Spiritual journey, yoga retreats, meditative spaces, activity-fueled getaway, or a tequila-infused massage—whatever your client’s desire, resorts in Mexico are focusing on activities and programs that put the spotlight on your client’s well-being while they are vacationing.
“Wellness vacations come in a wide array of travel opportunities,” says Jeri Donovan, wellness travel specialist and founder/owner of Well Traveled, an independent affiliate of Andavo Travel, and a Virtuoso member. “This type of travel is almost as broad as the various definitions of ‘wellness.’ Wellness is not a one-size-fits-all concept. As many wellness travel advisors do, I define a wellness vacation or wellness travel as a vacation planned with ‘intent to improve or maintain one’s well-being.’ This, of course, looks different for everyone with our variety of needs.” Adds Paula Kaisner, Dream Vacations franchise owner, a wellness vacation “is an opportunity for clients to get away from their day-to-day routine and maintain and add to what they do from a health and wellness way of life at home.”
Kaisner says that the majority of her wellness clients are Gen X, as “many of them are recent empty nesters and are looking to focus on themselves and a healthy lifestyle.” Donovan’s clients, on the other hand, range from Baby Boomers to Millennials, with “Millennials and Gen X seeking yoga retreats, active adventure and wellness resorts,” she notes. “Baby Boomers have requested more wellness resorts and fitness vacations,” Donovan points out.
Many of the resorts in Mexico look to their local traditions for inspiration in creating well-being programs. At the renovated Zen Spa at Hyatt Zilara Cancun, for example, your clients can opt for the Tzolkin Mayan Ritual, during which the therapist will seek out what the Mayan believe are the body’s main energy points in order to release the orderly flow of energy, and thus help relax the body, improve circulation, eliminate toxins, soothe muscle pain, help sleep better, release endorphins and improve mood. Clients can also make their own local souvenir at the spa’s Alchemy Workshop, where, among other things, they can concoct their own purifying facials, and learn the benefits and techniques used in spa treatments.
Maya Tulum Resort, considered by many to be Tulum’s first wellness resort, features 49 thatched-roof villas, beachfront and oceanview cabanas, along with two yoga halls offering daily classes, a meditation labyrinth, a healing center offering spa treatments based on Mayan rituals, and a Temazcal sweat lodge for traditional Mayan ceremonies. Recommend the resort’s 5-night Mind, Body + Spirit package that includes overnight accommodations, yoga sessions, spa treatments, three healthy meals daily
There’s a twist on how tequila is used at the Brio Spa at Vidanta Riviera Maya: The resort has its own tequila-oil that’s used in a full-body treatment, the aptly named Tequila Massage. Beyond the spa, this 1,000-acre hotel complex offers 15 restaurants, a variety of accommodation options, and a range of amenities, including the area’s resident Cirque du Soleil show, JOYA.
Wellness travel is almost as broad as the various definitions of ‘wellness.’
— Jeri Donovan, Wellness Travel Specialist and Founder/Owner, Well Traveled
On Mexico’s Pacific coast, the Hilton Los Cabos Beach & Golf Resort’s eforea Spa offers a Mexican Shaman Cleansing Ritual that’s rooted in a traditional Mayan ceremony. Led by a shaman with multi-generational training, this cleansing ritual uses burning sage and other herbs, Mexican incantations, and traditional drums, allowing the guest to immerse themselves in the country’s ancient culture. For an even more immersive experience, recommend the Zen Garden Culinary Dinner, featuring a gastronomic dinner in the resort’s Zen Garden terrace that uses local herbs from the resort’s living wall garden.
Ancient traditions also come alive at Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa’s Ohtli Spa, with treatments such as the Rebirth Therapy Session, which is performed in a pool of warm water and which takes guests through a series of rhythmic water movements that relax the mind and body.
The 200-acre Playa Viva, an eco-luxury sustainable boutique hotel on the Pacific Coast located just 35 minutes south of Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo International Airport, features an estuary, an Aztec archaeological site, a turtle sanctuary, and a coastal forest and mangrove ecosystem. The resort puts the focus on yoga, massages and an immersion in nature and its most coveted accommodation is the Treehouse, located in palm trees as living “piers” raised 6 ft. above the ground. The resort offers year-round workshops and retreats that put the focus on well-being: Imagine an Aerial Yoga Retreat, which combines yoga practices with circus fitness classes; or a Bliss Yoga Retreat, which focuses on a range of yoga practices, as well as meditation activities. Next up is a Yin & Yang Yoga retreat taking place in November.
At the cliffside 54-suite resort Cala De Mar Resort & Spa Ixtapa, located on the Sierra Madre mountainside, there are various outdoor yoga and meditation spaces with panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean. The resort has debuted a Temazcal and is rolling out daily Aztec rituals. We recommend the 3-night SPA Indulgence package with spa treatments, water rituals and a digital detox.
For clients who want some soul-searching with views of the Sea of Cortez, recommend the 350-room Barcelo Gran Faro Los Cabos. The resort has launched bilingual (English and Spanish) guided meditation sessions, and we’ve been told that the Forgiveness Meditation Session will have participants in tears. In another homage to resort-wide well-being, the property requests that all spa therapists do yoga first thing in the morning prior to shifts to ensure they achieve mind-body balance in order to transfer positive energy to every guest.
No secret that solo travel is on the rise, and in a nod to this niche, the Rosewood Mayakoba has introduced a 4-day Marry Oneself Journey that’s a Mayan-inspired personal retreat focusing on self-love and designed to reconnect with one’s inner-self. It includes a series of guided rituals led by the property’s shaman, as well as spa experiences and a ceremony of self-commitment.
In Baja California, in the city of Tecate, Rancho La Puerta is known for its fitness and spa offerings. The property, says travel advisor Donovan, “sets the stage for wellness travel over 60 years ago and today offers one of the most comprehensive wellness programming I have experienced. I have clients who return there annually.” The 4,000-acre resort offers over 60 fitness classes, advanced hiking trails, spa treatments, therapeutic sessions and daily lectures, inviting guests for week-long and partial-week stays. They are offering new 14-day Detox Retreats (the next one is Sept. 22-Oct. 6); and a new Dynamic Running Program ideal for trail runners, Parkour enthusiasts, and marathon runners. The resort has also redesigned its obstacle course, with mud pits, monkey bars, walls, and cargo nets, among other obstacles.
Barcelo Gran Faro Los Cabos: barcelo.com
Cala De Mar Resort & Spa Ixtapa: calademar.com
Hilton Los Cabos Beach & Golf Resort: hiltonloscabos.com
Hyatt Zilara Cancun: playaresorts.com/hyatt-zilara-cancun
Maya Tulum Resort: mayatulum.com
Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa: marriott.com
Playa Viva: playaviva.com
Rancho La Puerta: rancholapuerta.com
Rosewood Mayakoba: rosewoodhotels.com/en/mayakoba-riviera-maya
Vidanta Riviera Maya: vidanta.com/web/riviera-maya