Top 10 warm escapes: Fitness challenges on vacation

Marion Fernandez

Taking a vacation can mean a lot of different things. Whether it is an escape to take a break from your daily life or just a mental reset, we all need a change of scenery and a change of pace once in a while. That said, you do not need to spend every vacation laying around by the pool. It is all too easy to overeat and overindulge on vacation, leaving you feeling a little bad about yourself. If that is the vacation of your dreams, go for it. But that is not the only way to truly get a break. You can, in fact, turn your next holiday into a fitness adventure.

1. Sea of Cortez, Mexico

Fitness by the sea
Fitness by the sea

Let’s start the list off with a vacation option that is simultaneously a workout and relaxing. Along the Sea of Cortez islands of Espiritu Santo and Isla Partida, a new wellness experience has been created. Adventurers will have the opportunity to sign up for HIIT, Power Yoga, stand-up paddle boarding, and many other workout options, including hiking, all while enjoying in the sunshine and beauty of the Sea of Cortez. The trips are only for three or four nights at a time, but they have enough intensity to feel like longer.

2. Rancho La Puerta, Tecate, Mexico

Situated on 3,000 acres of incredible beauty in Baja California, Mexico, the Rancho La Puerta resort aims to balance your mind as well as your body, giving you a variety of fitness classes you can take as well as meditation and cooking. The area, known as the Valle de Guadalupe, is also famous for its wine, so after getting a good workout and a mental reset, you can also enjoy the delicious local wines.

3. Big Island, Hawaii

Go biking on trails located all over Big Island, getting your exercise while taking in the sights.
Go biking on trails located all over Big Island, getting your exercise while taking in the sights.

Hawaii itself is known for its huge range of activities, with every island offering some sort of adventure in their fantastic beauty. But Big Island tops the list with the array of fitness challenges to be had. If you are a cyclist, there is the 40-mile Old Mamaloa Highway to Waipio Valley Overlook trail that is excellent to experience by bike. The sights include the Mauna Kea volcano, making the adventure worth the challenge. As well as cycling, the island offers countless hikes, yoga treats and a load of water activities.

4. Point Mulatre, Dominica

For a change of pace, you can check out the jungles of Dominica. The treks throughout the jungle are not for the faint of heart, taking you over boulders, along rivers, and below waterfalls. You can take the Victoria Falls Hike, Boiling Lake Hike, or even the Valley of Desolation adventure, all of which will give you an unforgettable workout. Besides from the jungle, the island offers amazing ocean views, giving you a chance to unwind after a day of adventuring.

5. Santa Teresa, Costa Rica

Exercise on the beach
Exercise on the beach

Costa Rica itself seems to be an oasis for a whole range of different adventures. Santa Teresa particularly offers a wide array of activities, including surf lessons, and since the area is well-known for its fantastic surfing, it seems like a great place to take a lesson. Outside of surfing, you can try your hand at other water activities, like snorkeling, swimming, and paddle boarding. If you are feeling more drawn to the land, Costa Rica offers some breathtaking hiking as well as some of the best ziplines in the world.

6. Tiger Muay Thai, Phuket, Thailand

If you are looking for a more exotic adventure, you can make your way to Thailand. Thailand itself offers a lot of different options for visitors, including the Tiger Muay Thai training center. Muay Thai is known as the “Art of Eight Limbs,” which is a form of martial art. Staying at a training center will allow you to work on your footwork, punches, kicks, and other elements at every level of Muay Thai. Needless to say, this fitness adventure will leave you with some unique and impressive skills that you won’t find on other vacations.

7. Antelope Canyon, Page, or Sedona, Arizona

Go for a hike or a marathon race – all while being surrounded by an incomparable beautiful landscape
Go for a hike or a marathon race – all while being surrounded by an incomparable beautiful landscape

Antelope Canyon is impressive for a lot of reasons, including the amazing natural canyons themselves. The area is also known for its intense 50-mile, 55K, and half-marathon races, which will take you through the Upper Antelope Canyon, Glen Canyon Dam, and Lake Powell, depending on which race you are trying. Sedona itself offers the iconic Red Rock Crossing which will definitely make up for any missed leg days. After the adventure, you can unwind at one of the areas many different spas.

8. Calabasas, California

The entire State of California offers adventures of all types, but for something a little bit different, you could check out Calabasas, California. The area offers an opportunity to hike in the foothills of Santa Monica. There is also a retreat called the Ashram there that provides hiking, yoga, as well as other fitness challenges for guests. Keep in mind, however, the Ashram requires all guests to be completely “unplugged,” meaning no cell phones, tablets, or laptops are allowed.

9. The BodyHoliday, St. Lucia

The BodyHoliday will take you on a fitness adventure, leaving you much fitter than you were before you arrived.
The BodyHoliday will take you on a fitness adventure, leaving you much fitter than you were before you arrived.

BodyHoliday is a specific resort on St. Lucia, known for offering water-based activities for its guests. One of the newest additions to the resort is the “quadrathlon” course, combining biking, hiking, swimming, kayaking, and rappelling, giving you an unforgettable workout that is guaranteed to leave you sore. The resort also provides an in-house physician to ensure that you are in the best health possible, especially given the intensity of the activities that they offer.

10. Vieques, Puerto Rico

This is the ritziest suggestion on the entire list, but if you can afford it, it would be worth it. The W Retreat & Spa, located in Vieques, Puerto Rico, offers a five-day yoga retreat that includes non-yoga activities as well. Other activities include kayaking, snorkeling, and even horseback riding. Do keep in mind, however, that the island of Puerto Rico was ravaged by Hurricane Maria in fall of 2017 so some activities that were previously available may no longer be available.

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marion-fernandez is one of the authors writing for Outdoor Revival