As promised a couple of posts ago, now that I am leaving Mexico in only a few months, I seriously need to get blogging on all these amazing things to see and do in this wonderful country. So I thought I would start with Rancho Las Cascadas.
I been to the Ranch a couple of times last year, once with my good friend Miako, and another time with C along with another couple. Both times I thoroughly enjoyed it and both times I promised myself to write something about it.
Run by a Swiss women called Uschi, this ranch is a little oasis outside of Mexico City. Located an easy 1.5 hour drive outside of the city, the ranch makes for a perfect day trip or (preferably) a perfect weekend get-away from the sometimes manic feel of Mexico City.You are immediately transported to the calm, open, spaces of the country side, where life seems to kick back a notch, and enjoys a slower pace of life.
The ranch it self is rather unassuming building – its not a grand old colonial hacienda by any stretch of the imagination, however what it lacks in old time splendor it more than makes up for in charm, great personality, friendly staff and its beautiful surroundings.
Although traditionally the ranch catered for overseas horse enthusiasts who came to Mexico for a week or two of riding, however if availability permits, they seem to be more than happy to have day or weekend trippers from Mexico City as well.
An overnight trip will cost you MX 3400 (US$277) per person. This includes 2 morning rides, lunch on both days, 2 afternoon rides, dinner, free flow of beverages (alcoholic or non), accommodation as well as transportation to and from Mexico City (minimum of 2 people).
The transportation factor makes it especially tempting if you are new in town, or do not have a car, yet you want to get out of the city for a while. When I was looking into going the first time, this really is what sold it to me. C was out of town for business, and I did not want to have to spend yet another weekend on my own, however with my limited Spanish, I was slightly nervous about traveling anywhere solo.
Having said that, if you have lived in D.F. for a while, and have your own transportation I would recommend driving there yourself. The last time we went the driver who picked us up must have fancied himself a bit of an F1 driver, hence in dense Mexican traffic it does not work so well. One moment you are zooming by at break neck speed, the next, your peeling yourself off the seat infront of you due to the sudden break. Needless to say, after an hour of lunging and lurching everyone in that van was feeling pretty car-sick after our journey.
What I do love about this place, is that even if you are not a rider, or you don’t fancy going for that afternoon or morning ride, just being around the ranch grounds is an experience. There is a pool and a hot tub that you can use, lots of sofas and reading areas, a beautiful rugged garden with benches – it really makes for a perfect way of spending the day reading, relaxing and enjoying the quite nature (this is something that I really miss at times when i’m in D.F…. the quietness)
In regards to the riding and the horses, everything is in western style, which took me a little while to get used to however is quite comfortable when you do 2-3 hour long rides. Your level of riding, will determine the horse you ride and the type of trail you go on, so I would not worry. There really is something for everyone (and every age). What I will say, especially if you are coming from Europe, is that don’t expect them to have any helmets for you – the most you will get is a straw cowboy hat, so I would bring your own if you have one.
Although I felt incredibly cool in my cowboy hat at the time, retrospectively it really is stupid risk you are taking, especially when you are cantering (at times galloping) down stoney paths!
Something that surprised me the both times I went, was what an incredibly friendly and jovial atmosphere there is there. Lunch and dinner is served at the same time, and it is communal (meaning you sit with all the other guests) so in a way in forces you to be slightly social – however to be honest, the riding is such an ice breaker there is already a lot to talk about! Not to mention that the food Uschi and her crew serves up is top notch restaurant quality.
There is no better feeling than having been outside all day (rain or shine) to come back to a fantastic hearty meal and wine, shared with interesting people and then decide to turn in for the night around 8.30pm out of pure exhaustion! What a fantastic way of spending the weekend!
I sincerely hope that I will have time to visit the ranch once more before we leave, but if not, those weekends were definitely one of the most memorable weekends I have had in Mexico, and I’m so happy that I got to experience it, and I highly suggest that you take the opportunity as well if you can.