A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to travel to Rancho La Puerta in Tecate, Mexico to experience the Ranch’s phenomenal environment, food, fitness, hiking, spa, classes and so much more!
It came at a time when I was feeling a little desperate for sunshine, and turned out to be a phenomenal experience…
About the ranch
Before we get into all the delicious details, I’d like to share with you a little bit about Rancho La Puerta’s history. The family-owned and operated ranch was founded in 1940 by Edmond and Deborah Szekely. While I didn’t get to meet Deborah in person, I’ve heard incredible things about her spirit and zest for life! Deborah is now 93 years old, still lectures at the ranch weekly and works hard to transform and inspire healthy lifestyles. If you have a minute and want to learn more about the ranch and its history, check out this video about the ranch narrated by Deborah.
Guests stay typically 4 or 7 days and come from all over the world. This isn’t a weight loss resort, but rather a place to experience overall health and wellness. You can make your own schedule for the day, and do as you please, although I would say that most guests end up working out at least 1x per day. Every day is different though, and you can make it whatever you like.
While much different than my typical Mexico vacations of drinking tequila and shoving chips in my mouth, this was still unbelievably beautiful and FUN. Our days consisted of TRX, yoga, and circuit classes, hands-on cooking demonstrations and classes, an organic farm experience, 6am sunrise hikes, and mostly vegetarian-focused food. I LOVED IT.
Now I don’t know about you, but personally I have a hard time sitting on a beach all day just lounging around. I can do it for an hour or so, but after that I want to be doing something active with my body or mind. My ideal vacation involves having new experiences, staying active and eating GOOD food. The ranch offered exactly that.
Did I miss having chips and guac? Sure! However, I loved the way my mind, body and soul felt at the ranch. I was inspired, well-rested, creative, relaxed yet still active. Would I do it again? YES. In fact, I’d love to bring my Mom and Grandma for a girl’s trip! We noticed that there were plenty of multi-generational families coming together.
The rooms & property:
The property is over 3,000 acres, so you know you’ll get your steps in for the day. Everything is surrounded by a vast array of gorgeous plants, herbs, flowers and trees. It’s basically like stepping onto an oasis in the middle of the desert.
Our rooms were large with firm, comfortable mattresses. Our villa had a fireplace, patio, and even a little kitchen. One thing to note: There isn’t any TV or internet in the rooms, so you really do have to be able to unplug. Various lounges around the property offer internet if you really need to check-in.
All meals are served in the dining hall, but breakfast was always by far my favorite. I loved the scrambled eggs with salsa, beans, cilantro & onions. They also serve corn tortillas, cinnamon oatmeal, the best muesli EVER, whole grain bread, fresh homemade jam, hot water with ginger & lemon, tropical fruit and so much more.
Another perk: There are always gluten free or vegan options for those who need it. It was always fun to see what people would create with their breakfasts. One day I made breakfast tacos and the next morning I had my beloved peanut butter toast with banana.
Lunch is the same situation. Lots of veggies, protein & fresh flavors. Plus they always have chia, nutritional yeast, flax seeds and a wide array of spices and herbs out. It inspired me to put more spices and herbs on my salads and veggies.
The organic farm:
One evening we were able to head over to La Cocina Que Canta, the ranch’s organic farm to pick out vegetables and herbs for our cooking class meal. The herbs were some of the freshest; we picked them straight out of the garden and sampled as we went. I learned that you can actually eat arugula blossoms (and that they are DELICIOUS). It was obvious the Ranch and their gardeners do a tremendous job at taking care of their land and soil in order to maintain such flavorful and fresh vegetables.
This was a true highlight of the trip for me as one of my dreams is to have my own organic garden. (Actually if you noticed via Snapchat, Tony recently has started our own indoor organic garden in our sunroom!)
The Ranch offers wonderful hands-on cooking classes for guests throughout the week and luckily I was able to attend two of them! Each night the meals we created were diverse, creative and FLAVORFUL! They were served family style, so we each worked in teams on a recipe. The recipes themselves mostly on vegetables, legumes and seafood. Triple check!
The first night at the cooking school, Liz and I cooked the most delicious chipotle corn chowder with poblanos, fresh corn, potatoes and a variety of spices. I’m certainly hoping to recreate it for you guys just in time for sweet corn season. Stay tuned!
I will say that I left the cooking class feeling inspired with a few new cooking techniques. Including how to create a really rich tasting vegetable broth. YAS to that.
Fitness classes & hikes:
Of course you know I hit up those fitness classes and hiking (my favorite workout). The first morning we went on the Professor’s hike, a 3.5 mile loop into the mountain behind the ranch. If you head to the ranch, definitely take the time to do the hikes. They are just the right amount of challenging and put you in a good morning mood.
Another hike offered is the organic breakfast hike, where you travel to the cooking school and enjoy a beautiful organic breakfast.
Pools & Juice Bar:
There are plenty of pools around the ranch that are both quiet and relaxing. They also have an AMAZING organic juice bar for when you’re looking for an afternoon pick me up. Try the beet juice!
Overall, I loved the ranch and highly recommend it. The crowd tends to be a little older and female-based, however there were plenty of couples and families. I’m looking forward to heading back one day!
Questions: Have you ever done wellness or fitness travel? What was your experience?
Disclaimer: Rancho La Puerta compensated my stay, but all opinions and text written here are my own. Thanks for continuing to support AK and the companies that help make this site possible! xo.