We get asked a lot what makes a Pravassa vacation different from a wellness retreat. Here’s our handy guide for understanding the difference.
World Travel Magazine just named the top destinations to watch in 2019. Did yours make the cut?
Sri Lanka offers a paradise that surfers talk about as the Bali of thirty years ago, while tea lovers oh and ah about the Ceylon tea and beach bummers, well, bum on the tropical beaches. Sri Lanka offers a cave monastery, the Golden Temple of Dambulla, the old city of Galle comes with a dollop of picturesque colonial charm, and Yala National Park should be on the itinerary for nature lovers because of the many opportunities to spot animals like leopards and elephants. High season is December-March in the western and southern coasts, April-September is best for the eastern and northern part of the country.
Indonesia is made up of islands set against the backdrop of turquoise oceans and full of a long list of underrated natural attractions. Meet the Komodo dragons who inhabit the islands of Komodo, Rinca, Flores, Gili Motang and Padar, sip Sumatra coffee in Sumatra, while visiting the orangutans in Bukit Lawang, dive the Coral Triangle, which offers 2,000 species of fish and underwater beauty. Java is the island where visitors will find the world’s largest Buddhist temple, Borobudur and of course Bali is a wellness paradise. Indonesia is an all year-all weather destination and ideal for short breaks to month long retreats.
From treasure hunting, to trekking through the rainforest, Colombia offers a lot of exceptional experiences. Nature lovers can bike around the coffee country and stop to drink fresh cups at different coffee farms or choose a hard-core trek to the Lost City in Santa Marta, which goes through the rainforest and takes three to seven days. More of a city person? The walled city centre of Cartagena, with its Spanish Colonial architecture is an excellent place to sit and watch the sunset, while the capital of Botogá, nestled high up in the Andes Mountains, offers old-fashioned, open-air markets and trendy neighborhoods. December to February is warm and dry everywhere, while April-September is best for the eastern and northern part of the country.
Visiting Tuscany calls for a cooking class where you can make pasta, tomato soup, biscotti and pizza the way it was meant to be. Piedmont is the home of truffles and the slow-food movement where you can sit back and enjoy the fresh ingredients. Old world charm, can be found in Venice along the canals and piazzas, Lake Como, and even a visit to Verona, the famed city of Romeo and Juliet. The best time to visit is April-June and September-October, due to the mild climate.
read the full World Travel Magazine article here.
Initially, we travel to escape, but ultimately, travel allows us to re-enter our lives. We travel to widen the lens of our worldview, to gain an embodied experience of how time has impacted the way of life for those outside of the neighborhood in which we live. Time is a curious thing. Moment-to-moment it’s passing, but yet, our hurried lives keep us in constricted mind states outside of the present moment. Personally, travel gets me out of the microcosm of my life – clearing blocked channels clouding my heart and getting beneath the film of stress where compassion flows freely. As I check all of my certainties about life at plane door, what I am sure about is that I’ll return from my journey with a deeper sense of belonging to the world we share. - Lena Franklin
Travel with Lena on one of Pravassa’s upcoming Wellness Vacations
Pravassa wins Specialty Tour Operator in World Nomads Solo Travelers Choice Awards
Since 2009, Solo Traveler’s mission has been to advocate on behalf of solo travelers. The annual Solo Travel Awards, sponsored by World Nomads, showcases companies known to serve solo travelers and excel at serving these travelers by offering tours, cruises, and/or vacation packages with no or very low single supplements.
We are thrilled to announce that Pravassa has won the 2018 Specialty Tour Operator Award.
For a full list of winners, click here.
We have no doubt you that you might recognize this romantic under ground space lit only by candles and the bathing pools from numerous TV shows and movies. With dramatic ceilings and warm toned brick you'll think you time traveled from the streets of NYC to ancient Europe.
AIRE NYC is the first international outpost from the Spanish company. Spanning a 16,000 square feet subterranean level of an 1883 TriBeCa building, the space and decor is a nod to ancient Greek, Roman and Moroccan days where people gathered in thermal baths as part of their social life. The co-ed space requires bathing suits and strange spa slippers to be worn at all times for hygiene, but you quickly forget about this quirk.
We slipped into an afternoon slot and descended a large glass staircase into the bathing area, which was almost empty due to the time of day. With a jet bath, 102° hot pool, the 98° warm pool, a 57° cold pool, a 50° ice pool, the salt-water bath, and the steam room - to move through as you please - we decided we should just move in. Massages are done in a walled glass space containing about 7 beds separated by curtains. Complementary water and hot tea are available throughout your session and bathers are notified of the end of the 2-hour session with chimes. In our dreamy state we must have missed the call as we overstayed our session, yet no one seemed to notice.
Cost: $96 starting LOCATION: TRIBECA | NY
About 10 hours north of Delhi in the town of Amritsar you'll find The Golden Temple. As one of the most revered spiritual sites in India, the temple sparkles as it's literally a 24-karat-gold-plated masterpiece. Our own Katie Jehenson had her most recent #changedbytravel experience in this temple and has been sending Pravassa travelers here as part of a wellness pilgrimage.
Below travel writer Emily Polar capture her experience.
Located in Amritsar, Punjab, The Golden Temple is one of the most revered spiritual sites of Sikhism, but it’s not only Sikhs who make the pilgrimage here. The temple receives and feeds 50,000 to 100,000 people daily from all religions and walks of life, and during big festivals such as Diwali, the numbers can rise to 150,000 per day.
There are four entrances, one on each side of the Temple – not to confuse, but to emphasize that it is open to all – and one bridge leading to the Temple that, I later learned, symbolizes what Sikhs believe to be the ultimate goal of human life – to become one with the Divine.
At Pravassa, we believe that committing to a wellness practice deepens ones travel experience. We asked five incredible wellness travel gurus to share their favorite place around the world to practice wellness. Scroll down to read about their experiences firsthand.
Interested in planning your own wellness getaway to one of these breathtaking locations? Let us book it for you. We'll handle all the details, so that the only thing on your mind will be timing your sun salutations to sunrise. Don't wait, book now: pravassa.com/customwell
Leah Santa Cruz • Bali
My favorite place to practice yoga, meditation, breathwork and qigong is Bali. Here, you're completely immersed with nature, surrounded by lush jungle, exotic animals and natural beauty. I believe we become quite unwell when we lose contact with nature for too long. Most of us that have lived in cities for most (or all) of our lives are in deep need for communion with the elements of nature. We often don't even realize how badly we need this—just being in Bali does something incredibly healing to the mind-body system.
Despite tourism on the island, the Balinese still live, eat, dress and uphold their traditions. It's beautiful and mystifying to witness. Yogis from around the world travel here to practice together with a like-minded community. Surfers and tourists come for the scenery, and others come for the healing. Bali teaches you to slow down, let go, enjoy life and be grateful for what you have—all things that lead to happiness.
Kelley Ferro • Thailand
There’s something about Thailand that is very spiritual for me. While traveling throughout the country on my honeymoon, I felt so connected to the Earth, the people and the nature. I was even more in tune with myself. Practicing yoga just as the sun was rising over a lily padded lake at the Four Seasons Chiang Mai was one of those spiritually connect moments.
I thrive from being outdoors, so having this practice at dawn added so much more to the experience. The rhythmic voice from the instructor mixed with the birds ringing in the morning and the breezes sweeping across my face, I felt totally transported and at ease. Wellness is infused not only the resort, but in the landscape of Thailand. There’s this overwhelming appreciation focus on being outdoors and on the energy of the country.
Jessica Wright • Washington
My favorite place in the world to practice wellness is at The Rolling Huts, a modern camping alternative in Winthrop, Washington. The wellness modality that I practice there is simply unplugging and spending time in nature.
The Rolling Huts a truly special place for me as I go every year with my husband to truly disconnect from the world for three nights. It's one of the few places I've found where nature is untouched in the Cascades National Park and the slow mornings on the patios of the minimalist cabins really grounds me. This time to "just be" has become an annual retreat for us, and it's something I look forward to every spring.
Sarah Anne Stewart • India
Northern India is one of the most incredible places in the world to practice wellness, particularly at Ananda Spa. This beautiful hidden gem, placed in the Himalayan foothills, is truly a one-of-a-kind wellness spa experience and offers a variety of amenities for their guests. Among one of my favorites is the focus on the healing properties of Ayurveda. Ayurveda is one of the oldest systems of medicine in the world and is based on the belief that health and wellness depend on a balance between the mind, body, and spirit.
If you are looking to fulfill your personal goals or make a commitment to a big transformation in your life, the Ayurveda experience is magical. Two of my favorite Ayurvedic healing practices include Abhyanga, a traditional synchronized full body massage given by two experienced therapists using Sesame oil, and Pizhichil, a rejuvenating experience during which lukewarm herbal oils anoint the entire body. Whether it is to heal, cleanse or relax, there are a multitude of amazing experiences at Ananda in northern india.
Lena Franklin • Vietnam
My favorite place in the world to practice wellness is in my maternal homeland of Vietnam, and Mindfulness meditation is the practice that I immersed myself in while traveling there. Because most of the country is Buddhist, I like to seek out temples where I can sit, get still and absorb the ancient spiritual energy. Practicing meditation in this part of the world where it originated is transformative on multiple dimensions. The devotion and dedication that the Mahayana Buddhist monks have for walking the path of peace infuses into your cells and you return home renewed. Vietnam is the land of my ancestors who went through centuries of war and struggle. To feel the energetic resilience of the Vietnamese people will ground you into the heart of humanity.
Journeying through Vietnam is a moment-to-moment meditation no matter what you’re doing. Vietnam’s diverse landscape, from the rice paddies of the delta in South Vietnam to the limestone mountains of Ha Long Bay in the North, make it a country of tremendous natural beauty. Pair this beauty with the heart-centric welcoming nature of the Vietnamese people and spiritual depth of their Buddhist culture and you receive the alchemy of transformation through presence. Everywhere you turn in Vietnam, you are greeted by warm smiles and wafting incense billowing out of homes and temples. Your senses will take in the Vietnamese culture, awakening your heart to interconnection and love.
Trevor Morrow • British Columbia
My favorite place in the world practice wellness is Nimmo Bay in British Columbia. Once a fishing lodge when it opened over 30 years, Nimmo Bay has long since evolved into one of the world’s most exclusive and luxurious wilderness resorts. Accessible only by float plane or helicopter, there is a deep sense of seclusion, peace, and privacy.
In this natural and remote location, you’ll feel a unique harmony with the elements around you—which makes it a magical place to practice mindfulness, reconnect with your body, and emerge feeling renewed. This can be enhanced by Nimmo Bay’s wellness offerings that include a holistic therapist, reiki master, intuitive, and masseuse; the resort even has a floating sauna, which sits on a raft in a secluded bay where you are dropped off and picked up by boat. From outdoor showers to body balancing treatments along with guided meditation, you'll feel at one with nature and be able to focus on your self-care. Oh, and don’t leave without taking a dip in their hot tub, located directly next to a powerful waterfall that flows with cold water from a snowpack at the top of the mountain a few thousand feet above.
The list is out! CNN's has crowned the World's Most Relaxing Places and we're thrilled to say that we can send you to 6 amazing ones that made the cut.
Let us help to you take relaxation a step further, by planning the entire getaway making the most stressful thing you have to worry about: what to pack!
Don't wait, book now: pravassa.com/customwell
Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
Ise Jingu, Japan
Arenal, Costa Rica
Siem Reap, Cambodia
Hoi An, Vietnam
Byron Bay, Australia
Vacation doesn’t have to mean that your usual wellness practices go out the window. In fact, infusing your health and fitness regimens into a weekend getaway can actually enhance your travel experience, helping you ground more quickly into your new surroundings. We've rounded up our top five tips to supercharge your wellness weekend getaway, from on-the-go mindfulness techniques to the perfect packing essentials.
1. Pack a Multi-Use Yoga Mat: Double duty! Add a yoga mat as a non-negotiable on your packing list. This ensures that you get your sun salutations, plank series or jump squats in no matter where in the world you are or what type of workout calls to you. Bonus: It doubles as a picnic blanket or a comfy mat to lay on beachside.
2. Excuse-Proof Your Workout Regiment: Pack a reusable pouch with all your pre and post workout essentials (deodorant, shower gel, body cleansing wipes) to make it impossible for you to skip a day, even while on the road. Sounds like too much work already? Grab a pre-packed kit with compact, portable items like no-rinse body cleansing foam and muscle recovery gel today.
3. Pack Only What You Love to Wear: Have you ever packed multiple outfits or workout ensembles, only to arrive at your destination and feel uninspired by everything in your suitcase? To prevent this issue, pack only what absolutely you love to wear. Even if you end up wearing the same outfit twice, no one has to know. This tip is a super simple game changer that will give you a daily dose of confidence—and save you precious suitcase space.
4. Replace Your Supplements With a Travel Tonic: Herbal supplements are a must-have in our wellness routine, but packing all of the individual bottles can take up precious space—especially when we're taking a lighter packing approach. For a weekend getaway, opt for a wellness tincture or tonic packed with supportive herbs to add to your H20 on the go. We love this Travel Tonic, complete with ginger root and lemon peel.
5. Don’t Forget to Namaste: The easiest way to keep wellness alive in your weekend getaway is to incorporate a mindfulness practice, which helps you ground more quickly into your new surroundings. Sound daunting? Set a timer for 5 minutes, sit in an upright position, close your eyes and focus on your breath. If you need a little more support, our swear-by app Welzen will help get you going.
While many countries ring in the New Year with loud parties, fireworks and celebrations, the island of Bali takes a different approach: 24-hours of complete silence, known as the Nyepi holiday. The holiday starts with the Ogoh-Ogoh parade. For months leading up to Nyepi, young men from each village gather and pull their artistic skills to create monsters, known as Ogoh-Ogoh, from light materials such as wood, bamboo, and paper. As tradition goes, the Ogoh-Ogoh get paraded down the streets after sunset to call out the spirits on the island. After a festive ceremony of music and dancing, the monsters are then burned in an effort to release the ashes of the spirits and to cleanse the island for another year. Once set free, the island falls silent for a day— the airport closes down, Internet is not accessible, and you are not allowed to leave your home or hotel; this is a sacred day of meditation.
Experiencing Nyepi in 2018 with Pravassa's Journey Into Wellness small group trip.