Just an hour north of Cabo, near the artist’s enclave of Todos Santos, lies a dirt road marked by a small sign. Head down it's dusty drive and you will end up at a quaint boutique hotel that lies on the Pacific coast of Baja. Rancho Pescadero will greet you with gardens full of fresh vegetables, rolling fields of flowers and walls awash in soft terracotta hues. As you get closer to the entrance you will spot guests doing yoga poses in the pavilion overlooking the ocean. Longboards are neatly propped next to the front desk enticing you to book the surf lessons offered at the property.
This oceanfront oasis is a nice reprieve from the glittering resorts of Cabo itself. Here you will find a much more adventurous yet laid-back crowd. The intimate, non-corporate resort sits on 15 acres and is lovingly cared for by Lisa Harper who opened the hotel in 2009 after drawing her vision on a scrap of paper a mere 18 months earlier. Lisa had owned the beachfront land for years and one morning while sitting in her Sonoma home, she brilliantly sketched what was to become the Rancho Pescadero of today. Now, on a balmy summer day, we found ourselves enjoying the fruits of Lisa's labor after being invited by The Wedding Artists Collective to go on a creative retreat.
Photography by The Wedding Artists Collective
No Shirt, No Shoes, No Problem
Lisa, the owner, was onsite to welcome our group and show us around. She casually walked us passed the farm gardens, introduced us to the onsite staff whom had worked there since the resort's opening day and chatted about the environmental initiatives of the property. We felt as if we were being welcomed to stay at the home of a family friend. Rancho Pescadero is clearly a labor of love. The resort feels as if you have uncovered your own unknown local hidden gem, but don't be fooled. Rancho Pescadero has won multiple awards including Condé Nast Traveler 'Best in the World List' and Trip Advisor Hall of Famer badges. While there are awards aplenty, it is definitely a “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Problem” kinda place. Being that we are proud supporters of yoga pants and pajamas that double as errand clothes, we were thrilled.
Later, our group was ushered into the garden restaurant, the venue of choice for alfresco foodie fêtes. The space is filled with community style tables crafted from old Balinese boats overlooking the rolling sun dappled farmland. Guests who host events here are served handcrafted cocktails in the fields while selecting their favorite garden ingredients for the personal pizzas that they will dine on later that night! The pizza is cooked onsite onsite in the large woodfire oven next to the dinner table. Get your grub on.
What’s cookin’, good lookin’?
In addition to being gracious hosts and hoteliers, Lisa and her husband are incredible chefs. They plucked ripe tomatillos straight from the garden and taught us how to make fresh salsa. What a treat for the tastebuds. Crispy homemade tortilla chips were paired with an array of rainbow-colored salsas. We sipped on cold handcrafted margaritas and could hear the waves crashing in the background, reminding us that we were still in beautiful baja. Nothing spells lovin’ like food made from scratch (Rancho Pescadero offers these farm-to-table cooking and mixology classes to all guests by request).
It was DIY Delish.
Ready, set, fête!
The unpretentious atmosphere of Rancho Pescadero also makes it the perfect destination for events. You get a lotta luxury for not a lotta cash and coin. Lisa's laid-back vision is carried seamlessly throughout the resort and it's six stunning venue spaces.
We drank evening cocktails at the Rancho Pescadero pool patio event space, skirted by a lawn with a blazing fire pit in the middle. It is surrounded by lush landscaping connected to a sandy trail that meanders out to the beach. We stayed up late and enjoyed cocktails under the moonlight while dancing barefoot in kaftans on the grass. Surrounded by palms, palapa covered lounge beds and anchored by the exquisite onsite palm root bar - this venue is a magical option.
Palms and Palapas
After fireside cocktails, we made our way out to the sandy beach. It is often hard to find beaches that allow events and are not overcrowded with photo-bombing tourists. This beach was endless, empty and gorgeous.
Dancing around a beach bonfire we chatted about the endless types of gatherings that could be hosted on this blank beachy canvas. The resort offers long feasting tables, benches and chairs for retreats, weddings and dinner parties. They can construct palm frond and flower covered ceremony arches that sit on the water’s edge for simple beach weddings lined with Balinese prayer flags and petals. The chef told us that there are often whales sightings and baby turtles scurrying out to the sea on this stretch of beach.
The Grand Finale
Each night we fell asleep to a bedtime chorus of birds. Each morning we hit our snooze on our alarms at least 5 times. Get a move on and digital detox your way to Rancho Pescadero for a relaxing respite and refuel your way through the day.
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Photography by The Wedding Artists Collective