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Origins of the Ranch

Rancho La Puerta, founded by Edmond and Deborah Szekely in 1940, is the original destination fitness resort and spa. It has always been at this location, and always family-owned and operated.

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Deborah Szekely at age 100: a life of multiple lifestyles and careers

Deborah Szekely and her late husband Edmond Szekely (1905-1979) started “the Ranch” as a “health camp,” and welcomed their first guests to the same location that Rancho La Puerta occupies today. Eighty-two years of operation have seen the once-primitive camp, set in a sweeping valley that flanks a mountain considered sacred by the Kumeyaay, evolve into a luxurious, but also unpretentious, resort. Rancho La Puerta today consistently wins “World’s Best” spa-category accolades from Travel+Leisure magazine and other top travel magazines.

Read Deborah Szekely at age 100
Origins of the Ranch, Part I

Rancho La Puerta, founded by Edmond and Deborah Szekely in 1940, is the original destination fitness resort and spa. It has always been at this location, and always family-owned and operated.

Early in the year 1934 two expeditions left Europe for the South Sea Islands.

After two weeks

of treatment I felt much better

than I had for many years.

Read Origins of the Ranch, Part II
Origins of the Ranch, Part III

The daytime was devoted to the physical part of the cure, while the evenings were set aside for the mental development and activity.

Read Origins of the Ranch, Part III

We were encouraged to solve problems as they arose; to analyze them, do what we could about them, and then put them out of our mind

Detailed attention was given to put the mind in good order.

Read Origins of the Ranch, Part IV

We experienced many unpleasant things when we were getting rid of our ailments, but these symptoms varied according to the nature of the disease we had.

Read Origins of the Ranch, Part V
Origins of the Ranch, Part XII

Because of war conditions in Europe, Szekely could not return to the continent, and lacking a visa to enter the United States (despite already being in the U.S!), could not settle there.

He knew that Tecate, Baja California, Mexico, had a wonderful climate with maximum sun and would be conducive to healthy living. He journeyed there on June 4, 1940.

Several interpretations have been

proposed for the word Kuchamaa

..."the ones that cure"

Read Origins of the Ranch, Part XIII
Origins of the Ranch, Part XIV

Kuchumaa is a sacred mountain where only shamans and their initiates were allowed.

Read Origins of the Ranch, Part XIV

The mountain played an important role in the acquisition of healing skills. Delfina Cuero, a Baja California Kumeyaay, relates a story about a relative who after becoming a healer traveled to Kuchumaa.

He spent five days there receiving his healing songs, probably through the dream experience.

Read Origins of the Ranch, Part XV

Our commitment to Kuchumaa is to protect its symphony of life, its voice, its teachings, and its dreams...

Read Origins of the Ranch, Part XVI
Origins of the Ranch, Part XXXIII

One should understand that any illness is the result of past deviations from the law of nature.

From the day of arrival at Rancho La Puerta, one begins to replace these deviations by harmonious cooperation with the law.

Tecate is located high enough

to escape fog and humidity,

yet close enough to the ocean...

Read Origins of the Ranch, Part XXXIV
Origins of the Ranch, Part XXXV

“All of us involved with the creation of Kuchumaa Passage at Rancho La Puerta trust that those who pause at the threshold will choose to stay awhile...”

Read Origins of the Ranch, Part XXXV

More so than the natural setting, perhaps, is the effect of taking a week-long pause to reflect

Memories of friends, families, travels, tragedies, and triumphs bubble back to the surface. And so we write. We observe...

Read Origins of the Ranch, Part XXXVI

Word about us spread. Health nuts knew about us. They came from New York City, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.

Read Origins of the Ranch, Part XXXVII
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