A peaceful drive from San Diego along gently winding roads leads you to the quiet border town of Tecate, CA. The absence of tourists and crowds may make you wonder whether or not you're in the right place. You are, and an escort is waiting to assist you across to Tecate, Mexico, home of the world's first destination fitness resort and spa, Rancho La Puerta.
One of the many peaceful walkways — Photo courtesy of Rancho La Puerta
Celebrities and visitors from all over the world return to family-owned and operated Rancho La Puerta, founded in 1940, year after year to relax, spa, re-energize, try new fitness routines and begin life-long wellness habits. A short list of famous fans include Oprah Winfrey, Kate Winslet, Jane Fonda, Claudia Schiffer and Ricki Lake. If their stamp of approval isn't convincing enough, here are 10 reasons to go:
Privacy: It is entirely possible to either socialize with fellow guests or remain on your own, only crossing paths with others in classes or on the quiet garden walkways around the property.
Stunning landscaping: The expansive grounds are landscaped with native, water-wise plants enjoyed by birds, bunnies and other wildlife who mutter the only sounds heard in the mostly-quiet surroundings.
Delicious food: Don't worry about boring health food or feeling famished. Portions are sized, but if it's not enough, guests may ask for more. The food is colorful, locally-sourced and gourmet. Carbs are noticeably absent, but those in the know can ask for small breads. Alcohol is only served on Friday evening.
Gorgous food — Photo courtesy of Rancho La Puerta
No distractions: Seven nights in a gorgeous casita void of in-room WiFi and television allows guests to unplug, de-stress and enjoy the silence. While it sounds like an inconvenience, after setting foot on the grounds, you'll understand the benefits and won't miss checking email. However, an internet center is located near the store.
Comfortable accommodations: This isn't your average hotel. Guests stay in colorful, private casitas that are spread out all over the property. No two are alike, but amenities include air-conditioning, irons, safes, small refrigerators, coffee makers, filtered drinking water, stereos, Mexican folk art and more.
A Villa Suite — Photo courtesy of Rancho La Puerta
Spa: Take advantage of the fact that massage and other therapies assist in the detoxification process by visiting the several spa and health centers. Spa therapies use aromatic and medicinal herbs, as well as other healing plants grown in organic gardens onsite. Go big and add the unlimited spa treatment package to your stay.
Fitness: Hikes, yoga, dance (take the dance class with Yuichi on Fridays--it's a blast), pilates and more fitness classes for all levels are offered virtually every hour. Join in as many or few as you like.
One of the many yoga classes — Photo courtesy of Rancho La Puerta
Safety: Crossing the border in Tecate is a completely different experience than busy Tijuana. Guests arriving at San Diego airport are shuttled directly to Rancho La Puerta and those driving can park on the California side of the border in a lot with 24-hour surveillance. A guide escorts guests through customs, across the border and to the resort.
Cooking classes: Plan to participate in a hands-on cooking experience at La Cocina where the likes of Patricia Wells, Deborah Madison and San Diego's celebrity chefs have shared secrets of the trade. Nearby residents can attend Saturdays at the Ranch, a one-day culinary experience, fitness and spa adventure. Rancho La Puerta has a section on their website dedicated to easing safety concerns.
A Cooking Class at La Cocina — Photo courtesy of Ranco La Puerta
Taking the Ranch home: Guests find a stay at Rancho La Puerta so life-changing that many return year after year. Ranch instructors make a point of arming guests with the ability and desire to continue healthy habits at home.
Guests arrive at Rancho La Puerta and typically stay for one week, checking in on Saturday and out on the following Saturday. The cost is typically less than comparable destination spas in the USA. Call to check availability for shorter stays, but plan top keep the kids at home as young spa-goers are welcome only during family weeks in August.