Rancho Leonero Resort
Treasure on the Sea of Cortez
the Sea of Cortez side of the sun-drenched southern Baja, where the legendary peninsula
juts into the tropical zones, the palm-thatched, king-sized guest rooms and "main
house" of Rancho Leonero punctuate the broad green lawns of a tropical clearing of a
350-acre corner of "Old Baja", nose-to-nose with the pristine blue sea.
A fishing and sportsmans
paradise, where coconut palms bend gracefully over two miles of dazzling unspoiled
beaches, its a place like no other. Set well apart from other "East Cape"
hotels, this handsomely tropical flower-studded resort stands in intimate relationship
with the sea itself. Cradled by the mythical Laguna Mountains, it provides a comfortable
and friendly sanctuary for those who want to truly experience the Cortez.
Even without the big-time game
fishing, Rancho Leonero would be a vacationers dream. The sit-down family-style
meals are spectacular and the kick-back, intimate style of the place is truly unique in
all the world. Owner John Ireland is likely to greet you personally; the staff is friendly
and available; and the service is first rate. Like Cheers, its a place "where
everybody knows your name."
If you are seeking a memorable family-fun vacation in
the unique atmosphere of one of the worlds last great nature frontiers, or intent on
setting a new game fishing record (or both), Rancho Leonero has all the facilities for
full participation in your Cortez experience.
Not only do 1,000-pound black and
blue marlin prowl these waters, but striped marlin, sailfish, dorado, huge yellowfin tuna,
yellowtail, wahoo, grouper, snapper, roosterfish and dozens of incidentals swarm over
undersea canyons and dropoffs within a mile of shore.
Surf fishing along the famous
"double reef" directly in front of the ranch is spectacular. If big game fishing
is what you are after, Rancho Leonero sports a complete fleet of inexpensive pangas
(Mexican skiffs), larger center console "super pangas", and roomy sportfishers
up to 40 feet, all at affordable prices, all with superlative local guides who know how to
put you on the fish.
Writes Neil Kelly,
author of the definitive Baja fishing book, The Baja Catch, "This 40-mile
stretch of the Cortez is the Grand Premiere class of all of Bajas waters, and few if
any places in the world can approach it".
Scuba or snorkeling in the
waters right in front of the ranch are like diving in an aquarium, and the astonishing
Pulmo Reef nearby (the only living coral reef on the Pacific side of the northern
hemisphere) is something no diver should miss in a lifetime.
It is no secret that travel
writers love to "discover" an out of the way resort where their readers
can find not just a vacation, but an experience that truly takes them away from
the workaday world. Here is what they are saying:
"From the huge
statue of Neptune in the entry garden to the incredible undersea wonders of Pulmo Reef
nearby, Leonero is a natural extension of the Sea of Cortez itself. It is so different
from most Baja resorts that it demands a close look before choosing. Once you find it,
youll keep coming back again and again." - BAJA
"Set directly on
the Sea of Cortez
[Rancho Leonero] consists of gracious flagstone-and-thatched-roof
cottages. There is a nice pool directly in front of the bar, and a baronial dining room
has Spanish-leather chairs
Maybe 70 percent of the guests come for the fishing, 20
percent for the excellent scuba diving and snorkeling, and 10 percent loll on the beach,
frolic in the pure blue bath-warm sea or explore the desert roads by foot or car." - MICHAEL SHNAYERSON, CONDE NAST TRAVELER
Activities are reserved for hotel guests.
Enjoy a relaxing paddle in the
calm waters in front of the resort. Or experience the latest
craze - kayak fishing!
The Los Cabos area is one of
the most popular golf destinations in the world. Within 90
minutes of Rancho Leonero there are a bevy of championship
courses, including designs by Robert Trent Jones III & Jack
Nicklaus. Click on the following links for more info - Palmilla
Golf Club, Cabo San Lucas Country Club, Cabo Real Course, El
Dorado Course, Cabo del Sol.
Hiking & Running Trails
Enjoy the panoramic vista from
the top of Flattop Mesa. Or soak in the sun while hiking or
running on our selected trails, designed to satisfy and
challenge all skill levels, from novice to expert.
Snorkeling & Scuba Diving
Spend a morning or evening
exploring the famous double reef at the resort. Or take a guided
snorkeling tour to Coral Beach or the secluded Iguana Beach,
where you can visit the nearby sea lion colony. Click here for
additional information on our snorkel tours. Scuba dive the
renowned Cabo Pulmo reef, the only living coral reef in the
northwestern hemisphere. Introductory dive courses and PADI
certification classes available. Click here for a description of
the various dive sites.
Workout in our remodeled
air-conditioned ocean view gym, including paramount station,
lifecycle, treadmill, and free weights.
Relax with a therapeutic or deep
tissue massage after exploring our desert trails or spending the
day battling that world class marlin.
Take a day off and explore La Paz
or Cabo San Lucas. Our guided tours will take you shopping,
visit tourist sites, and take you to the best restaurants.
7 thru 12
2 double beds, west-facing patios
1 thru 5, 29 thru 35
large rms, dbl or queen beds, ocean-view/courtyard
15 thru 20, 27 & 28
large rooms, queen beds, private patios
13 & 14, 21 thru 26
large rooms, queen beds, ocean-view patios
all rooms are air conditioned
A Brief History of Rancho Leonero
Back in the 40's and 50's,
Mexico's Baja peninsula was a rugged, remote area with few
roads, and even fewer tourists. Cabo San Lucas was a sleepy
fishing village, and most Americans had never even heard of the
East Cape. Wealthy sportsmen and adventurers would fly down in
their private aircraft, land on rough dirt airstrips carved out
of the desert, and return with wild stories of the big fish they
Gil Powell was
one of these hearty souls who fell in love with the area. He was
a wildlife cinematographer by profession and related to actor
William Powell. Around 1950 he found and purchased a 300 acre
piece of paradise located on the beach just south of Buena
Vista. Gil was continually going off to Africa to shoot movies -
hence the locals gave him the nickname "El Leonero", which
roughly translates to "The One Who Knows Lions". During this
time his ranch became known as "Rancho El Leonero", and over the
years has been shortened to "Rancho Leonero".
During those wild west days
before paved roads and civilization came to Baja, Hollywood's
"bad boys" would fly down in their private planes for some R&R
where they could escape from the notoriety of their public lives
and just hang out. The likes of John Wayne, Bing Crosby, and
Errol Flynn were all frequent visitors here.
Gil's death in 1974, Rancho Leonero languished for a number of
years until John Ireland stumbled upon it in 1979. Instantly
falling in love with the area, John spent the next two years
trying to acquire the property, and finally succeeded in 1981.
In 1984 he started construction of the original five rooms of
what was to become "The Inn at Rancho Leonero". The original
ranch house became the bar and office for the current resort. In
1986 the Inn opened to it's first guests. From this inauspicious
birth (in 1986 we had 1 cruiser with an oar-powered shore boat),
the resort has grown to become arguably the best facility on the
East Cape. In 1989 we added a fleet of fast bullet cruisers, in
1990 the second wing of 6 additional rooms were completed, in
1991 the pool and first of our super pangas were added, in 1992
the first 6 of our fabulous bungalows were finished, and in 2000
our new 2-story complex was added.