General Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need a passport?
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 11:30am – 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?
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: You may present cash or a credit card at checkout to settle incidental charges. Cash advances. We can advance up to $150 cash from a credit card (with a 2% fee), or cash personal checks up to $150.
Can I use a spa 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. As of January 1, 2018, “Spa Certificates,” issued by a company other than Rancho La Puerta, will not be not accepted.
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.
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.
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.
Dietary Frequently Asked Questions
If you wish to enjoy wine throughout the week, 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 also serve wine at two functions: a welcome reception and a farewell dinner Friday night. (See wine below for more details about enjoying wine during your visit.)
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.
We focus on low glycemic or ‘slow burning carbs’ such as legumes, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds. ‘Fast burning carb’ can be found in fresh fruits offered at each meal. We recommend a bit of both to best fuel your fitness experience at the Ranch.
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.
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 serve any red meat, pork, lamb or poultry. See Lacto-Ovo Pescatarian section above.
Extra-virgin olive oil features the terroir of Baja California’s Guadalupe Valley (also famed for its wines). We also use some specialty oils, such as walnut, avocado, truffle, etc.
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 not completely accommodating to paleo devotees. Please refer to our sample menu to see how your paleo needs can be met via eggs, seafood, fruit, nuts, etc…
We do not serve any red meat, pork, lamb or poultry. See Lacto-Ovo Pescatarian section above.”
The Ranch provides an array of protein-rich cuisine, including legumes, grains, vegetables, nuts, seeds, eggs, dairy, soy, and seafood offerings. For more information, please see our blog post on Ranch Protein Sources.
We follow ‘Slow Food’ precepts. 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.
Soy-free options are available at every meal.
The Ranch diet is low in refined sugar. See our nutritionist’s blog post for our perspective on sugar.
Avoiding foods or other products derived from animals is easy at all meals, and vegetarian entrées at dinner are entirely plant-based.
See “lacto-ovo pescatarian.” Strict vegetarians will find plenty of satisfying plant-based protein options.
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. If you are looking to lose a few pounds here is an article from our Ranch nutritionist.
We feel 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, at any meal, except at two functions: a welcome reception and a farewell dinner Friday night. In both cases, we serve the wine — usually a vintage from the nearby Valle de Guadalupe wine region. This is a longtime tradition, and our guests prefer it. If you wish to enjoy wine throughout the week, it is available for purchase at the Bazaar Del Sol—a gift shop and cafe with patio seating and marvelous ambience (and views of Mt. Kuchumaa). Enjoy it there or at your own room or patio.