About an hour from San Diego, across the Mexican border, the charming town of Tecate is frequented by a small, but loyal, tourist base. The name might be most widely recognized from the Tecate brewery that calls the city home, but more pivotal to town is the wellness culture that permeates from the prominent Kuuchamaa Mountain and the vibrant art scene that has earned it the designation of “Pueblo Magico”—Magical Town.
In Tecate, the hills themselves are a work of art, with jaw-dropping eroded rock formations, some with prehistorical rock paintings at sites like El Vallecito. From an immersive health spa and organic cooking school to a plethora of outdoor activities, here is why Tecate deserves to be your next wellness destination.
Stay at a Stunning Health Resort
Rancho La Puerta, founded in 1940, was North America’s first fitness resort and spa and continues their tradition of creating wellness in body, mind, and spirit. Set within 4,000 private acres of natural beauty in Tecate, Rancho La Puerta (“The Ranch” as guests call it) offers hiking, world-renown fitness instructors, artists in residence, and visiting experts in topics ranging from sleep to nutrition. Stay in one of the 86 casitas, cottage-style suites each settled in its own nook of the property, and wake up each morning to spectacular views of the surrounding landscape.
Take an Art Walk
From Mexican folk art to ceramics to wall murals, there is inspiring art to be found all around Tecate. You can view pieces created by Kumiai people and international artists, like a series of stunning sculptures by Victor Hugo Casteñeda.
Tour an Organic Farm
The Tres Estrellas Organic Farm produces fruits and vegetables all year long and shares their passion for produce by offering tours with head gardener Salvador Tinajero. The six-acre farm is built on sustainable practices, creating a beautiful array of fruits, vegetables, herbs, eggs, and cut flowers. The onsite cooking school, La Cocina Que Canta, uses just-picked produce for thrice weekly classes led by guest chefs.
Hike Mt. Kuchumaa
Trek into the foothills of Mt. Kuchumaa to experience the huge, incredible boulders dotting the landscape. Mt. Kuchumaa is considered a sacred site by the Kumiai people, where shamans would have initiations. The landmark peak rises 4,000 feet, up to the striking Skull Rock, straddling the U.S./Mexico border.
Heal With a Sound Bath
Lying in a round, wooden room with crystal bowls tuned to the body’s chakras, you can be immersed in a bath of sound, creating vibrations that are reported to create physical and spiritual healing. The best part: Even if you fall asleep during the session, you can still reap the benefits!
Walk a Labyrinth
Within an oak grove, discover a labyrinth designed to open your consciousness. Walking the labyrinth can help promote inner reflection and provide an opportunity for meditation for those who find it challenging to quiet their mind when sitting still.
Michelle Stansbury is a San Diego-based freelance writer who writes about travel, food, cannabis, and relationships. Misuse of the word "literally" drives her figuratively insane.
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