Rancho Las Cascadas in the mountains of central Mexico, has something for everyone. Any type of rider – from the novice right through to the experienced equestrian is well catered for with horses for every level of ability. What’s more, even if you don’t intend a single expedition on horseback, the ranch itself is a beautiful destination with plenty to offer the non rider or the ‘I don’t think I’ll ride today’ guest. Although it has to be said that I didn’t encounter very many of those..
A warm welcome from Jenny
This part of Mexico has about 333 days of sunshine a year and the odd rain shower you may encounter in the evening in the summertime never lasts long. It’s not even the rainy season – it’s known as the ‘green’ season which sounds a whole lot nicer altogether. The climate is remarkably temperate all the year round and was ideal when we were there at the end of November with cool mornings (there was even a bit of frost for a couple of them) and evenings, but getting into the mid twenties by late morning/early afternoon.
Mi Casa es Su Casa..
The ranch is a beautiful stone built affair furnished with the owner Uschi’s impeccable taste. The cactus garden is a delight and the place is dotted with the most beautiful imaginative ceramic animals, pots and other creations. The equine artwork inside the ranch, by a local Mexican artist is also striking and if you like anything you see around the place you can buy it if you’d like to, and take it home as a memento of your stay.
Horses are everywhere
The ranch has a pool and, best of all, a brand new hot tub where you can discuss your adventures of the day with the other guests while Jenny – who was in charge of keeping us all happy as well as the marketing side of things – brings you a delicious frozen Margarita. What’s not to like? In fact, there were frequent discussions about how to make the best Margarita and who made the best Margarita, but I am pretty much happy with any sort of Margarita when served to me in an outside hot tub after a long day in the saddle.
No overcrowding at the pool..
The food is also quite delicious and very plentiful. If I hadn’t been riding most days it would probably have been a poor prognosis on the weight loss front, but it was such an active holiday that I ate and drank as much as I liked and came back a whole1lb lighter..The Mexican chef the ranch has in the kitchen is definitely a talent and Uschi, the Swiss owner of the ranch, described the style of food as ‘a fusion of International and Mexican cuisine.’ Breakfast always had fresh fruit and and some sort of Mexican speciality such as the famous Huevos Rancheros, as well as the more traditional cereal, toast and home made jams. Lunch was another substantial meal (think enchiladas, tortillas, guacamole) served at the outside table next to the pool or maybe at a local restaurant somewhere encountered when we were out riding.
Al fresco eating
Dinner is at 7pm and is made up of four courses. On one particular night the meal was as good as any four star restaurant I’ve been to and on the other nights it wasn’t far off. A typical meal begins with a delicious home made soup – tortilla soup seemed to get the top vote – then something like a mango salad or a homemade ravioli in garlic sauce. My favourite main meal was the chicken and beef fajitas with cactus (much nicer than green peppers) and cheese, and to follow something like a strawberry cream syllabub or home made tart for dessert. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.Wine is included in the meal, and after some witty repartee over the dining table most people were pretty much pooped and slunk off full and happy back to their Casitas to get some beauty sleep.
Fajitas with cactus for dinner – yum!
You can have a massage delivered by staff in a room next to your Casita if you like and it is certainly a treat to have your muscles pummelled after so much riding. There’s a lovely library-come- lounge where you can read about horses or Mexican interior design or find a good novel to read. If you fancy venturing outside the ranch there are some fascinating trips to local towns and markets and to the Pyramids of Teotihuacan and Tula where you can experience the real culture of Mexico (more of which in my next blog!) Uschi doesn’t want the ranch to be a 100 guest ranch and this means that things retain a very personal and friendly feel.
Relax in the designer lounge
The other guests were a big positive feature of the trip – all interesting people who I’m sure I shall keep in touch with. Plans for future developments include some new accommodation built to overlook the waterfalls, a yoga room and a Temascal – a Mexican sauna. When I asked guests how they had found out about the ranch the answer was mainly that they had been there before or through word of mouth which is always the best way to find things. However some guests had read about the ranch in a specialist Western Riding Journal (Western Riding is big in Germany apparently) and one lady had won her trip through a Pinterest competition! Ranchos Las Cascadas is included in the top 50 ranches in the world at Top 50 ranches.com as a luxury guest ranch providing ‘Romance, Action & adventure, Peace & quiet, Pampering, Solitude, Diverse scenery, People of all ages.’
So that’s just about everything then..
More about Rancho Las Cascadas