What sets Rancho Cortez apart from other FitStays is the fact that it is more than just a fitness center—it is also a fully functional Texas dude ranch. Guests can choose to spend time focusing on either or both aspects of this dual-feature, all-inclusive FitStay.
Rancho Cortez does take a comprehensive view of what it means to be healthy, providing stress reduction and massage therapy, but it is not somewhere clients come to receive froufrou pampering. On the contrary, this FitStay takes a more practical approach to health, utilizing hard work, fitness, and nutrition to get real results.
Clients can tailor their stay to fit their own needs and goals. Rancho Cortez can be categorized in many different ways and is more than just a fitness camp. Guests are encouraged to have fun and even think of their time on the ranch as a fitness holiday. Both adults and children are welcome at the dude ranch and in the fitness program. Rates vary depending on group size, length of stay, group size, and type of accommodations.
Accommodations at the dude ranch are true to the spirit of the location—rustic and traditional. That means they do not include televisions, hair driers, or coffee makers, although a small refrigerator may be available upon request—and they do have air conditioning.
Pictures of a few of the rooms are available on the Rancho Cortez website. Some of the accommodations include kitchenettes and common areas. Guests can select multi-family, single-family, or hotel-style cabins. For example, the Hopi/Zuni cabin has two bedrooms and two full bathrooms and is near both the outdoor and indoor swimming pools. There are also two bunkhouses available with seven bunk beds and two full baths each.
Fitness at Rancho Cortez is centered around three core tenets: moving, fueling, and de-stressing your body. The fitness program includes a blend of typical gym-based training sessions as well as traditional outdoor ranch activities.
There are a range of fitness workouts that are available at different times of the year at Rancho Cortez, and the schedule can be viewed on the company website. Permanent offerings for workout classes include the following:
Yoga and pilates
Circuit and strength training
Core and abs strength building
Stretching and body flow
The other aspect of fitness at Rancho Cortez is Cowboy Boot Camp, which involves physical training, hiking with a backpack, an obstacle course, and swimming—all in one day. Additional activity options include independent hiking and biking, but if guests wish to bike, they must bring their own.
At Rancho Cortez, nutritional eating is considered just as important to overall health as fitness. A focus is placed on low-cholesterol, low-salt, and low-calorie options. Seasonings are used to maximize flavor and make less fatty meals more satisfying.
Ironically, red meat rarely appears on the menu, but there are still plenty of regional specialties, leaner meat, and vegetarian options. A sample menu is available on the website. Rancho Cortez is all-inclusive, which means three square meals a day in addition to coffee, tea, lemonade, and milk. If guests want adult beverages during their stay, they must bring their own.
Meals are served in the dining hall, which is big enough to fit 75 people, and include a salad bar. Kitchen staff serves the meals to guests for family-style dining. If a guest has any special dietary considerations, it’s best to inform kitchen staff in advance as the nearest grocery store is 15 miles away.
While Rancho Cortez does claim to offer a no-frills experience, there is also a special package geared towards those who are looking for more of an escape—the Cowgirl Getaway. This weekend package includes day trips, entertainment, and massages while not neglecting the fitness aspect of Rancho Cortez.
For the younger generation, there are two summer camps: Girls Horse Camp and Boys Cowboy Camp for children the ages of 8–16. The girls camp has a special focus on horsemanship, and the boys camp focuses on riding and caring for horses and other livestock. The Rancho Cortez facilities also boast a volleyball net, tetherball, a playground, and a treehouse.
Riders of all ages can enjoy Western style riding and instructions according to their own skill levels at the dude ranch. Hour-long, half-day, and full-day riding trips with a guide are also available for a fee.
With every stay of more than two days at Rancho Cortez, guests receive lasso lessons, a wagon ride, and a campfire with s’mores—as well as the opportunity to help with ranch chores. There is a common area with DirecTV access and a horseshoe pit for guest use.
Rancho Cortez is over 60 miles away from San Antonio, which has the closest airport at about 1 hour’s drive away. The ranch is deep in Texas hill country and borders the Hill Country State Natural Area. The ranch is a 20-minute drive from Medina River, which runs through the nearby town of Bandera and is stocked for recreational fishing. Rancho Cortez is just under an hour-and-a-half’s drive from downtown San Antonio.
Rancho Cortez offers a variety of rates for a wide selection of packages depending on whether guests are staying at the dude ranch or the fitness ranch.
For the 2-week Rancho Cortez fitness program, pricing ranges from $1,850-$3,350 per person.
Rancho Cortez offers a unique fitness experience close to the great outdoors. This FitStay is recommended for those who want more than gym workouts and don’t mind getting their hands dirty. Guests who have a longing to get back to nature and back to the land will be especially appreciative.