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50 Top Wellness Destinations:
South & Central America

Text by Husna Haq    Photo by Arashá Ecuador's Tropical Forest Resort & Spa

Photo: Arasha Forest Reserve and Spa, Ecuador
Not all guests are human at the Arashá Forest Reserve and Spa in Ecuador.

House of Jasmines (Argentina)
The Spa: Robert Duvall once owned this colonial-style ranch and spa located on 300 acres (121 hectares) of high country. Treatments: A perfect day: Soak in the sauna; get kneaded; try the Inca Princess facial with jasmine and orange blossom; and chase it all down with a detox herbal drink. Local Sights: Make like a gaucho and hit surrounding hills, valleys, and canyons on horseback.

Ruta Nacional N 51, Kilometro 11
La Merced Chica, Argentina (10 miles [16 kilometers] from Salta)
Tel. +54 0387 4972002

The Lodge at Chaa Creek (Belize)
The Spa: Perched over Belize's Macal River amidst 365 acres (148 hectares) of lush rain forest, this spa includes an on-site organic Maya farm. Treatments: Let Chaa's artists work their magic with a soothing seaweed wrap, a mineral-rich mud wrap, or a rejuvenating herbal wrap. Local Sights: Spend every moment outdoors in the lush rain forest—on horseback, canoe, or foot.

Cayo District, Belize (8 miles [13 kilometers] west of San Ignacio)
Tel. +501 824 2037 or 877 709-8708

Puyuhuapi Lodge and Spa (Chile)
The Spa: The only way to access this tranquil Patagonian hideaway tucked into a cove is a 10-minute boat ride to the waterfront lodge, cozy with exposed beams, sauna, and fireplace. Treatments: Puyuhuapi specializes in thalassotherapy, the use of seawater to restore the skin's balance. Try thalatherm, a seaweed body mask, and thalaform, a thermal-water body massage. Local Sights: Land of snowy peaks, glaciers, fjords, and rivers, Chilean Patagonia is South America's unspoiled jewel.

Bahia Dorita, Aesen Region
Patagonia, Chile (10 miles [16 kilometers] north of Puyuhuapi Village)
Tel. +56 2 225 64 89; +56 67 325 103

Termas Puyehue Hotel and Spa (Chile)
The Spa: Geography is therapy at this stone estate in the 289,000-acre (76,486-hectare) Puyehue National Park in the foothills of the Andes. Treatments: Herbs, algae, and mineral salts infuse the spa's namesake treatment—thermal baths. Take a cue from nature and try volcanic mud masks and massages. Local Sights: Here geography is also entertainment; take a canopy tour of Puyehue National Park or gawk at the region's stunning volcanoes, caves, and geysers.

Ruta Internacional 215, Km 76, Puyehue
Osorno, Chile
Tel. +56 2 234 24 40; +56 2 293 60 00

Tabacón Grand Spa Thermal Resort (Costa Rica)
The Spa: Hot springs, lagoons, and lush rain forest surround this thermal resort at the foot of Arenal Volcano. Treatments: Shamans lead temazcal, a Mesoamerican steam bath ritual with chanting, meditation, and aromatherapy, in a traditional sweat lodge. Don't leave without a magma-fortified soak in the namesake hot springs. Local Sights: Raft, canoe, kayak, and bird-watch to your heart's content in the ecologically rich Arenal region.

San Carlos, Alajuela, Costa Rica (8 miles [13 kilometers] west of La Fortuna)
Tel. 877 277 8291

Natura Cabañas (Dominican Republic)
The Spa: Avocado, passion fruit, and almond trees grow on the lush property of this holistic spa tucked into a lazy stretch between Cabarete Beach and Sosua. Treatments: Local ingredients spike treatments like fango (mud) and seaweed wraps, aromatherapy vapor baths, and hot stone massages. Yoga lessons in an open air temple are also available. Local Sights: Downtime? Hit the beach or the trail (ideal for hiking, biking, or diving).

Paseo del Sol # 5
Perla Marina, Cabarete, Dominican Republic
Tel. +1 809 571 1507

Arashá Forest Reserve and Spa (Ecuador)
The Spa: Clusters of grass-topped cabanas greet visitors at this forest resort in a lush cloud forest 1,800 feet (549 meters) above sea level. Treatments: Pamper yourself from head to foot with aromatherapy, facials, body wraps, and reflexology. Local Sights: Just two hours from Quito, the spa is in a biodiversity hotspot with more than 35,000 plant species, 664 amphibian species, and about 500 bird species.
Km 121 de la vía Quito-Calacalí
La Independencia, Pedro Vicente Maldonado, Ecuador
Tel. +593 9 198 1668; 450 4145

Luna Runtun (Ecuador)
The Spa: Located on the flanks of Tungurahua Volcano in a 63-acre (25-hectare) tract in Sangay National Park, this adventure spa is surrounded by nature's glory. Treatments: Relax with volcanic ash and salt exfoliation, cleansing nettle treatment, reiki, and a selection of baths and massages that highlight local ingredients. Local Sights: Nature practically begs you to get out and play. Explore the Andes, the Amazon, and Tungurahua's spectacular shows.

Caserío Runtun km. 6
P.O. Box 1802 1944
Baños, Ecuador
Tel. +593 3 274 0882

Willka T'ika Garden Guesthouse (Peru)
The Spa: From its all-Quechua staff to its transcendent location in the Sacred Valley between Cuzco and Machu Picchu, this vegetarian yoga retreat is a tribute to Peruvian culture. Local yoga instructors are available, but many groups bring their own. Treatments: The perfect day: Practice yoga and pilates, or meditate in one of two sunlit studios, or gardens dedicated to chakra energy centers. Soak under the stars in an outdoor stone solar bath and finish with a massage. Local Sights: Two words: Machu Picchu.

Paradeo Rumichaka
Urubamba, Peru (20 minutes from Ollantaytambo)
Tel. 888 737 8070

Kariwak Village (Tobago)
The Spa: Setting is paramount at this holistic retreat designed as a traditional Amerindian village, complete with cabanas built from local bamboo. Treatments: Treat yourself to mindful exercise (yoga and tai chi in a traditional octagonal ajoupa consecrated by the Dalai Lama), massage, and aromatherapy. Local Sights: Try out one of the best diving spots in the Caribbean, or wander the campus's lush gardens.  

Store Bay Local Road
Crown Point, Tobago
Tel. +1 868 639 8442

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