Not far from San Diego and just across the Mexican border lies the city of Tecate, famous for its beer and for what may well be the oldest full-service fitness spa and resort in the Americas, perhaps the world - Rancho La Puerta.

The resort was founded by Edmond and Deborah Szekely and sports the title of being the original destination fitness resort and spa, a facility that is family-founded, family-owned and family-operated.

A one-hour drive from San Diego, barely across the border in Tecate, Baja California, the perfect, dry climate, balanced between sea and desert at an altitude of 1,750 feet in a cooler mountain zone, makes this the ideal location for year-round fitness activities, relaxation, and the recharging of spirit for all who "wish to live longer in the vigor and joy of good health."

Noted for it's organic farming and meal preparations, the facility consists of over 3,000 acres of picture-perfect landscaped grounds sporting 32-acres of world class gardens. The five-acre farm “Rancho Tres Estrellas” produces organically grown vegetables, herbs, and fruit used by Rancho La Puerta’s expert chefs. Here they press their own olive oil from organically grown olives, and distill or dry herbs for culinary, aromatherapy, and skin-care use.

Nearby are “Las Piedras Environmental Education Center” and “Parque Professor” (Professor’s Park), both built by the Szekely family as gifts to the community of Tecate.

Eighty-seven rooms built as singles, doubles, triplexes, and quads are remarkably spacious and private, each with a unique décor, provide the perfect sleeping quarters for guests. All are individually landscaped and have outdoor patios.

And as far as fitness and health facilities, you'll find none better. The resort features eleven hi-tech gyms for exercise, a running track, volleyball courts, three swimming pools, a series of hot tubs and a collection of health centers including:

WOMEN’S HEALTH CENTER: Massage/therapy rooms, lounge, hot tub, sauna, locker room, showers, nude sunbathing — 5,825 sq.ft.

VILLAS HEALTH AND SKIN CARE CENTER: Massage/therapy rooms, lounge, hot tub, sauna, locker room, showers, nude sunbathing — 3,372 sq.ft.

MEN’S HEALTH CENTER: Massage/therapy rooms, lounge, hot tub, sauna, locker room, showers, nude sunbathing — 5,390 sq.ft.

BEAUTY SALON: Complete hair salon for men and women, manicures and pedicures — 2,590 sq.ft.

SUNBINS: Three in the vineyard, for very-private sunbathing.

As if that wasn't enough, you'll find the resort offers just about everything you could want as an individual or for your next conference or business meeting. There is a comprehensive library, a central lounge for public and private gatherings, a conference room, E-center, men's lounge, a museum and an on-site market full of folk art, collectibles and bronzes by Francisco Zuniga (Costa Rica-born Mexican sculptor, 1912-1998) and Victor Hugo Castañeda (born in La Palma, Michoacan, Mexico, 1947); paintings by Aurelio Pescina; stained glass doors and windows by James Hubbell of Julian, California (1931-); as well as works of several world-renowned artists.

There is also a planned art program featuring in-residence artists and craftsmen and a number of art workshops, lectures and creative sessions for guests.

The resort maintains a staff of 397, many second and third generation, providing the finest and friendliest service you'll find in Mexico. Plant nursery, administrative offices, staff facilities, classrooms and degree programs, warehouses, carpenter shops, and staff dining areas create a village of their own.

Thirty full time fitness instructors and 48 health therapists guarantee you'll never find a moment without elaborate and well planned health treatment and activities, except, of course, when you choose to commune with the remarkable environment of the resort. With plenty of hiking and biking trails and a vineyard where you can walk and enjoy nature, there's always time for relaxation and reflection.

According to Natural Awakenings Magazine: "Rancho La Puerta was started in 1940 by Edmond and Deborah Szekely, as a natural health retreat right on the US and Mexico border. The stunningly beautiful, unspoiled land lay at the base of Mount Kuchumaa, a 3885 foot peak that was considered a sacred place by the local Kumeyaay tribespeople. Deborah was just 17 years old at the time, and a new bride on a real adventure. They lived in a tiny converted cattle feed storage shed and guests initially stayed in tents. Edmond Szkeley, a man who was clearly ahead of his time, was a 34 year old scholar and philosopher who preached the gospel of vegetarianism, eating pesticide-free fruits and vegetables and exercise for good health, radical ideas to be sure in the 1940’s. Even though he was considered a health-nut cult leader at the time, the Ranch attracted many guests, including Hollywood actors and famous authors, who were more than ready to rough it and pitch in with the daily chores in order to learn how to live healthier lives from this charismatic visionary." (Read the full article here)

Taking the time to treat yourself with good health practices and finding the space you need for body, mind and spiritual renewal should be a priority, especially in this fast-paced world in which we live and evolve. A visit to Rancho La Puerta may be the magic you need to set your life right.

Discover self-discovery and good health at Mexico's finest and most comprehensive fitness resort.