Waking up at 5 am to hit the road at 6 am may not sound like a way to start a relaxing getaway at one of the world’s most coveted wellness destinations…. But, none the less, it’s time to spa.
Today, some good friends and I are headed to a wellness and spa experience most only have heard about. Rancho La Puerta, in Tecate, Baja Cali Mexico. A family owned and operated retreat since 1940. Rancho La Puerta has been changing lives for over 70 years now. This is a destination spa resort I have heard so much about … so we decided to check it out for ourselves. Food, fun, fitness and a massage? Uh, yes please.
We’ve opted to do a Saturdays at the Ranch which is a one-day getaway for spa, health and fitness enthusiasts. It all starts early morning where a complimentary bus will pick us up at the San Diego Visitor Center at 7:30 am to take us across the Mexican border.
This retreat attracts a lot of fitness, wellness, spa, and nutrition experts and enthusiasts. Boarding the bus, I found myself in the midst of many diverse personalities all excited for the day. Also, I found myself to be the only man on the bus today! I was told this is not a common occurrence so don’t worry guys.
On the bus we’re given some healthy snacks and water for a boost of energy as well as a small packet filled with information on the day. For those of you who will be taking this trip in the future, the bus does hit a small patch of windy road on the way to the border so take the appropriate precautions if you are prone to motion sickness.
Another tip, and perhaps the most important, you are crossing into Mexico for this trip so do not forget your passport! The staff at Rancho La Puerta are so friendly and helpful. Going across the Mexican border has never been so easy, they handle everything as a group crossing and all you need to do is follow the pack to the other side where shuttles await to take you on a short drive to the ranch.
Once we arrived, things started off with a small tour and a little history of the property as they guide us to the men’s and women’s locker rooms so we can prepare ourselves for the day.
After a short, power packed and healthy breakfast you’re free to head off to classes and activities of your choice such as fitness classes like, yoga, swimming, an open weight room, core challenges, mediation etc. Since our treatments were scheduled earlier in the day we joined a small tour to learn a little more about the property before our treatments.
One of the first things we learned is that there’s no straight path to go anywhere. And this is intentional by design. The meandering paths help residents and visitors walk a few miles each day just by walking to key points of interest on the property. And their are allot of interesting points on this property including a running track circling a private vineyard, multiple types of fitness rooms, a labyrinth, meditation loft, multiple pools and hot tubs and so much more. I am starting to see why guests retreat here for a week(s) at a time.
As 10:00 am hit, it was time to go prepare for my treatment, which was AMAZING. I had a massage that completely rebalanced me. Nice, firm pressure, yet still relaxing enough to keep me on the cusp of awareness.
As always, my favorite part of the day, food. Time for lunch. I met up with the ladies for in this beautiful dining hall. The hardest part was deciding whether to sit inside the beautiful dining hall or outside of it in the beautifully manicured landscaping and gardens and water features. Everything on the menu is hand plucked from their farms and gardens, prepared beautifully and backed by 60 years of culinary experience and creativity. Everything prepared was low in fat, sodium, and refined flours or sugars while high in energy, fiber, and complex carbohydrates. In fact, I completely forgot there was no meat on my plate! And yes, I did go back for seconds… Ok, maybe thirds.
After an amazing lunch it felt like a good idea to walk a bit more. So, we joined a group touring a few of the Casitas on the property. These are free standing villas of luxurious style and proportion, which many exceed 1,000 square feet and are private. They’re personal refuges for the week. Or, as long as you want. Perfect for those projects where you need clarity and seclusion. Writers, editors, digital nomads or any kind of project where you need to be at your best mentally while away from all distractions, this is quite the perfect fit.
A big part of the experience of Rancho La Puerta is letting yourself wander and hiking their meandering pathways. Everywhere you look is gorgeous. While walking back from the tour of the Casitas i took a small detour (ok, I got lost) and ran into the Labyrinth. If you’re anything like me the whole labyrinth experience is a bit new and allot of questions arise. Mostly because of a common misconception that a labyrinth is like a maze. But, it’s not. The key difference is that a maze is created to confuse the participant with game like devices and puzzles. A labyrinth however, is made to open your consciousness. This particular one is set deep in an ancient oak grove on their full-scale replica of the classic labyrinth found at Chartres Cathedral in France. Rancho La Puerta’s labyrinth is a non-denominational experience for the mind, body and spirit and is quite meditative.
Now that I’ve centered myself in the labyrinth, rebalanced myself with a massage, and filled my tummy with a delectable lunch, it’s time for the next phase of today’s adventure which i’m super excited about, the culinary demonstration. This demonstration is held at the “La Cocina Que Canta Cooking School”. Set in the heart of a 6 acre farm. La Cocina Que Canta regularly hosts internationally renowned guest chefs and authors of prestigious cookbooks. The farm is home to many of the schools events as well as a host for special events or private parties.
The Rancho La Puerta Cooking School and classes are quite enlightening and forces the audience to examine their eating and cooking habits. Though they honor the culinary heritage of Mexico, their cuisine is not really “Mexican food”, but more an eclectic and international style blending techniques and ingredients of the Mediterranean, Latin-American, Asian and other cultures.
Walking about the farm, you can feel the love and care the team puts into every single ingredient. The food was simply delicious. My palette has never left a meal feeling so fresh while my body completely satisfied and nourished. Their definitely is something magic in the air here and I can see why it’s a beautiful location for weddings.
The Rancho La Puerta Culinary Experience and dinner at the farm round up the end of the day. Time to load up and head back to the border. I’m not going to lie, the day went fast. Really fast. Time flies when you’re having fun right? If you are planning on having a Saturday at the Ranch, my advice is not to try and cram it all in in one day. That’s nearly impossible as the ranch has so much to offer for such a short period of time. That being said. Do it with an intention in mind. A relaxing day hiking, a day of fitness, walking a vineyard before a massage, centering yourself inside a labyrinth or whatever you intention may be, the ranch will help you come back a better, balanced and healthier you. A second piece of advice, come with friends, loved ones or that special person in your life. This is the perfect way to grow together and return with new ideas and perspectives. You have to remember, these types of trips and traveling in general, are as fun as the companions you travel with. Until next time, I’m Michael and I hope to meet you at the spa one day. Live Well. Love Always and Spa Often!
You can find more information on Rancho La Puerta and all they have to offer on their website at rancholapuerta.com.