Wellness Travel in South America

Posted by on April 13th, 2021

As 2021 gets into the swing of things with COVID-19 vaccines being administered around the world, international travel is starting to pick up. What better way to escape the madness of the past year than with a wellness retreat in an exotic location where you can restore, re-align, and rejuvenate yourself.

Think of waking up in a luxurious boutique hotel for a sunrise yoga session and a healthy breakfast of local cuisine, followed by surfing on a private beach or hiking in the mountains with a personal guide. From jungle meditation sessions and horseback riding along secluded beaches to pampering massages and holistic treatments, wellness retreats are centered around physical and mental health and wellbeing and promise to leave you feeling healthier and better than ever before.

Take a swim with a view at Tierra Patagonia’s Uma Spa

What is Wellness Travel?

Wellness travel focuses on promoting health and well-being through physical, psychological, or spiritual activities. Wellness travelers are usually looking to improve or maintain health and quality of life and want a vacation that offers a variety of activities that support this.

Gone are the days of wellness retreats boasting spartan facilities and strict bland diets. Now you can stay in luxury five-star accommodation with deluxe facilities and amenities and a wealth of health and wellness-centric activities and adventures. Whatever your ideal travel style, there is a wellness holiday out there for you.

Enjoy a soothing massage at the Hilltop Spa at Chaa Creek in Belize

Wellness travel is also a very flexible concept. You don’t have to plan a weeklong yoga retreat to experience wellness travel. We can arrange your Vaya Adventures trip to include the wellness elements that interest you, whether it be a yoga session, a culinary class, a massage, a physical activity, or just some downtime in a beautiful setting to relax and enjoy an unstructured day. Enjoy all the usual highlights of a journey to South and Central America, while including the wellness elements that speak to you, to create a truly invigorating experience.

Yoga at Tierra Patagonia
Yoga is definitely still an option, though! Here, a yoga session at Tierra Patagonia in Chile.

Benefits of Wellness Travel

Wellness travel is all about reenergizing, rejuvenating, and finding balance through healthy eating, physical activity, enjoying the activities you love, and trying new things to spark creativity. A wellness trip might include pampering spa sessions, health-focused culinary events to tantalize your taste buds, and physical activities like paddle boarding, hiking, surfing, and yoga.

Wellness travel is a great way to learn new things, from recipes for healthy eating to discovering the joys of surfing. It is also the perfect way to reduce stress and balance mental and physical wellbeing. The past year has reinforced the vital importance of tending to our physical and mental health, exploring new experiences, and finding healthy outlets for stress.  

Paddleboarding with the family at Peru’s Lake Piuray

Wellness Getaways in Central and South America

Central and South America offer a host of spectacular places to enjoy wellness vacations, from the beautiful beaches of Belize and the steamy jungles of Costa Rica to the lunar-like landscapes and fragile ecosystems of the Galapagos Islands.

Relax in nature in lovely Costa Rica

Here are some ideas for unique, one-of-a-kind wellness getaways in Central and South America.

Explore the Atacama Desert in Chile

Soak up the spectacular natural scenery of the Atacama Desert and the magnificent salt flats, active geysers, and intense blue lagoons of San Pedro de Atacama in Chile. Spend days exploring the astonishing diversity of life in the world’s driest desert and nights soaking up the star-filled skies from the luxurious Relais & Chateaux Awasi Atacama Hotel.

Relax in the shade of tall trees by the pool; enjoy a massage in a private poolside cabana; dine on world-class cuisine in the hotel’s restaurant; learn how to cook local cuisine with award-winning chef Juan Pablo Mardones, and explore the desert on guided 4×4 drives with a professional guide.

Shade trees and a sparkling pool at the Awasi Atacama

Experience the Magic of Machu Picchu in Peru

Marvel at the ancient citadel of Machu Picchu on a wellness getaway at the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel in Urubamba, Peru. Nestled in the ancient foothills of the Andes, the hotel is set on a private five-hectare mountainside reserve, which is home to a wealth of diverse fauna and flora, including the world’s largest native orchid collection.

Enjoy spiritual, sensual, and soothing Andean-inspired body treatments at the Unu Spa; explore the reserve on guided hikes; and dine on delicious Peruvian cuisine against a beautiful backdrop of the Vilcanota River.

Andean Sauna at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel
Relax in the Andean Sauna at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel

Visit the iconic ruins of Machu Picchu and the flourishing Sacred Valley and enjoy mountain biking, trekking, horse-riding, river rafting, and rock climbing through ancient historical sites, vast Inca farming terraces, and frosted-peaked mountains. You don’t have to be a fitness guru to enjoy these kinds of active excursions: on a Vaya trip you travel with a private guide, and your excursions are customizable and tailor-made to cater to your preferences. Whether your idea of trekking is a brisk 5-mile hike into the mountains or a relaxed walk along one of the foothills, Vaya is ready to customize a day that will delight you and leave you refreshed and eager for the next adventure.

Soothe your soul by exploring new paths, like Peru’s Inca Trail

Discover the Beauty of Belize

Get back to nature in the steaming jungles of Belize on a wellness retreat at the award-winning eco-lodge Chaa Creek Resort. Set on a 400-acre private nature reserve along the banks of the Macal River at the foot of the Maya Mountains, Chaa Creek offers a range of health and wellness activities to enjoy.

Explore the verdant grounds at Chaa Creek

Spend your days hiking, canoeing, and horseback riding through the reserve, take up bird watching, and go on guided nature walks through the reserve – or wander the trails by yourself for some solo time in nature. You can also indulge at the luxury spa, cool off in a beautiful infinity swimming pool, and take part in some of the lodge’s educational programs geared toward protecting the local environment.

Explore Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia

Patagonia is a land of fantasy – barren, wild, and beautiful – and one of the best ways to explore this mystical landscape is on wellness-centered vacation. Shaped by the Cordillera Paine mountain range and the great Patagonian Ice Cap, South America’s southern frontier is home to some of the world’s most magnificent natural landscapes.

Nestled on the shores of the glistening Lake Sarmiento in Torres del Paine National Park, the Tierra Patagonia Adventure and Spa Hotel is an ideal base and the perfect spot for an adventure vacation. Surrounded by emerald lakes and craggy, glacier-dotted mountains, the region offers some of the most spectacular wilderness trekking in the world.

Wander the windswept Patagonian landscape at Chile’s Tierra Patagonia

You can enjoy a host of guided tours and excursions within and around Torres del Paine National Park from horseback adventures, wilderness bike rides, kayaking expeditions, and hiking trips. After a day of exploring, relax in the pool that overlooks the spectacular Paine Massif, or soothe your mind, body, and soul at the luxury Uma Spa.

Unwind in the pool at Tierra Patagonia, looking out over the Paine Massif

Galapagos Cruises

There is no better way to experience the beauty of the Galapagos Islands than from the water. Take in the moon-like volcanic landscapes, tranquil bays of turquoise waters, and the myriad wildlife both in and out of the water on a guided small-ship cruise through the archipelago.

Taking in the tranquil beauty of Kicker Rock in the Galapagos Islands

Soak up the surrounding natural beauty from a luxury yacht with spacious cabins, deluxe amenities like Jacuzzis, and world-class cuisine. Professional naturalist guides share their knowledge of one of the world’s most spectacular stages for biodiversity, and you can enjoy guided hikes, as well as exploring the ocean’s teeming marine life on snorkeling, scuba diving, and swimming excursions. Some vessels also offer kayaking and paddle boarding. Consider adding a night before or after your cruise at the traveler favorite Finch Bay Hotel, located just across the bay from Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island. The hotel features a spa built of local volcanic stone, with two hot tubs and a menu of wellness treatments. The hotel also offers a small fitness center and yoga room for additional wellness activities.

Finch Bay Spa at sunset, Galapagos Islands

Wellness Travel in South America is for Everyone

Whatever your destination and whatever your preferred travel style, whether you’re traveling alone or traveling with your family, there are plenty of ways to incorporate wellness into your trip to South and Central America. Go for an active challenge like hiking or mountain biking, try a relaxing new activity like surfing or bird watching, book a wellness treatment at the local spa, or plan some down time to luxuriate in the knowledge that your only responsibility is to relax. Whatever makes you feel refreshed, rejuvenated, and relaxed, Vaya can make it a part of your wellness journey to Central and South America.

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