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Most of our Tulum experience is based on the Azulik and Maya Tulum Resort & Spa where we stayed during our trip
We did, however, visit the other spas we’ve included in the guide during our Tulum adventure and, trust us, if this doesn’t make you want to go we don’t know what will.
Azulik Hotel & Maya Spa
Azulik is, hands, down, the best place we’ve ever stayed. It’s the most private, sexy, enchanting adults-only nature retreat-hotel-Mayan Wellness Centre located just 3km south of the Tulum Archaeological Zone. It is organic, raw yet sumptuous, luxurious and quite frankly we never ever wanted to leave. Go with your beau because you can’t help but fall in love just that bit more when you’re in a place like this.
Azulik is a one-of-a-kind, off-the grid eco-resort (no electricity, no TV, no phones, etc) featuring 39 hand-crafted luxury tree house suites, an organic café serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, a beach bar serving fresh sushi and cool tropical drinks and, of course the holistic Maya Spa and Healing Centre which overlooks the ocean. Pollution, noise and other distractions completely disappear, allowing you to reconnect with nature (and each other) in the most romantic, profound way imaginable.
Each of the resort’s majestic wooden tree houses, made from Mexican Royal Ebony (Khatalosh), stand high above the jungle floor with spacious interiors, floor-to-ceiling windows offering plenty of natural daylight, super king-size beds with mosquito nets and custom made indoor Mayan baths, creating sensuous sanctuaries for couples seeking the ultimate tropical hideaway. All accommodations have private decks with outdoor day beds and sitting areas allowing for uninterrupted views of the lush green jungle and the azure blue Caribbean Sea day or night. A secluded, guest-only beach is attached to the hotel (with a very liberal ‘clothing optional’ policy – trust us, it’s fun).
The hotel’s seafront spa is a huge attraction. Featuring traditional Mayan healing therapies, massages, medicinal herbal baths, yoga and a ‘temezcal’ (Mayan sweat lodge), their aim is to draw upon the natural energy of the sea and jungle of Tulum, focusing on ancient Mayan traditions to transmit sensations and experiences that harness love and serenity. They use cardinal points, chants, prayers, the sacred sounds of the Maya Conch Shell Trumpet and the healing power of plants, flowers, aromatherapies and enriched mud to restore your natural state of peace, joy, harmony and health. If it sounds blissful, we can assure you it is.
After all these years of travelling, staying in budget-friendly hostels, camping under the stars, splurging on 7-star hotels (yes, they do exist), we’ve just never been anywhere as special as Azulik. Something sensational has been curated with the utmost attention to detail – not just the view or the food or the beds or the design, all of which are out of this world – we’re talking about the magical energy that permeates every inch of the place. The staff LOVE what they do and couldn’t be more helpful, warm and kind. Not in that obsequious, ‘I’m in an expensive hotel’ type of way but in a real, human, centred and connected way. Life stood still for the three days we stayed and we think it will for you too.
Maya Tulum Resort & Spa
After the amazing experience at Azulik, we thought we’d been so spoilt and fallen so deeply in love that we feared anything else would be a letdown. But we needn’t have worried. Next up was yoga retreat Maya Tulum with one of our favourite teachers on the planet – Bryan Kest – and around 40 other yoga teachers who had come from far and wide to work on their practice and find some healing away from the craziness of everyday life. We took the plug out of the socket, so to speak, and found the most amazing energy healers, bodyworkers and shamans at Maya Tulum Resort, where the ancient Mayan culture is so richly honoured that it draws you into this magical part of the Yucatan Peninsula.
Maya Tulum has two yoga studios, ‘Itzamna’ (the smaller of the two named after the Mayan god of medicine and creativity with a daily roster of yoga classes for guests and public) and ‘Ixchel’ (the larger one named after the Mayan jaguar goddess of healing and nurturing). This is where we practiced listening to the sounds of the jungle and waves crashing on the shore.
Now, this place isn’t over-the-top luxury but it still had a magic that found us barefoot and fancy-free for the duration of our stay. There’s nothing like having sand between your toes and the feeling of the earth beneath you to get you grounded. The food was healthy and delicious, the accommodation mixed between the garden and the ocean and plenty of essentials like mozzie nets provided. We even met a crab and an iguana outside our cabana!
The Spa here has over fifteen resident bodyworkers, energy and shamanic healers (all Mayan) who were all just excellent. We tried everyone (a number of times) and took part in all the rituals including the ‘Temazcal’. We even ended up spending time with Fabian, an eighth generation shamanic healer who performed an egg cleansing treatment (to access our guide on healers and shamans in the yucatan download our app when it becomes available). Like all great spas and healing retreats, there is this fine balance between integration and silence, between healing the past and opening up to the future.
This place makes it possible to be re-born into a brighter, more confident version of yourself. It attracts an amazing range of people all seriously dedicated to their yoga and meditation practice. If that sounds like you, then check out more details in our Tulum ‘MOVE” guide.
Yaan Wellness Energy Healing Spa @ Betulum
Yäan Wellness was born from the Mayan magic of Tulum and is part of the ‘Be Tulum’ boutique hotel chain. The design incorporates elements of fire, air, water and wood to wonderful effect. Once you enter this space, you feel at peace with its elegant and organic design which respects the flow of nature in both space and time.
Yäan offers traditional indigenous treatments, energy healing, deep muscle relaxation techniques and herbal & flower baths prepared in custom-made copper tubs. The idea is to bring health, relaxation and well-being into your life, to cleanse body and spirit and ignite the light within all who enter. We’d say they achieved this with distinction.
The team of professionals includes renowned psychologist PHD Bobby Klein who offers life-changing intuitive counselling, medical professionals offering ozone therapy and hydro-therapeutic colonic therapy and a nutritionist who designs bespoke juice and detox cleansing programs especially for your personal physiognomy.
Did we mention the world-class yoga and meditation teachers? They provide group and personal tuition performed atop a roof canopy garden. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to check out any of the teachers but they are highly recommended by the yogi community and have also started offering meditation classes inspired by trans-Himalayan (Tibetan and Indian Vedanta) meditation.
The spa uses natural cenote waters – crystalline springs from the Yucatan’s natural sink holes – that are purified through a complex osmosis system and ultraviolet beams of light, offering magical and vital liquid water therapy. Treatments begin with the healing water circuit and are included with every service.
Yäan assigns you a personal valet to guide you through the circuit, offering fresh tea made from herbs from their rooftop garden as well as a natural scrub in the marble hot stone Hammam room to stimulate your senses and get you in the right frame of mind.
The organic rooftop garden flourishes with rosemary, lavender, mint and lemongrass as well as medicinal and sacred herbs like rue, arnica, and anise (used in spa rituals and treatments such as ‘limpias, healing baths and natural body scrubs). Therapists visit the garden daily to choose ingredients for spa treatments and cleansing rituals.
In the traditional Temazcal (or Mexican sweat lodge), you experience the beauty and power of ceremonial cleansing, a deeply purifying and spiritual experience.
Temazcals were used in the ancient practices of pre-Hispanic Mesoamerica by both Mayans and Aztecs. The traditional Temazcal was considered to be a therapeutic and medicinal instrument; ceremonies were preformed to cleanse and aid in spiritual transformation and physical healing. The Mayan culture used it to form a deep connection with the womb of mother earth and would enter days at a time to find the answers within themselves.
Temazcals are still preformed in Mexico. At Yäan, they are performed in a traditional way by indigenous Mayan healers. We highly recommend this if you want to delve deeper into your healing and experience something totally unique. The one we took part in at Maya Tulum Spa Resort included swimming in the sea straight afterwards and everyone who did it got something truly special from it. If you get claustrophobic, then just check if they use a hard door or blanket at the Temazcal entrance as that can make all the difference. It did for us.
Ceremonies last two and a half hours and are held in the evenings on certain moon calendar dates of the month. Before entering, ceremonies will start with a Copal cleansing ritual: a sacred herb brew is made to splash on volcanic rocks which are heated in the fire and brought in through the four doors. Each door represents a cardinal point and spiritual purpose and is accompanied by songs and chants.
The Temazcal therapy aids in detoxification, helps the nervous system and generates skin cell renewal. It’s also a deep cleansing experience for the mind and spirit and acts as a kind of ‘rebirthing’ of the soul.
Sanara Tulum & Wellness Spa
Sanará (literally translated as ‘you will heal’ in Spanish) is a luxury eco boutique hotel. It features a spectacular, beach-appointed yoga studio, a world-class wellness centre and highly acclaimed restaurant, The Real Coconut.
Sanará’s wellness centre offers cleanse and heal programs. Treatments include: nutritional and lifestyle consultation, traditional Mayan healing, crystal healing, aromatherapy, bio-magnetic therapy and bio-decoding, body harmonization, craniosacral therapy, lymphatic drainage, therapeutic Mayan & Ayurvedic massage, clay and mud detox therapy and reflexology. Revitalizing colonic hydrotherapy will also be available in 2017.
Their aim is to encourage guests to explore the potential of their own personal healing journey, particularly utilising the space and location of Sanará and Tulum. Consciously grounding and earthing yourself whilst walking on the beach or paddling in the water is therapy in itself, freeing yourself from the burden of the stresses of your everyday life and connecting with nature.
Sanará is a newbie on the Tulum spa scene and what we saw was really encouraging. Unfortunately, our time in Tulum ran out and we never got a chance to check out some of their core healing therapies to report back on. But we’ll be back…
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We felt it would be useful to share some of the techniques used in this Yucatan wellness wonderland so you…