At the end of my time in the United States earlier this month, I had the opportunity to experience Rancho La Puerta. I’d heard amazing things about this health spa retreat, but to live it myself was beyond what I could have expected. It’s a true gem, and it’s easy to see why Travel and Leisure and Conde Naste Traveler have given it accolades.
Not far from San Diego, California, the Ranch itself is just across the American border in a little town called Tecate, Mexico.
Rancho La Puerta’s 3,000 acres include 32 acres of gardens, hiking trails, an organic farm, several pools, extensive spa and fitness facilities, a salon, individual casitas for guests, a large dining hall, gift shop, and an intimate library. Incredible!
A typical day (so many options):
Plan each day to be your personal symphony of activity and relaxation: hourly fitness classes balance with spa treatments and meals…or a swing in one of the many hammocks. I loved these! My room was beautiful too, and filled with such colourful art.
Wake up with a 6am hike around the gorgeous grounds. They offer gentle, medium or hard options. The more gentle option starts at 7am, and it was a must do for me. Such a good workout and start to the day.
Come back and enjoy a wholesome breakfast at around 8-8:30am.
Begin the activities of the day – every 45 minutes there is a different and amazing option to choose from. Mornings sessions are between 9am-12pm.
I would usually do the meditation option at 9am, yoga at 10 and then Pilates or a core class. You spend the morning being super active so you can then relax in the afternoon.
I really loved the hip-hop dance class, yoga, barre classes and meditation – it was great to try some new things combined with some familiar things I enjoy too.
There are many activities to choose from to suit your individual needs, interests and passions– that’s what really stood out to me.
Philosophy at the ranch: Organic, plant based diet with a little fish and eggs.
No animal protein (i.e. chicken or meat.)
Note: you can tell the Ranch about any special dietary requirements and they will cater to your needs – of course!
Breakfast: A typical breakfast is oatmeal with their amazing homemade granola and fresh papaya or mango – so yum. You can have eggs too, which I often did!
Lunch: This is served buffet-style with loads of delicious fresh salads with fish or boiled eggs and the best variety of roasted veggies – my fav! There was also different, freshly prepared soup every day for lunch.
Dinner: Dinner is served to you – which is great to help connect with portion control. To start, there is a healthy soup and a fresh salad. Mains were either a vegetarian option (usually Mexican style, so unique!) or grilled fish and veg. I usually asked for an extra side of veg – typical nutritionist!
What I learned:
Something that became very apparent? I have a “doing addiction.” Especially after wrapping up meetings and so much planning while I was in New York and LA, it was very challenging for me to switch over into a calm environment. I was so used to the go go go!
One of the things that helped with this was eating in silence and in a calm environment. It reaffirmed that this act is life changing and so good for your digestion.
Eating a plant based diet is an incredible change of pace for your digestion, too. Eliminating animal protein for a period of time is a simple and healthy way to detox.
Being in nature is, I think, what finally helped me reconnect with myself and slow down again. Hiking is so good for the body and soul, and I loved taking the time to do that every day.
The other thing that I was gently reminded of is the importance of taking time to rest. Remember the JSHealth Switchoff? It was in full force. Giving yourself the opportunity to rest for a bit, especially in the afternoon, will really uplift your health – and your spirit.
There were so many wonderful and truly inspiring aspects of my time at Rancho La Puerta, but these are the things that would keep me coming back – and what I know you’ll experience when you visit!
- The hikes every morning – try the breakfast garden hike in particular
- The food – so fresh and tasty
- The people you meet – everyone is kind, helpful and very peaceful
- The time to really relax in the afternoon – every day I would read by the pool and simply commit to doing nothing. This is the best thing you can do at a health retreat. It’s what recharging is all about!