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This was the best experience I have had on a ranch. We were there for Memorial Day weekend. There... read more

Reviewed June 2, 2022
Hands down - a must do!

Hands down the best family vacation activity we have ever done. This experience is so authentic... read more

Reviewed April 19, 2022
Boston, Massachusetts
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Reviewed April 24, 2014

As we did not have the time in our itinerary to stay on a dude ranch overnight, we booked a day at the Rancho Cortez in Bandera - and we had a marvellous time. On arrival we were swept off on our first trail ride. Not being experienced horse riders, the wranglers picked us the most appropriate horse -and the horses were in excellent condition as were saddles and reins. The first ride lasted an hour riding through the beautiful Texas Hill Country. Once back at the ranch, we had a wander around and we were impressed by how the place is run, this is not a tourist attraction but a fully working Texan resort ranch. After a hearty lunch in the chow hall, we went off on another ride, this time the ride lasted about 75 minutes and we had slightly friskier horses as we were more confident in the saddle. Late in the afternoon, after a trip on the hay wagon to feed the Texan Long Horns, and a huge meal in the chow hall, the wranglers, and the ranch owner tutored us in the art of roping a steer. Then we all made our way to the camp fire where we ate smores, listened to the owner tell cowboy stories, and listening to an excellent country and western singer strum his guitar and sing traditional cowboy songs. Then it was time to head back to San Antonio, dodging deer and racoons on the road. A fantastic experience - and we have to give special thanks to Garett and Eileen, our wranglers, for looking after us so well.

Date of experience: April 2014
1  Thank Ian B
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviewed March 9, 2014

When in San Antonio for a week, my travel partner and I wanted to experience a real working ranch. We researched many different ranches and decided Rancho Cortez was the best for us. Upon calling, booking, and check in, everyone was professional.

Larry himself was checking us in, then teaching us to throw a lasso rope. Yes, I could not master the lasso throw, but not for Larry trying. I know I was over thinking the entire process, and was over analyzing the throwing of the rope, but I could not get it to work for me. It did for most everyone else, which, again, made me realize it was my error, not the instruction (I'm a teacher. I actually know the difference).

After our lasso time we got to ride the horses on our trail-ride. It was so nice to get out into the Texas hill country and just ride and absorb the natural beauty. We had a really great, peaceful trail ride, with some amazing stories about the land and the cattle drives from days gone by. After our trail ride, Larry gave us riding lessons in the horse corral. I have to say, even though I couldn't figure out how to throw the lasso, I was able to direct my horse through the barrels, around the ring of the corral - complete with 180 degree turns, directed him through different obstacles, and was one of the best horse riders in our group that day.

Shortly after we took our hayride out to feed the longhorn cattle, which were amazing. Crazy big, and distracted enough from their feed to let us all take pictures while we held onto their horns. *no animals were harmed in our excursion*

Since we were not staying overnight, after we got back we weren't sure what to do afterwards, so we took up the horseshoe ring, then Larry showed up and took us on for a friendly game of horseshoes. My travel partner gave him a "good run for his money." Final score was 11 (Larry) to 7 (my travel partner - who has never played horse shoes before ever, but will beat anyone on a good game of Cornhole). Afterwards, we sat and talked to Larry about the ranch, the horses and cattle, the cabins, and the food. He answered all of our questions, then told us we'd hear a bell when dinner was ready. We asked about the food and he said that his chef made the food every day and even he didn't know what was going to be on the menu since it changed every day - except Sunday which was pretty much always turkey and the Thanksgiving fixings.

Our day was a Thursday and we had a pork tenderloin with red potatoes and green beans, and salad. I love food. All food. This was a really, really great meal. I ate every bite of my plate and wanted to go back for seconds but didn't think it would be appropriate. I did enjoy the cake that was made for dessert.

Dinner was 'family style' in that you lined up with everyone else and were served by the chef. If you wanted more, you could go back and serve yourself. The dining hall is large picnic tables and bench seating. It wasn't packed so I was able to sit where I wanted, and with whom I wanted. All in all, a great dining experience.

About 30 minutes after dinner the firepit was lit and we all sat around a huge campfire. It was so nice to be outside looking at the stars and enjoying the fire. We were just about ready for s'mores, then Larry asked if he could tell us a cowboy story, to which we all answered 'YES.' Larry's story was so amazing, and vivid. Letting myself go and listening to him transcended me to a different time, and, even thinking about it now, gives me chills. He has such charisma when he is telling his stories. I hope everyone listens to what he has to share! Afterwards, we had s'mores, then the staff said their 'good nights' and left us to stay by the fire or return to our cabins. Since we weren't staying the night, we sat for a little, but left for our drive back to San Antonio.

Would I return to do this day again? Absolutely!
Would I recommend this experience to others? Yes!
Is there anything about my day I would change? No way!

Go. Relax. Enjoy. Ride. Lasso. Eat. Listen. It is all well worth it.

Thank jenkay_70
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviewed March 3, 2014

We recently gave our grandchildren a choice of the Cortez Ranch or San Diego for a little trip while they were out of school. They chose the ranch. We stayed on the ranch, rode every day, swam, took the wagon ride(they got to drive the team), learned basic horsemanship, played ping pong, dominoes, and enjoyed the camp fire complete with smores and stories. They were completely disconnected electronically. We all had a total blast. The kids gained confidence riding and we got that special time with them uninterrupted. The people that worked this ranch were efficient, helpful, and were REAL cowboys. The kids even ate the "ranch food" the kitchen made. It was tasty! The rooms were great as well. We even got to see a world famous trick rider. We are looking forward to taking our horses down, staying, and riding on our own.

Date of experience: January 2014
2  Thank micasasuzycasa
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviewed March 1, 2014

We had a 3 day weekend,stayed in a large bunkhouse,just the 2 of us,were comfortable.We had a good time. Larry was always happy to show us western life. We went to bandera and walked the streets,even saw marti gras parade. The food was good,but get there early in case runs out and to eat while hot. The staff was there to help any way needed. Very good for families with kids. We enjoyed our weekend.

Date of experience: February 2014
1  Thank jana k
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviewed January 13, 2014

The day after Christmas my husband and I took our 4 grandchildren to Rancho Cortez. Their ages are 10 to 6 and this was part of their Christmas present. This trip was a huge sucess!! Anyone that has children that age can relate...they love their electronics and I refused to buy them anymore and wanted this outing to be different. We were there for 4 days and had the best time ever! The kids loved the horses, hay rides and especially the camp fires after dinner. They staff was excellent from the owner on down. They made you feel at home the minute you checked in and by day four you were no longer a guest but part of the ranch family. The cabins were nice and clean and the food was great! We will go again for sure. In fact, my granddaughter is going back for camp this summer. Thanks Larry and staff for a winter break!

Date of experience: December 2013
3  Thank DEE83162
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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