This was my second trip to Rancho La Puerta, but many of the people I met there have returned time and again and it's clear why they keep coming back, despite the slight hassle of having to cross the border. (The process is fairly efficient going into Mexico - we didn't even have to get off the shuttle bus to fill out our visa forms - but upon return from Mexico, there is a very long line of cars going North and you have to take your luggage off the bus, walk through US Customs, and reload. If you depart RLP on the 7:45 am bus, it is likely that the trip will take over 2.5 hours owing to very long lines at the border - RLP advises you to allow 3 hours travel time. I have heard that those able to take the later bus at 10 am get through faster due to shorter lines.) But aside from that, you get to spend a week in a thoroughly lovely campus with extremely attentive and friendly staff and very high quality instruction, ranging from art to meditation to cooking to all kinds of exercise at various levels. A big advantage for those new to certain types of exercise like yoga and pilates is the progressive classes that are great for those who want to start at a very basic level and not have to worry about the class being too advanced. But even experienced exercisers can fine tune their programs and take classes that are not often available at home, such as the wonderful Postural Therapy. The food is really delicious - vegetarian plus fish entrees available on some days - and the small portions are perfect for those wanting to jump start healthier, less caloric eating. But don't worry - you can have as much to eat as you want. There are several presenters each week, most of whom are very interesting and informative, plus musicians and artists and chefs to entertain and /or instruct. And don't miss Bingo night even if you're tempted to skip it - it's really fun. In general, you get great value for your money, especially compared to the pricier places like Canyon Ranch in Tucson, where I have spent many vacations. What Canyon Ranch has that RLP doesn't is a much broader range of hiking options, biking, and a wider range of spa services, such as Thai Massage, along with medical programs and extensive health/fitness testing, as well as an indoor pool for colder months. But if you can do without those things, RLP has the same high quality instruction and attention to detail at a much better price. Talk to the reservations people about the rooms and get a good understanding of the options. They are all lovely, filled with charming Mexican tiles, mirrors and folk art. The Villas rooms are less central to the campus, so you have to walk a bit further to get back to your room. (There is a lot of walking during the day as you go from building to building for classes, treatments, meals, etc., so you may want to be in a more centrally located room. I highly recommend Flores 23. It is very conveniently located and has a wonderful window seat about the width of a single bed that juts out from the room with windows on three sides looking out over greenery, perfect for reading or just relaxing. Unfortunately, the room has two double beds instead of queens, so great for two singles sharing a room, but not so great for couples. Make sure you get the size bed you need! My husband was with me, by the way, and he had a great time, too. There are definitely more women than men, but there is plenty to entertain men and even some male-specific classes, services, and orientation. You can sign up for e-mails to get news of special deals - we paid only $2500 per person for a week, which was a huge savings, and there were no single supplements that week, so it's no wonder that it was pretty much sold out. You can also use the website to see who each week's presenters are and choose your week based on what's interesting to you. As for any safety concerns, the drive there is mostly in the US - you cross over at Tecate and you are hardly over the border before you arrive, as the ride is only about 15 minutes from/to the border (not including time spent waiting in line to get back into the US). There is security on the RLP campus, although it's very unobtrusive (unlike many US cities!) I did notice the highway noise this time, but mostly it's a dull buzz and you can only hear it when outdoors, so it shouldn't be a problem at bedtime. It was about as chilly as it gets when we were there the first week in December, with lows around 30F and highs around 60-64, so we only had lunch outdoors, but in warmer weather all meals are served outdoors. I was told that May and October are great months weather-wise, but it all depends how hot you like it. It's a Mediterranean climate, however, so I don't think you can go wrong whenever you can get away.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The world's first fitness resort established in 1940, this spa is located right across the border in Mexico and is nestled on 3,000 private acres of rolling terrain. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Rancho La Puerta Hotel Tecate
- Rancho La Puerta Tecate