Best Wellness Vacation Destinations
For the past few years, wellness vacations have been on the rise and it’s not hard to understand why: with modern life burdening us with stressful commutes, long working hours, and the expectation of being available 24/7, it’s no wonder that some of us are looking to get away from it all and reconnect with ourselves. Due to this increased interest in taking care of both our bodies and minds, wellness retreats have started popping up in all corners of the globe, from the budget to the super luxurious. But with so many on offer, it can be hard to decide where to go. Here you’ll find a selection of destinations you should consider when planning a wellness break.
India has long been a place where people head to find themselves, and with yoga and meditation becoming more popular, this has only served to fix it even more firmly on the map as a wellness hotspot. Yoga has been practiced here since around 3000 BC, so it should come as no surprise that travelers gravitate here to learn and expand their abilities on this ancient practice.
Of course, there are hundreds of places in India where you can take a wellness break. Where you decide to go will largely depend on your preferences. Rishikesh, a beautiful city at the foot of the Himalayas, is considered to be the yoga capital of the world. If you’re interested in learning about different kinds of yoga, this would be the ideal place. Goa is an attractive beachside city which easily combines leisure activities such as cooking classes and water sports with yoga. Kerala is great if you want to experience traditional Ayurvedic massage along with your yoga practice. No matter what you’re looking for in your wellness vacation, you’ll be sure to find something in India.
There are many great reasons to visit Thailand: it’s a country filled with fascinating historical sights, great food, pristine beaches and fun activities. It’s also a country well-known for massage. In the West, we tend to view massage as a physical treatment, but for the Thais, it’s so much more than that. Drawing on a number of ancient practices from other Asian countries such as India and China, Thai massage incorporates elements of acupressure and reflexology to help with stress relief, to restore mood, and to reinvigorate the body and soul.
Due to Thailand’s popularity when it comes to wellness, you can find spas throughout the entire country. Some are very basic and traditional; others are extremely opulent and luxurious. If you’re looking for a spa at the higher end of the spectrum, you’ll find these mostly located in the biggest tourist areas, such as Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Koh Samui, Pattaya and Phuket. However, pretty much all hotels will have some spa facilities and, as massage is such a huge part of Thai culture, there are small massage parlors on every street you walk down.
Morocco has long been known as a great surf destination, and in recent years travelers have started to realize that not only is it an ideal spot to catch some waves, but it provides a wonderful environment for yoga as well, despite the fact that the country has no specific links with the ancient practice. Many people now are combining their surf trips with yoga, and there are many resorts and surf schools offering special packages to help you get the most of your trip.
Agadir and Essaouira are the two biggest places where you can enjoy surfing and yoga retreats, although many travelers prefer the smaller towns and villages of Taghazout, Tamrakht, and Imsouane. These towns and villages tend to be a little less crowded, meaning more peaceful surroundings when practicing yoga and not fewer people on the waves.
As well as surfing and yoga, Morocco is famous for its hammams, traditional steam baths which are great for cleansing the body and will add to your wellness vacation perfectly.
A country of outstanding natural beauty, Costa Rica offers plenty for travelers in search of the perfect wellness destination. With everything from spa getaways and yoga retreats to hot springs and sports activities, Costa Rica has seen a huge upsurge in people choosing to take their wellness breaks there.
One of the best things about taking a wellness trip in Costa Rica is its stable climate; although it does have a rainy season, it’s generally a good place to visit year-round. A huge part of wellness in Costa Rica is reconnecting with nature, so a wellness break here could consist of trekking through lush, green jungle or white water rafting down a river before heading back for a relaxing massage. The country is also known for its tropical beaches and good waves, making it a fantastic surf destination.
Many will know Ibiza as a party island and it certainly still gets its fair share of the young – and the not so young – who head there looking to party all night and sleep all day. But in recent years the island has been attracting all kinds of other travelers, from those who are looking to explore its rugged natural sites to those who want to improve their Spanish in one of the local language schools. A lesser publicized side of Ibiza is its excellent wellness retreats, which is surprising as it is considered to be one of Europe’s biggest yoga hubs.
Ibiza has a number of retreats offering a whole host of wellness activities, including yoga, Pilates, fitness workouts such as HIIT, meditation and water sports. (There are a variety of yoga retreats in Ibiza that fit everyone’s budget.) If it’s spa treatments you’re looking for, many resorts and wellness centers on the island offer massage, reiki healing and other holistic treatments.
We all need time to relax and replenish our bodies and souls from time to time and a wellness retreat is a wonderful way of doing so. With so many destinations to choose from, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t consider booking a wellness vacation for your next trip.
Ali Jennings is a freelance writer, house sitter and teacher currently residing in the UK. She has travelled to many countries across Europe, Asia and Northern Africa. Since starting writing in 2013, she has contributed to a number of travel and news websites and is currently working on her first book. When she is not writing and teaching, she enjoys tabletop gaming, ice hockey, photography, and learning languages.