The Refuge

Trip FAQ's

We know that you have many questions about planning a trip but here are some of the most common questions.  Feel free to send a list of your specific questions to gayla@buildtherefuge.com!

Hope & A Future For The Children of Tijuana

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Where is The Refuge?
The house is in a suburb of Tijuana.  We’re about thirty minutes from the Otay Boarding Crossing.  There are both dirt roads and paved roads and there is a main boulevard nearby with many stores and plazas.  The houses around us range from large to one room and many people have chickens and other farm animals.


What will the accommodations be like?

 We currently work with a missions base in Tijuana that provides food and lodging for our teams. It is a large building with bunk beds in each room, a dining hall, auditorium and a chapel. You will be quite comfortable.  


What should I bring?

We will give you a packing list depending on the activities that you decide you want to participate in during your stay.  Minimally, you’ll need clothes, toiletries, and sleeping bag or bedding.


Will I need a passport?

Yes, you’ll either need a current passport or passport card to be able to return to the United States.


.What kind of costs are involved?

We try and keep trips affordable.  The base cost is $50 per night for lodging and some food. Other costs you may incur could include transportation to The Refuge, if you need to rent vans once you are in Mexico, and other ministry activity costs. Since we customize the trip to meet team’s plans and budgets, once we’re able to discuss what you’d like to accomplish while you’re here, we’ll be able to give you the final price.


Do I have to speak Spanish or does our team have to have a Spanish speaker?

No!  Our Children’s Pastor will act as your main translator while you’re here.  All of our staff speaks both English and Spanish, you will always have someone with you to help translate.

Can only church groups come down for trips? 

No!  We want anyone down here who has a heart to help kids…whether they’re from a church or not!  There are many projects and activities to do in and around The Refuge, we can plan out a trip that matches your group.

Is it safe? 

Yes.  You should always use precaution, just like you would in the United States though.  You will never be anywhere without one of the staff with you and we’re aware of areas that may be better left alone.  The house itself is in a suburb of Tijuana and the entire property is fenced and gated.

What will we eat? 

Included in the base cost of the trip is your food and you’ll be eating what the kids eat (trust us, this is some of the best Mexican Food you’ll ever have).  Also, we’ll make sure there are some snacks specifically for your group.  If there are dietary restrictions, you’ll need to be sure to let us know well ahead of time.  Additionally, there are many wonderful taco stands nearby the house which you may want to visit during your stay. 

What will we do once we get there? 

That depends a lot on you or your group, how long you stay, and what your budget looks like.  There are always building and handy-man projects at The Refuge.  Also, Vacation Bible schools at The Refuge for the neighborhood children, or other locations are a great activity.  We can talk about what you think you or your group might like to do, but really, the limits are your time, your budget, and your group.

Can we drink the water? 

Nobody in Tijuana drinks the water in Tijuana…not even the people that are from here.  We have purified water available for drinking and cooking.  We also will provide your group with bottled water as needed.​


Is there a minimum number for the group size or minimum number of days we need to stay?

No!  Whether there are 2  or 20 (or more) in your group, we will work with you to plan your trip around the number of people you have with you.  Stay for an afternoon or stay for a week!  We know that time is one your most valuable resources so we a grateful for what you give up!


Can I come down and serve at The Refuge for longer than a week?

Yes!  We love it when someone wants to serve as temporary volunteer staff.  There is an application process and a fee involved so email gayla@buildtherefuge.com for information.