Next to the Philippines, Mexico is the second country Ariana had been on an international trip. She just turned three when we went to Playa del Carmen, one of Mexico's famed beach areas and more family-friendly than its neighbor, Cancun, a spring break favorite.
For many years, Mexico has a way of luring in the urban traveler with its natural landscape, Mayan ruins and Spanish-inspired culture. In fact, data from the Mexican Tourism Board estimates that from January to October last year, roughly 28.5 million tourists have traveled to explore Mexico.
But there's more to this tourist-favorite than the usual "been there, done that" experiences. For one, Mexico is slowly becoming a top destination of choice among wellness travelers seeking a quiet escape to reconnect with their inner selves.
Why should you add Mexico to your wellness travel bucket list? Here are four good reasons:
1. Affordable yoga retreat options
For many travelers, Mexico's appeal is its wide range of all-inclusive packages with price points that meet even those traveling on a limited budget. A quick research online shows yoga retreat centers like The Sanctuary located in Oaxaca, Mexico offers a personal retreat at $50 a day, inclusive of shared accommodation, food and yoga classes. Avoid the peak seasons, especially those that fall on major holidays like Christmas, New Year and Holy Week if you don't want to pay an extra $10 a day for a yoga retreat.
2. Beach meets mindfulness
One of the many reasons why Mexico is popular among tourists is its selection of splendid beaches. If you've never been to Mexico but are looking to combine vacation with moments of mindfulness by the beach, skip the often crowded Cancun and hit Playa del Carmen instead. It is a beachfront town along the Yucatan peninsula that is slowly earning a Euro chic-inspired reputation for its coastal beauty. Here, you don't only "see and be seen," but you also get to roll out your yoga mat and do your daily salutations by the beach, while basking in Mexico's glorious sunsets.
Another town known for its beaches is Tulum, where the popular Mayan ruins can be found. It is a coveted destination for luxury travelers because the place is secluded, giving you a semblance of a private escape while taking in the views of the Caribbean sea.
3. Spiritual awakening in cultural immersion
Mexico's blend of Mesoamerican and Spanish cultures help ensure that every traveler who visits the place gets to experience a unique cultural immersion. For wellness travelers wanting to recharge their chi, this unique culture serves as a wonderful backdrop for a spiritual awakening. After all, mindfulness can also be found in meeting the locals and appreciating Mexico's arts and crafts.
In between yoga sessions, head out to Mexico's mercados (market centers) to find colorful and hand-painted masks by the Hulchol Indians, an ethnic group who live in the Sierra Madre Mountains and known for their unique art pieces and embroidered manta garments. While souvenir shopping, look for intricately made clay pottery, weaved baskets and woodwork as Mexico is also known for these unique crafts.
4. Organic food with a Spanish flair
Mexico is also popular among travelers with a palate for organic and fresh foods. Mercado el 100, located in the trendy Roma neighborhood, is the first certified organic market in Mexico City. Produce sold at the street market are grown within 100 miles from the city; thus, the "100" in its name. Nearby is Mercado Roma, where you may choose foods from several different vendors selling and cooking their specialties next to each other in a packed warehouse space. Communal tables allow you to share meals with locals and traveling strangers brought to the place for similar reason: fresh and authentic Mexican food with a Spanish flair.
Ultimately, however way you want to experience Mexico, there's really only one way to do it right: Let go and get lost so you'll find your inner self in every adventure!
Have you ever been to Mexico? Tell us about your adventure in the comment box below.