Active Travel: Cultural Immersion and Wellness at Club Med

Club Med is expanding its reach into different types of activities at its resorts—both onsite and off. From cultural excursions to new wellness programs, the brand is responding to emerging trends and new traveler demands.

Cultural Immersion

While on location at the Club Med Cancun, we took a half-day trip to Tulum (a 90-minute drive from the resort) to explore some ancient Mayan ruins along a flawless beach. (It was a Sunday, and the weather was perfect, so of course the historic site was packed.) With two professional guides, we walked around the site and learned about the Mayan people who lived there hundreds of years before--and got some ideas of what the area may have looked like in its heyday. Tulum is definitely worth a visit when one is anywhere in the area, but try to go during the week to minimize the crowds. 


We continued on to the Ecopark Kantun-Chi, which has several historic cenotes (freshwater pools) both above ground and within caves as well as an underground river. Visitors here get life preservers, water shoes and hardhats before descending underground to explore the amazing stalactite and stalagmite formations, which gradually developed over thousands of years. Very few areas along the path require submerging one’s head (especially if the water levels are low), and only a few areas require actual swimming: much of the path is in shallow water, making it easy to walk. The low water levels and the emphasis on safety (shoes, life preserver, hardhats) make this a good activity for families with younger children.

Photo courtesy Lesley Boutilier

Good to know: lockers are available for storing valuables while in the cenotes, and only waterproof cameras should be brought along into the water.

RELATED: What's New at Club Med Cancun

After swimming and exploring the subterranean scenery, guests can grab an al-fresco light lunch of local ceviches and seafood--while the underground tour is far from strenuous or difficult, there is something truly wonderful about relaxing in fresh air and eating fresh seafood after such a distinctly local activity: This is a decidedly Mexican experience, and all elements combine to create a terrific sense of place. 

Sports & Wellness

It is hardly a revelation to say that wellness travel is a booming industry—according to Forbes magazine, nearly 15 percent of the tourism market focuses on wellness, and that number is expected to grow by an additional 10 percent in the next few years. Club Med has emphasized active vacations for decades, but as new trends become the new normal, the brand is finding ways to keep up with demands.

A fitness session at the Club Med Sandpiper Bay

Earlier this year, the Club Med Sandpiper Bay, Florida, launched a new program, the 360° Active Wellness Boost, that includes professional coaching for running, triathlons, tennis, golf or fitness, as needed. Each package includes an evaluation of performance goals, fitness training, treatments at L’Occitane spa, nutritional guidance and (of course activities). Bonus: Guests will also get tips on what to eat (and what to avoid) at the buffet restaurants, and families traveling together can add different wellness elements to their vacation as they see fit. 

The resort also recently launched the debut Club Med Volleyball Academy in partnership with the National Volleyball League, which moved its official Training Center to Florida to be close to the Academy. This is, so far, the only beach volleyball academy in the world and the first academy team sport to be incorporated into a vacation element. The enhanced all-inclusive program offers professional coaching and specialized training programs. Good to know: Junior camps and special programs for groups are also available for an additional cost.