Two of us booked the half day trip which supposedly includes: a meal; a trail ride; lasso throwing; pools; western entertainment; cattle feeding; wagon ride; and roasting marshmellows.
We were told to arrive at around 13:00 and when we got there the office was locked. We found somebody in the kitchen who told us somebody should be back soon. After wandering around aimlessly for a while somebody noticed us and came and checked us in.
We started with the horse riding and while neither of us are seasoned riders this was beyond boring. We sat on the back of a slow moving horse which simply followed the horse in front of it. There was no sense of learning or actual horse riding. With that in mind I would have still been satisfied with a slow trip through the area if the guides were even slightly engaging or knowledgeable. The vast majority of the tour was in silence and when asked questions such as "oh this plant looks very unusual, what is it?" we got the response "don't know". The best we got was "What's my horses name" "X". Seriously, like drawing blood from stone. Also my saddle was slipping heavily to the left and when my partner asked the guide whether it was ok he simply said "mmm" and that was that. Again, I'm not a seasoned rider so for all I know it probably was fine but the communication was severely lacking. The horse ride was a real let down.
After that ended we were at a bit of a loose end and were offered the game room and the pool. We opted for the pool and spent about 30 minutes there which was fine. By this time it was around 15:00 and there was no mention of the lasso, wagon ride, cattle feed or indeed, anything else apparently available. We were told that dinner was served at 18:00 (if I remember correctly). Not really in the mood for chasing up the hosts to provide the extras we reasoned that we didn't fancy sitting around in the pool for a further 3 hours and decided to explore the rest of Hill Country instead.
On the plus side, the the male owner is very friendly and comes across as genuinely nice. I think the trail guides and lack of actual hosting really let this place down.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Welcome to Rancho Cortez! Located in the cowboy capital of the world, Rancho Cortez is a Texas Dude Ranch and Cowboy Fitness Farm offering horseback riding, lodging, day trips, hiking, and more! Saddle up and live your dreams at the Texas Dude Ranch! Cowboys, cowgirls, and experienced riders will enjoy horseback riding with expert cowboy, Larry Cortez. We offer plenty of Texas-style fun with hayrides, campfires, cattle roundups, lasso lessons, swimming in our pool, or soaking in our hot tub. With a broad array of wildlife species and ruggedly beautiful landscape as far as the eye can see, the ranch is the perfect escape from urban life. Lost weight and get fit on the Cowboy Fitness Farm! Fitness and weight loss visitors will work with personal trainers under the direction of Mary Cortez. Come for our popular 30 day weight loss camp or spend just a few days or weeks. Guided hikes, water aerobics, yoga, weight training, aerobics, pilates, and horseback riding - along with classes in the air-conditioned gym - will help you meet your weight loss goals. We can get you started on the road to a healthier life and teach you new skills to take home! Come to the beautiful Texas Hill Country for the getaway of a lifetime at Rancho Cortez! ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Rancho Cortez Hotel Bandera
- Rancho Cortez Bandera, Texas