There's an active wellness world beyond massage and yoga, writes Grace Ellis.
When picturing a wellness retreat, meditation, relaxation and self-care immediately spring to mind. However, there's a new kid on the block — active wellness. Still encompassing the traditional sense of the word, these wellness adventures transform the experience into a multi-faceted, thrill-seeking experience for those who want more than just massages and yoga classes. Here are some trips of note around the world, for those seeking a transformation of their own in 2019.
Aro Hā, Glenorchy, Central Otago
For those looking to stay close to home Aro Hā is a multi-award-winning luxury wellness retreat in Glenorchy, just 45 minutes north-west of Queenstown. Suitable for all fitness levels, this wellness adventure is the kickstart you need to begin and maintain a healthy and fulfilling lifestyle. Flow through movement with sunrise yoga while views of beautiful Lake Wakatipu invigorate your soul. Indulge in nutritious vegetarian meals and hike sub-alpine landscapes. Rejuvenate and restore through meditation, spa therapy, daily massage and mindfulness practices. The brainchild of Damien Chaparro and Chris Madison, this "transition space" is led by a select group of eco-conscious individuals who are willing, both literally and figuratively, to bend over backwards to ensure the experience is life-changing.
Price range: $5750-$6950pp
BodyHoliday, St Lucia
Break through the boredom at BodyHoliday, an all-inclusive wellness resort in St Lucia whose tagline is "give us your body for a week and we'll give you back your mind". There's scuba diving (first-timers welcome), sailing, water skiing and sea kayaking experiences at your disposal, or if you'd prefer to keep your feet dry, a plethora of island adventures await. Whether you're keen to sharpen up your aces in tennis, hike the tallest mountain in the West Indies — Mt Gimie — or simply pamper yourself at the world-renowned Wellness Centre with daily complimentary spa treatments, BodyHoliday allows you to customise your ultimate getaway adventure with tailored programmes.
Price: Depends on the duration of stay
Tribal Yoga, Tulum, Mexico
Dive head first into endless self-discovery with this six-day freediving and yoga retreat which aims to teach guests the connection of breath and the essence of relaxation. Find your zen among the magical turquoise cenotes of the Yucatan Peninsula — seen as an entrance to the Underworld by ancient Mayans — before choosing between a variety of yoga classes such as Vinyasa flow, Iyengar, Yin and Restorative sessions, and freediving lessons with a certified instructor. Taking a modern approach to mindfulness and relaxation, yogis will receive some much-needed rest and relaxation and take their practise to new depths. Located a short walk away from the town centre of Tulum, downtime gives the opportunity to visit trendy Tulum's highlights, including the archaeological ruins of the Mayan El Castillo castle and Paradise Beach.
Price: From $1906pp
Evolve Retreat Co, Canada
Disconnect from the stresses of daily life and reconnect with your senses while you take in a deep breath of fresh, crisp mountain air. As the name would suggest, the core value of this retreat is about personal transformation and evolution, set against Canada's jaw-dropping scenery. With a variety of private venues to choose from around Alberta, each landscape is diverse but no less outstanding — get lost and find yourself amid the Canadian Rockies, cosy up in a log cabin beside Lake Louise or count the stars while you count your blessings. Throughout the adventure retreat, guests take part in yoga, hiking, wildlife viewing, nourishing meals, cooking workshops and fitness classes. There's also plenty of room for down-time — massages and a sleep workshop are an essential aspect of the experience.
Price: From $2535
Sonoran Desert Meditation and Yoga Retreat, Arizona, USA
Get a little more altitude and a little less attitude in the Sonoran Desert, with Mountain Travel Sobek's spiritual journey to inspire and increase consciousness. In this five-day excursion, you'll experience personal highs as well as mountain peaks and hikes, including a trek to the summit of Camelback Mountain in Phoenix — the name given due to its resemblance to the hump and head of a kneeling camel. You'll be rewarded with panoramic views across a desolate, yet beautiful desert. Hike through the rugged red-rock terrain of Sedona on the Coyote Trail and Apache Fire Loop before slowing down for flow yoga, meditation and mantra. To top it all off, a visit to the Mii Amo Spa at the Enchantment Resort will ensure a full release of any other hidden tensions.
Price: From $5850pp
Wellness Adventures Australia
Discover some of Australia's hidden gems, get out of that "all work, no play" outlook and move into a state of self-love and connection. Wellness Adventures Australia works with Trek West to offer remarkable hikes in the idyllic natural surroundings of the Australian Outback, while holding your health and wellness in the highest regard — no previous experience required. This is the perfect trip for those wanting to tap into their sense of adventure — five-day trips will take in some of Australia's untouched landscapes, including mountains, waterholes and national parks. Get treated to aromatherapy, wellness coaching and yoga alongside sunset drinks and glamping. You'll feel revitalised mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually after this inspiring adventure.
Price: From $2377pp
Put down that phone and recharge your body with the enchanting landscapes of Iceland. The Land of Fire and Ice is a flawless sanctuary where you'll be able to live in the moment and discover yourself. Tiki-touring the southern coast, participants on this G Adventures itinerary will witness the beauty of the Golden Circle, hike the glowing Solheimajokul glacier, go deep into relaxation with guided meditation under the Skogafoss waterfall and unwind in the Blue Lagoon hot pools. Between activities on this seven-day excursion, you can choose to take a bike tour of Reykjavik, go whale watching, head to the beach or if you're adventurous enough, try some traditional Icelandic delicacies such as Svio (sheep's head).
Price: From $4039pp