Rancho La Puerta, Tecate, Mexico

Our five hour flight from JFK, New York to San Diego, Ca. arrived 45 minutes early due to tail winds in our favor. We met up with the Rancho la Puerta representatives about an hour later and boarded a large bus which would take us the 49 miles south. It took 1:30hrs to get to the border in Tecate. Once we got off the large highway, and onto a one lane road, it got windy. The landscape turned very arid, mountainous and rocky. At the border, we gave Rancho representatives our passports and a visa form together with $30. We got off the large bus, carried our luggage through customs and the wall, into Mexico where we boarded smaller buses for the short ride to the Rancho. As soon as we arrived, we were taken to the Dining Hall for lunch; it was already 1:30PM and our last meal had been on the plane at 9:30AM.

We were given a folder with maps, schedules and all the different activities offered every 45 minutes, and they were many. My first impression looking at the map was that the place was HUGE!! Our villa was over 800 steps (almost half a mile) to the Dining Hall where we would be going three times a day; and other activities were even further away. I was certainly going to get my exercise just walking back and forth from the villa to each meal.  When selecting the activities for the day, you had to take into consideration how far each one was from each other since you only had 15 minutes to get there. It was especially difficult when you had been in the pool and had to get dry and change and get to the other locale.

Our Junior villa Sol 1A was really nice, comfortable and spotlessly clean. There was a big A/C unit plus ceiling fans to keep it cool. We had a sitting room with Mexican folk art and traditional hand-carved furniture; a couch and comfortable cushioned chair and an adobe fireplace which we did not use. There was also a small kitchenette with sink, with water purification system, a stove and mini fridge. There were two double beds, a large closet with lots and lots of hangers, a mini safe and a full bathroom. We also had a nice front porch with several chairs and lounges amongst a lot of trees and bushes. Only thing missing was a hammock.

The second thing that strikes you, after the vastness of the place, is the amount of activities to choose from every day starting at 6AM till evening. To name a few:

  • 2-4 mile hikes (these all start at 6AM to avoid the heat
  • Cardio boxing
  • Tennis clinic
  • Ranch cycling
  • Nature walk
  • The wave (in pool with Floats for weights)
  • Hands-on cooking class
  • Circuit training
  • Pilates
  • Tai Chi
  • Hydro-fit deep water training
  • Open weight room
  • Explore the night sky
  • Pickle ball
  • Water jogging
  • Gyrokenesis
  • Cycle 30
  • H20 Boot Camp
  • Aqua Ease
  • Kettle bells
  • Arts & craft
  • Jewelry making
  • Movies
  • And many, many more.

Each session was 45 minutes. Some were repeated every day. It was really hard to arrange your day in order to participate in as many different activities daily. We made our next day plan each evening.

Dining at the ranch was quite the experience for a carnivore as I am. It was a lacto-ovo vegetarian mostly with fish and eggs as our protein together with beans. In the 7 days we were there, we had fish (shrimp, salmon, sea bass) four times, tuna fish was served daily at lunch. Breakfast and lunch are cafeteria style, dinner is sit down service by a very efficient and friendly staff.

The dining hall was a Spanish Colonial decor with doors at both sides giving access to seating in the patio under trees and by fountains which was very pleasant. You can opt for seating alone, or share a table. At breakfast I filled up with scrambled eggs which was one of the proteins we got every day. There were also all sorts of cereals, hot and cold, fresh fruit juices, seasonal fruits (mostly papaya, honeydew and cantaloupe melons), assortment of muffins and toast, coffee and teas. Lunch was always a wonderful vegetable soup (navy bean, lentil, barley, black bean, broccoli, garbanzo etc.) salad, assorted vegetables, tostadas, pizza, veggie burgers, fresh fruit. Dinner also started with a vegetable soup, salad and a hot main dish of Asian stir fry, tamales, fish, homemade pasta with mushrooms, spinach lasagna, stir-fry veggies and brown rice, etc. There were always two choices. Plus dessert, fresh fruit sorbet, Tres Leches flan, fresh berries, rice pudding, etc. There were also snacks of fresh fruit, smoothies and sliced veggies in the morning, mid day and afternoon served in the main lounge. The vegetables are all grown in the Rancho’s Tres Estrellas organic farm or from purveyors who practice sustainable organic farming. My only complaints were that the kitchen did not use salt and that we did not get more fish entrees for dinner especially since that was mostly our main protein.

The grounds are beautiful, green and lush and so well maintained. There are gardeners around constantly taking care of it. There was a wooden large swing under a tree which I liked going to after lunch and in between the next class. It overlooked an expanse of grass and one of the many pools. It was shady and breezy.

There is NO ALCOHOL served at meal times. We did find a Bazaar del Sol, a “cantina” very close to our villa that stayed open until 9PM and served wines by the glass or bottle. You could buy a bottle and they would keep it for you. We did that and would go after dinner to have a glass of wine before settling in for the night. Something else to note is that all the water and ice served is filtered and purified, so no need to worry.

First timers, as I was, get overwhelmed with the size of the property and the array of choices of activities. I find that I did not take full advantage of so much. The first couple of days I felt everything was so far away from each other, we were constantly getting lost, so I did not make a bigger effort to plan my stay. I enjoyed a lot of it and missed so much. I need to plan another visit soon.

Rancho la Puerta: http://www.rancholapuerta.com

Reservations: 800-443-7565

Email: reservations@racholapuerta.com

Questions: concierge@rancholapuerta.com