Outdoor recreation in the Tecate area centers around dozens of family-oriented rancho resorts located east of Tecate on the way to Mexicali. Activities include hiking, swimming, hot springs, water slides, bird-watching, and rock climbing.
Guests of Rancho La Puerta (U.S. tel. 760/744-4222 or toll-free U.S. tel. 800/443-7565, www.rancholapuerta.com) enjoy daily hikes along 25 miles of trails at the base of Mt. Cuchumá, but locals advise against independent exploration here because of the proximity to the international border and possibility of encountering illegal immigration activity.
The addition of the popular Saturdays at the Ranch (tel. 665/654-9155, toll-free U.S. tel. 877/440-7778, 8 A.M.–8 P.M., US$215 pp, spa treatments cost extra) has opened Rancho La Puerta up to a wider audience. These one-day visits include fitness, spa, and culinary components, all packed into a single 12-hour day that begins and ends in San Diego.
CAREM, the nonprofit civil association behind the Tecate Cultural Center (CECUTEC, Calle Tláloc 400, tel. 665/655-6419, www.carem.org) offers multiday guided tours of Baja California’s mission sites and other historic buildings, such as Campo Alaska.
© Nikki Goth Itoi from Moon Baja, 9th Edition