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 — as well as numerous inviting lounges and conference rooms.


Most of our facilities and lodgings are sprinkled amidst world-class gardens. Probably the world’s first “eco” resort, the Ranch practices sustainable organic gardening and resource conservation, and leads the way in environmental protection and education efforts in the region.

Within walking distance, our organic farm, Rancho Tres Estrellas, grows the healthy fare we dine on daily.

Health Centers


Spa luxury at its best. Be soothed and refreshed at our salon or one of several health centers.

Women’s Health Center
Massage/therapy rooms, lounge, hot tub, sauna, locker room, showers, nude sunbathing – 5,825 square feet.

Villas Health and Skin Care Center
Massage/therapy rooms, lounge, hot tub, sauna, locker room, showers, nude sunbathing – 13,372 square feet.

Men’s Health Center
Massage/therapy rooms, lounge, hot tub, sauna, locker room, showers, nude sunbathing – 5,390 square feet

Beauty Salon
Complete hair salon for men and women, manicures and pedicures – 2,590 sq.ft. 


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Get fit in a lovely setting. Our spacious gym facilities make working out a pleasure.

We offer the most complete program of any fitness resort and spa: over 70 different indoor and outdoor classes and activities–a total of approximately 325 instructor-led clinics and classes to choose from throughout an entire week.

The Ranch’s 11 gyms total 22,742 square feet:

  • Arroyo: 910 sq.ft.
  • Azteca: 3,920 sq.ft. equipped with 25 HOIST strength-training stations and equipment, plus Precor Elipticals, 8 Star Trac treadmills, 8 Life Cycles, 8 Stair Masters, complete free weight assemblage.
  • Kuchumaa: 2,450 sq.ft.
  • Milagro:  514 sq.ft.
  • Montana: 2,806 sq.ft.
  • Oak Tree Pavilion: 3,588 sq.ft.
  • Olmeca: 2,112 sq.ft. Free weights and ballet barre
  • Pai Pai: Spinning cycles, TRX, Kettlebells
  • Pine Tree: 2,444 sq.ft.
  • Tolteca:  2,138 sq.ft.
  • Pilates Studio: 1,540 sq.ft. Six Alegro reformers, two Studio reformers, one Trapeze table, one Wunda chair, one work table, and a wide variety of supportive equipment
  • In addition, there is a running track (1/6-mile); four lighted tennis courts; volleyball and basketball court; three swimming pools, five hot tubs, and three dozen hammocks (to entice you to rest and read, beneath ancient oak trees).

Guest Lounges and Community Spaces

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Getting to know like-minded souls is one of the great joys of Rancho La Puerta

24-hour free wi-fi is available in our Central Lounge, Maya Lounge, Flores Lounge, and the Bazar Del Sol 

  • Bazar Del Sol: Nestled in our Villas Sol area.  Enjoy tastings of locally sourced wine & coffee or shop in our new Ranch boutique.  Wi-fi hot spot
  • Central Guest Lounge: Gather in the Central Lounge around the fireplace to chat, read newspapers, enjoy teas and smoothies, hook up to the Internet, and play board games. This is also the meeting place for early morning guided hikes. Other shared spaces are listed below.
  • E-center: 24-hour access to e-mail, printers and wireless internet.
  • Flores Lounge: A cozy gathering area with coffees and teas and a fireplace. Wi-fi hot spot
  • Gazebo: A shady, centrally located palapa (a huge –umbrella– roof of woven palm leaves) for relaxing and afternoon refreshments.
  • Library: Several thousand titles, fiction and non-fiction. Reading room, classroom (Spanish lessons) and cinema lounge for evening movies.
  • Los Olivos Conference Room: Full dining and meeting facility used for corporate events and special gatherings, accommodating up to 30 guests.
  • Maya Lounge: An intimate central lounge. Cable television and Wi-fi hot spot.
  • Men’s Lounge: A comfortable area with daily papers, magazines, cable television.
  • Mercado: Boutique filled with Mexican folk art, resort wear and fitness fashion, books, jewelry, and other travelers– needs.
  • Museum: Founders– 1940-1950 adobe residence, with history displays.
  • Oak Tree Pavilion: A spectacular round building, with floor-to-ceiling views of the mountain and vineyards, used for music performances, lectures, and retreats – 3,588 sq.ft.



Rancho La Puerta, founded by Edmond and Deborah Szekely, is the original destination fitness resort and spa — family-founded, -owned and -operated. Today’s guests enjoy the very best resort spa experience, shaped by expertise developed over 70 years.

Each week, some 150 guests share 3,000 acres of mountains and meadows beneath 3,885’ Mount Kuchumaa. The peak straddles the U.S.-Mexico border, and Native Americans consider its slopes and summit a sacred place — so much so that it was the first geographic feature in the U.S. to be named a National Historic Site by the Department of Interior based on spiritual significance.

We provide space — that which is most lacking in today’s life. Space to breathe freely. To relax. To renew, reflect and redirect one’s longer-living life. All facilities and land are for the exclusive use of our guests who come for the week, arriving on a Saturday and departing on the next, ensuring the delights of a warm and welcoming community.


SS_184x184_8Rancho La Puerta’s gardens honor the history and spirit of the land, native peoples, and vineyard planters. The gardens also reflect the sacred mountain and its gifts of diverse plant and animal communities; respect the seasonal rhythms of sun and rain; and celebrate the delight and sensual experiences of living intimately with the natural world. Designed by Sarah Livia (Szekely) Brightwood, Chris Drayer and Enrique Ceballos, our gardens reflect not only the natural rhythms of our valley’s native plants and land forms, but also a keen understanding of modern-day concerns about water use and sustainable methods of gardening.

Thanks to the careful use of water through drip systems and mulching, plus a biological marsh to recycle gray water for irrigation, plants from many parts of the world thrive. A generally free-draining, neutral soil derived from decomposed granite provides ideal growing conditions, especially when amended with organic compost made on-site. The Ranch has its own nursery and propagates a wide variety of native plants, as well as Mexican, Mediterranean, Australian, South African and cottage garden species.

Mature… but never complete

Nothing can replace time as a maker of gardens. Those at Rancho La Puerta’s have had 60 years of care by the Szekelys, and approximately a century of farming use before that. Sweeping views and winding paths lead you past venerable wisteria and grape vines, and through layered canopies of mature palo verde, acacia, olive, plum, apricot and almond trees, as well as peppers, Chinese elms, honey locust, palms, sycamores, oaks and eucalyptus.

Color and fragrance greet you at every turn. Flowering plants include rosemary, lavender, sage, masses of billowy shrub roses, great drifts of calendulas, narcissus, ranunculus and alyssum. These are followed by hollyhocks and sunflowers, Lavatera (tree mallow), buddleia, matilija poppies and cactus blossoms. Jasmine and honeysuckle frame doorways. Hummingbirds swoop in to feast on the towering flowers of the century plant and the fleshy bells of Our Lord’s Candle, the native yucca.


The Szekely family collection of sculpture, paintings, mosaic, ceramics and more adorn the Ranch, indoors and out, for guests’ edification and enjoyment. Colorful folk art from the major craft regions of Mexico can be seen in public areas as well as guest residences.

The Villas Health Center Art Gallery displays 30-plus works by contemporary Latin American artists, along with the famous J.P. Morgan Collection of primitive Brazilian art.

Well-known artists, craftsmen, writers, poets and photograpers often spend a week working and teaching at the Ranch. In addition, there is an on-site art studio which offers workshops in jewelry making, as well as a weekly fine art program that includes classes in sculpture, drawing and painting. Enjoy a glass of local Baja California wine with resident artist Jennifer Brandt and sculptor Jose Ignacio Castaneda at an exibition of their works in the gallery adjoining the art studio.

Brief bios of several of the artists are included here. To fully appreciate and discover their works, join a tour led by our artist-in-residence during your stay.

James Hubbell

SS_184x184_SET_This San Diego artist is known for his innovative design work and sensitivity to the environment. He utilizes craft materials ranging from metals, clay, cements and wood to stained glass. His comprehensive design approach allows him to create memorable buildings, chapels, and parks — places for healing the soul and renewing the spirit. James Hubbell is the creator of the stained glass doors and window in the Administration Building, Kuchumaa Passage, and the mosaic center piece in the Dining Hall buffet area.

Jose Saboia

The artist was born in Almadina, a small town in the interior of Bahia, Brazil, in 1949. Jose set out in 1966 for Rio de Janeiro and began painting in 1968 in a studio with fellow artists Leonardo Cunha and Mary Lino. His themes involve rural, interior-like scenes. He plays with shapes, masses, volumes, motions and tempos.

Antonio Poteiro

Antonio Baptista de Souza came to Brazil as a boy from Santa Cristina, Portugal. He learned to be a potter with his father and became known as Poteiro –one who makes pots. He developed from a potter into a celebrated ceramicist and was later encouraged to paint by a local artist, Siron Franco. Poteiro is essentially a storyteller, weaving tales of men, animals and saints, which he collects from the streets, the Bible and his dreams.

Henry Vitor

Born in Guaxupe, Minas Gerais in 1939, Vitor settled in Sao Paulo, where he worked as a news agent and in advertising. In 1967, he launched himself as a painter of original art. He began exhibiting in 1971, and went on to develop a sound and well-appreciated artistic career. In his painting, Vitor recreates the magical world of his boyhood.


Born in 1905 in Morro de Barro Hermelho in Rio de Janeiro, Silvia graduated as a teacher from Escola Normal do Distrito Federal, and as a lawyer from Faculdade de Direito do Rio de Janeiro. A writer, translator and professional journalist, she found literature the first vehicle for her intellectual expression. After 1943, she dedicated herself to painting –her real vocation which gained her lasting popularity.

Magdalena Zawadzka

As a young woman in Warsaw, Poland, she began her artistic career creating models for the puppet theatre in Gdansk. She moved on in the ’60s to a research center for Polish “pop” art and was artistic director at Art Intrography Cooperative in Warsaw. Magdalena then migrated to Italy before moving to Brazil in 1975, settling in Sao Paulo. She incorporates in her pictures the exuberance of Brazilian flora and fauna –a world rich in colors and shapes.

Victor Hugo Castaneda

SS_184x184_SET_2The artist was born in La Palma, Michoacan, Mexico, in 1947. In 1969 he began his career as an artist at the National School of Paint and Sculpture La Esmeralda at the National Institute of Fine Arts in Mexico City. During his artistic studies he collaborated with world-renowned artists. His inspirations include tropical women; natives of the indomitable sierras; and women from forgotten mesas, paths and springs, clouds that cut the solar planes, and from glimmerings and anxieties. Casteñeda pays homage to the significance of women, and to the beautiful as opposed to the ordinary.

Jose Ignacio Castaneda

SS_184x184_SET_4Born in Mexico City in 1968, Nacho Castaneda is part of the fifth generation of Castaneda sculptors. He began working in marble at the age of fourteen, and in metals at nineteen. He earned two FIne Art degrees from the National School of Fine Arts San Carlos, where he studied sculpture, painting and engraving. He has been exhibiting his work since 1989 and teaching since 1997. In 2008, he began teaching sculpture at Rancho La Puerta. Castaneda creates sculptures both in the family tradition of figurative females, and abstract works inspired by organic forms and his own ideas about genetic shifts and the evolution of life.

Jennifer Brandt

SS_184x184_SET_3Born in New York, Brandt came west in her mid-twenties. Trained as a classical actor and vocalist, she was a performer for the first half of her life, and was co-founder and artistic director of a critically-acclaimed theatre company in Los Angeles. In 2001, when she realized she just wasn’t enjoying it anymore, she quit the theatre and returned to her first love–painting, drawing and creating beautiful things with her hands. In 2004, she became resident artist at Rancho La Puerta, where she teaches painting, drawing and jewelry making, as well as creating and exhibiting her art. Brandt works in various media–pencil, ink, watercolor, acrylic, oil, collage, sculpture–and is passionate about history and art and the still point where all branches of knowledge converge.

Well-known artists, craftsmen, writers, poets, and photographers often spend a week working and teaching at the Ranch (see Events Calendar).


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