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Rivera Maya's
Dreamy Wellness

By Duane Wells

Located on the Yucatan Peninsula — about 80 miles south of Cancun’s beaches and nightlife scene — the decidedly low-key village of Tulum offers a more spiritual brand of escape. Once considered a sleepy beach town, contemporary Tulum has transformed into a holistic wellness haven, offering a restorative getaway to anyone searching for healing for the mind, body, and soul.

Among the many holistic activities abounding in Tulum, yoga reigns supreme. The town has attracted a vibrant yoga community, complete with numerous studios, retreats, and events catering to all levels and styles of yoga. It’s easy to see why, as Tulum’s serene beaches serve as an idyllic backdrop for introspection and rejuvenation, with the rhythmic sound of lapping waves providing an organic meditative soundtrack.

In this Riviera Maya gem — located in the peninsula’s northeast — you can practice yoga on the beach, in the jungle, or amid the splendor of a cenote (a natural sinkhole filled with fresh water), all accompanied by the sounds of Mayan ancestral instruments. Alternatively, you might opt to join a yoga retreat like the popular Restore and Renew at the upscale, eco-chic Amansala Resort and Spa, where guests are invited to reset, reconnect, and rejuvenate during a week-long program filled with yoga, Pilates, and freshly prepared seasonal dishes. Or, for a more casual experience, go to Om Collective, a yoga studio in Tulum’s center offering many classes via a donation-based payment system — making it the most affordable option in town.

Beyond Tulum’s famous yoga scene, a broad spectrum of spas offer more soul-satisfying self-care options. Traditional Tulumese spas provide various services, from massages and facials to acupuncture and aromatherapy. Moreover, Tulum’s commitment to genuinely holistic wellness is evident in how its spas seamlessly blend luxury with ancient healing techniques. Tulum also invites guests to explore healing specialties such as chocolate therapy, coconut therapy, or Mayan honey therapy as part of a broader journey to wellness.

Nestled in a lush garden deep within a verdant jungle, Coqui Coqui is a standout example of Tulum’s world-class spas. As advertised on its website, this boutique wellness retreat combines aromatherapy, traditional Mayan massage, and herbal treatments to “awaken one’s inner explorer and innate sense of adventure while serving as a true sanctuary for creating moments of peacefulness and serenity.” Who couldn’t do with a little of that in these stressful times? Mission aside, the spa’s commitment to sustainability adds an extra layer of harmony, ensuring the healing process extends to the environment.

Finally, a clay moment beckons for those seeking a transcendent holistic experience deeply rooted in Tulum’s centuries-old history. The Mayans, who once inhabited this region, believed in the transformative powers of natural elements, and Tulum continues to honor these traditions through holistic experiences.

One such ritual involves a Temazcal ceremony, a traditional Mayan sweat lodge experience in which participants gather in a dome-shaped structure representing Mother Earth’s womb. Once inside, a shaman guides guests through a purification process involving steam infused with healing herbs. This ritual is both a physical detox and a spiritual journey, connecting participants to the ancient wisdom of the Mayan civilization.

Similarly, clay ceremonies invite guests to cover themselves in natural clay sourced from local cenotes. This ancient practice is believed to purify the skin, draw out impurities, and promote a sense of renewal. Many wellness centers and spas in Tulum offer these clay rituals, often accompanied by traditional Mayan chants and rituals to create a truly immersive experience.

Whether you’re looking for a yoga retreat, a spa getaway, a clay experience, or a more spiritual escape in a paradisiacal setting, Tulum is not only a place where ancient wisdom meets modern practices but where one can shed layers of stress and return home feeling whole, rejuvenated, and ready to bloom like a lotus.

Getting There

On April 6, 2024, United will start new year-round service from O’Hare to Aeropuerto Internacional de Tulum (TQO). This service will start 1x weekly and increase to daily service on May 23, 2024.

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