TO RANCHO LA PUERTA
The highway from San Diego that takes you to the Tecate turnoff is CA-94, one of the most scenic country drives in California. In the San Diego metropolitan area, CA-94 runs east-west and roughly parallels Interstate 8, which is farther north. Consequently, the city's main north-south highways (I-5, 163, 15, 805 and 125) all intersect CA-94. East of San Diego, CA-94 turns southeast, toward Mexico.
It is much easier to go to Tecate via CA-94 than to cross into Mexico south of San Diego at San Ysidro or Otay Mesa (you want to avoid threading your way through Tijuana). We also recommend obtaining additional insurance coverage for driving in Mexico, as most US policies do not cover driving south of the border. (Call us: we can tell you how to obtain insurance for the few days you are in Mexico with your car.)
(Note: You may opt to leave your car on the U.S. side in Tecate, California, just north of the border crossing. We will send a Ranch van and driver to pick you up at the border, escort you through the simple visa process, and on to the Ranch! The lot where you leave your car is one we use frequently, and is staffed 24 hours. Call Reservations, 800-443-7565, for more details on this option.)
To determine your most efficient way to connect with CA-94, go to Mapquest or Yahoo! maps. Type in your home address, with "Tecate, CA" as your destination. This will give you step-by-step directions, the distance in miles from your home, and estimate your driving time. See below for driving directions to the Ranch once you cross the border.
Have fun! The drive is easy...especially if you watch for CA-94 signs all the way. This highway has a few splits and turns that drivers occasionally miss. For example, if you are coming from San Diego, be sure to stay on 94 EAST where the highway splits near Lemon Grove. You will leave Highway 94 where it connects with Tecate Road (Highway 188), two miles north of the border.
From Interstate 5 and downtown San Diego/airport vicinity
1. Take Interstate 5 south to the Highway 94 turnoff. Go EAST 13.3 miles.
2. Turn RIGHT onto CAMPO RD / CA-94. Continue to follow CA-94 for 23.6 miles.
3. Bear RIGHT to go onto CA-188 / TECATE RD for 2 miles, to the border.
From north of La Jolla, via I-5 South to I-805
1. Merge onto I-805 South via the exit on the LEFT. Go 14.7 miles.
2. Merge onto CA-94 East. Go 11.2 miles.
3. Turn RIGHT onto CAMPO RD / CA-94. Continue to follow CA-94 for 23.6 miles.
4. Bear RIGHT to go onto CA-188 / TECATE RD for 2 miles to the border.
Via Interstate 8 from Arizona
1. Near the summit after the climb on I-8 out of the desert into San Diego County's mountains, take the CA-94 exit toward Boulevard/Manzanita.
2. Turn LEFT onto CA-94/Ribbonwood Road. Continue to follow CA-94 0.6 miles.
3. Turn RIGHT onto CA-94/Old Highway 80. Continue to follow CA-94 25.6 miles.
4. Turn LEFT onto CA-188/Tecate Road. Go 2 miles to the border gate.
PASSPORTS AND OTHER REQUIREMENTS FOR CROSSING THE BORDER
On June 1, 2009, the U.S. government implemented the full requirements of the land and sea phase of WHTI. U.S. citizens entering the United States at sea or land ports of entry must have a passport, passport card, or other travel document approved by the Department of Homeland Security. For more information, please click here.
This essentially means that most of our guests MUST have their passport to enter and leave Mexico. Visitors from countries other than the US or Canada via San Diego (and returning to San Diego) must also bring a passport and any necessary and current visas that allow re-entry into the U.S. Also, they should check with their country's Mexican Consulate to obtain a visa or to find out if citizens qualify under a visa waiver.
ONCE YOU CROSS THE BORDER
Ask border patrol officers where to park to purchase a tourist visa. The visa cost is $30 (small denominations) depending on the exchange rate. The immigration office is open seven days a week from 5:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Customs officers at border crossing do not provide visas, thus you must park and enter the immigration office to complete your tourist visa process.If you arrive outside these hours, you can return to the visa office the next day (Rancho La Puerta personnel will help you).
DRIVING FROM THE BORDER TO RANCHO LA PUERTA
1. Proceed STRAIGHT three blocks, to the second stoplight. You'll see the town's tree-shaded plaza ahead on your left.
2. Turn RIGHT on Juarez (Tecate's main street) and go WEST 3 miles.
3. Turn RIGHT into entrance to Rancho La Puerta. Note: Past the downtown district, the road appears to fork; on the right, up the hill, is a residential area. Stay left to continue on Juarez, which becomes a divided four-lane road. Watch for easy-to-miss stop signs at cross streets, and topes (speed bumps). If you cross a small bridge over a river, you've gone too far.
The border is open daily from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m.
RETURNING TO THE U.S. FROM RANCHO LA PUERTA
If you drove your own car to the Ranch, please note that the return drive to the border crossing is not quite the same. Visit the Front Desk or Concierge near the end of your stay for driving directions and information about crossing at Tecate's garita (border gate).