Baja Bliss at Rancho Pescadero
By Amiee White Beazley
I arrived much later than planned to Rancho Pescadero, a resort of 27 luxury suites on the Baja coast near Todos Santos. So late in fact, in those early morning hours everyone was asleep save for the night watchmen, who took me to my room. There, waiting for me was a covered dinner and bottle of wine set out by the staff. Too exhausted to enjoy it, I fell asleep with the sounds of a ranging ocean nearby.
When I awoke the next morning, it took a moment to register my location, and I considered the possibility I was still dreaming: Lavender bed netting, concrete floors, soft, deep pillows surrounding me, Mexican rugs and soft light coming through the open windows. The ocean’s roar had quieted to a purr.
Exploring the 15-acre property I meandered along the trails, with its -desert-meets-ocean landscape, full of thick brush, violet flowers and tall cactus, mountains looming beyond, taking in the sounds and smells of the early Baja morning.
The day was mine to choose. There was no agenda, no schedules. This is the mantra at Rancho Pescadero – which opened in November 2009 by American business woman Lisa Harper – make of it what you want. There are dozens of activities from which to choose, or you can do nothing at all. I chose a little of both.
Breakfast on this surprisingly cool morning consisted of housemade granola, yogurt and local berries matched with a cup of steaming Mexican hot chocolate, followed by a transformative yoga session in the resort’s 2,000-square-foot pavilion, which faces the beach. The instructor was powerful but gentle. You could feel the breeze, smell and hear the ocean through every pose.
Afterwards I walked through the sand to the resort’s spa –Tres Hermanas, located in a stand-alone hut even closer to the shore. There I was treated to an exceptional hour-long massage that incorporated locally grown herbs. Even with the short night’s rest, I already felt more relaxed than I had in months.
Whether used by the masseuse or the kitchen, locally grown herbs, vegetables and fruits are a staple at Rancho Pescadero, where produce is grown in the hotel’s own organic garden.
The restaurant itself is run by Chef Rodrigo Bueno and utilizes ingredients grown or caught within a 20-mile radius of the resort, including fish and shrimp plucked from right out in front of the property. If more is needed, fishermen from the nearby village of Pescadero return with fresh catches every afternoon.
For lunch, Chef Bueno produced a local halibut served sashimi style with chili oil, garnished with avocado and tomato.
Yoga-d, massaged, fed and in a literal state of bliss, I took to the pool, where children were noticeably absent. (Only those 14 and older are welcome to the resort) where I leafed through magazines, had a cocktail and several adult conversations without interruption.
Late afternoon I ventured on horseback along the beach, led by an American expat guide. She told me of the whales that visit this area ever fall, breaching the shoreline for hours during the day. The sun was just beginning to set, so I headed back in time for sunset cocktails, live music and another satisfying meal prepared by Chef Bueno.
The next morning my driver arrived to return me to the airport and onto my next destination. But he could see it in my face, I wasn’t ready to go. “I’ll come back for you again,” he said in his broken English. As we pulled away, through the fields growing chills, past the cactus, I turned to glimpse Rancho Pescadero one last time, uncertain if it, in fact, had all been but a dream.
Rancho Pescadero has 27 luxury suites with ocean views. Average daily room rates at Rancho Pescadero ranging from $185-$425per night. www.ranchopescadero.com
Amiee White Beazley is the editor of edibleASPEN, founding contributor of Aspen Peak magazine and food columnist for the Aspen Daily News. Her food and travel writing has been featured in Yankee Magazine, Coastal Living, 5280, Aspen Magazine and The Providence Journal among others. A mother of two, her first children’s book, Snowmastodon! Snow Day Adventure was published by People’s Press in 2011. www.awbeazley.com