This post is underwritten by First Choice
Who doesn’t love a vacation? Yet holidays don’t have to be filled with sinful eating and lounging around like a beached whale.
There are plenty of healthy dining options for travelers on an active adventure vacation. In the spirit of new year’s resolutions I’d like to share five places to travel for a healthy holiday. Who knows, you might have fun and lose a little weight during your vacation!
California spa vacation
I’m a northern California girl, but that doesn’t mean I can’t fly south for the sunshine, or in Ojai’s case, a pink moment sunset. Ojai, California holds a special place in my heart. This mountain community, 83 miles northwest of Los Angeles and east of Santa Barbara, is located in Ventura County. It is also home to Ojai Valley Inn & Spa. There are several spas to choose from in this community; the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa is a luxury retreat offering healthy cuisine, tennis, golf and every spa treatment you can imagine. Read my review of Ojai Valley Inn and Spa here.
Yoga & meditation retreat in Maui, Hawaii
Lumeria Maui is only a 30 minute drive from Kahului Airport, but it is a world away from all of your worries and stresses. This wellness retreat in upcountry Makawao surrounds guests in a welcoming embrace with its natural beauty, tropical plants, local garden and many buddha statues.
During my visit, I savored the nightly organic and healthy meals prepared by the Lumeria in-house chef and joined in with Hawaiian locals for master yoga classes.
New since my review, Lumeria has added a salt water swimming pool and Jacuzzi. See a detailed review and more photos here.
Horseback riding and Thai massage in BC Canada
When I flew into Kamloops Airport in British Columbia, I wasn’t sure what to expect. This was my first visit to Echo Valley Ranch, a luxury resort owned by English ex-pat Norm Dove and his Thai wife, Nan.
Originally purchased as a retreat for family and friends, the couple kept building on the 160 acre property, resulting in the opening of Echo Valley Ranch in 1995.
Their executive chef creates fresh and healthy cuisine using plants from their organic garden and cattle, chickens, turkeys and pigs raised on their ranch.
I traveled to Echo Valley Ranch for the horseback riding offered throughout the property and bordering the Marble Range Park. Trail rides offer incredible views of British Columbia’s Fraser Canyon. Little did I know that the ranch is known for its Thai style massage at their Ban Thai Spa.
Drawing from Nan’s Thailand connections, many of the massage therapists specialize in this unique 90 minute Thai massage – a new and wonderful experience for me. See my Echo Valley Ranch review here.
Hiking and riding on Pico Island, Portugal
Europeans love Portugal’s Pico Island for its terrific hiking opportunities. Pico Island holds the unique distinction of being the second largest island in the Azores and is the highest point in all of Portugal.
This was my first trip to the Azores and it was wonderful. If you have a chance to visit this chain of islands, you won’t want to miss Pico Island. In addition to hiking and horseback riding, there is whale watching and there are several museums on the island.
One of the most unique features about the island is the vineyards growing inside basalt rock walls next to the Atlantic Ocean. Crazy! Read my review of things to do on Pico Island here.
Flamingo dancing in Seville, Spain
My daughter had the opportunity to study Spanish in Seville, Spain through her university. I remember my trip to Madrid and Seville, Spain back in 2008. In addition to the beautiful public art and lovely architecture, I was fascinated with the Flamenco dancers and their colorful Flamenco dresses.
There are plenty of places to learn the art of Flamenco dancing in Spain and it is certainly a great way to get exercise. For those not interested in moving your body, the Museum of Flamenco Dance in Seville is a gem of a museum and offers Flamenco dance performances. This photo of Esther Velez was taken by me during a performance at the Museum of Flamenco Dance in Seville.
Do you opt for healthy holidays when you travel? Where do you recommend for an active adventure vacation? For European vacation planning, visit First Choice for all inclusive travel.
Article written by Nancy D. Brown. Photos courtesy Nancy D. Brown.