Mind-Body-Spirit BondingBelize’s mix of adventure activities, powder-soft beaches, and Mayan roots make this Central American country an exotic, romantic retreat.
By Holly C. Corbett
Belize may not be the first destination that comes to mind for a honeymoon, but its abundance of beach resorts, organic spas, lush nature, and adventure activities sets the mood for romance. The small country is roughly the size of New Hampshire, bordered by Mexico and Guatemala, and lapped by aquamarine Caribbean waters. Getting out of your comfort zone and trying something new can help you grow as a couple, so check out these mind-body-spirit bonding ideas.
Dive DeepBelize is home to the world’s second largest barrier reef, and couples can explore this underwater world off the coast of Ambergris Caye, a 25-mile long Caribbean island. Stay at The Phoenix Resort (http://www.thephoenixbelize.com/) in San Pedro, a fishing-village-turned-dive-destination where golf carts are more common than cars on the sandy cobblestone streets. Couples staying at the newly-opened resort can relax on their private veranda overlooking the sea, soak in the Jacuzzi tub stocked with Aveda products, and splash around in the saline infinity and lap pools. Less than a five-minute beach walk away is Amigos Del Mar dive shop, where you can sign up for a couples’ snorkeling or dive trip. You can swim with stingrays and nurse sharks at Shark Ray Alley, or visit the Blue Hole together to peer into the top of an ancient underwater cave with a collapsed roof.
Mayan HealingSol Spa, located inside the Phoenix Resort, offers traditional Mayan treatments. It’s run by Utah-born sisters Carrie and Charlene Tengler, who both traveled to the mountains of western Belize to get trained in Mayan Abdominal Massage from the technique’s founder, Dr. Rosita Arvigo. When done regularly, MAM helps with irregular periods, infertility, and digestive problems such as acid reflex and irritable bowel syndrome. The restorative massage also helps you feel more balanced. Another treatment for couples to try is the organic cocoa and masa (or cornmeal) glo. It smells delicious, and both ingredients are staples in the traditional Mayan diet. Your therapist adds salt and then applies the mixture with expert strokes to buff your skin. Chocolate doesn’t need to be eaten to be an aphrodisiac.
Spiritual ReleaseSol Spa also helps couples bond with Mayan healing ceremonies. The ritual is performed in the privacy of your room by therapist Jennifer Ingvoldstad, who is also trained by Dr. Rosita Arvigo. Jennifer starts the ceremony by asking you both to set a relationship intention. She’ll say prayers based on your faith before having you change into your bathing suits for a herbal bath sprinkled with flowers that she hand-picked herself for your spiritual “cleansing.” As you take turns saying a prayer to your partner, Jennifer sprinkles you both with the healing water. She’ll then light Copal incense to help re-balance your energy so you can attract positivity, and repel whatever isn’t serving you or may be keeping you from getting closer. Whether you’re trying to hurdle a relationship block, or simply wanting to deepen your intimacy, you’re bound to emerge feeling more connected.
Holly C. Corbett is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in publications such as Women’s Health, SELF, Newsday, MensFitness.com, Budget Travel, and Fitness. Her adventures have taken her to all seven continents, where she’s swam past icebergs in the Antarctic Ocean, slalom water-skied next to alligators in Florida, and hiked the Leaping Tiger Gorge in China. She co-authored the travel memoir The Lost Girls: Three Friends. Four Continents. One Unconventional Detour Around the World (HarperCollins; May 2010).