Rancho La Puerta Retreat- a Haven for Healing

It was a girlfriend’s holiday lunch, and each of us felt depleted, overwhelmed with family, work, digital demands, and had a few extra pounds to shed.   This is when our search began for a quiet place to regain balance, re-calibrate and get focus on our intentions for a new year.

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And we found it!  Rancho La Puerta an award-winning wellness resort, just south of the border is the perfect place to unplug, and reconnect with nature.  Just an hour from San Diego, California, we arrived to The Ranch in Tecate, Mexico for a life-transforming adventure.

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In our charming casita, Villa Sol #6, there was a tiny sleeping bag for our cell phones on our beds, and a welcome brochure with a tagline “Embrace Your Life”.

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After studying the program of fitness classes, activities, and special presentations from visiting speakers, we each created our individual list of what we wanted to experience during our time at The Ranch.

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Some days, we were inspired to change our schedule and follow our instincts to another experience.  The Ranch encouraged us to find balance from invigorating cardio classes to calming moments of meditation or surrendering to get pampered at the spa.

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Here’s an overview of some of our adventures and experiences that nourished our bodies, minds, and spirits.


Morning Hikes: 

Highly recommend the early morning hikes where you wake up and hike through the canyons, mountains, and fabulous trails that meander through a landscape of giant boulders.  The vistas and panoramic views are magical as the sun rises and the morning greets you.  We especially loved the Coyote Hike and another morning took the Organic Garden Breakfast Hike.  Can’t wait to return and go on more of the hiking trails.

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Fitness Classes: 

There’s a wide range of classes offered throughout the week – Tai Chi, Pilates, Meditation, Posture, Sculpt, Yoga, Hip-Hop & Zumba Dance Classes, Feldenkrais, Circuit Training, Hula Hoop, Cycling, Swimming, Tennis, Kettlebells, and more.  Each class is tailored to each person’s skill level.

Special Presentations:

Each week, The Ranch invites various speakers who present a variety of topics such as love, relationships, writing and more.

Cooking Classes: 

We signed up for a cooking class with Chef Annie Fenn at La Cocina Que Canta (the kitchen that sings), and learned new skills in the kitchen, made new friends, and have healthy recipes to take home.  We walked the 6-acre farm under Mt. Kuchumaa, with Head Gardener Salvador Tinajero, and selected vegetables and herbs for our dinner.

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The Labyrinth: 

We set out for a walking meditation inside the Labyrinth Path.  What is a Labyrinth? For over 4,000 years, labyrinths have evolved from spiral forms of nature, representing transformation. This motif is seen in the Cretan Labyrinth, Hopi Medicine Wheel, Jewish Kabbala, Tibetan Sand Paintings.

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Unlike a maze, the Labyrinth seeks to quiet our minds & lead us to peace and inner knowing. Its path is a metaphor for our journey through life.  May we find all we seek on our journeys in life.

Prayer Arrows Class: 

This class sounded interesting, so I attended to learn more about this votive folkart by Timothy Hinchliff.  He taught us how to create our own prayer arrow.

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We each wrote a prayer on a small scroll of rice paper with our intention – a personal goal, passion, offering of gratitude, or a focus of healing, growth and renewal for another, or a prayer for community and ancient relations.  I took two feathers for the top of my arrow symbolizing a Dove, a symbol of peace, love and spirit, to be our messenger.  Then selected the yarn colors that relate to certain chakras, and after wrapping my arrow with yarn, attached a small bundle “tussie mussie” of herbs/spirit plants – sage, rosemary, bay leaves, lavender, to energize the senses.  The final touch was tying a quartz crystal to my arrow to represent clarity and strength.  Timothy shared that “Quartz is a positive conductor, a symbol of the mountain.”  I met some other guests at The Ranch who have visited here for decades, and they still have their prayer arrows at home.  A sacred reminder of how our life’s intentions paired with nature’s energy can guide us throughout each day.

The Spa:

There were several spa services and treatments offered to help the natural healing cycles – cleanse, relax, energize and restore.  I choose the signature Ranch Classic Massage and my therapist opened the windows so I could listen to the wind and the birds during my treatment.  Another friend got the Chocolate Body Treatment called the Xocolatl Skin Replenishment.  Therapists use organically grown herbs from the Ranch garden, and natural ingredients found in the region.

Evening Concerts & Lectures:

The Ranch offers concerts and lectures in the evening which can change week-to-week.  They invite artists, authors, doctors, astronomers, philosophers and other experts to present inspirational topics and experiences.  During our stay, we enjoyed a concert featuring a piano, flute and violin.

Holistic Healing Classes: 

There are a variety of classes to choose from – Acupuncture, Watsu, Energy Healing, Craniosacral Therapy.  We attended a Sound Healing Class where crystal bowls emit pure sound waves that resonate throughout the body tissues and organs.  These sounds and vibrations affect brain wave activity causing the release of powerful neurohormones that suppress pain, heighten the immune system, and produce deep relaxation.

Meals at the Main Dining Hall: 

A special treat is dining at the main dining hall for breakfasts, lunches and dinners.  Meals are focused on a healthy, light-eating style with flavorful high-nutrient food.

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Relax and Connect with Nature: 

The landscape and gardens are beautiful!  There are sculptures and benches throughout the property where guests can relax and reconnect with nature.

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After a few days, we were walking taller, being more mindful, and connecting with nature and each other.  Putting our digital devices away, and focusing on self-care was healing.  Our bodies, minds and spirits felt rejuvenated and our intentions for a new year were set.

No wonder guests return to Rancho La Puerta on a regular basis.  It’s a haven for healing.


We flew into San Diego Airport and Top Cat Limousine picked us up and drove us over the border to Rancho La Puerta in Tecate, only about 1-2 hrs drive.

Good to Note:  The Ranch offers complimentary transfers only on Saturdays for those staying the entire week.  We arrived mid-week for only a 4-day stay, so we booked a reservation with Top Cat Limousine for a 1-way transfer.

Top Cat Limousine 

TopCat Limo, an award winning limousine service based in San Diego, serving customers since 1985!

Whether you need a ride to Rancho La Puerta in Mexico, or you want to sight see and drive around San Diego to Los Angeles, or to Las Vegas, TopCat Limo can help.

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Our driver provided excellent service and were greeted on-time upon arrival.

TopCat offers limousines for touring and celebrating – birthdays, quinceneras, bachelor parties, weddings, anniversaries and to several of San Diego’s world famous amusement parks, including the San Diego Zoo, Sea World, Legoland and of course the beautiful beaches surrounding San Diego, and Baja, Mexico.

About Rancho La Puerta:

Rancho La Puerta was founded in 1940 by Edmond and Deborah Szekely.  The Szekely couple wanted to focus on integrating ancient ways of health and wisdom into a new lifestyle at The Ranch.

Their goal was to transform their guests with self-awareness and understanding their role in self care for their mind, body and spirit.  Through a healthy diet, exercise and renewed sense of life’s purpose, guests return year after year to regain balance and a renewed sense of self.

Initially called the “Essene School of Life” and today it’s still managed by the Szekely family and called Rancho La Puerta.


We would like to thank Top Cat Limousine Service for hosting our transfer to Rancho La Puerta.  

Also, thanks to Rancho La Puerta for partially hosting this experience, and to GoGo for providing us with complimentary wi-fi during our flight.

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