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44500 Old Hwy 80, Jacumba Hot Springs, CA 91934

32.6183334319, -116.188448547

(619) 766-4333

Dog & Kid-Friendly: Only in their Casitas, lake & restaurant

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**Check out our list of all hidden gems in Jacumba!**

About the Jacumba Hot Springs Hotel

When one thinks of San Diego’s desert region, the Anza Borrego Desert is what most likely comes to mind.  Rarely do people consider San Diego’s Sonoran Desert, in which Jacumba Hot Springs encompasses.

This town is so multi-layered (as is the story of the hotel) that it only makes sense to break it down into segments.  If you choose to visit, get ready to indulge in a world of its own.

The inspirations behind the hotel are scattered across continents with mythology and folklore folded in. There’s no precise way to describe it, which is why  merely defining it as “Jacumba” is fitting.

The hotel is 21+ and service dogs only.  This is to allow guests to truly unwind and relax in an adult-exclusive experience.  There are 20 artisan rooms, 2 mineral-rich pools (1 with daily passes for guests), weekly live performances, a restaurant, bar and casitas one block down which are kid and dog friendly.

The casitas come with their own mineral rich hot tubs allowing you privacy while you immerse yourself in a truly luxuriating experience.

Mineral Pools

One of Jacumba’s biggest charms is its natural hot spring which flows directly from the earth to their pools.  Their pools are free of chlorine and all other chemical treatments making this a true spa experience.  I promise your skin will feel amazing when you get out.

The water contains a unique 100% natural mineral profile which includes hydrogen sulfide, bicarbonate, silica, sodium, lithium, manganese and many other minerals.

Not only will a good soak leave your skin feeling extremely soft but these waters are also known for their healing properties.  It healed my partner’s cold while we were here! Completely took it away!

These waters are a great option for those dealing with pain, inflammation, skin conditions, rheumatological disorders and many others ailments. Their pools are designed with bench seating all around them to allow guests to comfortably absorb the unique therapeutic qualities of their mineral spring water.

Their pools are kept at varying temperatures throughout the year, creating warmth in the winter and a refreshing coolness in the hot desert summer. In winter the outdoor pools are heated to around 90°-95° and their indoor Echo Room Jetted Soaking Tub ranges from 99°-101°. 

Day Passes are available on a limited basis, offering a great getaway for locals, road trippers and anyone looking to soak it in. A Day Pass (one per person) grants access to their Ritual Mineral Hot Spring Pool and changing room from 9am-9pm.

A pass also includes access to loungers on a first come, first serve basis, complimentary towels and all natural sun care.


Their restaurant offers an International High Desert menu that changes seasonally. There is some true craftsmanship going into these dishes.  The steak was hands down the best I have ever had. Learning about the process is nothing short of a work of art.

All I remember is the server explaining that the chef ferments the mycelium using the same process to make saké and then marinates the steak in it for 24 hours.

You can expect fresh seafood from from Baja and they work with local farms and ranches in Imperial Valley for their meat and produce. They serve lunch, dinner and weekend brunch on their shaded patio or in the dining room.

You can check out their menu here.


Their 21+ bar is truly like entering into another realm.  It is dark with deep, rich lighting and a truly exotic flair.  It feels like stepping onto a 1970’s movie set. Get ready for a magical night.

Beyond the usual favorites, you may delight yourself with elixirs, herbal tinctures, cold pressed juices, tonics and handcrafted cocktails. We had our baby with us so didn’t get to actually hang out in the bar but just visiting for a few minutes was really something special.

I can imagine the drinks are delicious and can’t wait to try one next time!

Make sure to look inside the bathrooms while you’re here because they are truly something! Check out their latest bar hours on this page.

Lake Jacumba

The Kumeyaay call this area Ahkum, which means “bubbling water”. The springs provide both hot and cold waters which the Natives would dam to create lakes. The Spaniards, after colonizing (and slaughtering) the local Natives, followed suit and also dammed up the springs to form lakes.

Lake Jacumba has gone through periods of ups and downs, being dry for at least a decade but has since been brought back to life by the current owners.

I have been visiting Jacumba since 2012 and had never once seen the lake full.  It is truly amazing to me that the current owners brought it back to life. The wildlife was in a flurry when we visited!  Bullfrog tadpoles galore and hundreds of chirping blackbirds.  What a sight to see!

While you’re in the area, make sure to check out the Desert View Tower for the ultimate day trip!

They ask for a $5 donations to visit the mineral-rich lake, which you can swim and boat in and enjoy the shaded palapas. I was told they have future plans for a campground here as well.

History of Jacumba

Jacumba is on Kumeyaay land, but interestingly enough, it is also one of the border towns that divides the tribe between the U.S. and Mexico. Jacumba was historically a trading space among the tribes. There are many important stories, including the myth of Tuchaipa and Yokomatis that derived from this area.

During the Golden Age for Hollywood, film stars would head out to Jacumba for a retreat getaway staying at (the now burned down) Hotel Vaughn.

The town was considered a very stylish and popular spot at the time and would pack 5,000 people on a weekend which is impressive considering the hotel only had 60 rooms. I was also told there was a campground here.

Across the street from the hotel was the Thomas Health Institute which was a physical therapy center of sorts offering chiropractic treatments and the highly sought after mineral baths. .

The town was booming right up until the 1960’s when highway 8 was built.  No longer were people traveling through here to get to and from Arizona.  Slowly the town became more or less forgotten.

You can learn more about the history and the state it was in during 2012 when we first visited it.


One of the coolest previews to what was to become of this new chapter of Jacumba were the musical gatherings they were hosting every month in the old bathhouse. This was a year before the hotel opened. I got the opportunity to attend one of the concerts, watching the amazing Jesus Gonzales and Jamie Shadowlight perform.

The evening was nothing short of spectacular being inside these richly historical ruins, candles flickering under the glowing moonlight.  What a memory! 

They still hold gatherings inside the bathhouse as well as weekly performances by the pool. You can also attend their weekend market, play bingo or enjoy a sound bath! Check out their events page here.


A place like Jacumba, so far removed from the rest of society, could never come without controversy. Perhaps that is one of the elements that plays into this town’s mystique.

When I found out that Jacumba was being bought by three city folk and then learning of their plans, my mind immediately went to thoughts of gentrification. I am so happy that I got the opportunity to interview all three of them plus a decent amount of locals for this article.  Here is what I learned:

Owners Corbin, Melissa and Jeff

Melissa, Corbin and Jeff purchased the land during the height of Covid in 2020 after learning it was for sale.  Melissa took a tour of the town and was hooked. She didn’t even realize immediately that the purchase was for 90% of the town!

With big dreams and vision boards created, they began spinning their magic to restore the old Jacumba Hot Springs Hotel.  It took a couple years, but here we are today. Jacumba is one of San Diego County’s poorest towns and that was a concern for me.

I was so happy to learn that they employ more than 50 of the town’s residents. As they expand their reconstruction on the rest of the town, they plan on only allowing local residents to open shops on the main strip.

The locals I spoke to, including a 3rd generation Jacumban all seem to be really thrilled with the changes.  It is breathing fresh, new life into a town that seemed to have been all but forgotten.

All three owners moved out to Jacumba and now call it home.  They’re not just interested in developing the area and banking on it.  Instead, they are restoring old buildings and create a place to raise their children and call home.

Personal Experience

What an exciting experience this was for me!  Since we had our baby and pooch, we got to stay in one of the casitas.  The décor was impeccable.  No detail was left out right down to the curated collection of records sitting next to the record player.  They literally help to shape the soundtrack to your stay!

Here are some shots of the casita: 

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