (for small packages and letters):
Guest or Staff member’s name
c/o Rancho La Puerta
441 Tecate Road
Suite 69
Tecate, CA 91980

Phone number: (858) 925-1214

Please note: Most large packages/boxes (not overnight letters) must be picked up in person by a guest on the U.S. side of the border in Tecate, U.S.A., so your recipient will have to leave the Ranch with one of our drivers, return to the border, and cross into the U.S. –a time-consuming process that interrupts the Ranch experience.

Hence, you may wish to consider this difficulty when shipping a packaged or boxed item to a guest at Rancho La Puerta. Our shop sells most essential items that a guest may have forgotten to bring, or our concierge can arrange for almost any other purchasing needs in town —unless it’s something quite unique to your needs. Some commonly shipped items include hiking boots, books, cameras, and medicine.

Don’t hesitate to call our Concierge if you wish to surprise a guest with a gift or flowers; they can make all arrangements and personalize your present without you having to ship anything.