Health kicks and goals for the upcoming months ahead don’t always have to involve denial, detox, and downright misery. Feel good about the fine feasts of the holidays by venturing on a world class trip that’ll squeeze just the right amount of needed exercise into a fun, fantastic, and totally remarkable vacation getaway—all without making it feel like work afterwards!
Find restoration in outdoor adventures, quiet and peace with waterfront yoga or luxurious spa treatments, and a bunch of activities and amenities galore that simply focus on all aspects of health and wellness. There’s something for every type of health-conscious traveler out there hoping to ring in 2017 with even more of a bang.
Get Fit In These 8 International Places In The New Year
1. Italian Alps
After several fantastic weeks of festive overindulgence, there’s no better way to get fit than with a skiing trip to Europe’s highest and most extensive mountain range system. There will, of course, be the usual train of simple runs and lifts, as well as more appealing options like ski mountaineering or even some extreme lunge busting—so start out the new year by boosting that fitness routine with a nice uphill trek through a snowy wonderland. Programs such as Much Better Adventures even offers weekend mountaineering escapes in Italy's Monterosa backcountry, along with full days of free ride skiing and guided trips down the best hidden routes.
Nothing could be more inspiring than the sight of crystal-blue oceans, sugary sand beaches, and emerald-green forests to get you pumped and ready for a wondrous workout. Instead of that sweaty gym, why not head south to Mexico, where you’ll find Riviera Maya for the Mind Body Adventure Week at Maya Tulum or other wellness and fitness options at Amansala Eco-Chic Resort and Retreat in Tulum, or at Rancho La Puerta -- a 3,000 acre resort tucked beneath Mt. Kuchumaa that provides ample chances for hiking, biking, and TRX, as well as more calming activities like yoga, meditation, and reflexology. Plus, all meals are made using ingredients from the resort's own organic garden. You can even take part in one of the many daily cooking courses to chow down on your own delicious creations!
And for those wanting to party hard and squeeze in a nice fitness getaway, be sure to try out South of the Border (SOB) Volleyball Vacations in Ixtapa, Cabo San Lucas, and Puerto Vallarta, where you can play hard and party hard with intense days under the sun playing v-ball tournaments and wild nights hitting up the Mexican nightlife scene with your buds.
Get shredded in the New Year by honing your Muay Thai kicks surrounded by sea views, ocean breezes, and a full-out island paradise. Known as "the art of eight limbs," the sport is all the rage across Thailand, where area training gyms run aplenty for fitness focused vacationers to live and learn from locals.
High end hotels and resorts such as Four Seasons Koh Samui even offer its very own specially designed ring and personal trainer for guests, while Bangkok-bound tourists can check out The Siam Hotel, which has a unique four-night Muay Thai retreat that’s run entirely by a former kickboxing professional.
4. Costa Rica
Those desperate for that Caribbean vibe but still in mighty need of a fitness boost should head over to the shores of Costa Rica, which offer superb surf spots for body boarders of all levels. Beginners need to check out the Caribbean coast, as the beaches there offer plenty more opportunities to relax and kick back at. Advanced water lovers can get active on the Pacific side where the surf is definitely way more vicious and challenging. What’s more is that because of Costa Rica's breadth of biodiversity and its terrifically tropical climate, it’s always an ideal place for any January getaway.
Try vacationing with Bodyboard Holidays, which help plan out trips to remote Santa Teresa to help get beginner and advanced boogie boarders the chance to ride into some gnarly breaks. For land lovers, Discover Adventure even runs a 12-day coast-to-coast trekking and rafting trip through rainforest rapids and then onto calmer waters.
One totally underrated but still fantastic way to get fit is simply by taking a self-guided walk, and what better way to get in one with Mother Nature than by taking a long stroll through the English countryside? It’s the simplest way to get in shape and to enjoy some of the most bucolic scenery in all of Europe.
Try taking North Downs Way, a well signposted National Trail that stretches 156 miles from Farnham (south of London) to the Kent coast at Dover via the UNESCO city of Canterbury. The trek can be undertaken in one go or in separate sections with the help of companies like Load Off Your Back, which operates multi-day self-guided hikes that include picking up and dropping off luggage in local guest houses so that visitors can more easily enjoy the finest areas of outstanding natural beauty unencumbered.
6. British Columbia, Canada
Shed those extra pounds with a trip to Mountain Trek's lakeside resort for a "Fitness and Weight Loss Retreat" set in the middle of the wondrous Selkirk and Purcell Ranges of British Columbia. It’s a challenging hiking boot camp that runs from May to October that will get you moving with a daily program of four- to six-mile hikes that start off bright and early every morning at 6am with a wake-up knock on your door. You’ll definitely be feeling better and lighter after just a few days of trekking through wildflower fields, misty riverbanks, and tall wooded glades.
Those wanting something more soothing and relaxing can savor a hike and a soak in some hot springs at the nearby Ainsworth Hot Springs, where Mount Trek Alpine Lodge offers several fitness retreats as well as an Adventure Trek Hiking Vacation that features pit stops at British Columbia’s best hot springs. Get that heart pumping, strengthen basically every muscle in your body, and then relish in a daily soak in a hot spring that’s churning with essential minerals like magnesium, potassium, sodium, and sulfur.
The Himalayan foothills of northern India are another perfect place for those wanting to take their fitness aspirations to the next level—especially in the art of yoga. Programs like Shakti Himalaya offer a "Head in the Clouds" guided walking tour led by in-house teachers that makes many pit stops for yoga and meditation along the way. There's even a private chef available at each stop on the scenic route. More rustic and affordable wellness options can be found at the nearby Dunagiri Retreat, where spectacular mountain views from its outdoor decks will literally take your breath away.
8. Dominican Republic
The north coast of the Dominican Republic's is more than just about riding fantastic waves. There’s the eco adventure-themed Extreme Hotel, which offers adrenaline fueled ways of getting in shape for fitness fanatics—everything from testing out trapeze skills at the country's only dedicated circus school to easy breezy kitesurfing on azure colored waters. Build those core muscle groups with the most unique of approaches and in a way that’s way more exciting than an average sweaty gym class or regular fitness camps.
For something lighter and more relaxing, head over to Kalon's laid-back beachfront property that’s nestled between warm Pacific waters and lush green Cordillera mountains. Surf to your heart’s content via week-long programs that combine challenging exercise with exhilarating immersion into nature. It’s a great way to destress as well as reboot for the New Year. Plus, it’s nice to know that’ll you’ll have tons of savory local delicacies to come back to after a tough day in the surf. Be sure to have a pool dinner with dishes like just-caught tuna in tamarind sauce. Yum.
This article was written by Pamela Chan.