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Learning about the Inspirational Women Responsible for the Transformation of Baja’s Rancho Pescadero

Rancho Pescadero was initially conceptualized almost thirty years ago as a dream by Lisa Harper. During the mid-1990s, she spent a year camping on a serene beach close to the farm and artist enclave in Todos Santos. This community, situated an hour north of Cabo San Lucas on the Pacific Coast, offered Harper a break from her roles as CEO of companies such as Gymboree, Hot Topic, and Torrid.

In her tent, she strolled along the empty beach, absorbing the beauty of the surroundings while delving into a book each day. Enchanted by the people, wildlife, and superb surf, she felt a profound sense of tranquility in this relaxed setting. When she decided to invest in a stretch of beachfront land, Harper had hundreds of palms and neem trees planted to enhance the area’s beauty and provide shade. Mapping out a 12-room hotel on graph paper, she established the necessary infrastructure and engaged local residents in building and operating the hotel. Thus, Harper was set on sharing an experience in Baja that emphasized beauty, genuine activities, and promoted serenity and well-being.

“In the beginning, my focus was on creating stable job opportunities for the locals in the community who had little or no experience in the hospitality industry. It was a chance for them to progress in their careers, enhance their living standards, and overall quality of life,” explained Harper. “I’ve learned that people thrive when they are encouraged to be true to themselves, supported with quality education, and provided with avenues to develop their skills.”

This development project is the most significant in the history of Todos Santos. Harper’s objective is to adopt an environmentally responsible approach that enhances the well-being of both residents and employees.

She is in the process of constructing a local preschool and homes for over 300 employees of Rancho Pescadero. The initial stage of this venture will furnish housing for all employees who desire it, with plans for the subsequent phase to include affordable housing and resources for the wider community. Addressing the scarcity of ongoing educational opportunities locally, Harper plans to initiate the construction of a technical school this year, enabling residents to learn valuable trades and skills applicable across various industries.

Harper is revolutionizing luxury travel in Baja and aspires for her efforts to inspire other developers to embrace a responsible approach to tourism. Her years of experience in Baja, coupled with her in-depth understanding of its residents, culture, and environmental and socio-economic challenges, position her as a catalyst for change.

More than two decades after the original launch and subsequent expansion of Rancho Pescadero, Harper and her team have reenvisioned a novel vacation experience for modern-day travelers. Over the past four years, they have dedicated themselves to revamping and unveiling a completely transformed Rancho Pescadero. Scheduled to reopen in Fall 2022, the redesigned amenities and experiences aim to immerse travelers in the local culture and encourage them to reconsider their travel and relaxation habits.

Rancho Pescadero epitomizes barefoot luxury across 30 acres with nine gardens, inviting guests to relax and unwind. The establishment now offers 103 deluxe guest rooms, including 12 oceanfront villas that feature a private fire pit, plunge pool, and outdoor shower. Additionally, the 10 Penthouses and the Hacienda Suite boast outdoor showers, plunge pools, and private rooftop decks. Harper meticulously planned the layout so that 96% of the rooms offer scenic views of the Sierra de la Laguna Mountains or the Pacific Ocean.

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Boasting four culinary establishments, along with a sprawling beachfront pool to rival those in upscale locations such as Mykonos and Marbella, guests at Rancho Pescadero are treated to farm-to-table menu selections available at KAHAL Oceanfront restaurant, CENTRO Cafe, Botanica Garden restaurant, and even for in-room dining.

The onsite farm and orchard allow guests to personally select ingredients for their meals and spa treatments within the 25,000-square-foot well-being complex. Guests can indulge in the apothecary founded on the power of nature and plant wisdom, access the Pilates studio, two yoga spaces, and partake in a wide range of programs designed for personal growth, spanning from meditation and sound therapy to gardening, culinary arts, and craftsmanship.

The guest experience at Rancho Pescadero is meticulously crafted to be relaxing and intuitive, with Harper envisioning guests relishing the welcoming experience. Upon arrival, visitors are greeted not by a conventional check-in desk but by towering living altars and amiable hosts who guide them through the property’s meticulously designed grounds. Inspired by Baja’s biosphere, the surroundings gradually transition from desert landscapes to dunes, offering travelers a unique and memorable entrance to their stay.

Guests are offered a choice of two paths upon entering — one sandy and the other brick — encouraging them to follow their desired journey, whether that entails kicking off their shoes to feel the earth beneath their feet or wandering through the lush gardens to visit the farm animals like goats, chickens, and bees.

Reservations are now open for stays at Rancho Pescadero, beginning November 1, 2022.


Image Source: Just Luxe

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