Looking to get healthy in a beautiful place? The Caribbean is home to a number of special resorts that double as wellness retreats, offering a tranquil setting to accompany yoga classes, fresh farm-to-fork meals, active cultural experiences and more. To help you plan a fun Caribbean getaway that also nourishes your mind, body and soul, check out these five must-experience properties.
Whether you're a hardcore fitness enthusiast or a couch potato looking to change, it's hard not to be motivated by The BodyHoliday's packed daily itineraries that allow you to get active through sightseeing and fun classes. Think Caribbean dancing, waterskiing classes, sunset yoga, sailing, hiking to Pigeon Island, meditation, water cardio and more - included in the all-inclusive rate. Along with choose your own adventure activities, you can decide if you'd like to eat off the Nutritionist Choice menu or indulge a bit with chocolate layer cake and free-flowing wine (both good for the soul). Meals are typically enjoyed to a soundtrack of waves lapping against soft sand thanks to the beachfront location.
Starting Rates: $530-$1,460 per person per night, all-inclusive.
When visiting Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort you can choose to have a wellness plan curated based on your needs (or, if you’re a couple, you and your partner’s needs together). You’ll be paired with a certified wellness specialist, who starts crafting your plan before your stay begins with a pre-arrival questionnaire. At the resort, the program offers nutrition counseling, a suggested meal plan, bespoke spa treatments and activities that help you move your body while exploring Aruba though water sports, yoga, hiking in Arikok National Park and more.
Even guests who don’t opt for the personalized program can enjoy wellness through the calming beach setting, fruit and vegetable smoothies, fitness center with garden and beach views, spa and a restaurant featuring gluten-free, vegetarian/vegan and all-natural dishes that don’t sacrifice flavor (grouper with fruit salsa, anyone?). Bonus: guest rooms are outfitted with an air dehumidifier and HEPA purifiers for cleaner breathing.
Starting Rates: $350+ per night.
If you’ve heard of traditional forest bathing, called shinrin-yoku, Carlisle Bay puts a Caribbean twist on the practice by offering Island Bathing. The experience includes being taken to an uninhabited island where you’re led through a guided meditation and breath work. Even better, the entire time you’ll be enjoying a natural soundtrack of waves lapping on sand and billowing palms. It’s worth noting Island Bathing is backed by science, as Columbia University studies have shown pounding surf (and other situations where air molecules rapidly come apart) add mood-boosting disease-fighting negative ions in the air.
Wellness continues at the property with free pilates, yoga and dance classes on their covered outdoor pavilion, tennis instruction and weekly free clinics, a fitness center, a curative spa with sauna and plunge pool and free access to water sports like windsurfing and paddle boarding.
Starting Rates: The two-hour Island Bathing experience is $725 for up to two people. Hotel rates are $525+ including daily breakfast, afternoon tea on the beach, sunset yoga and land/sea activities.
Picture heading 25 minutes outside of Negril into a remote mountain paradise full of rivers and springs, where a stay on a seven-acre organic farm introduces you to a simpler way of life. The all-inclusive eco-friendly Zimbali Retreats was built from the love Alecia and Mark share for each other and Mother Nature, introducing guests to a healthy Rastafarian way of life focused on living off the land. Eat delicious Jamaican meals crafted from property-sourced ingredients (which you’ll learn more about during a cooking workshop), hike to the hills above Canaan Mountain to spend time with local Rastaman named Fire on his farm, meet with certified herbalist and ancient African healer Bongo Roache, get a natural clay mud facial while relaxing in the local river and just let the tranquility of the place calm your mind. Also don’t miss their Xaymaca Yoga — which mixes influences from Brazil, India, Jamaica and Africa — and meditation.
Starting Rates: $218/night (off season) and $249/night (high season) including a private room, all meals and nonalcoholic beverages, a tour of the farm and a Rasta Tour. If staying 3+ nights, your stay also includes a Negril beach excursion and a farm-to-table cooking class.
Parrot Cay has possibly the best spa in the Caribbean, with therapists hand-picked for their individual talents. This means alongside popular spa options you’ll find atypical curative therapies like an Indonesian Massage, Indian Head Massage, a variety of Ayurvedic treatments and hyper focused therapies for areas like the eyes and neck. Along with the healing spa services is an available spa menu with wellness juices, exciting salads and mains like soba noodles topped with raw tuna and avocado, and spicy lentil curry. Get fit with daily yoga and pilates classes, or opt for a multi-day onsite yoga retreat (offered at certain times of the year). Whether you choose the healthy add-ons or not, all guests over 16 get free use of the fitness center, pool, Jacuzzi, sauna and steam room.
Starting Rates: $550+ per night.
Have you ever visited a wellness retreat?
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Jessica Festa is a full-time travel writer who is always up for an adventure. She enjoys getting lost in new cities and having experiences you don’t read about in guidebooks. Some of her favorite travel experiences have been teaching English in Thailand, trekking her way through South America, backpacking Europe solo, road tripping through Australia and doing orphanage work in Ghana. You can follow her adventures on her travel websites, Epicure & Culture and Jessie On A Journey. You can also connect with Jessica directly on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus, or follow her epicurean adventures on Facebook and Twitter.
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