Rancho La Puerta- Destination Fitness Resort & Spa
What's the Scoop?!
I have always been so curious as to what goes on at a fitness resort and spa and if it would make for a worthwhile vacation. When I recently discovered Rancho La Puerta and that it was an easy drive from Orange County, I had to see it for myself! So I grabbed one of our girlfriends, Bridget, and drove down for a 4-night stay, having no clue what we were getting ourselves into!
Rancho La Puerta is a fitness and destination spa located just south of San Diego in Tecate, Mexico. It was founded back in 1940 and has been family-owned and operated ever since. The property is located on a 4,000 acre nature reserve including hiking trails, an organic farm (aka incredible farm-to-table meals!), extensive spa and fitness facilities, and tons of open space to relax and reconnect. One of the best parts is that there is no wifi except for a handful of lounges, meaning not once did I hear a phone ring or text message buzz!
Here's what our stay looked like!...
6AM: Morning Hike, Run, or Obstacle Course
Each morning we had the choice (not mandatory of course) to go on a short hike (2 miles), longer mountain hike (3.5+ miles), Organic Breakfast Hike (4 miles roundtrip to the organic farm for breakfast), 5 mile run with Martin, the Running Concierge, or an obstacle course. We started Day 1 with a 3.5 mile hike, Day 2 with the obstacle course run, Day 3 on a run with Martin, and our final Day with the Organic Breakfast Hike. Each morning by the time we reached breakfast we already had 10k steps! Just in time for an amazing breakfast followed by tons of fitness class choices.
Breakfast was probably my favorite meal of the day because after hiking, running, etc. there was an amazing breakfast buffet of eggs, healthy chilaquiles, SO much fresh fruit, yogurt and granola, and the list goes on....waiting for you. My only problem was eating too much and being ridiculously full for my 9am class! On our last morning we went on the Organic Breakfast Hike and walked to the organic garden where we had another amazingly fresh breakfast and wandered the expansive garden.
9AM-12PM: Fitness Classes on the hour
It felt like being back in college being able to choose your class schedule! Each day had 50+ fitness classes to choose from with the sweetest, most knowledgable instructors. Since each class was 45 minutes long, you could attend them on the hour, depending on how many your body was up for. We took tennis classes, latin dance cardio, stretching, Tabata, Body Bar Plus, Water Aerobics, Hip Hop, HIIT Cardio and more. There was a great combination of higher intensity classes along with more mellow meditation, yoga, and stretching classes.
12:30PM: Lunch + afternoon relaxation
After a morning hike and 3 late morning classes, we were always ready for lunch and some relaxation. Again with a buffet style lunch, we had so many healthy options with amazing salads, sautéed veggies, and incredible vegetarian or pescatarian courses. Unless there was a class we were dying to take, we used afternoon to listen to guest speakers, lay by the pool, and even get pampered with a Sports Massage which was much needed after so many activities! With such a huge property, there was no shortage of quiet areas to read, relax in a hammock, and spend time catching up.
6PM Dinner and Hands On Cooking Class
Each night dinner was a sit down, 4-course meal. A number of times we were sat at large tables where we were able to meet and enjoy other guests who were always such huge advocates of The Ranch (some having been over 20 times!) We would receive a delicious soup, salad, choice of main course (typically one vegetarian and seafood option), and dessert. We learned night 1 that extra desserts were allowed, you just needed to ask. Since we had about 25k steps by this time each day, second dessert seemed reasonable:) There was also a cafe on property called Bazar del Sol that served espresso beverages in the morning and wine in the evenings. The perfect spot to unwind and read a book after an activity-packed day! On our last evening before departure, we were fortunate enough to attend a Hands-On Cooking Class with Denise, an amazing chef from Vancouver, BC. After taking a van over to the organic garden and kitchen, we helped create an amazing 7-course meal with 16 other guests. We separated into groups of 2-3 and each group was responsible for preparing one dish (we were sure to pick the easiest side dish =D).
8PM Talk with Deborah, Bingo, Reading in Our Casita
Each night concluded with some sort of activity, or reading in our adorable Casita. No one Casita is alike, and are spread out across the resort in different "neighborhoods". Every Tuesday there is an incredible talk with Deborah (95), the founder of The Ranch, where she explains her experience at The Ranch, how it's evolved, and answers any questions. One of the nights we had the opportunity to go star-gazing, and another we played Bingo but unfortunately were not winners =( By the time 9:30pm rolled around, we were tucked in and ready to be up with the sun!
The entire experience at Rancho La Puerta couldn't have been more positive. Unlike normal vacations where I'm somewhat able to disconnect, but return feeling lethargic and needing to get "back on track", I left The Ranch feeling completely refreshed and energized. Having your body nourished with nothing but amazing farm-to-table meals, staying active all day long in nature, and going off the grid with limited wifi is the perfect way to rest your mind and reflect, while keeping your body feeling at it's best. My only regret was choosing the 4-night option instead of 7! I can certainly see why so many people return year after year, as I know I will surely be back myself!