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Rancho Cortez
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Reviews (340)
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Reviewed 26 March 2012

I stayed for four nights with my two daughters ages 6 and 8. We all had a good time. Everyone is super nice and friendly. Beautiful scenery. My girls rode horses for the first time. The guides are all nice and nurturing. We got to do a ride I. The morning and afternoon. They climbed trees, ran. Went to the pool. We got to really spend time together. The meals were quite tasty. The rooms aren't fancy but they are clean and spacious. I thought it was a pretty good value because on e you get there you have no extra costs except for the tip at the end. My girls fell In love with Cowboy Larry. He is just a good guy and great with the kids. Both my girls were crying when it was time to leave.

  • Stayed: March 2012
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1  Thank reesie0726
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 March 2012

We spent 3 nights here and loved the ranch and outdoor life. We thought however the horses looked underfed, and were very hard worked. One day a white horse was roped to the corral fence on a short rein, unable to graze and left there all day. We visited other dude ranches on the way home and their horses appeared in much better shape. We were also puzzled as to why the rides went up and down the hills making it very difficult for the horses to keep their footings and a little scary for us inexperienced riders. Why not use the flat lands around the ranch.?
The accommodation is acceptable NOT luxurious, and the food is basic chow but also acceptable.

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank tdan736
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 March 2012

We just spent 5 nights at Rancho Cortez this Spring Break (we were 2 families - 4 kids in total ages 9,8,7,5). Rancho Cortez is rated #1 because of the great people who work there - Larry (the owner) is awesome! He is fair, great with kids and adults - but beware, he will correct you and your children if you don't use your manners! (a plus for me and my kids). Big Billy, Billy, Katy, Tyler, Cheryl, Julio, Rhori - and even the staff that do the cooking and serving- are all warm and so nice!

Now, don't expect 5 star accommodations - it is a ranch. It is clean and has a/c! Since we were two families, we had a large cabin and a small kitchen. We had a fridge which was great so we could stack all our drinks in! There is no tv, but kids had their ipads so it wasn't a big deal. The meals are simple but good. It was great for the kids - it was eat this or don't eat anything at all. I need to use that MO at my house and just cook one meal for the whole family and not cater to the whims of my children!

The trail rides are great - went to different trails each time and you get to ride several different horses! you get to know the horses and their personalities, too! We got to ride 2 times each day and have arena time as well - we learned how to "steer" the horses and trot and gallop! I even got to stand on the horse! Kids are included in the arena time, too - the kids seem to do much better than the adults! Also, there is the hay wagon. Just ask for a ride and a wrangler will give you a ride! You can wait for Larry to lead the wagon ride - that is special because he lets the kids take turns really driving the hay wagon and steering the two huge Belgian horses.

It's a fun property - the kids had a blast playing in the treehouse, climbing trees, and just simply running around with other kids. My kids had a great time just petting and grooming the horses when not riding. Also - ask how to lasso - it is fun! My husband even purchased his own lasso in Bandera - but they do sell them on the ranch as well. The ranch's General Store has some hats, lassos, whips and souvenirs as well - all reasonably priced.

The outdoor pool was too cold when we were there, but the indoor pool was nice for the kids. It was warmed up and the kids had fun! There was also a trick roper that came to the ranch for a show - it was great and lots of fun since many of us were used as volunteers! Also, there were guest singers at the campfire, too. It is such a nice, cozy family vacation - no stress of where to eat, where to go.....You just chill and ride and hang out with horses and family and new friends.

Of course, it was very sad having to say good bye and my daughter was bawling all the way home. She wanted to go back so badly! She even cried the next day! She can't wait until the next trip out here! We miss the friendly faces of Rancho Cortez - hopefully we will be back soon!



Tips:
1. Bring lots of drinks (and you can bring beer, wine, etc...)and snacks - meals are at 8am, 12pm and 6pm. If you are too late, the food will already be gone!
2. Warn your friends and families that there is no cell phone reception and not to worry if they do not hear from you!
3. Be nice to the wranglers - share your beer- they appreciate it! They have alot of good stories to tell and are fun to share meals with!
4. Check out the town on Bandera - fun souvenirs and antiques! You can get some boots and gear in town if you don't have any.
5. Kids get super dirty - bring lots of clothes - but you can do laundry there after the cleaning staff are done with the washing/drying machines. I bought boots for the kids and my husband ended up going into banders and getting some as well. I think it was worth it - gets them in the cowboy atmosphere, but more importantly - it gets dusty and muddy out there and the boots were much easier to wear and deal with than tennis shoes that get soggy and way too dirty!
6. ASK,ASK, ASK - this is a place that if you want to try something- ask them! they don't have too many things scheduled but there is still alot to do! We asked to go feed the longhorns - so Big Billy and Billy took us out on the truck to the longhorns! Ask Larry for arena time - learn to trop and gallop on a horse! He will teach the kids the proper way to handle horses. Kids want to wake up early and help feed and groom the horses? - ask and they can do it!
7.if you have young kids to little to trail ride, you can ask one of the wranglers to pick out a horse that you can walk around the property while your child rides the horse. We did that for the 5yr old that was with us.

Room Tip: We had the Navajo and the Ansazai since we had 2 families. In total, we had 3 bedrooms with queens beds each, 2 bathrooms, s small kitchen with fridge (no microwave) and a porch room with 3 extra beds - which was great for the kids to sleep together in!
  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled with family
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1  Thank sgriebl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 March 2012

Just got back from spending the end of Spring Break on the Ranch (our first time there). We (46 male, 39 female, 15 female) all loved it. To sum up the stay/experience: 1) the horse rides go out about every hour, but sometimes lag for unknown reasons (weather?). The rides are fantastic (at least, for first-time riders like us). The horses move at an easy pace and the trails are beautiful. I went out 3 times and each time we rode along a different trail (all Cortez land, not the state park). 2) Larry (Cortez) is a joy. He's got a great demeanor, friendly with the kids, always in charge, and has great stories and jokes/jabs to share. He is constantly at work, too, making sure there is always an activity for everyone if they want to join in. 3) The rooms are clean and quaint with basic necessities (this is a ranch, not a Hyatt). Although they are listed as cabins, there is no fridge in the rooms. 4) The nightly campfire is toasty and bright and there are plenty of songs, stories, and smores to go around. 5) The covered hot tub is nice and hot. 6) The walking trail around the back of the camp is short but beautiful, with some obstacle course structures about half-way. 7) The included meals are your basic comfort food, nothing fancy. You get what they serve; it's not like a buffet. They offer tea and coffee throughout the day, and orange juice in the morning. You can buy a can of soda for $1 from the office fridge. 8) There is a small amount of livestock (plenty of horses, a couple of dogs, a few goats, and we saw one longhorn in a field, from a fair distance. No milk cows, or chickens around for the kids to play with. 9) There is a game room (in a converted barn), but you have to get things from the office to use most of the equipment (pool table, ping-pong). The TV didn't seem to pick up much of anything, and most of the rest of it (games, musical instruments) had been destroyed by former guests (there were a few destructive tykes running amok while we were there, too). 10) Bandera is only about 10-15 minutes away and has a few good places to eat (fantastic malts in the general store), and lots of places to shop. A beautiful state park is right next door to the ranch (for about $6 per person). 11) There is an indoor and outdoor pool. The office mentioned that the indoor pool was kept at about 78 degrees, but we tried it out and it was more like 62, at best. It was too cold for us. The outdoor pool is tiny, maybe room for 4 kids to play around in. We didn't use the fitness room, but there is one. 12) And finally, keep in mind that the office generates a billing slip with a "TIP" line on it, so be prepared for that extra cost and think about it before you show up to check out, otherwise you may feel like you're on the spot when they hand you the slip for your signature. (Oh, and forget about free wi-fi. We couldn't get a signal on any of our phones, cell or wi-fi.)

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled with family
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2  Thank mpracht
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 March 2012

We just spent spring break at Rancho Cortez with our two children, ages 10 and 5. None of us had any experience riding but we were all out riding the first day, having a great time. Cowboy Larry and the staff were great fun to be around, and very patient with us city folks. The kids loved the campfire and marshmellows in the evening, and were amazed by the brightness of the stars. The food was good and the rooms were clean and nice. The hill country around the ranch was beautiful and riding through it on a horse is a special experience. The kids can't wait to come back again. You can't beat this experience!!!

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled with family
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1  Thank Rinaldo P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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