Hot spots like Cancun, Cozumel and the Riviera Maya are all experiencing double-digit growth in tourism rates, while more travelers are venturing to lesser-visited destinations, like Isla Mujeres, in search of Mexico’s once-secret sanctuaries.
What’s behind the region’s popularity? One major driver is wellness tourism, the fastest-growing travel sector, expected to grow 43 percent to $808 billion by 2020, according to the Global Wellness Institute. The heightened demand for wellness travel is being fueled by more immersive experiences.
This four-part series shows you how to create more immersive wellness experiences that reach beyond copy-and-paste programming in Cancun, Cozumel, Riviera Maya and Isla Mujeres.
A New Era of Transformative Travel
Global Wellness Summit’s 2018 Global Wellness Trends Report declared that we are living in “a new era of transformative travel,” which hinges on “an individual’s self-reflective journey vs. the cold facts of an itinerary.” This emerging trend of “personal transformation through collisions with new cultures, wellness approaches and nature” has long formed the foundation of wellness at many journey-based spas and retreats throughout the Mexican Caribbean.
Whether it’s a shaman-led purifying ceremony that cleanses the body and mind at a five-star resort or a healing ritual using ha, water that comes from the cenotes (underground rivers and caves), experiences that are equal parts culture and wellness are easily found in the Yucatan Peninsula.
Here are the need-to know offerings in Cancun that will help you craft modern-day immersive wellness experiences.
When faced with the ultimate wellness traveler (the one who doesn’t have overeating and skipping workouts as part of their vacation mindset), consider booking a Wellness Suite at the luxurious Moon Palace Cancun®. They’ll enjoy direct access to a private pool and aqua spinning classes; complimentary heart-healthy and gluten-free meals from 24-hour room service; a Wellness Sports Kit with a yoga mat, jump rope and dumbbells; fitness classes at the property’s state-of-the-art gym; a pillow and aromatherapy menu; and more wellness-focused amenities.
After having the physical and spiritual forces within their internal cosmos restored at the Awe Spa, suggest your clients take a tour to Coba, an ancient Mayan city home to the tallest pyramid in the Yucatan Peninsula, with Amstar DMC to immerse themselves in authentic culture and nature and realize their own immersive wellness experience.
The Blanc Wellness Suite at another Palace Resort, Le Blanc Spa Resort Cancun, is decorated in harmony with the local environment to inspire a state of well-being. Guests will enjoy a king-size bed, a healthy-fare room service menu, a Wellness Concierge, credits up to $1,500 to the AAA Five Diamond spa, in-room yoga and meditation kits, optional private meditation or other instructional sessions and aromatherapy upon arrival, and more.
Ancient Mayan Healing Rituals
Guests can experience the ancient concept of Sanitas per Aqua (SPA), which is Latin for health through water, at the award-winning Thalasso Center & Spa at Zoëtry Paraiso de la Bonita Riviera Maya. Among the selection of ancient Mayan healing rituals is a Temazcal (“house of heat”) ceremony.
Led by an Intercessor (healer), the hour-long, group ceremony takes place in a Temazcal structure filled with hot stones. Participants sit in a healing circle as the Intercessor guides them through a spiritual ritual featuring aromas, herbal steams, sounds and sensations meant to balance the mind, body and soul.
Less adventurous clients can opt for the spa’s Mayan Massage, which uses ancient Mayan healing practices to treat the mind, body and spirit. Or, the La Bonita’s Secret: a full-body scrub and wrap using Mayan herbs and mineral salts, algae and clay to cleanse, exfoliate and moisturize the skin.
Today’s travelers are in search of well-rounded wellness experiences that address fitness, nutrition and mindfulness. Suggest that your clients take a cooking class as both an extension of healthy living practiced at home and one of the most culturally immersive experiences they can have on a wellness trip.
The “Meet the Chefs + Cooking Classes” series at Secrets Akumal Riviera Maya will give your clients a behind-the-scenes look at Secrets Akumal’s kitchen, where they’ll meet the chefs and sample delicious appetizers, as well as can take a variety of cooking classes.
Clients with a green thumb will enjoy the Chef’s Garden at Dreams Riviera Cancun Resort & Spa, where they can participate in cooking classes and wine tastings with Executive Chef Jose Santos. They’ll cook delectable dishes on the garden grounds surrounded by fresh herbs and vegetables, which are used in the cuisine served at the hotel’s restaurants.
While you can find cooking classes at many of the area hotels, The Little Mexican Cooking School is a fan favorite across the Mexican Caribbean. Located between Cancun and Playa del Carmen in the village of Puerto Morelos, the cooking school immerses students in Mayan and Mexican culinary traditions. Each class is led by an expert chef, who not only teaches traditional Mexican recipes and cooking techniques, but also the connection between Mexico’s culinary and cultural history.
The key to selling truly immersive wellness travel is to craft itineraries that go well beyond the norm. When you account for the three elements of well-rounded wellness—mind, body and spirit—your planning will appeal to your clients’ fives senses and help ensure that transformative travel ensues.