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Surf. Eat. Sleep at Rancho Pescadero

Author: Jill Weinlein
Date of Trip: February 2015

After spotting the Pemex station along Highway 19, we turned onto a dirt road and drove about one mile towards the Pacific Ocean, before reaching the bucolic Rancho Pescadero resort, near Todos Santos. Upon check-in, we were led to the outdoor pool bar for complimentary hibiscus and tamarind margaritas prepared by Danny the bartender.

We learned from Danny that designer Lisa Harper, a former CEO of Gymboree, retired from the corporate world, left Northern California, and bought 15 acres of beachfront property to camp and live at the beach for a while.

Lisa built a small resort on the sandy beach with the sea pounding along the shore in 2009. She constructed 12 chic and romantic suites that all open up to ocean-view terraces. Mosquito netting around the beds offers an amorous atmosphere. Bathrooms have deep tubs and showers with two spraying heads. The sinks are big, the towels are fluffy, and candles can be lit in the evening for a dreamy glow. In the closet are robes to wear after a swim or in the morning, while sitting outside on the palapa-covered patio with a cup of coffee.

Children under 18 years old are not allowed and they don’t encourage a rowdy crowd. The resort starts closing the restaurant and bar by 9:30 p.m. Touted as an Outrageous Oceanfront Oasis, it attracts an affluent surfer crowd. Word got out that the nearby Cerritos Beach is a great surfing spot in Baja California Sur, so the surfers started arriving. Lisa added 16 more suites to accommodate the demand.

We stayed in unit #14 and pinched ourselves as we toured the gourmet kitchen, huge living area with a dining room, elegant bedroom and designer bath. A green sarong was folded near the towels for me to wear at the pool and beach. We donned our bathing suits and splashed in the pool and hot tub, before taking a long walk at sunset along the near-empty beach, as pelicans glided above the swells.

For dinner we walked along a concrete pathway to the resort’s Garden Restaurant. We learned that the beloved Chef Rodrigo left and that the culinary couple Jeff and Susan Mall are scheduled to arrive in a week. They owned Zin in Northern California and have been consultants with Rancho Pescadero for years.

We were pleased to see a variety of Mexican wines offered on the menu and selected glasses of Mexican Chardonnay and Rose’. Both went well with the herb ash goat cheese salad with guava vinaigrette, smoked grapes and lots of strawberries.

My favorite dish was the slow cooked pork cochinita filled in housemade corn tortillas with pickled onions and a chile puree. We also enjoyed the freshly caught yellow fin with quinoa, cherry tomatoes from the garden and a black garlic mojo sauce.

We started our dinner with glasses of Mexican Chardonnay and Rose’ wines. Both went well with the herb ash goat cheese salad with guava vinaigrette, smoked grapes and lots of strawberries.

Walking back to our room we remarked on how brilliant the stars were up in the sky. We spotted the Big and Little Dippers immediately. Orion’s Belt was immediately overhead. Beyond the pool we noticed a couple snuggling near the roaring fire pit. Other guests were enjoying one last cocktail at the bar before going to bed.

We opened our windows to let in the fresh beach air and were lulled to sleep as the waves pulsated on the shore.

Waking up, we opened our front door to find a colorful basket with a pot of coffee, milk, and sprinkled cakes to whet our appetite for a healthy Mexican breakfast.

We dressed and took a morning walk along the beach to build up our appetite. Dining near the reception area in the open-air patio, we feasted on roasted garden vegetables with poached eggs on top of curry bread and a delightful traditional dish of chilaquilas with scrambled eggs.

By 9:45 a.m. many guests walked over to the yoga pavilion for the complimentary 10 a.m. class. Unfortunately, we had to leave to catch our flight.

Driving on the dirt road to the main highway, we passed cactus gardens and organic farms growing basil and chiles. Ranchero Pescadero is the tonic my husband and I needed to unwind and enjoy the beauty of Baja California.

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