Rancho La Puerta, The Godfather of Fitness Resorts

This Fitness Spa is truly the original. They basically poineered the Wellness Travel experience and continue to be the leaders in this field. The programs and options available are of plenty and I have no doubt that anyone that experiences this outstanding facility will return again. For more information or how you can find yourself here contact Cait at Wild Wellness Travel.

Rancho La Puerta Cooking School

The original fitness resort and spa was founded in 1940, Rancho La Puerta welcomes 125 guests each week amongst 87 guest rooms on over 3,000 private acres of gardens, mountains and meadows. The original “fitness resort” and spa conceived by Edmond and Deborah Szekely.

Rancho La Puerta is only an hour’s drive from San Diego, California and is located in tranquil Tecate, Baja California. The legendary Property boasts three, four, and seven night packages. These packages include accommodations, gourmet organic meals, a wide array of fitness classes, use of all facilities, daily learning
workshops and seminars, nightly entertainment, and roundtrip transportation to/from San Diego airport (Saturday only).

Camaraderie is a key factor in many guests’ passionate loyalty—hardly a week goes by when there aren’t 20 or more guests who have been to the Ranch at least 10 times or more. Voted World’s Best Destination Spa by readers of Travel + Leisure, 2010 and 2011.


Situated on over 3,000 acres of unspoiled, rolling countryside, 2,000 of which have been set aside as a permanent nature preserve. Over 40 miles of hiking trails climb up through wild-lands on the lower flanks of 3,885 foot Mt. Kuchumaa, which means “exalted high place” and was regarded sacred by Kumeyaay tribes. The mountain was the first natural feature in the United States to be recognized as a National Historic Site. Home to coyotes, cottontail rabbits, and foxes, Kuchumaa also enjoys some of the greatest diversity of bird species in North America.

The Ranch is located at 1,700 feet and enjoys an ideal year-round climate with over 340 sunny days a year and starry nights. Winters are sunny and summers mild and dry, with very low humidity and a pleasant prevailing breeze.

All eighty-seven casitas are on ground level and open onto adjacent gardens and large patios. All casitas are unique and feature Mexican folk art. They are remarkably spacious and private, and are individually landscaped, in the midst of gardens surrounded by sun-filled patios. Accommodations include livingroom-like sitting areas, CD players, refrigerators, robes, and safes (no televisions). All accommodations were recently extensively refurbished and have reverse-osmosis-filtered drinking water.

All accommodations Casitas fall into five categories:

Rancheras, Haciendas, Junior Villas, Villa Studios, and Two-Bedroom Villa Suites. Casitas range in size from about 470 sq. ft. to 900 sq. ft.(with patios from about 200 sq. ft.) to a huge 1,140 sq. ft. A true vacation home for 2 to 4 guests. Some guests find a favorite and return to it year after year, but most love to move around and try many as each has a unique charm.


The cuisine at Rancho La Puerta is semi-vegetarian, featuring an abundance of organic fruits and veggies that come straight from the resorts own six acre organic farm. Talk about a farm to table experience. The resort also offers fresh seafood from the nearby port of  Ensenada, Baja California.  All meals offer both vegetarian and modified vegetarian alternatives, with seafood being served 4-5 times a week. Although many of the dishes reflect the region's culinary heritage, all are equally accessible to North American palates.  The dining room opens to an outdoor terrace where tables sit overlooking fountains, water gardens and a view of the mountain. Cooking classes are offered weekly as are nutrition workshops.

Weight loss, in those who desire it, is a frequent by-product of the Rancho La Puerta experience because of the combination of healthy eating and increased activity—but the resort does not consider itself a “weight loss facility.” Fifty to 90 percent of recipe ingredients come from Tres Estrellas organic garden. Located six acres located north of the main Ranch, it produces most of the fresh vegetables for the Rancho La Puerta kitchen using organic gardening and companion plantings. It is also the site of the Ranch’s new cooking school and culinary center, La Cocina Que Canta. Olive groves are nearby, and The Ranch produces its very own extra virgin olive oil.

The Ranch offers eleven gyms; weight-training gym with advanced equipment; four swimming pools, Pilates studio, running track, four lighted tennis courts, volleyball and basketball courts, men’s and women’s health centers with steam rooms, whirlpools, and saunas, and three dozen hammocks for rest and balance. A labyrinth, plus spirit gyms
for the spirit of the mind-body-spirit focus of the Ranch and open to face the mountain or the arroyo and remain devoted to the quieter disciplines of meditation and yoga.

Let's talk about Fitness! - A Balance of Mind, Body, and Spirit

The classic 7-day visit, a Saturday-to-Saturday program first developed at Rancho La Puerta, is an equal mix of active challenging exercise, stretching, and relaxation, which ranges from meditation and massage to simply enjoying
the pleasures of a sunny patio or a shady hammock. Each “Fitness Day” is an exhilarating blend of all three elements. The Ranch is known as “the Friendly Spa,” for the unique blend of camaraderie and opportunities for profound quiet, contemplation, and renewal.

Rancho La Puerta’s fitness program is presided over by a staff of over 20
fulltime instructors (the “best of the best” assembled by founder Deborah
Szekely). Exercise classes and activities include Pilates, extensive yoga
offerings, guided hikes on over 25 miles of wildlands trails, Feldenkrais, fitness ball, Qi Gong, T’ai Chi, trekking, volleyball, aqua-exercise classes of all types, dance, circuit training, NIA, strength training, cardio-cycling, and many more. Approximately five classes are offered every hour totaling 325 instructor-led clinics and classes to choose from throughout an entire week. Many classes are sequential, assuring that guests become stronger and highly skilled in several disciplines by the end of the week.
The Ranch features the most extensive on-site hiking program of any spa, anywhere. The 40 miles of trails range from rolling meadow walks to challenging, steep, and mountainous hikes. Distances range from about 2 miles to 5 or more.
Daily hikes at dawn year-round are complemented by an intensive extended hiking program during the winter months.

Mindfulness Practice includes meditation, organic gardening, labyrinth, movement as metaphor, chanting, Tai Chi, yoga, prayer arrow affirmations, dancing, reflexology footpath, silent dinner and Inner Journey.

Note: Three and four-night packages are only offered Wednesday to Saturday and Saturday to Wednesday. Complimentary scheduled transportation is provided on Saturdays only; there is no midweek complimentary transportation.

With 47 treatment rooms, Rancho La Puerta’s massage and therapy program is the most extensive of any spa. Spa treatments and therapies, offered in three spacious  “health centers,” include nine types of massage, body wraps (including Rancho La Puerta’s exclusive Herbal Wrap created by Professor Szekely), body masks, polishes and showers, facials (five choices), and full salon services (hair, nails etc.). Hot Riverstone massage, hydrotherapy, and wraps of steaming hot linens steeped in indigenous herbs are also offered.
Learning, Entertainment, & Events
Afternoon and evening programs are a vital part of the Ranch experience. A program of lectures, games, workshops, world-class entertainers, arts and crafts classes, and various discourses takes place throughout the week. Guest lecturers today frequently include such luminaries as journalist Bill Moyers, former U.S. Secretary of State Madeline Albright, novelist Erica Jong, actress Jane Fonda, and many others. Other talks and workshops have included health, science, and the arts. Other learning choices include aromatherapy, prayer arrow affirmations, poetry and journal keeping, star gazing, jewelry-making and other crafts at the art studio, and in-room massage.

Evening entertainment at the Ranch includes guest-star performers, most often virtuoso musicians and singers. Broadway veterans, songwriters, dance troupes, and other well known artists spend part of a week–or a full week–with our guests, presenting cabaret-like shows at 8 p.m. after dinner. Movies are also shown each evening in the library lounge. La Cocina Que Canta Cooking School

“The Kitchen That Sings” is a 4,500 square foot $1 million facility set in the midst of a 6-acre organic farm. Guests will have the hands-on experience of picking the day’s ingredients, and participating in meal-making cooking classes that combine culinary technique with the joyous camaraderie of working side by side with top chef instructors. The center offers a gift shop and hosts complementary learning programs, such as aromatherapy, herbal uses, organic gardening, and more.


Las Piedras Nature Center was a gift to the school children of Tecate and Baja California from the founders’ daughter Sarah Livia Brightwood, an activist and environmentalist and currently the President of Rancho La Puerta. This learning center features unique boulder like architecture housing an active natural history education program. A marsh-based gray water treatment plant and a variety of other green projects combine to make the Ranch the “Ecological Spa”. The Ranch has also been a long-time sponsor of Well Baby Clinics in and around Tecate. It helps subsidize the local La Paloma orphanage and on a daily basis provides food to Our Lady of Guadeloupe church in Tecate. Rancho La Puerta is one of the only spas in North America to be actively engaged in land protection and most recently has created a 2,000-acre nature preserve.

As you can tell this property is truly a uniqe experience that caters to any person or group that is looking to enhance their life with wholesome foods, time in the outdoors, getting fit and taking time for the soul.

To find out more about this amazing property and how you can receive extra special attention at Rancho La Puerta email Cait at cait@wildwellnesstravel.com