December 13th, 2017
7 Winter Sun Retreats That Will Restore Your Health and Wellbeing
As you say farewell to the sun and settle in for a few months of dark nights and cold noses, this guide to seven worldwide destinations will help inspire your next Vitamin D-soaked escape.
Dig out your bathing suit and dust off your travel yoga mat—it's time for a winter sun retreat. While everyone back home will be bundling up against the cold, you'll be basking in the sun in one of these top warm-weather getaways. Just be careful: You're guaranteed to have a bad case of wellness travel wanderlust by the time you finish reading this post.
Hugging India’s southwestern shore, Kerala boasts an intensely tropical landscape that stretches across both humid coastal plains of rice paddy, rivers, and lagoons, and the mountainous Western Ghats. The ideal destination for an Ayurveda-inspired escape; there are a number of resorts offering the opportunity to harness the power of a mind-and-body approach to wellness.
Possibly one of the most picturesque places in the world to watch the sunrise and sunset, Santorini is well known as a destination for honeymooners. However it is also fast making a name for itself as the yoga capital of Greece. While you can spend your mornings focused on your practice, the island’s wealth of spectacular natural landscapes provide countless adventures for the curious explorer.
Pack a multi-use daypack big enough to carry your camera, a water bottle, and some trail snacks; wherever you stay you’re going to want to hike out to the coast to watch the sunset. Trust me, it’s truly spectacular.
Saint Lucia, Caribbean
Boasting year-round sunshine and an inspiring natural landscape to boot, the Caribbean island of St Lucia offers the perfect blend of sun, sea, and sand. Relax with tai chi, yoga, and meditation as the sun rises, push your personal fitness goals by climbing the indomitable Pitons, or have fun frolicking in the shallows snorkeling or scuba diving on the vibrant coral reefs that hug the island’s shores.
Wanaka, New Zealand
In the outdoor adventure epicenter of New Zealand, the lakeside town of Wanaka is a wellness traveler’s dream. Whether you choose to meditate on a mat overlooking the water, or climb one of the region’s many challenging peaks, there are plenty of opportunities to refocus yourself and reconnect with the natural world.
If you plan to camp out underneath the stars during your stay, pack a roll top sac; it will help to keep the stinky-sock smell under wraps in your tent.
Unshackle yourself from the burdens of your modern existence and truly awaken your senses by choosing to undertake a silent meditation retreat in a forest refuge in southern Thailand. Starting on the first day of each month, this minimalistic haven offers a 10-day experience authentic to that of a Thai monk. You turn in your cell phone at registration, beds are a straw mat and wooden pillow, and the wake-up bell is at 4 a.m.
For those looking for a more luxurious way to detox, a break in the Seychelles will no doubt appeal. Encompassing over 455 square kilometers (176 square miles) of the Indian Ocean, the 100 or so tiny islands boast some of the world’s best spas, beaches, and resorts, making it the ideal destination for a rejuvenating retreat from reality. Save on the cost of your stay by packing a lightweight carry-on only. In living a little more simply in an idyllic island paradise, you may just find yourself more in tune with your surroundings.
If time restraints mean that a short-haul trip is more manageable, consider jetting off to the Hawaiian isle of Molokai. Uninterested in attracting tourists to its shores, the island has retained the charm of the old Hawaii; most of which lays buried underneath concrete structures on islands like Oahu and Maui. Pack your yoga mat, leave your phone at home, enjoy fresh island produce, and disconnect from the outside world. A self-directed retreat is well worth considering if you’re on a tight budget.
Whether it’s a detoxifying retreat from reality, a mindful meditation break, or just the chance to disconnect and reboot your system, a wellness-focused trip to a winter sun destination is the perfect remedy for post-festive blues.
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