Caribbean Spas: Beyond the Massage

Spa treatments are only the beginning at these getaways, where worlds of wellness await.
By Abbie Kozolchyk

Over the last few years, state-of-the-art spas have become as essential as swimming pools at top resorts. But these days, select outfits are taking the wellness concept deeper into the realm of the holistic by offering special workshops or ongoing programs so immersive that a vacation can double as a retreat — minus the ascetic ashram connotations, plus cushy accommodations in a beautiful Caribbean locale. New Age newbies and seasoned practitioners alike will appreciate the feel-good factor that's built into these mind-body-spirit tuneups.

Amansala, Mexico
The Riviera Maya beach on which this 14-cabana Tulum eco-resort sits seems to go on forever, a thousand shades of undulating aqua on one side, palm-shaded palapas on the other and very little humanity in between. As one guest put it, Amansala is "the kind of place you always wanted to go to, but never knew where to find."

The hotel is also home to Bikini Boot Camp, and despite the imposing moniker, the six-night program isn't only for the hard-bodied set — it draws a remarkably diverse clientele of all fitness levels and ages, from hippieish 20-somethings to 60-something ladies of leisure. And there's something for everyone: rigorous yoga classes; silent beach walks; hip-hop-sound-tracked circuit training; Latin dance lessons; bike rides to the beach's namesake Maya ruins; kayak trips through a nature preserve; and snorkeling in crystal-clear cenotes.

Guests refuel with moderate portions of fresh and flavorful organic fare prepared in a beach-side kitchen that is open all day for guilt-free snacking. And after an active day, a massage in the tiny, treehouse-like spa is a welcome treat; two massages and a Maya clay treatment are included in the package.

Amansala has recently added postpartum boot camps and men-only Warrior Weeks — no bikini required.

$1,825 per person, year-round, including meals and activities. 011-52-998-185-7428


Published: 13 Apr 2009 | Last Updated: 1 Apr 2011
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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