Consider a Wellness Retreat for Your 2022 Vacation

Dana Bender
Dana Bender
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There has been a rise in wellness vacations in recent years because of a strong need to rejuvenate, especially after the last couple of years of stress. This need stems from burnouts tied to the longevity of the pandemic and/or simply a need to take a break from stressors in daily life. Some travelers seeking a trip to enhance their personal wellbeing might invest in wellness resort retreats.
Others might create their own wellness vacation simply by immersing themselves in an environment that supports these efforts. Wellness vacations can occur anywhere where there is an environment that provides opportunities for wellness related activities. So, regardless of whether planning a wellness trip is an immediate or future need, it can be helpful to know what to look for in a wellness destination.

If you're in the wellness space as a professional, be sure to suggest wellness destinations as a great change of pace for your clients. 

WHat ARe Wellness retreats or Vacations?

Although wellness vacations will look different based on an individual’s preferences, interests, and budget, the main intention is to help individuals enjoy a much-deserved vacation from daily stress and provide space for them to focus on their personal wellbeing.

Wellness travel activities can include enjoying of spa services like deep tissue or Swedish massage, eating nutritious meals, engaging in physical exercise, immersing in cultural activities, and enjoying the outdoors or natural environment. At specific wellness resorts, these activities can also include time-specific wellness programs or classes that travelers can opt into.

Whether you stay at an official wellness resort, or simply make travel arrangements to go to your destination of choice and create your own wellness itinerary, it is important that the destination matches your interests.

Listed below are a few options around the world that you can choose from based on your personal preferences.

St. Lucia in the Caribbean

If you are looking for a relaxed beach setting for your wellness experience, look no further than the Caribbean. One Caribbean location to consider is the island of St. Lucia. St. Lucia is an Eastern Caribbean Island with the Piton mountains located on its west coast. St. Lucia offers coastal beauty, volcanic beaches, and an interior rainforest experience.

Consider staying at Body Holiday which is an all-inclusive wellness resort located along the water that focuses on four pillars of wellbeing. These pillars include relaxation, fitness, holistic nutrition, and restoration. There is an expansive list of exercise and outdoor options to enjoy as well including fitness classes, body-yoga classes, sports, sailing, and scuba diving.

In addition, this location allows travelers to enjoy body and skin treatments, Ayurvedic cuisine, acupuncture, and ability to sign up for a program experience where you have a dedicated consultant guiding you through a personalized wellness program.

Outside of staying at a wellness resort, St. Lucia also provides a plethora of options to get outdoors and fill your time with activities that allow you to step away from the day to day. These activities include going to the Pigeon Island National Park, visiting waterfalls, sailing in the ocean, going to the St. Lucia Diamond mineral baths, or even signing up for a relaxing mud bath.

Fortuna, Costa Rica in Central America

If you prefer to travel outside of the United States and immerse yourself in a different culture set in a beautiful rainforest location, consider traveling to Costa Rica in Central America. If you are looking for a location that provides both relaxation and adventure options, consider staying at the Spring Resort and Spa in Fortuna, Costa Rica.

Enjoy beautiful views of the Arenal volcano on a private terrace or balcony, hike in the rainforest, and take advantage of an onsite adventure center offering opportunities to river tube, kayak, horseback ride, rock climb, or even visit an animal center. A major highlight of this destination resort are the mineral hot springs located onsite.

The good news about being in a rainforest is that the natural environment truly adds to the wellness experience. If you are craving more of a unique stay in the Fortuna area, you could even plan to stay in your own treehouse at Heliconias Nature Lodge. Although this location is not a wellness resort, staying in a treehouse can be the perfect setting to immerse yourself in nature and truly step away and make time for yourself.

Outside of any activities provided by a resort, consider hiking to see the Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges, viewing of the Arenal volcano, signing up for a volcanic ash facial or body scrub at local spas, or enjoying some of the other thermal pools and hot springs in the area.

Sedona, Arizona in Western U.S.

If staying in the United States is a personal preference, consider traveling to Sedona in Arizona which is often considered a sacred area. Regardless of where you stay you will be surrounded by picturesque red rock mountains that activate the relaxation response with an array of outdoor activities to enjoy.

Regardless of where you stay, Sedona is an area that can help individuals focus on their personal wellness and tap into their spiritual or emotional wellbeing. One activity that can help an individual tap into their internal state is hiking the popular but short Cathedral Rock trail to Cathedral Rock overlooking a canyon. Cathedral rock is believed to be one of Sedona’s energetic vortex sites which provides an opportunity to find your center and open yourself up to healing energy.

Travelers visiting Cathedral rock will often stop to meditate, practice yoga, and even journal along the way. Outside of this specific hike, there are various ways to enjoy the red rock mountainside in and near Sedona.

Bar Harbor, Maine in Eastern U.S.

On the eastern United States, consider traveling to the stunning coastal town of Bar Harbor in Maine which is located on Mount Desert Island. This location provides travelers with an ocean setting on Maine’s Frenchman Bay that is also close enough to the forest to provide one opportunity to get outdoors in nature. A key attraction of this location is that it located near Arcadia National Park and often considered as the gateway to the park.

If you are looking for a wellness destination in this area, consider either staying at the Bar Harbor Inn which offers stunning ocean views, an elegant dining experience, and rejuvenating spa services. You could also plan a wellness retreat with Destination Health.

Destination Health is a wellness boutique located in downtown Bar Harbor. Travelers can plan to stay in a one-bedroom apartment suite and select a customizable experience with the facility. They offer health and wellness classes, a float room, infrared sauna, nutritional therapy, reiki, and massage therapy services. Additionally, Destination Health provides opportunities for individual personal training on health and wellness coaching. They even have an in-house chef dedicated to helping travelers prepare meals with locally sourced ingredients created with mindful nutrition in mind.

Regardless of where you stay, the scenic beauty and spa and nature options located in and near Bar Harbor can help individuals tap into their personal wellbeing efforts.

Hvar Island off the coast of Croatia in Europe

A great option to consider if a European getaway aligns with your preferences, is Croatia. Croatia provides the perfect combination of city meets nature. Set along the Adriatic Sea, you can choose to explore Dubrovnik and Split which are cities situated along the coast. From Split consider taking a boat to Hvar Island and staying at the Amfora Hvar Grand Beach Resort in Hvar town.

This hotel has cascading pools in front overlooking a private bay and offers a plethora of activities for individuals to enjoy. Hvar town is only a ten-minute walk away where you can enjoy dining outdoors. Hvar island provides opportunities to hike, snorkel, run and bike outdoors along the Adriatic Sea.

If you desire a location that is more remote, there is also the option of staying at Maslina Resort located on the opposite side of Hvar Island where you can enjoy wine tasting, mindful movement classes, two heated pools, and spa offerings which include traditional massage techniques, sound therapy, and vibrational healing.


Wellness vacations can take many shapes and forms. As you consider options for your wellness experience, select the setting that will help you the most to destress and recharge. Remember that you can either invest in a wellness resort experience or create your own wellness itinerary filled with activities that help with your self-care.

Regardless of where you go, whether that is domestic or international, allow yourself to be fully present to the experience, unplug from technology, and take advantage of the activities offered to maximize your overall wellness.

The Author

Dana Bender

Dana Bender

Dana Bender, MS, NBC-HWC, ACSM, E-RYT. Dana works as a Wellness Strategy Manager with Vitality and has 15+ years experience in onsite fitness and wellness management. Dana is also a National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach, an Adjunct Professor with Rowan University, an E-RYT 200 hour Registered Yoga Teacher, AFAA Group Exercise Instructor, ACSM Exercise Physiologist, and ACE Personal Trainer. Learn more about Dana at www.danabenderwellness.com.


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