Rancho Pitaya

Centrally located in the valley of Tlacolula

You don’t have to ride to love Rancho Pitaya!

In 2010, the owner, Mary Jane Gagnier, relocated her horse ranch to Rojas de Cuauhtemoc, to an ideal property that abuts quiet communal lands. She designed the ranch and personally oversaw its construction that features sustainable adobe, hand-hewn beams and wild cane. Her art collection and hand-painted tiles define the decor of the three spacious rooms of the adobe guest lodge.

The ranch is nestled in the foothills of protected lands perfect for horse riding, hiking and birdwatching. Limitless quiet backroads stretch to the east for cycling, and many cultural destinations are within a 20 minute drive. Dozens of varieties of birds can be observed right from the ranch.

Experience Oaxaca beyond the city with our Overnight Oaxaca Ride or Overnight Adventure Stay. Better yet, immerse yourself in the real Mexico with one of our weeklong experiences. This is the perfect safe distancing, open-air get-away. Rancho Pitaya is about outdoor living, so relax on the veranda and gaze up to the majestic mountains or sink into a hammock and sip a fresh lime Margarita from the shady dining terrace. 


Why visit us?

Outdoor activities
Self-guided exploring
Delicious cooking
House keeping

Sustainable Construction

The land the ranch is situated on had laid fallow for over 50 years. Mary Jane placed the guest lodge with views to the west and the imposing rock escarpment. From the kitchen & dining terrace, guests look east to immerse in the mature nopal and organ cacti. She was careful to preserve the Tepeguaje Conzatti trees, a rare native acacia. When asks about the landscaping, “It was reductive,” she states, “all about what to preserve and little about what to add.”

Adobe brick construction is not only ecologically sustainable but thermal and seismically friendly. 1 part aged manure from the ranch horses was added to 2 parts lime-rich local soil to make a super strong brick that was dried for several weeks in the winter sun. The 30 cm. thick bricks keep the guest lodge a consistently comfortable temperature.

Old, used roof tiles were laid atop hand-hewn pine beams culled from dense forests in the Sierra Juarez that needed light and space to thrive.

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Blue winter skies at Rancho Pitaya
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Gray-breasted Woodpecker

Happy Residents

Thirteen horses, one donkey,  three dogs, one cat and eleven hens all live together at Rancho Pitaya. There are no cages, chains nor enclosed box stalls.

The equines enjoy  rich social lives with daily turnout to play and self-exercise. The three dogs, all orphaned as pups, live to join the horses and riders on trail. Healthy hens roam freely scattering the manure and gleaming insects from the ground.

Rancho Pitaya provides important nesting habitat to over a dozen species of birds including the endemic Dusky Hummingbird and Grey-breasted Woodpecker


Proudly Homemade

Fresh ingredients are key to the delicious food served at Rancho Pitaya. Mary Jane and the ranch cook, Gina Lopes, plan menus together keeping the principals of traditional Oaxacan cuisine in the spotlight. The flavor-enhancing methods of roasting and baking, pulled from Mary Jane’s Canadian background, marry perfectly with Oaxaca’s rich palette of luscious moles, satisfying pipianes and zesty salsas.

Keeping with the precepts of Oaxaca’s cuisine, meat is a flavorful accent to an abundant repertoire of  mouth-watering and authentic plant-based dishes. 

Slide into a leather equipal chair and simply savor a Coloradito mole or pipian rojo, but it may be entertaining, and enlightening, to join a hands-on cooking session complete with take-away recipes.

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Mango Margarita

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