Frequently Asked Questions - Rancho La Puerta

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a passport?

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.*

When are check-in and check-out times?

Check-in on Saturday after 2 p.m. Check-out the following Saturday 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.

What are my options on my day of arrival if my room is not ready?

While the room may not be ready until 2pm, we encourage our guests to arrive early and begin taking advantage of the program.  If you arrive in your fitness gear and tennis shoes, you are welcome to participate in any classes. Our meals on Saturdays are served from 11am – 3pm (lunch) and 5:30pm – 7:30pm (dinner).

What if I have a health issue?

If you question your ability to participate in a vigorous fitness program, please discuss your concerns with your physician prior to your arrival at the Ranch. We cannot accept guests who are experiencing serious health problems, or who have great difficulty walking or seeing. Pregnant women should carefully consider whether or not to visit if not accustomed to exercise. We do not have a physician on the premises. The nearest US medical facility is 45 minutes from the Ranch. Please bring any medications you are taking in the original bottle.

Should I be concerned about drinking the water?

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.

What is the Ranch’s policy on smoking?

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

What about alcohol?

We believe that wine is an ancient, nutritious, and healthful (in moderation) food that has its place at the table and at life’s celebrations. At Rancho La Puerta we do NOT allow alcohol in our dining room or public areas throughout the week except at two functions, the welcome reception and the farewell dinner Friday night. In both cases, WE serve the wine — usually a vintage from a wine region nearby known as Valle de Guadalupe. This is a longtime tradition, and our guests prefer it. If you wish to enjoy wine throughout the week, we do have it available for purchase.

Are there laundry facilities?

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).

How much cash should I bring?

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. For a Mexican Migratory Form, you will need $32 in cash ($5 should be in $1 bills: Why? Because the peso valuation varies, so, too, does a tourist visa’s cost fluctuate between $25 and $32). 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)

Tips on tipping

Our staff makes every effort to see that your week is a total delight. 
Although service charges are not included in your bill, they are greatly appreciated by each recipient. Guidelines suggested by our guests:

$5 per guest for luggage, delivered and picked up from your room

$5 per guest for Villas Pool breakfast staff, placed in the gratuity box by the pool at the end of the week
(Applicable April through October)

$15 per guest for your room maid, to be given the end of the week

$25 per guest for the maitre d’ and dining room staff, placed in their gratuity box at the end of the week

Spa Services
$5-$10 for each 30-minute treatment
$15-$20 for each 50-minute treatment
$25-$30 for each 80-90-minute treatments

Tips cannot be added to your bill.  If you choose to use your credit card for a cash advance  ($250 USD maximum) a transaction fee will be added.

Can I use a gift certificate or coupon at the Ranch?

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.

Do the rooms have telephones?

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.

Can I use my cell phone?

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.

Is there Internet access?

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 any of six Internet-ready computers in our Business Center. Important to note that Web-based email services (Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo!, etc.) offer excellent results while dedicated email applications (such as Microsoft Outlook) may run afoul of Mexico’s strict anti-forwarding regulations, resulting in your not being able to send messages. You may wish to check with your Internet service provider for any recommendations they might have for customers traveling abroad. 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.

Are there music and books available?

All rooms have a CD player and two or three music CDs. You may wish to bring some of your favorites. We also have CD’s for you to borrow from our library. 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.

How can I secure my valuables?

Your room is equipped with a digital safe deposit box and the Front Desk also has complimentary safe deposit boxes for guest use. Keys can be obtained at the Administration Building.

Is it OK to conduct business with my fellow guests?

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.

Should I be concerned about traveling to Mexico?

Mexico is a wonderful, convivial country that warmly welcomes over 38 million tourists each year. Rancho La Puerta is across the USA-Mexico border in Tecate, a town in the mountains east of San Diego. While there has been negative media coverage about Mexico, 140 guests each week from the USA and other countries have enjoyed their stay at Rancho La Puerta in complete safety. Our on-site team of safety personnel monitor The Ranch premises and surrounding areas at all times to ensure only guests and authorized visitors enter the premises.

The Ranch is four miles from the USA. 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.

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. We are in constant 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 the border temporarily closes, the worst-case scenario would be that you are “stuck” in paradise for an extra night or two…on us!

We invite you to give yourself the gift of health.

Should I drive to The Ranch?

Due to summer 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.

Do I have to pay duty and taxes on items I buy in Mexico?

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 California Alcohol Beverage Control website for current laws. Laws may differ for California residence and non California residence.

Traveling With Medication

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. For cannabis products please see our drug policy.

Drug Policy

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.