A vacation spent sipping cocktails alongside the pool or on the beach can be a fun way to de-stress, but if you want to come home feeling better, you might want to consider something different. Heading to a destination where you can enjoy outdoor adventures, getting some exercise while having a good time and experiencing spectacular scenery might be a better idea. These options are not only memorable, but they’ll also allow you to enhance your well-being so that you can return feeling refreshed and guilt-free.
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If you want to melt stress away by reconnecting to nature, Costa Rica is ideal. Renowned for its biodiversity, enjoy everything from surfing and hikes in the jungle to magnificent waterfalls to strolls on the country’s best beaches. One of the most beautiful cascades you’ll ever see can be found in Tenorio Volcano National Park. Rio Celeste spills into a brilliant aquamarine-hued pool, with its bright color the result of volcanic compounds in the water, making it look like a fantasy come to life. The moderately difficult 4.5-mile hike through the verdant rainforest will challenge your legs but it’s more than worth the reward. Afterward, you can recharge at one of Costa Rica’s top beach resorts.
Blue Lagoon, Iceland
Iceland is ideal for a wellness retreat, particularly at Blue Lagoon. In fact, if you want to avoid alcohol altogether, the expensive prices for drinks can make that a whole lot easier. Instead of spending your money on cocktails, order the decadent offerings at the Blue Lagoon. Not only can you soak in the warm, milky turquoise waters surrounded by the otherworldly beauty of the volcanic landscape, but you can relax with an in-water massage and a wealth of treatments that are sure to soothe the soul. There are multiple dining options onsite too, including plenty of tasty and nutritious dishes.
It would be nearly impossible to feel stressed with a stay in the Maldives, a place that’s often equated to heaven on earth. There are many luxury resorts specifically designed to provide the total package for the ultimate wellness retreat in paradise, with spas, yoga sessions, water sports gear and much more. No matter where you stay here you can look forward to spending your days swimming and snorkeling in the crystal-clear lagoons among marine life-filled reefs, and relaxing on pristine soft white sands.
One of the most Instagrammed places on Earth, there’s no doubt that Bali is filled with stunning natural beauty. No filters are needed when you capture photos here. Ubud is a top pick when it comes to a wellness retreat, famous as a place to relax and perhaps get in touch with your spiritual side. It’s one of the biggest yoga centers in the world, where you can join in on everything from yin yoga and vinyasa to gentle flow classes. Look forward to treks in the jungle and feeding your appetite with healthy, delicious fare, including plenty of eateries for vegetarians like The Elephant.
One of the most isolated and undeveloped of the Greek islands, Kythira is an ideal place to enjoy a beautiful slice of tranquility. Located where the Ionian and the Mediterranean Sea meet, the island boasts wild nature, waterfalls with clear pools for swimming and countless breathtaking beaches for melting your cares away. Of course, you’ll also be in a land famous for its healthy Mediterranean diet, providing access to lots of delectably fresh, mouthwatering seafood and an abundance of tasty local produce.
Halong Bay, Vietnam
Relax while floating on the serene blue and green waters of Halong Bay, perhaps while enjoying a cruise, complete with spa services, or a stay at an all-inclusive resort. Many of the resorts not only include water sports but also add activities like, yoga, golf and more. The bay boasts staggering biodiversity, picturesque grottoes, caves and unspoiled beaches to explore. Boat tours provide the chance to glide in and out of the distinctly shaped isles watching for endemic animal species, sampling local seafood delicacies along the way.
Ko Samui, Thailand
Ko Samui is a stunning destination that provides the perfect blend of serene beauty for relaxing and opportunities for getting active. It’s home to some of the most beautiful beaches you’ve ever seen as well as dazzling secluded lagoons in Ang Thong National Marine Park. Discover countless spas for pampering, many that are nestled within tropical gardens, providing a magical sanctuary for unwinding.
You can look forward to all sorts of relaxing experiences in Kyoto, as it is the birthplace of a Japanese wellness ritual called forest bathing, which is meditating among nature. It’s home to one of the world’s best spots to try it, Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, a place that’s been pictured in countless viral images. The area offers many Japanese-style inns, or ryokans, quite a few of which provide access to hot springs if you’re hoping to bathe in warm water too.
Napa Valley, California
Napa Valley isn’t all about the wine, but if you want to indulge in a little bit of that organic Cabernet, they do say a glass of red offers a few health benefits. You’ll be able to pair your wine with healthy, organic food at any one of a long list of outstanding eateries, burning off those dishes on the 47-mile Napa Valley Vine Trail, a walking and biking system that links the entire valley from Calistoga to Vallejo to Calistoga. This is also a popular spot for a sunrise hot-air balloon rides.
Fogo Island, Newfoundland
If you truly want to get away from it all, Fogo Island, located off Canada’s easternmost province, is a good way to do it. You’re unlikely to ever battle tourist crowds here, but you will enjoy some of the freshest air in the world. Easily accessed from Farewell on the northeast corner of mainland Newfoundland, enjoy strolling the trails, picking berries and watching for icebergs or whales (depending on the season). There are interesting museums and fantastic galleries with local works to browse, but perhaps best of all, is the quiet contemplation spots with a view.