My family and I live in Kansas and we booked a 4 day vacation to San Antonio and while looking for things to do I ran across the Rancho Cortez website. We have never been to a dude ranch and since I found it last minute I had originally decided to do a half-day trip on the first day we arrived in San Antonio. After reading more reviews though, I decided to change our trip itinerary around so that we could spend an entire day at the ranch on the day before we were to leave and return home. Boy, am I sooooo glad I decided for the day experience. It was everything I had hoped for and more.
My boys, ages 5 and 8 had only been on horseback a couple of times. When we arrived a trail ride group was just leaving so we stayed around and picked up the lassos and started practicing. Cowboy Slim was calm, patient, encouraging, and assertive teaching my oldest to throw the lasso. In no time he had it down. After that Slim put both my boys on horses in the corral to gauge if they could handle a horse on their own while on the trail. Again, he was great in teaching the boys how to ride the horses and in no time they were able to command the horses and he was able to ascertain their skill levels and communicate to Julio, the foreman of the triail hands, that my youngest would be able to ride. As this was going down my youngest developed a rash around his neck and on his face. We didn't have any childrens anthistamine so my wife went to the office and they went out of their way to track down some so that my youngest could take it and get the rash cleared up. Big props to them for that.
My family went on our first trail ride which was led by Slim with Julio following while riding up and down the line making sure everyone was doing fine. The horses were great, the scenery was beautiful and our first trail ride was a hit. The boys didn't want it to end. After the ride we had some lunch which consisted of a hamburger with the fixins and some delicious southwestern soup. We went on our second trail ride shortly after and this time it was led by Julio with Cowboy Tyler riding the line making sure everyone was safe. Afterwards we lassoed some more and then had the boys hop in the pool. They swam for an hour and then we went and fed the longhorns. Cowboy Tyler let our boys hop on the lone hereford bull for a photo op and then allowed them to feel one of the longhorns horns. Again, they loved it. Shortly after that Cowboy Larry took us on a wagon ride. Our boys fell in love with Cowboy Larry and his big as Texas persona. He let them drive the belgian horses and he also let my wife give it a go. Quite an experience for them all. We then had dinner which consisted of a great homemade spread consisting of turkey, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes & gravy, peas w/carrots, stuffing, salad, bread and butter and some thirst quenching sweet tea and lemonade. After dinner as Cowboy Larry prepared the campfire, we were able to visit with some folks that had recently moved to Houston from the U.K. as all of our children played with the ranch dog around the playset. When the campfire was ready Cowboy Larry had us come around and he told us a couple of stories and then we roasted marshmellows and made smores. Since we were booked to leave the next morning from San Antonio we regrettfully had to leave. Our boys slept like logs the whole drive back to San Antonio.
All in all this was a perfect getaway. Cowboy Larry is bigger than life. Our boys were immediately enamoured with him as with the other cowboys. The staff is polite and courteous and as soon as we arrived we were made to feel like family. I would highly recommend this ranch to anyone. My boys will always remember the day we spent at the ranch. From wanting to be like Cowboy Tyler, to the horses Jake and Biggin, to Slim and Julio, to the longhorns, to the hill country, and lastly to Cowboy Larry, these are memories that my family and I will always cherish.
We will definitely be going back....this time to stay for multiple days.
- Also Known As:
- Rancho Cortez Hotel Bandera
- Rancho Cortez Hotel
- Rancho Cortez Bandera, Texas
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Dude and Guest Ranch in the scenic Texas Hill Country. Horseback riding, western entertainment, and family activities. Great lodging and meals in packages. Ride, Relax, Live your Dream at Rancho Cortez! ... more less