On a whim we headed back to Baja with our bff, Max, where we found an unexpected & dreamy ranch on airbnb to nestle up for the weekend.
After grabbing some groceries for the weekend & meeting up Ricardo, our wonderful host--owner & creator of Rancho Callado--we began the 45-minute bumpy trek up through the "EL GATO" mountains w/ a Nissan Juke that we had recently acquired for adventures like this! (The road most absolutely tested our mini awd suv to the limit and totally would not recommend this road for non-awd vehicles. Instead, you can park your car at the base of the mountains as instructed by Ricardo and he'll give you a lift up to his ranch.)
Entering the 50 acre ranch which Ricardo, a landscaper by trade, has developed & maintained for almost 40 years.
Can't say the trek didn't physically & mentally shake us up a bit, but these faces & this place somewhat slowly, but very surely changed & opened our minds to the magic of Rancho Callado.
Ricardo's sweet & gentle dog, Coronel <3
The Ranch's main cabin where we stayed.
His horses, Negro & Canelo.
The cabin is filled with legitimate fossils & artifacts that Ricardo has found in these mountains where the Kumeyaay Indians lived for thousands of years. Everything from spear heads, granite metate's & more. Though Ricardo does not kill animals, he loves animals & has many hunters for friends filling his home with all kinds of taxidermy.
The entire house runs on solar electricity & wood burning fireplaces in every room.
Staying cozy & cooking dinner with a mini grill by the fire was such a cool unexpected indoor dining experience for us.
The Ranch is covered in Centennial Oak & Eucalyptus trees that Ricardo had planted over the years.
Maxxie having a ball roaming freely with Negro & Canelo all weekend. Seeing how much fun he had definitely enhanced the experience. (If you need information on how to get your pet in & out of Mehico, feel free to comment below!)
On a ride through the hillsides, ALONE. We're not experienced riders but Ricardo ensured us that we'd be okay. This is definitely not something we'd recommend for the fainted heart but if you're seeking for a lil adventure, which we're always up for, then it's an absolute must!
Drove a little over an hour to the beautiful Valle de Guadalupe wine country for some wining & dining. This particular winery, Vena Cava, is constructed out of recycled boats, has some wonderful reds & a yummy food truck!
Slider & Octopus tostada!
Pit stop in La Mision for a Tacos Richi revisit on the way back to the Ranch.
Carne Asada & Al Pastor. We don't usually eat meat but on occasions where an authentic experience wouldn't be the same without, we'll make exceptions for it.
The Ranch is getting 2 more amazing cabins! The construction should be complete in a couple of weeks which we intend on revisiting to see. Soooo can't wait because it's lookin' WOW so far. Ricardo definitely got his Feng Shui game on point.
They had several outdoor grill / picnic areas that are very cute!
On Sundays, the neighboring ranch, El Gato, cooks up Mexican delights on their patio restaurant. It's such a treat given that it's authentic, earthy cute, & in such a remote area of the mountains.
Birria & Menudo below. Best Menudo we've had so far! It was also our first time hearing about and trying the Birria (below; left). It's a slowly cooked spicy beef stew that's typically eaten for celebratory reasons and is also great as a hangover remedy... as are Menudos which tasted similar but with mainly tripe as the ingredient. We are more acquainted with the Menudo makeup so had enjoyed that just a bit more.
Shortly after brunch, we had set sailed back to the states. Hasta Pronto Ricardo! Thanks for the amazing lil weekend getaway and for teaching us so much history on this amazing land that was once a part of our own American heritage.
These horses get to roam freely around the 20+ thousand acre of mountain range!
Overall, with our intentions on having a ranch/farm of our own in the 5-8 year future, this trip has been very inspiring for us. However, if it were to be just a weekend trip for you, do note that it is not a clean hotel-like environment given that it's supposed to be that western authentic ranch lifestyle. Expect dust, bugs, silence & solitude. <3 If you ever have any question about this experience, you're very welcomed to reach out anytime through facebook comments below or by our e-mail on the contacts page.
Thanks for reading and we wish that you'll experience the coolest and most memorable 4th of July, tomorrow!