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“An awesome family vacation!”
Review of Mayan Dude Ranch

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Mayan Dude Ranch
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 27 May 2009

Our family of six (kids ages 6-12) just got back from a wonderful 3 day vacation at the Mayan. Our daughters very much wanted to ride horses, and with the Hill country location & excellent reviews on Tripadvisor, we decided to come. There is so much to cover, so I'll break my review down:
1. Rooms--we stayed in adjoining units 29 & 30, the Chaparral cabin--one unit had one BR, one bath, and a sitting area with a fireplace, sofa, two rocking chairs, and two coffee tables. the other had two separate BR, one with a double, the other with two double beds, a bathroom, and a sitting area with a small table with two chairs, and a bar area with two chairs and two stools. Each unit had a "Texan decor", a TV (which we never turned on), and plenty of dresser space. there were no closets, but there was a small "hanging rod" with hangers that we hung our windbreakers on. Outside we had a private driveway, covered patio, porch swing, wooden park bench, and two rocking chairs. Our kids enjoyed hanging out outside and watching the deer. We liked our rooms. They were comfortable & spacious, and we spent part of two afternoons there due to short summer thunderstorms.
2. Food--great food & lots of it! No, they are not big city five star restaurant meals, but they are quite delicious, and everyone should be able to find something they like.
Breakfast--each day you can choose between the outdoor cowboy breakfast or the dining room breakfast. We did the cowboy thing the first two mornings--you either take a hayride down to it, or some days they offer a horseback option (which we did not do since you just get one morning ride). The hayride is lots of fun since you get to see plenty of deer and other wildlife on the way down. Biscuits, gravy, grits, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, potatoes and two other hot dishes (beans, rice, and a delicious ham/bell pepper sautee), are served along with coffee, apple juice, water and OJ. A guitar-playing cowboy sings country songs. Lots of fun, especially on a cool morning. You should do it at least once. On our final day we ate at the dining room, which has more flexible times and more choices-eggs any way (including omelets), sausage, bacon, pancakes, toast, fruit, yogurt, cereal, milk, coffee, tea, and more juice choices. Service was great & quick!
Lunch--different choices each day, and included on the day of check-out--our first day we had a choice of chicken fajita tacos with flour tortillas and all the trimmings(including a very good pico de gallo), beef tacos on corn tortilla shells, pork tamales, beef & cheese enchiladas, fruit tray, and yummy homemade chocolate cookies with a coconut filling. Our second day we had meat loaf, pork loin, mac & cheese, lots of salad & veggie sides, and strawberry shortcake. Our last day we had fried chicken (very tasty--we don't typically eat fried chicken, but my health-conscious husband tried some and loved it), spaghetti with meat sauce, broccoli & cheese casserole, lots of veggies and salads, and chocolate cake. some lunches were indoors & others were under the shaded & ventilated pavilion.
Evening appetizers--offered under the pavilion from 545-645 nightly--at least two different ones each night--egg rolls, chicken nuggets, fried cauliflower, veggie trays, tortilla chips, and potato/cheese cakes, all with sauces or dips.
Dinner--our first night we took a hayride to an outdoor gazebo for a delicious BBQ--brisket, pork ribs, sausage, lots of salads & coleslaw, homemade sliced white bread, and blondies. The second night was under the pavilion--steak & potatoes with delicious sauteed mushrooms, salad, asparagus, & spice cake. Our last night was turkey, beef fajitas with fixins, beef tacos, an "assemble your own" mexican salad, flour tortillas, and pecan pie. There is live country music at every dinner.
Drinks--cold water, tea & lemonade under the pavilion from 11-10ish, with free beer & wine under the pavilion for most of the day, as well as free alcoholic drinks at dinners in other locations. There is a saloon with cocktails/liquor for an additional charge.
3. Activities--we came for the horses, and we weren't disappointed, even though one afternoon trail ride was cancelled and another shortened due to the weather. You get one morning & one afternoon ride, and usually there are four time slots to choose from. You ride single file, no helmets. Our kids were matched up with easy going horses, and sometimes got to ride the same horse again. Each trail was different, and the scenery was great! Once we rode by some dinosaur tracks. You can brush the horses outside of the corral if you wish. The ranch has lots of trails to wander around, plus you can walk to the Medina river to swim or fish (supplies and bait are provided). There is a nice outdoor pool with a covered deck, shuffle board, a basketball court, a volleyball court, horseshoes, two ping-pong tables, and a pool table. Each morning there is group activity offered--roping, fishing, and bb gun shooting were our choices, and they were lots of fun. Each evening at 545 some form of western entertainment is offered--first night was meeting a large steer, 2nd was an excellent trick-roper who added plenty of audience participation to his act, and 3rd was a very interesting "Wild Bill" history lecturer who brought replicas of many Western weapons (my oldest son's favorite). Each night at 8pm there is an additional activity--western music, an evening wildlife hayride, and country dancing lessons were our choices--there was s'mores campfire and "hicksville" campsite visit offered the evening we checked out.
4. The staff--the Hicks family has been in the dude ranch business for over 50 years, and they love what they do. we got to meet many members who either led the activities, served meals, or just hung out. Check out their beautiful pictorial family tree by the main office.
5. Other guests--there was an exchange club convention during part of our stay. We enjoyed getting to know folks, and our kids loved new playmates. On our second day at least 5 families from the UK arrived, most of them repeat visitors. There were several grandparents who had come with their kids in the past, coming this time with their grandkids.

To sum things up, this vacation is not cheap, but given all the activities, food, drinks, and entertainment included, it is a very good value! You don't need to go anywhere else or bring anything except clothes, sunscreen, bug spray, & a flashlight (to wander around at night). We will definitely come back, and try to bring friends or family next time!

  • Stayed: May 2009, travelled with family
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Thank sugarlandmom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 7 April 2009

After much contemplation we decided on the Mayan Ranch for spring break this year. We have 2 boys ages 16 and 10. It seemed like their facilities would have something to please both of them and we were right.


FRI

Arrived around 3, checked in and chose the time for our afternoon ride. While we were there, we went ahead and signed up for the 8:30 am ride Sat, which would take us to the outdoor cowboy breakfast.

We grab our keys and head to our cottage. It large with a covered patio and lots of tree's. A peacock and rooster enjoy playing in our front yard. All though our rooms are under the same roof, the boys have a separate key and door to enter their room. This made them feel like the were "older", yet they were still close enough to mom and dad that we could keep an eye and them. Mine and hubbys room was rustic with Hill Country flair, and even included a fireplace. Kids room was larger with a open feel. Both rooms meet our seal of approval.

After unpacking the kids change into their swim trunks and we start exploring. First to the outdoor pavilion where we find they serve free beer, wine and sodas each day till 10pm. Have to say, it made the hubby and I pretty happy to hear that. The pool is next door. Very pretty with a waterfall. And next to that the volleyball and basketball courts. Next we head down to the river, just a short walk away. The water is beautiful, and the boys loved the rope swing.

Next we headed off to the corrals for a short horseback ride. The scenery is great, and I cant believe how many deer we see!

After we get back, we head to the pavilion to cool off with a drink, and notice they have some pre dinner snacks out. We grab a few, and head to the room to get ready for dinner. We pile onto hay covered trailer where we are taken to "Hicksville" for dinner. (Its a faux western town, really cute). this is where we find out that the Hicks family knows how to cook a mean meal!!!! Steaks bigger than my head, homemade rolls, numerous salads, green beans, corn, baked potatoes, cobbler and ice cream. they also had a live "cowboy crooner" singing old cowboys classics, and a baby buffalo for the kids to learn about.

Now that we are stuffed we head back to the pavilion to meet some new friends and wash down dinner with a few beers. The kids had a great time at the majic show, then roaming the property, and playing basketball and billiards'. Around 10, we went into the onsite saloon for a Bloody Mary then headed back to the room.

SAT

We are awakened at 7:30 with fresh coffee and juice delivered to our door, along with the days itinerary. AM delivery is optional, and you don't have to follow the itinerary. They just want you to know your options for the day.

We get dressed and head to the corrals for our morning ride to breakfast. You also have the option to eat in the dinning room, or take a hayride to the cowboy breakfast. The ride was peaceful, and our guide told us allot of stories about the history of the property. When we arrive at breakfast I cant believe my eyes. The biggest cast iron skillets I've ever seen cooking on an open flame. The choices were endless. Eggs, bacon, sausage, steak, beans, gravy, hashbrowns, sautéed onions and mushrooms, biscuits, tortillas, homemade salsa. How in the world am I gonna ride a horse after this?

After we get back to camp, the kids take off to play with the kids they'de met the night before, and hubby and I settle back in bed for a nap. Around 11 we head to the pavilion where they have a live longhorn on display...saddle and all. I get a great pic of my 10 year old on it.

Lunch is another cornucopia of goodness. Pastas galore, pizza, and tons of hearty vegetables and salad. When we had our fill, we head down with the kids to spend a little time at the river. So peaceful down there. Then its back to the corral for another ride. This time the trailboss take us down by the river. This is our 3rd ride, and each time the trail we took was different... which is cool.

After the ride, the kids hit the pool, and we watch them from the pavilion with a glass of wine. We met another couple that lives near us. Come to find out they know all my husband family, small world. Our kids and their kids hit it off as well.

Bout the time our tummy's start to rumble, like clockwork the Hicks family bring out the pre-dinner snacks. Today a variety of chips dips, and vegetable platters. For dinner they treated us to whole smoked turkey and more side and salads then you could shake a stick at. Man o man do these people know how to cook! That evening a dj set up in the pavilion and we had a dance. Well, hubby and I watched while everyone else danced, but still had a blast.

SUN
This time we take the hayride to breakfast. The deer are really thick today. 300 or more. Not to mention ram, goats, armadillo, and peacocks. Breakfast was a slam dunk again!

Once we get back at camp, hubby and I go for a little hike, while the kids head down to the river to fish. Then we all met back up for our final horseback ride. This time up into the mountains. I, like and idiot, did not bring my camera this time.....the views were amazing! I really kicked myself in the butt for not being able to get the shots from up on the mountainside.

After we get back, we pack up our things and head down for lunch. This time pork tenderloin, chicken fingers as big as your foot, and all the sides.

Just before we leave, we head to an area that the kids tell us about. It a covered patio off the back of the dinning room that over looks the river. WOW! I wish we had found this place earlier. I did manage to get some great pics of the 20 or so butterfly that where near us. Too cool.

We cant wait to get back! Actually thinking about doing their "yearly rate package" so we can go more often!

  • Stayed: March 2009, travelled with family
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1  Thank radiogirltx
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 September 2008

We stayed at the Mayan Dude Ranch for 5 nights in September 2008 and it proved to be a memorable stay, totally relaxing and pressure-free. We would love to go back and stay longer, it was that good!

We stayed in cabin 8, which was no more than 400 yards from the saloon and main pool & pavilion area but was totally private. Our cabin had 2 bedrooms and we slept in the one which had a feature window onto the woods... we saw deer and red squirrels in the mornings and the wild turkeys made an appearance on our last day... wonderful! The cabin itself had a living room and bathroom, with tub & shower, plus a lovely rocking bench outside where I spent a peaceful couple of hours with a book one afternoon. The cabin was very clean and towels were changed every couple of days; I guess "rustic" is a fair description but that shouldn't be seen as a bad thing, more that everything is in keeping with the feel of the ranch.

We were picked up from the airport by Greg and on the hour's drive to the ranch we were able to chat and get into the feel of our stay. Greg also took us back to San Antonio and dropped us off at the hotel... I really enjoyed our two transfers, thanks to Greg!

The ranch itself has a large pool, hot-tub, table tennis and tennis courts but the highlights are usually the two horse rides in the morning and afternoon. These were great for us as novices as the horses proceed in a single file walk but I guess serious riders would want something more exhilarating. Mike, who was usually handling the horses, tried to pair everyone with their favourite horse whenever possible and was happy to chat about the horses and the countryside in general. The rides went on different trails so were never boring and I think we all got used to the horses idiosyncracies as the week went by!

Food plays a big part too! Breakfast was either in the main building or you could ride or travel on the hay-cart down to an outdoor cowboy breakfast each morning. Thanks there to Reuben who played his guitar and sang country songs each morning, often having been our host in the saloon the night before! We shall remember Reuben with great affection after our trip!

Lunch comes long at midday at the outdoor pavillion and varied each day... accompanied by beer, wine or soft drinks from the outdoor bar which is open from 11am. Food & drink is all-inclusive, with the bar switching to the saloon from 8pm to 10pm, and a cash-bar until midnight after that. The dark beer was particularly welcome!

Dinner was usually around 6:45 and was often al-fresco, reached by hay-cart. This varied i.e. Mexican, BBQ, catfish, chicken, steaks... all with fresh salad and often lovely Bluebell ice-cream! Delicious! And it should be noted that the family always ate the same food after the guests so it kinda had to be good!

Each evening there was entertainment in the saloon bar, usually country singers, several of whom were very good, especially Dave Kemp.

During the day we were able to try BB shooting, whip-cracking, country line dancing and fishing, plus special guests came in to see us, such as a lasso expert, a man called Buffalo who brought along his bison, and a chap who talked about the Wild West. Having said that there was plenty of time to just relax which is what we did, either by the pool, up by the cabin or just lounging around with a succession of cold beers!

Bandera, by the way, is just a long mile away... we got a lift down to the town one afternoon courtesy of the ranch and walked back. It was worth going for a wander, just to look into the cowboy store and walk up & down the main street!

As we were outside of American & British school holidays there was typically 10-15 guests whilst we were there. That was a great number, especially for the horse rides, but was supplemented by a convention of Texas sherriffs and police chiefs! They appeared at mealtimes and in the evenings and were good fun, adding to the general good spirit and vibe of the place each night!

I cannot fault the Mayan ranch in any way and would like to thank all of the family and staff for making everyone so welcome and for keeping everything so relaxed and friendly. I can't mention everyone but thanks to Judy, Tracy, Kel, Tommy, Mike, Reuben, Dave and Doug, amongst others! You're doing a great job!!!

In summary, if you're looking for a ranch holiday - either with kids in the holidays or as adults in spring or autumn - then the Mayan Ranch is a great place to go!!! Absolutely A+++ excellent on all counts!!!

  • Stayed: September 2008, travelled with family
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1  Thank Seamo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 September 2008

The Mayan Ranch was brilliant. I'm not going to ramble on as most things have already been said ie: fantastic food, wonderful family etc etc.
If you are looking for something a little different then give this place a go and I am sure you won't be disappointed. I went on to LA after Mayan and to be honest wished I'd stayed at the ranch!!!!

  • Stayed: August 2008, travelled with friends
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Thank RhodieGirl30
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 August 2008

We were looking for some place we could meet for a family reunion when we stumbled across Mayan Dude Ranch. We had a group of 20, ages 1 to 83 from four different states.

The ranch is a great place to relax and enjoy your family. The little kids loved the activities and the teenage boys liked flirting with the Hicks girls! The adults participated in activities too, but mostly just visited, played cards and tried to stay cool. The pool area came in pretty handy for this.

The food was very good. Plenty of it and each meal was something different.

The rooms were rustic and nothing fancy. Tired bedspreads and towels, but they were comfortable and worked fine.

The Hicks family was hospitable and friendly. Very welcoming and really making you feel at home during the stay.

I think we may have been the only "first timers" while we were there. Just about everyone else had been coming at least once a year for several years - some as many as 15 years!

  • Stayed: June 2008, travelled with family
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Thank game4travel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 August 2008

We just hosted our adoption agency's annual reunion at the Mayan this past weekend, bringing more than 125 adoptive parents, birthparents and children to the Mayan Ranch, and we were so pleased with the experience, we've already booked it again for next year.

The food was much better than the other large Bandera dude ranch we'd stayed at previously. The activities were more varied, and the Hicks family went out of their way to be hospitable, even though our event was late in the season.

We were very impressed, and touched by all the "extras" they routinely offer which made our weekend so memorable (ie., fireworks, childcare, free libations, sit-down banquet with steak and shrimp on Saturday night--plus floor show featuring ranch staff in a musical revue, etc.)

The one drawback is that the terrain is very uneven, making this a less-than-ideal site for those with mobility problems (but how many of these folks seek out a dude ranch vacation?)

Accomodations are definitely rustic, but clean, safe and pleasant.

The Hicks family lives their faith, which is evident in their approach to guest services, as well as their management of this beautiful ranch site. Well worth the fees, as this site creates the kind of vacation memories every parent wants their children to carry through life, forever.

  • Stayed: August 2008, travelled on business
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Thank eva2691
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 August 2008

This was our first time to the Mayan Ranch. Actually, this was our first time to a dude ranch! The Hicks family, who runs the ranch, go so above and beyond to make your stay enjoyable, I couldn't imagine saying anything bad about our experience. If you are going with high heels and the expectation of high thread-count sheets and a fancy spa, you are tripping because this is a ranch, very rustic, not sophisticated in any way. But, that's the charm and the fun! It reminded my husband and I of the movie "Dirty Dancing" only western-style, with the dance lessons, dinner shows put on by the family, organized activities (a daily schedule), etc... so much fun for our son and all the kids. Our son rode horses daily, swam in the Medina river (even swinging from a rope!), fished, shot a BB gun, all things he had never done---you can't beat that. There is also a lovely swimming pool, which was nice since it was hot. The food was good, tons of it, too, so you never go hungry. Weds night was the best because there was a cook-out with huge steaks and fried catfish...come on, who wouldn't like that? :) In the evening there was a DJ playing country music and one of the Hick's kids taught us country dancing, so great! Everyone was dancing and having a blast. Plus, there is free alcohol (beers & wine) all night. Our accommodations were, as I said, rustic, but clean (as clean as can be expected on a RANCH). We had two adjoining rooms which was perfect for our family of four. The ranch is gorgeous! The Texas Hill Country is exquisite. You must do the cowboy breakfast complete with grits, biscuits & deer chasing after the wagon!
I think this is going to be a new family tradition. It was so different and enjoyable---we had a blast. Thank you, Hicks family! :)

  • Stayed: August 2008, travelled with family
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Thank jackw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Mayan Dude Ranch

Address: 350 Mayan Ranch Road, Bandera, TX 78003
Phone Number:
Region: United States > Texas > Bandera County > Bandera
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 24 Speciality Lodging in Bandera
Price Range: £94 - £124 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Mayan Dude Ranch 3*
Number of rooms: 68
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
"Horsepitality" is the foundation of the Mayan Ranch which is located in Bandera, Texas, 48 miles NW of San Antonio in the Texas Hill Country. Come experience our superb food, great accommodations, enthusiastic staff, horseback riding over picturesque trails, and swimming in our Texas-sized pool. Learn how to spin a rope, crack a whip and pitch shoes. Or, just sit back and enjoy a wagon ride around the ranch property to see the wildlife.Bring your family or your business (we are a great facility for conferences.)The Mayan Ranch is full American Plan. Rates include all meals, lodging, ranch activities as well as complimentary beer, wine, sodas and coffee.There is a little 'cowboy' in all of us - Find yours at the Mayan Ranch. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Mayan Dude Ranch Hotel Bandera
Mayan Dude Ranch Texas/Bandera

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