Oddly enough, it was archaeology that brought Rafa to the Baja peninsula. It’s a unique region with amazing views, mountains and natural history. As it turned out, all the time Rafael spent mapping, organizing expeditions and trips for archaeological digs combined with his mountain bike guiding would pay off.
Rafa told us, “The archaeology thing just didn’t become fruitful enough and through a friend that linked Christy’s consulting agency to me, I was invited out to the ranch for a visit.” Christy had Rafa ride the first mountain bike trail at the property, which ends up right at a little casita where we had also ridden and had lunch two times during the week. It was the first homestead of the property, built decades ago. “When I got to the casita I saw Christy there with some pretty high-level friends of hers and she had some picnic-type snacks set up and asked me, ‘What do you see here?’ I replied by saying, I see possibilities!” Rafa told us.
After exploring more of the rancho Rafa continued to be impressed. “Everywhere you look you see how neat and orderly things are, that is what Christy and this ranch stand for. When I decided to come on board I was blown away by the vision, and meticulous nature of things. She noticed everything, and thought about the land, the plants and the animals first,” Rafa continued, “I knew this was my new home and her passion for the future and improving the local communities has been infectious.”
Rafa’s story is not a unique one here at the ranch. Our crew was constantly surprised that our humble guides were all overachievers and many were college-educated in everything from biology to geology and beyond.
The large ranch has several smaller ranches within its fences. One ranch for example is the dairy, where 15 goats produce all the cheese, milk and other dairy consumed on the property. They also produce enough goat cheese, something the region is known for, to sell it at local farmer’s markets and to restaurants. Rather than looking to compete with local ranchers, Rancho Cacachilas actually hosts workshops and has an open invitation to all local ranchers to come out and see how they can improve their own operations.
By educating the local ranchers and steering them away from the way their grandfather’s ranching techniques, Rancho Cacachilas is trying to show the ranchers they can demand higher prices, sell to restaurants and increase the quality of their cheese while also reducing the cost of operations by being more efficient and clean in their production.