Some trips are about the exotic and unusual. And some are about the familiar and comfortable. Some manage to combine both. I have been going to Rancho la Puerta, a fitness and spa retreat in Tecate, Mexico off and on for the last 16 years. And while the setting is familiar, it never fails to provide me with something new. It’s a travel ritual that I feel fortunate to repeat.
Since starting Heather Robinson Travel, I have really upped my travel game. I always have my carry-on bag stocked and ready to go and I jump at offers for travel agents to explore new places and use my passport. So this year, the idea of the ranch felt like just the right balance of comforting ritual, yet it still required my passport!Rancho La Puerta lies in a broad valley at the foot of 3,885-foot Mount Kuchumaa. Mornings at the ranch begin with a sunrise hike up that mountain.The paths stay the same but my body has aged since my last visit so the hike is a welcome challenge.Huge granite boulders emerge on the hike giving the early morning landscape an other-worldly feel.Home to coyotes, rabbits and foxes, Kuchumaa also enjoys a diversity of North American bird species- ravens, golden eagles and red-tailed hawks. All hikes have a leader and a shepherd keeping an eye on things for you so you can just listen to the wind and your heart beating!I first heard the term incidental fitness at the ranch many years ago. It’s the exercise that happens when you aren’t even thinking about it. Rancho la Puerta has been designed with incidental fitness in mind. No path is a straight line, they meander — lined with sage and lavender— and are created with surprising vistas so that before you know it, you have walked many miles in your day.Opened in 1940, the Ranch continues to get it right. The wisdom of a week-long visit, the 50+ daily fitness classes, the amazing, abundant food and the chance to rest and renew are done so well.
Rancho la Puerta is a very special place. It’s a travel ritual I feel fortunate to keep repeating.
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