Rancho La Puerta, an oasis in Tecate Mexico

By Henya Lish-Gebeloff

How does one describe Rancho La Puerta, an oasis in Tecate Mexico, a little over an hour south of San Diego- known as the finest year around climate.  I’ve known about the ranch for many, many years so when I received an invitation to be their guest I immediately said “yes”. Last year some clients spent a wonderful week at the ranch, so this opportunity would allow me to form my own opinions and comparisons to other spas I had stayed at.

Today is Wed. and I am able to reflect back, I have to tell you that I am sitting at the desk watching a bunny rabbit outside my window, I think we are having a starring contest since he is just sitting there in frozen state, I’m so lucky I just got my camera and he/she is still there.  The back drop is beautiful since the resort sits on 3,000 acres at the base of Mt. Kuchumma with rolling hills, huge olive trees and very fresh clean air, I really expect to see John Wayne on horseback trotting down from the hills.

Rancho La Puerta was founded 71 years ago are we saying “Back to Basics”, it was a bring your own tent retreat, the museum is quite a historical legend to visit. The facilities have changed but the philosophy has not, Human Health begins with healthy soil which means good food, fresh picked from the farm, organic, no commercial fertilizers and no poison sprays have ever been or are used.  The founder Edmond Szekely and his wife Deborah insisted that one of the causes of human illness was from commercial mass produced food.

Let’s begin with the food, amazing what can be done with a vegetarian diet, plus a seafood option daily. The presentation is just beautiful just like an artist’s palette, every color of the rainbow.  Every meal is better than the last, the flavors just dance on your tongue. Now if I could only afford to hire a chef when I get home.  Breakfast and lunch is served buffet style with a sit down dinner.

Days can e as active or as lazy as you wish, beginning at 6a.m., 6:15a.m. or 7a.m. are different hikes based on difficulty and length, then back to breakfast and off to classes from  Pilates, Yoga, Stretch, water exercises, meditation,  let’s see on Wed. from 9 a.m. – 4pm you had 40 choices including various lectures, jewelry design, painting. This is a camp for adults.  In the evening you might have a lecture, various authors and Dr’s.  visit the camp every week, movies, bingo with Barry, or a special gathering with Deborah Szekely age 87 who started the ranch with her husband Edmond 70 years ago.

Did I mention “ Cocina Que Conta, the cooking school and culinary center at Rancho La Puerta, what a fabulous kitchen hosting weekly visiting chefs who teach a hands on cooking experience for 15 students, best part you dine on your own creations. Right outside is a spacious organic farm so all of the ingredients are fresh picked.  You get to cook side by side with the teaching chefs.  This week we cooked with Peggy Knickerbocker who is a “James Beard Award Winning Chef”.

Before you know it you week is over but you are wanting more,  especially the spa treatments which were wonderful. Most guests that I met have been here before over a 90% repeat ratio which is amazing.  This is a wonderful get-away for a group of friends since many of the accommodations like the villa suites can sleep 4.  Each unit individually designed, most with fireplaces you can chose from Haciendas, Jr. Villas, Villa Studios and Villa suites, some of the Rancheras have fireplaces as well.  This past week was very unusual with some rain and very cool nights, what a pleasure having the fireplace, all of the units have air conditioning and heat.   There were about 6 couples, individuals, mothers and daughters, fathers and sons and friends that fly in from all over the US once a year.  I am definitely going to try and make this a once a year happening, a regrouping on life.

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