People always ask me what’s the worst part of my job as a blogger and travel writer and I usually come up with a blanket statement about scheduling or planning or time management because the truth is too personal to share. In reality, the worst part about traveling regularly and enjoying the luxuries of all-inclusive resorts and exotic experiences is the disconnect with health and wellness. I weigh more now than when I was nine months pregnant and I’m winded after only a short hike or adventure. It’s so damn hard to say no to new foods, tropical drinks, endless desserts, and multiple course meals prepared personally by the chef. It’s hard to find the time to exercise regularly when I’m in one airport after another, in different time zones, and busy most of the day. Think about it; most people say, “Oh, I’m on vacation. I’m going to indulge.” The problem is… I’m usually on vacation. Now, I know I’m talking about first-world problems here but that’s what makes me embarrassed to share in the first place. I’ve reached a point, though, where I’ve had enough. I’m going to fight for my health and wellness and I’m going to make it a priority. I’ve let it go on for too long and I’m done. I was recently invited on a press trip to Villa del Palmar at the Islands of Loreto and it’s sole focus was wellness. Villa del Palmar is Mexico’s hidden gem and feels worlds away. With gorgeous views of the majestic Sierra de la Giganta mountain range and the indigo waters of the Sea of Cortez, its worth getting out into nature to experience the beauty. Highlights of the trip included a guided hike, exercise and meditation classes, the 39,000-square-foot Sabila Spa, a boat tour with snorkeling, and tailored meals. It was the perfect starting point for a new, more reflective way of travel that incorporates my health and wellness.
Upon arrival at Villa del Palmar, I enjoyed a hand washing ritual to literally wash away my stress. Then, I was shown to the restaurant, Casa Mia, for lunch. The chef prepared healthy dishes accompanied by local drinks. Rather than over feeding us with multiple plates and desserts, we enjoyed a local white fish with a touch of lemon. There were vegan, gluten-free, and vegetarian options to accommodate everyone in the group. I don’t eat a lot of fish at home, but it was so fresh and well-prepared that it didn’t taste fishy at all. I really enjoyed it and asked for tips to prepare it for myself at home. I wanted to soak up as much information as possible. It’s a journey of discovery.
After lunch, we had time to ourselves before a dance meditation class. I had never meditated before and while I don’t think it’s a practice I will continue on my own, I did enjoy the quite, reflective time. It was like a spring cleaning for my mind.
We finished off the evening with a BBQ beach party and rather than having alcohol and too much food, I stuck to water and a select few, healthy choices for dinner. Entertainment was provided and I already felt more at ease. I could feel the stress washing away with the waves lapsing behind me.
Rather than staying out late, I returned to my room early. I didn’t check my phone or work on the computer. Instead, I drew a bath with salts that were laid out for me. I sank into the soaking tub and let the water refresh my skin. My day was full and so was my stomach. I didn’t need the extra food and I didn’t feel tired or drowsy. I was encouraged to continue on the path.
A guided hike to a peak overlooking the Sea of Cortez started our next morning. We raced the sun over the hills for the most amazing view of Villa del Palmar and its surroundings. It’s worth waking up early and exercising when this is the reward. I have similar views in Orange County and now I have the motivation to experience them with the morning sun. Sometimes all it takes is a trip like this to make you see the beauty.
A delicious cup of Mexican coffee and a healthy breakfast awaited us at the Vista al Mar terrace back at Villa del Palmer. Again, the healthy choice was all that I needed and it delightfully appealing to the eyes and to the taste buds.
Then, we were off on an exhilarating boat tour of the Islands of Loreto. We watched dolphins jump and play in the waves, manta rays splash on the surface, and whales cruise on by. We snorkeled with colorful fish and had a light lunch on a private beach. Even though I was exercising while snorkeling and exploring the beach, there was so much to see and so much beauty that it didn’t feel like work.
We followed up the boat tour with beginners paddle boarding yoga in Danzante Bay. I don’t want to start going to the gym or working out regularly. I want to incorporate a more active lifestyle that involves being in nature. All of these experiences like paddle boarding, snorkeling, and hiking were great reminders that being healthy and active doesn’t have to be boring or indoors. They are all excellent workouts that I can do alone or with my family.
I savored the exquisite fusion of steak with a Mexican twist at Danzante Restaurant for dinner. Dessert was served after our main course and I sat looking at it for several minutes before deciding to have three small bites and leave the rest on the plate. I was able to enjoy the taste without over indulging. I didn’t want to waste all the positive experiences from the day by eating too much at night and falling back into a negative routine. I think it’s all about making little choices throughout the day that add up to a more healthy lifestyle. It takes a lot of conscious effort but I’m hoping that’s more so in the beginning.
The last full day at the resort was more physically demanding with meditation, a fit ball class, and kayaking but it was well balanced with a pampering session at Villa del Palmer’s award-winning Sabila Spa. I received a Swedish massage and relaxed in the soothing sauna, relaxing spa tubs, and cold water plunge pools. Sabila offers a generous selection of specialty healing treatments in an ultra-luxurious facility. I could have easily spent a full day at the spa and after the hour long fit ball class, I thought about returning again. On my next visit, I’m going to save the entire last day for the spa. It’s worth it.
I’m not going to lie and say the classes didn’t kick my butt or that I ate perfectly the entire trip, but my unique experience at Villa del Palmar provided the perfect spot for reflection, re-connection, and soul searching in an environment that was conducive to my wellness needs. With countless exercise options, healthy food choices, and a stunning surrounding, Villa del Palmar was the ideal choice to kick start an active, healthy lifestyle.