My Trip to Rancho La Puerta {Part 1}

March 5th, 2013 at 8:08 am

Last week I had the pleasure of visiting Rancho La Puerta, a destination spa and fitness ranch located just south of San Diego in Tecate, Mexico. The hills of Tecate (and the sunshine and warm temperatures!) were such a welcome change from the gloom and gray of the Midwest! I’m so excited to journey back through my photos and share about my trip with you.

In most cases, travelers stay at Rancho La Puerta from Saturday to Saturday, enjoying a full week of fitness classes, healthy and fresh food, hikes through the mountains, spa treatments, and more. I traveled to the ranch with a very special guest…my mom! We made a girls trip out of it and had an absolute blast.

Upon arriving at the ranch, we took some time to settle into our casita, a free-standing building that’s sort of like a cottage. Our casita had floor to ceiling windows with a wonderful view of the rocky hills and horizon.

There are no high-rise buildings or elevators at Rancho La Puerta. All of the rooms, or casitas, are stand-alone buildings spread across the ranch’s acreage. The grounds stretching between the casitas, gyms, pavilions, gazebos, and wellness centers are absolutely breathtaking. There were shrubs, flowers, trees, bridges, vineyards, fountains, pools, and more, all of which blended into the scenery in a very natural and organic way.

After we spent a little time settling in, it was time for our first dinner at the ranch! All of the meals are held in one central dining hall, an absolutely stunning building with insanely beautiful architecture. Pictures just don’t do it justice. We ate every single meal during the entire trip at the dining hall or in the sunshine on the brick patio.

So how did I manage to eat gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, refined sugar-free, grain-free meals for an entire week? Believe me, I was worried how it would all go down! From my research, I knew that the ranch catered to people with food sensitivities, but I still was very nervous about what I would be able to eat during the trip.

My worries were put to rest very quickly. Rancho La Puerta impressed me beyond belief with the way they handled my food sensitivities and fed me so well all week long. I’m going to dedicate an entire post to the food alone at the ranch because there’s just too much to say about it in this post! (Stay tuned this week for the second installment.)

When my mom and I weren’t walking around the gorgeous grounds at the ranch or taking hikes through the rugged and beautiful mountains, we enjoyed plenty of fitness classes at the ranch’s gyms. We did everything from yoga to cardio boxing to dancing, and even took our first Bar Method class, which we both loved. (My rear end was begging for mercy by the end of the class!)

One evening we took a hands-on cooking class at the ranch’s nearby cooking school, La Cocina Que Canta (The Kitchen that Sings). Surrounded by a 6-acre organic farm that supplies the ranch with much of their produce, the cooking school itself was a work of art. Again, there is so much to share about our experience at La Cocina Que Canta that I’m going to devote a separate post to it entirely. It was amazing.

Our week at Rancho La Puerta flew by. A person can only exercise so much, so when we felt like we needed some down time, we enjoyed reading by the pool and attending talks on nutrition, mindfulness, and achieving goals. For crafty ranchers, there were also classes such as jewelry making and sculpting. And of course, the spa was not to be missed either. I had a massage one day at one of the ranch’s wellness centers (there are three on the premises), which sent me into a relaxation coma for the rest of the day!

There are no TVs in the rooms at Rancho La Puerta. Cell phone use is limited to certain areas only, and even then it is quite expensive to make calls from Mexico to the US, so most people don’t use their phones at all. Other than one lounge with wifi and a small business center, there is no internet access at the ranch. All of this “detachment” from technology scared me at first (how would I communicate with people!?), but after settling into the rhythm of the ranch, the quietness was unbelievably refreshing.

I found myself reading more, sleeping more, walking more, and worrying less. By detaching from the “noise” of our media-centered world for a few days, my head felt clearer and my heart grew lighter.

All in all, our trip to Rancho La Puerta was everything I hoped it would be and so much more. I returned home feeling refreshed, invigorated, inspired, and ready to go into the new month with positivity and a renewed spirit.

Stay tuned, because later this week I’ll be dishing on the food at Rancho La Puerta and how a person like me, with all my “food issues,” managed to eat well, stay satisfied, and not get sick for the entire trip. You’ll want to read about this, trust me!

(Rancho La Puerta hosted my stay, but my opinions are my own.)


  1. Your photos make me feel how tranquil it was there. So glad you had a wonderful break from reality:-)

  2. SherriS: Oh my goodness, yes. It was definitely a step away from reality! Now that I’m back at work in snowy Wisconsin this week, I realize just how serene it was at the ranch. :)

  3. Oh my good-golly! I sooo want to go to Rancho la Puerta!! I’m going to make it happen! can’t wait to read more about your trip! ;-)

  4. I’ve been there twice but that was before I stopped eating grains & legumes. I’m looking forward to hearing more about your experience with the cuisine there.

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