New Orleans is known for many things: wild Bourbon Street, a rich jazz heritage, delicious Cajun and creole dishes among others. While it’s certainly an easy place to let loose, health-conscious travelers will be happy to know a curative culture does exist here. For a trip to the Big Easy with a wellness twist, add the following activities to your itinerary.
Situated right in the French Quarter is Porter Lyons, a concept store offering a number of curative options. The shop is passionate about showcasing and preserving culture, as well as protecting the environment through donations to sustainable projects. Wellness seekers can get good vibes at the handcrafted sage bar, sip locally made kombucha on tap or find their zen at an evening yoga class. Bonus: 5% of all profits are donated to the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana.
If you’d like to get healthy through relaxation, there are a number of sumptuous spas in New Orleans. One recommendation is the Ritz-Carlton Spa, New Orleans, where you can explore the local voodoo culture as you unwind. Their 80-minute Voodoo Ritual features a full body massage and the curative deep heat of an herbal poultice as you inhale scents of incense, absinthe and cypress. They also offer a 50-minute body scrub specifically for travelers where you can choose scrubs laced with Indian, Balinese or Polynesian ingredients.
While the city is filled with carb-heavy po’ boys, fried beignets and hearty gumbos, you can also find light, cruelty-free fare. Start your vegan food crawl at the tropical-themed Carmo, where meat-free options include vegan ceviche, Creole-seared avocado with citrusy ponzu sauce, and a veggie-rich quinoa salad topped with vegan cheese. Wash it down with one of their vitamin-rich fruit smoothies with interesting additions like soursop and upuaçu. Another option for vegan fare is SEED, where you can fill up on garlic-laced polenta, veggie noodles in raw coconut and three-bean chili, before heading to Girls Gone Vegan Bakery for some chocolate fudge Bundt cake!
Something that may surprise you is that New Orleans is home to some great kayaking. You can book a tour to paddle around Bayou St. John with Kayak-Iti-Yat. Interestingly, the excursion isn’t just about getting a scenic workout, but also learning about history. In fact, you’ll be paddling over a historic trade route and gain a better understanding of the bayou’s importance throughout the years. More of a land person? FreeWheelin' Bike Tours offers cycling excursions taking you through iconic areas like the Garden District, the French Quarter, Bywater, St Louis Cemetery #3, Lafayette Square and more.
New Orleans’ City Park encompasses 60 acres of natural beauty. There’s a scenic one-mile hike along with botanical gardens, a golf course, sports fields, outdoor sculptures and 280 bird species for bird watching. About half an hour from New Orleans is also Jean Lafitte National Park’s Barataria Preserve, where you can hike through swampland to search for alligators, snakes and turtles. Join their guided Wetlands Walk, taking place at 10am daily from Wednesday to Sunday.
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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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