06.28.13 – Day 5 – So today is our last day in Mexico and while this is very upsetting, I am trying not to think about it. Rather, I will focus on the wonderful morning/afternoon experience that is Rancho La Puerta.
This fitness resort and spa is located in Tecate, Baja, Mexico and utilizes its massive and beautiful natural setting to promote health and wellness. We began the experience by sitting down with Executive Chef Denise Roa at Rancho La Puerta’s La Cocina que Canta Cooking School and Culinary Center. Here we have the most extraordinary breakfast made with all natural and gluten-free ingredients (if you’re gluten-free like Splash Magazine Publisher, Lawrence Davis, you know how rare it is to find great food that accommodates to this diet!) While we enjoy the delectable meal, we learn about the cooking school and how guests at the resort are able to book classes where they can learn how to make authentic Mexican cuisine in an intimate sixteen-person setting. La Cocina que Canta receives over fifty visiting chefs each year and is open every day of the week.
**SideNote: “Rancho la Puerta” means “the door ranch” and was given this name because the resort originally started as a small camping site near two large trees that formed a doorway entrance together- the trees are still on the property today!
At La Cocino que Canta Cooking School and Culinary Center, only “home-grown” fruits and vegetables are used in the cooking; the gardens responsible for this produce can all be found right outside of the kitchen. Even more exciting: on Wednesdays the guests signed up for the classes can help Chef Denise and her staff garden and pick the produce themselves.
As Chef Denise explains to us, “there are over sixty acres of the most wonderful veggies in the world here” and their main goal is to take care of the soil. The ranch itself is “vegetarian” and uses food to help guests achieve a higher sense of physical well-being. Denise tells us, “The ranch is about finding a balance…it’s about fulfilling your emotional and spiritual needs.” At La Cocina que Canta the chefs do just that, using their knowledge of gardening and cooking to assist guests in achieving an elevated state of health and comfort.
We continue our tour of Rancho la Puerta, which is composed of natural woodlands, valleys, and flatlands. The landscape and scenery here is insurmountable and the buildings for the resort maintain the “nature” theme with cottage-like architecture and woodsy interiors. Rancho la Puerta has eighty-five guest accommodations - each one uniquely built and different from the rest! The resort has twelve gyms, four pools, and four tennis courts. The most celebrated and magnificent element of this haven, however, is not any of the buildings- it is Mount Kuchumaa. The resort claims that all of the positive energy and serenity at Rancho la Puerta is derived from this majestic mountain and that its “presence” creates a “splendid rhythm” for the resort.
All of these various spaces and natural land sites are employed to their fullest potential at Rancho la Puerta. The resort offers an endless list of activities, classes, and spa treatments, which makes every single day an adventure for the guests. Rancho la Puerta offers scheduled hikes, walks and runs through the valleys, mountains, and forests- all at different levels of rigor. The “inner self” is promoted through voluntary activities such as sound healing, meditation, reflexology, and even silent dinners (no conversation- just relaxing music!). Holistic therapies include acupuncture, chiropractic services, watsu (an aquatic therapy), and Feldenkrais. Fitness classes seem innumerable as the ranch offers everything from boxing to circuit training to t’ai chi. There are, of course, plenty of yoga and pilates classes, as well as a series of water programs that utilize the pools for a unique and stress-relieving work-out experience. Volleyball, tennis, weight-lifting and dance courses are also offered. Additionally, most programs are available for one-on-one private training sessions with an expert instructor. The infinite list of events is only made more endless with all of the various art, sculpting, and music classes available at the ranch. While Rancho la Puerta discourages the use of electronics by guests during their stays, I highly doubt anyone could miss their cell phone with so much entertainment available here. Every night the ranch provides a guest performer, speaker or lecturer and if all of these options still don’t entice you- there is more: Spanish lessons, nutrition consultation, hands-on gardening, make-up lessons and of course, cooking classes are all provided for guests.
**SidenNote: Rancho la Puerta's celebrity guests have included Madonna and Oprah!
Rancho la Puerta is an experience that cannot be paralleled with any other as it takes weary, weak, and stressed-out people in for seven days of exercise, mediation and fun- leaving everyone feeling rejuvinated and refreshed. This resort detaches people from the lives that they are so accustomed to and allows them to find an inner peace. This is the kind of place that anyone could seek refuge in and leave feeling physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually stronger than they have ever felt. Rancho la Puerta is dedicated to helping people find themselves and improve every aspect of their lives. Being at this matchless sanctuary is the most perfect cherry on top of our entire Baja experience; I can’t think of a better fit for a ‘grand finale’ for our Mexican adventure than Rancho la Puerta, with its striking scenery and unforgettable ambiance.
As we leave the ranch I notice a sign with an “Inspirational Quote-of-the-Day”, that read: “What are you doing with your one wild and precious life?” I smile and think to myself “I am experiencing the most surreal adventure one could ever hope to have.”
I am now heading back to LA where the real world awaits me; back to traffic jams, crowded everything, and stressed-out everyone. This is my sign-off: farewell Baja, you opened my eyes to beauties that I never knew existed- you reminded me how to laugh, relax, and enjoy every part of my “one wild and precious life”. Baja, Mexico fulfilled dreams I never even knew I had and satisfied every craving for adventure that my heart has ever wanted. This truly was one of the most precious treasures-of-an-experience that I have ever had and while my wild journey through Baja comes to its end, it certainly won’t be forgotten. ¡Adiós!
Here are links to ALL FIVE DAYS of my wonderful trip to Baja California:
Photographs by Lawrence Davis