Only a 90 minute drive north of Mexico City, Rancho Las Cascadas is located at 7,500 feet in open-sky country, on a central Mexican mountain plateau. The property is surrounded by distant mountains, wide open plains and a river that carves the cascades: the nearby waterfalls giving the ranch its name. Billed as Mexico’s most natural, all inclusive wellness, yoga and horseback riding vacation destination, the rancho comes highly recommended for anyone who wants the freedom to enjoy a more culturally immersive experience with rides through the farms and local towns of the Mexican highlands.
Known for its world-famous combination of Mexican Hospitality and Swiss Management, owner Ursula Wiprachtiger Schreyer was born and raised in Switzerland and became a Mexican citizen after falling in love with the country years ago. Ursula bought the land, built the ranch, extended the property and finally opened it up to riders from around the world, creating a truly international guest experience.
Every ride is guided and there is no nose to tail riding, with a maximum of six to eight riders per wrangler (or as they are known in Mexico 'Charros'). Whatever your level of ability, you will be well catered for, as there are over 30 different trails and a choice of half day and full day rides on offer. Advanced riders will enjoy the fast paced riding and challenging all day rides (6-8 hours).
Tailor-made, you have the option to plan your horseback adventures on a day-to-day basis, the trails complete with mountains, canyons, endless countryside, rivers, lakes, villages, markets, Haciendas (colonial estates), churches, archeological sites and more. Throughout your holiday you will be immersed in the real Mexico, the trails taking you deep into the rural highlands and through local neighbourhoods and farms, passing by houses, schools, chapels and shepherds tending to their cows and sheep. Please note: you should bring your own riding helmet as the ranch does not require or provide them.
All the horses are geldings and they are either Criollo, Quarter Horse or Azteca (a breed of horse originally purely bred for charros). The rancho's Criollo herd are excellent examples of this hardy, athletic breed. Capable of great stamina on all day rides, powerful gallops across flat grasslands, sure-footedness on hilly terrain and a kindly disposition, they make the perfect trail riding companions. All of the horses are well-trained, with some calm enough for beginners and others forward going enough to satisfy the most experienced of riders.
Hiking, biking and yoga are alternative activities to horse riding, with opportunities to hike to the three nearby waterfalls, enjoy a mountain bike ride with or without a guide, or join a session of horse yoga. If you want to relax, book a massage, sit in the sauna, soak in the jacuzzi or sip on a margarita by the infinity pool, where you will be treated to fabulous views of the surrounding mountains.
There are also various excursions on offer, including seeing the ruins at Tula, San Miguel de Allende and the Pyramids at Teotihuacan, as well as a trip to an art market and a local market. After seeing the pyramids, you can tour the museum and/or go to a local store to learn about the many uses of the regional nopal cactus, sample a variety of locally made tequilas, and then shop for jewelry made of silver or the local black gemstone, obsidian.
Meals are served family style with each dish made from the finest local ingredients, and the Rancho's highly skilled chefs create authentic Mexican, as well as international cuisine. Chili is a common ingredient, but special dietary requirements are catered for. All wine and drinks are also included and there is tequila for every occasion!
The colourful ranch has a very relaxed atmosphere and its layout and ethos is conducive to socialising. Guests often hang out in the spacious lounge, by the pool, or in the bar area for a game of pool or darts. For more solitude there is also a library, and within the grounds, there are hidden treasures including three gorgeous waterfalls, a cactus garden and hammocks swaying gently under the trees.