Rancho de la Osa Guest Ranch
Travel Blogs from Sasabe
This refuge was out of the way a bit but the reviews said it was good so we decided to go have a look. Right on the Mexican border so border protection was everywhere, we even saw them capture a few illegals on the side of the road. Beautiful rugged wilderness, we saw a few new birds around the visitor centre and our first Bobcat and Pronghorn ...
We set out on Thursday for Tubac Golf Resort after a bike ride and arrived about three hours later. After settling in we were hosted by the Delaney/Hecox duo in their new home. Our accommodations are lovely and the resort is a charming destination. I broke 90 for the first time of the season, so am smiling! ...
... it out. Yes, I threw it out.
And you can probably guess by now that that was the exact hose I now needed to solve my problem. I bet Ferg is appreciating this blog by now.
So, sitting in the dark, in the middle of the Arizona desert, hoping to enter Mexico the next morning, I realized that plans would probably have to change. What were the chances I could find my much needed gas hose somewhere in Mexico?
We made it! Yes a day early but thanks to Gina's skills we even got into the resort a day early on President's Day weekend.
After a chilly night we left Lordsburg in 27 degrees and were very soon in Arizona.It is so much more picturesque here than New Mexico. The latter is so flat and brown whereas there are beautiful mountain ranges (along with scorpions and snakes) and green vegetation here. One of the greatest treats was actually ...
... feeders. We got on that we will hang on the window of Shorty. It's a very unique design and quite clever. I gassed-up Sooby at Safeway. With the discount, it was $3.71. Seems to keep going up, but that's for another blog. Life is good here with clear, blue skies and temperatures in the mid-eighties. I must say that I love Arizona in the winter and spring.
This afternoon we sought and found a cache near the Santa Cruz river. Then ...
How has this resort rated in the past?
Historical Traveler Reviews Rancho de la Osa Guest Ranch Sasabe
I cannot recommend this ranch
This was a strange place. My wife and I were greeted by the owner / husband. He proceeded to give us a tour and tell us how he wished he were somewhere else because this was his wife's dream, not his. This was not a warm welcome. The management team did not rise above this level for the duration of our stay.
The surrounding area was beautiful. We spent a lot of time in the rented car driving around and looking at the scenery. One reason for this was the lack of things to do at the ranch. If you truly want to be removed from all sensory input, this may be the place to go. Personally, I can stand that for about two hours and then I want to do something else.
The horses did not meet our expectations. If you want a true riding vacation, this place might not be for you. We did not lope. Nor did we get to ride as often as was promised. If you are a beginner and just want long slow trail rides, this place may work for you. I didn't work for me and I won't be back.
There seemed to be real friction between the owners and their staff. Many of the staff had been on the job for less than two weeks. The staff were all helpful and very nice. However, it was disconcerting to hear them respond to questions / requests by saying "Yeah, I tell the owners to take care of that but they just won't do anything about it." The issue would go unresolved.
The capper was at check out. When I checked out, I asked the owner / wife if I could make a few comments. I was told no. I was told that I was nothing but a complainer who would never be happy about anything and that she was happy she was not married to me. I was also told that I did nothing but argue with the wranglers and that I was willing to put the horses' health at risk just so I could ride. She seemed out of sorts. Assuming what she had to say is true (which it isn't, my wife thinks I'm okay to hang around with. I never argued with the wranglers. None of the wranglers told me I was harming any horse.) I do not think it is acceptable to say that to a guest. Certainly not to a guest you hope would return or write a positive review of your property.
Had an overall lovely time
I would agree most with the reviewer from Evanston, IL. I think some of the other reviewers came with expectations of something else and that may be why they were disappointed. I won't repeat everything the previous reviewer said, as it was all said quite eloquently.
My only issues were with the riding program. I really came to the resort to experience the riding. A number of guests had massages or other plans and our rides were cut rather short to accomodate them. Since I really wanted to ride, I felt left out. We didn't have any long rides during our stay and in fact, I got the impression the staff didn't feel like working on Saturday (our last day), so the afternoon ride was totally cancelled at the last minute without any explanation.
I felt that most of the staff was quite gracious, but I don't feel that they really went out of their to do anything extraordinary (that is not a complaint, just an observation). I felt very pressured by the owner to leave an extra large tip when we checked out and he seemed quite annoyed when we didn't, so we sort of rushed out after paying our final bill. That sort of left a sad pall on the trip for me. We sadly will not ever visit the rancho again because of this experience.
Overall, I had a very pleasant and relaxing time except for that one part of the trip. The dinners were outstanding and I looked forward to them every night.
Was at the Ranch Labor Day and am returning again in November. It's a beautiful ranch with a very accommodating and friendly staff. The daily rides were individually arranged and the food was wonderful. There are great areas to visit not too far from the Ranch, too. Can't wait to return in a few weeks.
Had a great, relaxing time
I had an absolutely wonderful time at Rancho de la Osa. It was a great chance to get away from the daily grind. My days out there followed this general schedule:
- Wake up. Either when the breakfast bell was rung or if I happened to wake up earlier, I had time for a quick bike ride before breakfast - Have breakfast. The food was quite good, and much nicer than I expected. And the fresh fruit that accompanied each breakfast was very good - Put on lots of sunblock. I recommend at least SPF25, but I burn easily. - Go out on the morning ride. The wranglers leading the ride were both very good at what they did, and had good eyes for pointing out wildlife I didn't see. The rides were just the right length, at 2 hours, as people who weren't used to riding, like myself, would be starting to get a bit sore by then. - Kill time until lunch. Depending on the day and the weather I'd either go for a hike, go for a bike ride, go swimming, or take a nap. - Eat lunch at one of the outside tables. The weather was wonderful while I was there, with high temps in the 85-90 range, compared with 30-40 back home. Lunches were also very good, and the desserts were incredible. I often had seconds on the desserts (like most things at the ranch, all you had to do was ask).
For the guests that knew they would be gone during lunch, they had the opportunity to request a packed lunch. One day we had a longer ride (a "lunch" ride) which was about 4 hours total, and we were supplied with the packed lunch. It was a good meal, but I recommend heading back to the ranch for lunch is possible. - The middle of the day was a good time for anything you were looking to do, since you had about 4 hours until the Cantina opened for drinks and about 5 hours until dinner.
Depending on the day, I spent some time in the wildlife refuge / bird sanctuary that's next to the ranch, did some off-road biking (take lots of water and try to stay on the dirt instead of the sand - trust me), did some hiking and took pictures of some of the more interesting cactus varities, swimming, wandering around the Ranch looking at the antiques and art the owners have collected, talking with the other guests, or taking a nap. And I forgot to mention that if you're fair-skinned like I am (Irish/German mix), you'll want to reapply your sunscreen after lunch, just to be on the safe side. - Head over to the Cantina for happy hour. This was a great chance to sit down and talk with the other guests, and hear about things you may not have thought about doing during your stay. I heard about the nearby golf courses (which are apparently very nice, but my golf game is abyssmal), birdwatching in the wildlife refuge, Tubac (a small town nearby - lots of little boutique shops), a old missionary church whose name I don't remember, Tuscon, hiking in a nearby canyon (I did this later in the week - I think the canyon was called Sycamore canyon - pretty easy hike, about an hour each way, with a nice little pool at the end), and Mexico (you can cross close to the ranch, but if you want to go shopping it's recommended that you drive to Nogales - about 90 minutes away by car - interesting place, just be prepared to haggle over everything, encounter lots of pushy salespeople, but worth the experience I thought). Some of the other guests were quite fond of the margaritas, but I stuck to Coronas. - Have dinner. Dinner was always the best meal of the day. Depending on the evening temperature you may have dinner outside, which was nice. Dinner was served at what I would call a "European" pace. What I mean is that dinners would easily last 1 1/2 - 2 hours, but it didn't feel that long because of the interesting conversation with the other guests, and lots of food (salad, entree, dessert, coffee). It was a nice change of pace from my normal routine, and the food was amazing. Plan on some form of exercise (biking, hiking, walking around the ranch, etc), because the food is too good! - Head back over to the Cantina. A handful of guests would usually make their way back over to the Cantina after dinner for a few more drinks and pleasant conversation. We even had a rousing night of poker one night (with Monopoly money), which was nice because it showed some of the regional variations in poker games, as the guests who were playing were from different areas (Pennsylvania, Minneapolis, Chicago, somewhere in Canada near Whistler but I've forgotten the name of the province, etc). - Be amazed by the number of stars in the sky on your walk back to your room to go to sleep. The amount of light pollution is minimal, so there are hundreds and hundreds of stars that you can't normally see. There are also a number of observatories nearby (at Kitt's Peak I think).
The week passed by quickly, but I had a great time and have a lot of great memories and photos of my time out there. I'm looking forward to visiting again.
"They know not of what they speak!" Those other reviews are from the lunatic fringe. I just returned from a one week vacation to the Ranch with my family. The food was sumptuous...just as featured in Bon Appetit. Real southwestern gourmet. The horseback riding was challenging at all levels of ability through beautiful country. The rooms were lovely and tastefully decorated just like I saw in Architectural Digest. The staff and owners treated us like royality. I can't wait to return.
I don't know what these other people are talking about. I went to the ranch in December 2003 and had a great time. The food was good, the riding was not challenging but scenic (we never loped), and the other people were nice and fun. The rooms were comfortable and pretty cute. I had a great time. I definately recommend it!
Good reading retreat.
I found the staff quite friendly and helpful, but, they need to be more attentive to guest comforts. The room was cold when we arrived, and took several hours to warm up. The jacuzzi's temp was turned down at night, so it took hours for it to heat up for a morning plunge. We did not ride, but the other riding guests seemed to enjoy the trailrides and Sunday morning guest rodeo. This is not a place to expect to do more than lightly trot, which is why we didn't ride. We enjoyed the food (the duck was fabulous!) and potent drinks at the cantina.
Overall, some more attention to detail would greatly decrease the temperature irritation factors.
Stay Away From This Place
A huge disappointment. Don't believe their website. The food was bad, they say they cater to what you want - they don't. They don't check your riding ability - just put you on a horse and ride for the lowest ability. Really a poorly run operation. In adition, it is right next to the Mexican border and there is are a lot of illegal immigrants who cross the border here. There is also drug-smuggling and "bandito" activity preying on the immigrant traffic. In the daytime, you see the trash in the desert from all this activity. Don't pick this place!!!!!
"Rip Off Extraordinaire"
This "Dude Ranch" charged us $512.35 for a one night stay. The room was unventilated, no windows in the bedroom area, the sitting room was so musty smelling it was unuseable. One very sleepless night on an uncomfortable small bed.The "gourmet" food looked and tasted very similiar to Costco type box store food. A chicken cutlet for dinner and a breakfast crepe which was tough and not edible.The wine we purchased from them was grossly overpriced and to add insult to injury--they also charged a serving fee.Rancho de la Osa is historical, as in museum of the past but restored to qualify as $500.00 per night lodging----absolutely not.If you are looking for an adventure - as in experiencing what Father Junipero Serra or Bishop Lamy experienced sleeping in the small windowless rooms on a hard bed - this is for you.We were extremely disappointed and truly felt the place did not live up to any of the glossy brochure pictures or the descriptions you will find on their website. I would absolutely not recommend this place.
Stay away from this place
Yikes! This place was completely lacking in hospitality. The owners were rude and unfriendly, and the riding program was far below par, with shabby tack and worn-out horses. The rooms were comfortable, but that was about the only positive. Dude ranches are supposed to be fun places to go play cowboy--this wasn't. I've stayed at other ranches, both more rustic and more resort like, but I've never met hosts as awful as these people were.