Just south of the border is the best destination spa and resort in the world, Rancho La Puerta. I’mnot just saying that. They were rated the best destination spa by Travel + Leisure for 2013 and they’ve won in three of the last four years. More than half of the people here are returning guests (some have been coming here for more than 30 years!) and after a week in paradise, I can see why.
Rancho La Puerta is in Mexico just an hour’s drive from San Diego, and the resort provides a comfortable shuttle bus from the airport. Someone from the resort will even collect your passport at the Mexican border so you don’t have to wait to go through customs. Who has time for that? Relaxation and beauty await!
The entire Rancho La Puerta experience is like summer camp for adults. Everyone eats in acommon dining at set meal times to build camaraderie. The gorgeous dining hall is a great place to meet other guests, all of whom I found to be lovely people. Meals are vegetarian with a few pescatarian options at dinner and the food is incredibly fresh and flavorful. All of the produce is from the RLP garden located at the cooking school, La Cocina que Canta. I was so well-fed but everything was also so healthy that I never felt bad about indulging. From a plethora of milk alternatives (almond milk was my favorite) at breakfast to an entire gluten-free spread, RLP will happily accommodate any allergies or dietary restrictions.
Dinners were four-course affairs, with soup, salad, an entree and dessert. Some of my favorite entrees included barley and wild rice risotto with sauteed vegetables and yellowfin tuna with blistered tomato vinaigrette. Desserts, like fig tart with berry compote, come in small portions with minimal sugar and fat, but were so tasty I never felt like I was eating diet food. Some may come to RLP to lose weight, but the focus is really on overall wellness and nourishing your body.
Each day there are a multitude of activities to choose from, including a variety of fitness classes(tennis to TRX to pilates), art classes (sketching or jewelry making) and classes focused on healing your body and soul (Feldenkrais, Watsu or meditation). Each morning you have the chance to join one of several hikes along and around Mount Kuchumaa, a sacred mountain of the Kumeyaay Indians. I took part in an organic breakfast hike that ended at La Cocina que Canta for a farm fresh meal of scrambled eggs, beans, granola, muffins and fresh fruit. The great food and watching the sunrise were definitely worth waking up at 5 am for!
At RLP, I could be as relaxed or busy as I wished. Lounging by the pool and getting spa treatments is a perfectly acceptable alternative to cardio workouts. Here, it’s all about personal rejuvenation, health and happiness. I enjoyed both a custom facial and back facial scrub that were very calming and cleansing.
Author Amber Gibson is a Food/Travel Writer, Model & Actress from Chicago. To find out more about Amber, visit www.AmberGibson.com.