Let’s face it action packed vacations may be great but what could really be more wonderful than knowing that your time away could be one of the most relaxing and rewarding things that you have ever done for yourself. Inspired by the ancestral knowledge from local ethnic groups clay baths, volcanic mud scrubs and hydro massages all delivered at 13,000 feet above ground in Quito, Ecuador is one of the best therapeutic healing experiences there is to indulge in.
Travelers who visit aboriginal communities like Isla Anaconda in the Amazon can experience ancient healing rituals known as “limpia”, which is based on the four elements: fire, air, water and earth. There is an initiation process, which involves an herbal bath, the shaman prepares a table with medicinal and harmless hallucinogenic plants (processed with ayahuasca), potions, tobacco, stones and personal items of the patient. Elements used in ceremonies vary by region. The belief is that use of these natural elements promotes harmony with a person’s energy/chi.In the heart of the Historic Center of Quito at the San Francisco Market, doña Rosita Lagla performs energetic “limpias” two times a week to renew the aura of her patients.
If that’s a little too hard core for you then slip into a comfortable pair of Gurus flip-flops and head to on of their spas that offer holistic treatments:
La Mirage Garden Hotel & Spa
Located in Cotacachi, it offers it’s guests massages and treatments, including reflexology, aromatherapy and the healing powers of a female shaman. The Purification Room at La Mirage focuses on indigenous healing practices for the body, soul and spirit, mirage.com.ec.
Arashá Rainforest Resort & Spa
Noted for its use of fragranced essences and oils which is said to have the ability to balance out all of one’s senses is located in a “hot spot” at the far edge of Pedro Vicente Maldonado in the western Andean slope, arasharesortspa.com.
Luna Runtun Adventure Spa
Known for its panoramic views it is surrounded by the active Tungurahua Volcano, the Llanganates National Park and the town of Baños. The hotel’s SPA Volcánico is open to the public and offers 25 treatments including but not limited to massages, exfoliation with volcanic ashes, facials, steam baths, roses baths, lunaruntun.com.
Stashed away in the Andes Mountains, guests can enjoy hot water naturally flowing from the mountains which is channeled into pools of varying temperatures at Termas Papallacta. There are also hydro massage baths, body treatments with medicinal Andean mud, baths in the Thermal Cave, saunas, and more, termaspapallacta.com.
Piedra de Agua Baños
This exclusive geothermal complex is located in Baños, Piedra de Agua is a built from volcanic rock, mined onsite, that channels natural thermal waters loaded with minerals to more than half a dozen pools, caves, and therapeutic stations. Just imagine lying around in that all day.