Origins of the Ranch, Part VIII - Rancho La Puerta
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Origins of the Ranch, Part VIII

From the Archives…the “Republic of Puerta”

“Purpose of La Puerta” document found from early days…

Last month we concluded our History series from the Florence Mahon memoirs of her stay in Professor Szekely’s Lake Elsinore, California, health retreat (see all seven installments in previous blog posts) and begin the transition to the actual founding of Rancho La Puerta in Baja California. One early “purpose” statement found in our archives recently, although written sometime in the late 1940s or early ‘50s, offers insights into our earliest days…and purpose. Although discussions of “cosmotherapy” and the teachings of the Essenes are not a part of the Ranch today, they remain the fascinating underpinnings of our founder’s vision. 

Rancho La Puerta is a peaceful retreat beneath the always smiling Mexican sun. Established by Dr. Edmond Bordeaux Szekely on the model of the successful health and educational cooperatives in southern France, it is under his personal direction.

This Health resort seeks to guide those who are interested in a sane, well-balanced program of living. It emphasizes that health is the consequence of living in harmony with all the forces of nature, according to the laws of nature. It puts all the preconditions of such a life at the disposal of its members, and trains them according to the basic, ageless pattern of simple, natural healthy life for the body, and the utilization of all the values of science, literature, philosophy and the arts, for the mind.

True, the body and its problems are given primary attention, but its aim, an all-sided re-education of one’s living and thinking habits, aspires to the best way of life in every field—a free, creative, healthy, natural and spiritual life according to the teachings of the great thinkers of the ages. Thus it is veritably a “School of Living” where the vital needs of the total man are taken into account. The realization of a more perfect physical, mental, social and spiritual existence is sought, specifically, through the practice of the ancient Essene teaching of the Science of Life, and the new science of Cosmotherapy.

The Essene teachings are the pure and original intuitive knowledge which man once had. They have been reconstructed by Professor Szekely through scientific research, archaeological findings, and philosophical interpretation. Cosmotherapy is a scientific system of natural therapeutics based on correct diet and full use of the benefits of sun, air, water, and exercise. In its extended form, it demands man’s right adaptation to nature, to himself, and to society, as well as to the universe and the cosmic environment.

La Puerta obviously offers a splendid opportunity to live in everyday life the great truths which otherwise remain mere theories, contributing little to our well-being. In other words, the principles of natural living are both taught and followed here. Life, work and hobbies are integrated. In place of metropolitan existence with its increasingly fast pace and artificiality, neuroses and physical deterioration generally, we have delightful outdoor living which renews vitality and strength, enthusiasm and hope, tranquility and happiness. In a few weeks our guests look, feel and act like new people. “Right eating, right thinking, right living” pay royal dividends.


Rancho La Puerta and Grape Valley Lodge are located in Baja California, three miles west of Tecate, California, and Tecate, Mexico. Tecate, California, is only a post office [where we receive our mail], but Tecate, Mexico, is a town of some five thousand people.

The Rancho is 45 miles from the Pacific Ocean; 48 miles southeast of San Diego, California; 28 miles from Tijuana; 20 miles from the Sulphur Baths of Agua Caliente; and 100 miles from Ensenada, the beautiful Mexican resort and fishing town.

Because the site of our Resort was originally that of an old Spanish hacienda, “La Puerta,” the Resort is now also known as “Rancho La Puerta.” It lies sunning itself in lovely La Puerta Valley, at the junction of two creeks, Rio Tecate and Rio La Puerta. Some two-thousand feet above sea level, La Puerta nestles at the base of sage and rock encrusted mountains, with Mt. Kuchumaa towering high above. Impressed by the majesty of this mountain, the Indians formerly worshipped it.

Rancho La Puerta is surrounded by miles of smiling vineyards, olive groves, and acres of wheat, oats and barley. The soil of the little Valley is wondrously fertile. It is living soil, nourished and enriched for centuries by the mineral-laden rainwaters coursing down from the hills and mountains. Rio Tecate is bordered by sandy beaches, but a mile below the Resort it runs through a huge rock basin, forming a delightful place for swimming. Rio La Puerta, a deep underground river, supplies the wells of the Resort with an abundance of pure, soft water.

Certainly the Center is ideally situated for an all-year-round Health Resort. Tucked away in its secluded Valley amid the vineyards, with its always clear, bright air, it offers a liberal and unique education and an unforgettable experience in living. Those acquainted with it often refer to it fondly as the “Republic of Puerta.”

Next month: Climate, Scenery, Atmosphere, and other early observations.