The Top 10 Budget-Friendly Wellness Destinations Around the Globe

Date
Jul, 09, 2020
(Last Updated On: July 9, 2020)

There are certain places around the world known for their rich wellness history, secluded, peaceful locations and modern therapies designed to connect and revitalise the body and soul. They allow for the rest and relaxation you seek, while also offering new knowledge you can apply to your daily life at home. Certain places such as Hawaii or Bali might be known for their wellness allure but there are many other destinations that offer wellness on a very different level. If you’re looking for some inspiration for your next or some new wellness destinations keep reading for my top 10 budget-friendly places to visit.

These destinations are perfect to head to both for their luxury resorts and budget-friendly boutique hotels, spas and restaurants because wellness doesn’t have to be ridiculously expensive. While wellness retreats do come at a particular price point and generally are considered expensive, we have included some more affordable options too. We always recommend, that if you are on a real budget to try a DIY retreat in a stunning and peaceful location making use of local yoga/meditation classes and local spas as well as healthy cafes and restaurants.

Before booking a wellness experience, it’s essential to understand what your goals are. There are many different retreats out there that offer different focuses and approaches to wellness from yoga focused retreats to weight-loss retreats, from Ayurveda retreats to running retreats. Ask yourself what it is that you’re looking for, what you want to learn or achieve and where your interests lie. This really is key for determining the wellness destinations and retreat focus that fit your needs.

TOP 10 GLOBAL WELLNESS DESTINATIONS

UNITED STATES

Yes, the United States is one of the best wellness destinations around the world, proving you don’t have to travel far to relax and escape from it all. The travel industry is well developed in the United States, catering to every kind of travel you could possibly imagine, including wellness travel. The US has some of the best all-inclusive wellness-focused resorts as well as smaller more affordable setups with healthy food options nearby making it one of the easiest places for a health-friendly stay-cation. Here are some of the best states in the US for wellness travel in general even though you can still find places to indulge in wellness travel all over the country.

CALIFORNIA

It’s sure to say that California has some amazing wellness resorts and spa hotels but it’s not only that make it one of the best places in the US for all budgets of wellness travel. Los Angeles and San Francisco have some of the best plant-based, healthy restaurants and cafes that you can find, you’ve got endless coastlines and stunning national parks to lose yourself in. Wellness is just easy in California. Even if you don’t quite have the budget for an all-inclusive spa stay, California is the perfect place to rent a cottage not far from the beach, and indulge in your own meditation and yoga practise, outdoor activities and sports and fuel your body with some of the best foods around.

Some of my favourite California wellness destinations are:

Cal-a-Vie Health Spa, Vista, San Diego – this French-inspired all-inclusive will transport you straight to France sans cheese. The focus is wellness here and their three, four and seven-day packages are filled with hiking, yoga, tennis as well as both familiar and not-so-familiar spa treatments and delicious, nutritious foods to support your body.

Two Bunch Palms, Desert Hot Spring– is the perfect place that really doesn’t require anything from you and allows you to indulge in your definition of wellness. Located in the middle of the desert this oasis is all about the healing pools of mineral-rich waters, heated by nearby aquifers which you can soak in for hours on end. Indulge in their long list of exquisite spa therapies which include sound vibration healing, therapeutic massages and even water shiatsu.

Shasta Abbey, Mount Shasta – This beautiful Buddhist Monastery of the Soto Zen tradition welcomes visitors for retreats to practise self-reflection and meditations. In the three -day Introductory retreat you can learn more about Serene Reflection as well as participate in guided meditation, dharma talks and discussions.

HAWAII

Just like California, when it comes to wellness Hawaii is paradise. There’s something about the Hawaiian lifestyle that attracts thousands of people to the islands every year looking for rest, relaxation and spiritual fulfilment. Once again, even if an all-inclusive wellness resort isn’t your thing you can quite easily rent your own Airbnb beach shack and make your own wellness stay-cay filled with surf, hikes and açai bowls. Hawaii offers something for everyone and there are so many options in terms of fitness, adventure, outdoors, sports, detox activities and delicious healthy food.

Some of my favourite Hawaii wellness spots are:

Travaasa Hana, Maui – for an off-the-grid experience without actually going off the grid, this tranquil yet luxurious hideaway at the end of the Road to Hana is the perfect place for the more adventurous traveller. Guests can choose different ‘pathways’ or focuses for their stays which include fitness, culture, spa and wellness, culinary or adventure and enjoy spa treatments, yoga, sports and of course hiking and surfing. 

Four Seasons Resort Lanai – This luxurious, secluded resort is everything you might expect from the Four Seasons and more. Perched high up on a cliff surrounded by lush greenery, waterfalls and birdsong, this idyllic property will leave you rested, relaxed and rejuvenated.

JAPAN

Japan probably doesn’t come to mind straight away when thinking about places to go for a wellness retreat or a budget destination for that matter. Japan, however, is the centre of Zen Buddhism, longevity and health and if you’re looking to go somewhere a little off-the-wellness-beaten track, Japan might work for you.  Japan, much like the United States, has something for everyone, city retreats, mountain retreats, hiking and outdoor sports and of course nutrition-focused experiences and reiki too. If you’re a fan of soaking in thermal heated, mineral-rich pools and unique wellness experiences such as engaging in minimalism, zen and mindfulness then Japan awaits as one of the most interesting wellness destinations there is. 

If you’re on a budget then Japan is one of the only places you probably don’t need to consider going on a retreat. There is so much peace and wellness deep-rooted in Japanese culture that finding it is inevitable. Staying in a traditional ryokan, exploring and meditating in a zen Buddhist temple and visiting an onsen are just usual parts of Japanese culture that are already filled with intention, mindfulness and calm. You don’t need to go out of your way to find it.

Read more: The Definitive Japan Bucket List | 30 Ideas For Your Trip

Some of my favourite Japan wellness spots are:

Mount Fuji Seiyoen– This beautiful retreat located in the mountains around Mount Fuji is the perfect little place to reconnect with nature and relax. You have the opportunity to take holistic remedy making classes, get treated to massages and experience the Japanese onsen. Programs here all include medicinal teas and macrobiotic vegan meals allowing you rest and realign the body and the mind.

Enoshima Island Spa – Your primary reason for being in Japan might not be wellness but if you are looking to take a day or two out from your itinerary Enoshima Island is one of my favourite places to go. This island is just 80 minutes from Tokyo but it feels like a world away. This modern spa offers many onsen-style bathing pools, outdoor pools overlooking Mount Fuji on a clear day and the spa also has several facial and body treatments on their menu. The entrance fee allows you unlimited access to the onsen, pools and relaxation rooms but treatments need to be booked in advance.

COSTA RICA

A firm favourite for wellness travellers Costa Rica is the perfect year-round destination for wellness and nature lovers who really want to relax, recharge and get their share of nature.  Costa Rica’s lush jungles, pristine white sand beaches and world-class yoga, spas and surfing really make it the perfect getaway. Costa Ricans or Ticos, live by the phrase ‘Pura Vida’, a super-healthy life based around healthy foods, self-care and being at one with nature. You can enjoy jungle treks lead by keen naturalists, early morning surfs, nutritious, fresh, local food including heavenly tropical fruit as well as yoga, kayaking and waterfall chasing. Costa Rica is perfect for either relaxing and doing nothing or the ideal active retreat. It’s also a brilliant place to head to if you’re planning your own wellness vacation on a budget. The best places to head to are Nosara and Santa Teresa on the Pacific Coast. Both these towns are slowly booming as the ‘wellness centres’ of the country filled with healthy food options, surf, yoga centres and spas. Choose your own hotel and indulge in all the activities at your leisure.

Some of my favourite Costa Rica wellness spots are:

Asclepios Wellness & Healing Retreat – For the ultimate bit of luxury the Asclepios Wellness and Healing Retreat has you covered. Check-in for a week and dive into one of their specialised programs or simply relax and enjoy treatments at your own pace. The variety of treatments include floral remedies, life coaching, reiki, massage, meditation and regenerative medicine all in a special, sustainability-focused centre.

Samasati Yoga and Wellness Retreat– Located near Puerto Viejo, on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica, this wellness centre is the perfect place to base yourself for a few days. They host a variety of wellness, yoga and meditation retreats, all held in their beautiful, jungle-fringed property overlooking the Caribbean Sea. Retreats are centred around focusing on the moment, disconnecting and transformation however you don’t have to join a retreat to experience this higher energy. You can also visit on a day trip, or rent out their casitas for a short time and participate in the daily yoga classes, treatments and massages and enjoy the healthy breakfast on offer. 

TULUM, MEXICO

Located on the Caribbean Sea on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, Tulum is Latin America’s answer to Bali. For those seeking a more relaxed, sustainable and zen experience, Tulum is a great alternative to the huge, all-inclusive resorts Cancun has to offer. Apart from its amazing, white sand beach, Tulum also boasts many clear-blue cenotes nearby, jungle adventures and of course, all the wellness and yoga imaginable, located in the most beautiful location.

The Tulum Beach strip is characterised by many boutique-style hotels all with their own pools, spas and beautiful ocean-facing rooms and private beach access. While each hotel has its own spa, there are many other spas and wellness centres in Tulum for which you can drop in for treatments, massages and activities. On top of these, there are also many places to do yoga every morning to the sounds of the waves breaking and the jungle waking from its slumber. On top of that, you’ve got some of the most delicious and nutritious food options in Mexico. Tulum is a great place to come for either an organised retreat or if you’re trying to save some cash, a do-it-yourself stay-cay. Because of how easy it is to do wellness in Tulum you can decide what to do each morning and fill the days as you wish- yoga in the morning, followed by an açai bowl at Matcha Mama followed by relaxing on the beach and a spa treatment in the afternoon. Wellness is easy and flexible in Tulum and for this reason, it really is one of the best places in the world to indulge in wellness on a budget.

Read more: The Ultimate Wellness-Focused Tulum Weekend Itinerary

Some of my favourite Tulum wellness spots are:

Azulik Tulum– Instagram famous Azulik is the place to be for one of the most natural and unique yet luxurious experiences in Tulum. Located on the beach strip, much of this hotel looks like it’s been built with driftwood, the decor, interiors and design are an architectural and design marvel.   They offer an amazing spa experience and a daily yoga class happens in their extraordinary ‘yoga-barn’ at 7.30 am. (Drop-ins also available). Their bar and pool area is the perfect place to watch the sun go down over the jungle after a day on the beach. Definitely not a budget stay but their yoga class is well worth the small spend.

Sanara Tulum – A wonderful hotel with daily yoga classes in a beautiful, airy studio. They also have lovely sunbeds on the beach to relax on after class, a nourish and heal stay program and a great on-site restaurant.

Yaan Healing Sanctuary – this healing energy spa is one of the best places in Tulum to really indulge and practise some self-care. They take relaxation extremely seriously with their carefully prepared custom flower and herbal baths, crystalline water pools sauna and steam rooms, massages and a host of other wellness treatments and unique Mexican therapies. Treatments here aim to balance, restore and rejuvenate leaving you feeling so much better than when you entered. 

PERU

Peru is definitely not the obvious choice when it comes to wellness but this stunning South American country is transforming itself to become a centre of high vibrating energy and optimal health. Peru is bursting with history and culture but also adventure and outdoor activities, namely surfing and hiking in the stunning Andes mountains. It’s definitely a newby but soon to be a favourite wellness destination in South America.

The Sacred Valley (the same valley where Machu Picchu is located) has for centuries been associated with spiritual Andean energy and rituals, healing and Quechua culture. If you’re interested in digging a little deeper and learning about something completely new, while possibly also visiting one of the new Seven Wonders of the World, Peru and the Sacred Valley could be the perfect destination.

My favourite wellness spots in Portugal are:

Willka T’ika, Sacred Valley – this luxury yet eco-friendly wellness retreat and boutique hotel located in the stunning Sacred Valley. Here you can truly connect with mother nature, rejuvenate and find peace and tranquillity. You are also able to explore the local area and valley, hiking in the surrounding countryside and visiting local villages and ancient Incan sites.

Sembrando Semillas con Yoga – This comprehensive 7 day yoga retreat based in the Sacred Valley, combines yoga, alternative therapies such as reiki and crystal with Peruvian culture and sightseeing. Its the perfect mix of seeing local villages and Incan ruins with yoga, meditation and many more rituals and therapies.

Kichic Boutique Hotel, Mancora– located on one of Peru’s most beautiful beaches, Kichic is a stunning boutique hotel with all the mod-cons, amazing vegetarian menu, beautiful spa and daily yoga classes. Guests can check-in and take advantage of all their services at their leisure or join one of the retreats which happen throughout the year.

INDIA

India, the home of Ayurveda, yoga and meditation is a country that has been the centre of wellness practice for centuries albeit a little different from the western notion of wellness. Even though you might picture India is being loud, and congested there are so many pockets of peace, tranquillity and relaxation around the country. If you are looking for a wellness destination that goes deeper into the practices of yoga and Ayurveda then India is one of the best places for it.

One of the most popular things to do in India is to stay in an Ashram where you can learn about and discover not only yourself but the history of yoga and meditation and the ability to pursue holistic emotional, spiritual and physical healing. Different wellness centres and ashrams have different focuses, some focus more on yoga and meditation practise, others more on nutrition, Ayurveda and treating ailments. There are so many to choose from it really depends on your needs.

Some of my favourite wellness centres and ashrams in India are:

AyurYoga Eco Ashram– located in Karnataka in Southern India, this ashram, as its name suggests focuses on yoga and Ayurveda practise in today’s modern world. Its aim is all about how we can use yoga and Ayurveda principles and practise in our daily lives. If you’re new to Indian culture and wellness practises then this ashram is a brilliant option- it encourages you to learn from all of India’s spiritual traditions and it’s a great choice if you’re looking for a lifestyle change for both mind and body. They have four yoga spaces surrounded by nature as well as Ayurvedic doctors and treatments available round the clock.

Rishikul Yogshala Yoga Retreat – this highly regarded yoga school provides one of the best yoga and meditation retreat packages at a budget where a 7-day yoga retreat included meals, Ayurvedic massage and accommodation as well as yoga and meditation instruction by some of the best teachers in India. They have centres all over the world including Myanmar, Nepal and Thailand.

Kranti Yoga Retreat– If you’re after just a simple yoga retreat, this one in South Goa has one of the friendliest community vibes and is located overlooking the stunning Patnem Beach. This retreat offers inclusive yoga sessions of Ashtanga, Vinyasa and Hatha styles.

THAILAND

From the lush mountains in the north to the postcard islands and beaches of the south, Thailand has always been a popular choice for all kinds of travellers. It’s also a favourite among budget wellness travellers due to the variety of retreats and spas available and the favourable exchange rate. From yoga retreats in the mountains to luxurious spa hotels on some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, Thailand never fails to please.

Depending on your budget you can head to some of the more luxurious wellness resorts in the south of Thailand or you can opt for a cheaper all-inclusive retreat- Thailand really does have so many options for all kinds of budgets. Even still, retreats can be quite pricey but it’s still easy to create your own sanctuary of wellness by basing yourself on a beautiful island like Koh Samui and going to daily drop-in yoga and meditation classes, requesting treatments as you wish from nearby spas and seeking out healthy eating options.

Some of my favourite Thailand wellness spots are:

Mangosteen Ayurveda & Wellness Resort– Rawai Phuket- If you’re interested in learning more about the Ayurvedic approach without going to India then this is the perfect little getaway. This resort integrates yoga, spa treatments and tailor-made nutrition programs to make sure you get the most relaxing and rejuvenating experience possible.

AMAYEN Sanctuary, Chiang Mai – for the ultimate, intimate wellness retreat look no further than AMAYEN. This unique sanctuary is all about energy, finding your own energy and the right mindset through stillness so that you are free to live a successful lifestyle and achieve your goals. There are a lot of lessons to be learned here and if you are looking for a self-care, transformative experience that encourages you to take the necessary steps toward self-improvement, this is the retreat for you.

Santosa, Phuket– This great value retreat focuses on health through yoga and other activities such as Muay Thai and Zumba and the right nutrition. Detox programs start at 3 days and go up to 21 days, but if you are pushed for time you can try their one-day detox and wellness program. Accommodation is spacious and feels luxurious and you’re surrounded by stunning sea views and tranquillity. The food offered is nutritious, vibrant and all plant-based.

THE DOLOMITES, ITALY

If your idea of wellness is being surrounded by majestic mountains, cool mountain air and crisp views then the Dolomites might just be the best answer for your next wellness vacation. While not in itself being the most budget of destinations, if you’re based in Europe it can be a perfect place to head to for just a weekend of relaxation and activity. If you are on a real budget I would recommend staying in an Airbnb, and making the most of your surroundings through walking, hiking and morning yoga and meditation. 

Some of my favourite Dolomites/South Tyrol wellness spots are:

Hotel Tirler – Located in the otherworldly Seiser Alm, probably one of the most beautiful meadows in Europe, this wellness-focused hotel offers pure rest and relaxation surrounded by an amphitheatre of mountains. Their onsite spa consists of a variety of pools, including an outdoor one, heated in winter, saunas and a variety of both standard and unique treatments. A stay at Hotel Tirler also has a huge focus on food, positive food that aims to truly aid wellbeing and while not offering an exclusively plant-based menu, vegans are still well taken care of.

Wild Run Retreats – if you love running then you might not be able to turn down this luxury women’s only retreat which combines days filled with trail running in some of the most beautiful scenery on earth, wellness workshops and the chance to meet other like-minded women. 

PORTUGAL

Another European country that does wellness so well is Portugal. Whether you’re after a wellness destination filled with relaxation and spa treatments or an adrenaline fuelled trip of surfing and yoga, Portugal combines all that brilliantly with a sprinkle of culture and history. There are so many wellness resorts, retreats and centres all over the country from the Duoro Valley in the North to the Algarve Coast in the South, all of which let you experience divine Mediterranean cuisine, hot spring and thermal spas and a variety of sports such as cycling and running. Its also a great place to escape to during the winter months and Portugal is one of the most budget friendly European wellness destinations.

My favourite wellness spots in Portugal are:

Almashala– This yoga retreat based in Sintra and Ericeira is a beautiful space to practise with like minded yogis. They offer a few different retreats based around yoga, massage therapy and sound healing. Their most popular retreat is the budget-friendly 7 Day Love Yoga Retreat which is all about allowing yourself the space, peace and time to practise and cultivate mental and physical balance.

Monte Martinheiras, Alentejo- This budget-friendly wellness accommodation and retreat centre is the perfect place to come to relax in the beautiful Portuguese hills. They offer several wellness services such as detox programs, juice fasts, pranayama, Ayurvedic cooking classes and of course daily meditation or yoga. You’re free to stay and participate in daily yoga meditation or join a retreat which focuses on detox through yoga and juice fasting.

BALI, INDONESIA

Last but not least and probably the most well-known wellness destination is the tropical island of Bali. Even though it’s firmly on the wellness travel map, Bali will always be a favourite simply due to the ease at which wellness comes in Bali. Balinese culture is centred around nature, connection and tranquillity and there’s the aesthetic appeal of the island too. For the budget traveller, Bali might be your best bet too. It’s so easy to either find a budget retreat or to simply rent a villa and join daily yoga and meditation classes and spa sessions as you go. No doubt you’ll also be surrounded with like-minded people where you can make friends for life.

The are so many, but my favourite wellness spots in Bali are:

The Yoga Barn, Ubud – The Yoga Barn is a Bali institution and you may have heard of it already. Their speciality is yoga and meditation and they have various classes daily that you can drop-into, workshops and host 7-day personalised yoga retreats.

Puri Bagnus Lovina Yoga & Massage retreat, North Bali- This 10 day retreat really takes advantage of the peace and serenity of North Bali to bring your 10 days of blissful massages and yoga classes in a stunning setting. It really gives you the chance to step out of the hustle and bustle of ‘normal life’, allowing you to take some time out for yourself and connect with nature through yoga and massage.


Do you have any comments of questions about these top 10 wellness destinations? Leave them below, I’d love to hear from you.

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6 Comments

  1. pranita

    July 9, 2020

    You are a great person so you have wondered this much countries.

    • Alex

      July 15, 2020

      Thank you Pranita.

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