Adventure Never Felt So Good

Rancho La Puerta

Jan 1, 2004
Outside Magazine

The Golden Door Spa at The Boulders, in Arizona, offers after-dark desert hiking and mountain biking with night-vision goggles.

Rancho La Puerta's river-stone massage

2. Rancho La Puerta
Tecate, Mexico

THE VIBE: It's the easiest trip to Mexico you'll ever take. A bus picks you up at the San Diego airport, whisks you across the border at Tecate (yes, that Tecate, but you won't be drinking any this week), and continues to the gates of Rancho La Puerta, set on more than 3,000 acres at the base of boulder-strewn, 3,885-foot Mount Kuchumaa. Opened in 1940 by Edmond and Deborah Szekely, "The Ranch" was the precursor to the fitness spa—a health camp where guests paid $17.50 a week to pitch their own tents and dine on chemical-free food. Now, 160 guests per week stay in Spanish Colonial-style villas in a Garden of Eden full of palms, eucalyptus, and bougainvillea. Days start at dawn with vigorous mountain hikes followed by every-hour-on-the-hour classes with names like Sculpt and Strengthen, Pilates Matwork, Super Cross Training, Yoga Workshop, and African Dance Workout. But the chaise lounges around the resort's three pools, lectures on nutrition, three centers offering a full menu of spa treatments, and meditation sessions are very worthy distractions. The Ranch will propel you toward the new, balanced you.
GUEST LIST: An affluent and well-traveled but down-to-earth crowd with an extremely high return rate; some guests have been there as many as 37 times.
AWE FACTOR: Walking the Labyrinth, a meditative path, lit by luminarias at night.
TO-DIE-FOR TREATMENT: The Aromatherapy Wrap, in which you are rolled up tight in steaming linens, like a rosemary-scented burrito, then given a brisk 20-minute body massage.
MENU: Most of the veggies and herbs come from Rancho La Puerta's six-acre organic farm. The Mexican-inspired spa food is low on fat and mostly vegetarian, with lots of soups and salads.
HE-MAN RATING: Three grunts—with daily hikes and challenging cardio, weight-training, and strength classes, you can push yourself hard. Or not.
PRICE: $2,380 to $3,550 per person per week, meals included
CONTACT: 800-443-7565,

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