Finding Balance at Rancho La Puerta – Part One

Rancho La Puerta wellness resort in Baja, Mexico

After a week at Rancho La Puerta, a wellness resort in Tecate, Baja, Mexico, we’ve found the seeds to a new sense of balance: a desire to eat healthy foods, drink more water, cut down on coffee, be more aware of our natural surroundings, work at a manageable pace and step up our exercise plans.

But half the joy of this beautiful place was a chance to enjoy one another’s company throughout the day and make our health a priority, all at the same time.

Leading up to our week at Rancho La Puerta, Adam and I had both been feeling run down and overworked, living on a diet comprised largely of caffeine, wine, and occasionally epic meals. L.A.’s famous weather hadn’t been consistent  for months, and our skin had become waxy and pale. We’d recently adopted a young cat whose morning playtime wakes our dog, who then wakes me…every day at 5:30am. As for Adam, he hadn’t gotten home before 8pm (if he was lucky) in about a month.

Clearly, a change was in order. Enter Rancho La Puerta.

Founded in 1940 by married couple Edmond and Deborah Szekely, RLP encourages a mind-body connection for complete health. Guests are encouraged to spend a Saturday-to-Saturday week indulging in:

-Organic, semi-vegetarian meals
-A wide variety of fitness classes from intense cardio to beginner’s yoga
-Spectacular morning hikes at several levels of difficulty
-Dance classes that allow your inner freak flag to fly
-Art classes that encourage self-expression
-A full array of spa treatments and salon services
-A few types of meditation practice
-Presentations by relationship, beauty and wellness experts
-Movies, field trips and of course…raunchy bingo

There are all sorts of special weeks throughout the year, each with a different focus: couples, Bar Method, yoga, ta’i chi, swimming, and more.

Gorgeous landscaping adds to the sense of serenity here

Sounds amazing, right? Well, in honesty, it took me a day or so to get on Rancho La Puerta’s wavelength.

I’d been excited about getting my morning sleep schedule back on track and hiking every day, but was bummed to find that the longest hikes here start in the dark and cold of 6am. My sunscreen wasn’t up to that first shock of Mexico’s afternoon sun, and I overdid it without even trying. The first 24 hours without caffeine were brutal, and meals heavy on fiber were intially, well, hard to stomach. My second night at RLP, I didn’t so much go to bed as fall upon it and pass the heck out.

By noon on the third day, though, I felt like a Disney cartoon in stretchy pants, skipping ’round the grounds with a bluebird on my shoulder. It was as though I’d been exorcised of a toxic evil and woken up on a Pilates mat.

After 3 days at Rancho La Puerta, Adam phoned the office to break the hard news, and I felt great

Adam fared well from the get-go. His vivid sunburn and vague no-coffee headache didn’t keep him from jumping into a full array of high-energy cardio classes, and he’d met four new people by lunchtime. He’d originally decided he’d only stay until Tuesday, and I’d decided not to pressure him to stay for me; when his (thankfully) supportive clients insisted he wasn’t needed back in L.A., he felt free to insist on the Ranch for himself.

Happily, Adam stayed on the entire week.

He was one of only a handful of men, as Rancho La Puerta is often thought of as a haven for women escaping their responsibilities to everyone but themselves. However, men have always been welcome here, and there were several other married couples on hand throughout the week: some in their thirties, some much older, some to give presentations, some to spend a little time together, some to lend each other support after a health shakeup.

One intrigued us most of all. The wife had come to the Ranch twice a year for the past 12 years, always with a girlfriend; this was the first time she’d ever invited her husband instead, to celebrate her birthday. It was a pleasure to see them enjoy one another’s company and attend some classes and workshops together, but it turned out that the husband had initially worried that his male presence could bring potential aggression and a competitive vibe to his wife’s happy place. He was relieved, though, to find not only other guys but also several classes that encouraged men (and women) to revel in their testosterone levels.

As for the wife, she seemed happy with her decision to share her getaway from her husband with her husband. At the party given on the last night of our stay, the couple headed out onto the dance floor, smiling; she’d been coming to Rancho la Puerta for a dozen years, and yet this was the first time she’d ever danced here.


Continued in
Finding Balance at Rancho La Puerta – Part Two


Adam and I were invited guests of Rancho La Puerta for a week, and received complimentary lodging, meals, classes, hikes, lectures and spa treatments.

A Saturday-to-Saturday stay at Rancho La Puerta generally costs between $2,800 US and $4,700 US (depending on room size and the season),
and includes lodging, food, classes, hikes, lectures, use of all facilities, and, if needed, transportation to and from San Diego Airport.
Cooking classes, private sessions and personal spa treatments are additional.


If you’re excited about visiting Rancho La Puerta for yourselves,
please know that I’ve been authorized to offer you a $250 credit!

Feel free to either contact Rancho La Puerta directly and say you were referred by Travels With Two,
or leave a comment here with your email address and I’ll send you a certificate.


  1. On the edge of my seat as if I were the bluebird on your shoulder, hoping – no, *praying* – that you include photos of raunchy bingo in part 2.

  2. Sadly, I must disappoint you…but to be fair, there’s nothing visually raunchy about bingo at Rancho La Puerta. It’s more of an “O 69” kind of thing. 🙂

  3. Hi – I enjoyed your articles re: Rancho La Puerta- sounds wonderful. Would you kindly email me the $250 credit certificate at your earliest convenience. I’d like to apply it to a Jan/Feb booking. Thanks.

  4. Doreen, I’m terribly sorry, but this promotion was held in 2011, and I no longer have access to the discount! Please contact Rancho La Puerta directly to see what specials they’re running for the months in which you’re interested — and trust me, you won’t be sorry. 🙂


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