at El Conquistador Resort
When was the last time you took a vacation that was all about you? I’m not talking about an ‘eat, sleep and tan’ weekend getaway. A vacation that’s all about you is a revitalizing trip designed to transform your physical and mental well-being. It’s an extended amount of time deliberately set aside for self-discovery, rejuvenation and relaxation. Maybe you didn’t even know a trip like this existed, as I once did. After experiencing it for myself, I must tell you that this extraordinary vacation does exist and it’s available right now.
300 feet above the sparkling sea and nestled into a lush cliff overlooking the North Atlantic is Puerto Rico’s’ El Conquistador Resort and Las Casitas Village. As a Waldorf Astoria Resort, El Conquistador’s reputation precedes them and for good reason. In addition to world class service and amenities, their acclaimed spa also offers four day Wellness Retreats designed to help guests with mental and physical renewal. In addition to round trip airport transfers and three nights in deluxe accommodations, all retreats also include:
• Physical assessment/evaluation with body fat analysis upon arrival
• Daily nutritionally balanced meals
• Daily Element specific exercise and activities
• Access to all amenities on the 500 acre property
• One spa service
• 20% off additional Spa services or Spa Boutique
• Personalized fitness plan to take home
Four Wellness Retreats are available at El Conquistador and each is themed around one of the Four Elements. Through specialized programs unique to the resort, guests will experience a one-of-a-kind approach to wellness that strives to help them obtain a healthy balance within the body and mind. Whether your goal is to improve physical fitness and reduce stress levels or simply to have a little fun experiencing a different type of vacation, El Conquistador Resort has an Element Retreat to satisfy your needs.
My experience with the Earth Element began with a rousing mountain trek on Palomino Island. A true oasis, Palomino is El Conquistador’s picturesque private island exclusively available to resort guests. My companions and I boarded the resort’s free ferry and left for Palomino on a brief, soothing ride across the turquoise sea. As we approached the popular attraction, I was instantly drawn in by the relaxing sight of happy beachgoers and glassy waters gently lapping at the sugary white shore. Once off the ferry, we immediately got our hearts pumping with a scenic hike to several lookout points located around the island. I felt accomplished and proud as I stood on top of the world, taking in awe-inspiring views of the beauty that is Puerto Rico. Upon completing our hike and arriving back at the beach, it was time to cool ourselves down with a little beach-side fun. Despite the availability of exhilarating watersport rentals such as paddle boarding, scuba-diving and snorkeling, myself and a few others decided the time would be better spent lazing around the refreshing water on gigantic novelty floats. Plenty of laughs were shared and dozens of photos were taken as we floated over the gentle swells on massive inflatable slices of pizza and giant swans.
The next day we dusted off our hiking shoes and laced up for what would go on to become one of the many highlights of the week: an astonishing hike through the El Yunque National Forest. Famous for being the only tropical rain forest in the national forest system, El Yunque is 29,000 acres of breathtakingly beautiful views and trails. With the help of our enthusiastic guide, we navigated our way up a paved trail to La Mina Falls where we joined a host of other hikers in a cooling dip under the invigorating waters. As we left the waterfall and continued our hike, we passed elderly couples, families, teenagers and even a father with a bright-eyed baby girl strapped to his back. I marveled at the diversity of visitors and the universal fascination for Puerto Rico’s natural wonder. Our next experience within the Earth Element came in the form of Twilight Yoga. With our exuberant instructor Rita Maldonado, we gathered around El Conquistador’s outdoor Labyrinth and engaged in the physical, mental and spiritual discipline. Through breath control, meditation and specific body postures, we reenergized and restored our mental health with the beautiful crimson sunset in the horizon before us. The relaxation only continued further under the Earth Element with a Rainforest Hot Stone massage at El Conquistador’s elegant and renowned spa.
The second Element offered as a Wellness Retreat is Fire and El Conquistador sure knows how to turn up the heat! Everything from an extreme nature hike to a high intensity bootcamp on Palomino Island is guaranteed to leave you a little hot, but feeling good. Relaxation under the Fire Element is provided through a 75-minute Hot Thai Poultice Massage that will melt your tensions away. During the treatment a cloth poultice opens pores and revitalizes your entire body while a deep medicinal heat penetrates your muscles. This will feel especially good after an intense week of thrilling, but physically demanding activities such as my favorite adventure that took place within the Fire Element: an exhilarating kayaking tour through Puerto Rico’s world famous Bioluminescent Bay. On the fully guided night tour we paddled our way through the enchanting mangrove channels leading to Laguna Grande where one of nature’s most beautiful and amazing natural phenomenons occurs. Once there we came face to face with the Pyrodinium Bahamense, a microscopic plankton capable of producing natural light at the touch of your hand. All kayaks came to an abrupt stop as we further explored (and played!) with the amazing organisms. Throughout the excursion, our guide Nathan passionately explained how the unique ecosystem maintains a perfect balance of life. We were appropriately “fired up” after the wild adventure that is a definite not be missed event.
Water & Air
Guests who choose to dive into the Water Element will get up close and personal with Puerto Rico’s colorful sea life while snorkeling in the island’s crystal clear waters. Back at the resort, we experienced a different part of the Water Element through a fun and energetic Aqua Parkour class. Fitness instructor Juan Perez led the class which took place in the main pool complex. After donning special gloves, we set about challenging our bodies and building our strength through various water resistance exercises. Even the spa gets in on the Water Element with their Baño de Oro, which is an exfoliation, wrap and mineral bath treatment. Both Water and Air Wellness Retreat guests will rejuvenate their bodies and stimulate their senses with Labyrinth Meditation under the starlit sky. However, only those who select the Air Element will also experience a high-energy Zip Lining adventure in El Yunque. Brave guests will sail from tree to tree and platform to platform on a network of cables that are mounted above the tropical forest floor. The Air Element will also whip you into shape with an intense Beach Boot Camp, but sweet relief and relaxation will come in the form of a Tropical Bliss Spa treatment which includes an exfoliating scrub and a renewing massage.
One of the things I admired most about the Wellness Retreat was the emphasis placed on physical activity and health. Regardless of age or ability, each of the Elements offer four optional fitness classes that can be taken advantage of to boost your wellness. El Conquistador’s state of the art fitness center is guaranteed to take your workout to the next level with a wide range of modern equipment available. A team of fitness specialists and personal trainers will also be available to help design a routine that’s just right for you. Exercise is hard work, but having the right tools and support behind you makes all the difference. Of course it’s not just exercise that makes a Wellness Retreat successful. It’s also undoubtedly important to be aware of what we’re putting into our bodies. In addition to lively excursions, active fitness classes and powerful moments of meditation and relaxation, we also experienced educational Lunch & Learn classes designed to further push home the importance of healthy eating. The Earth Element includes a Lunch & Learn on raw foods while the Fire Element explores the art of cooking with spices. The Water Element contains a fascinating course on juicing and guests signed up for the Air Element will delve into El Conquistador’s admirable Farm To Table cooking techniques.
Who says being healthy can’t be fun? From the moment you drive through the gates of El Conquistador Resort, all your stress and worries will be on the other side where they belong. The distinguished, honored and acclaimed property offers you a vacation that no other resort can. Adventures that will leave your heart racing, excursions that will have your camera snapping and memories to last you a lifetime such as horseback riding along the shores of Palomino, golfing on the resort’s Arthur Hills designed course, a fun-filled family day out at Coqui Water Park and much more. Before I left for Puerto Rico, I wasn’t even aware of the existence of Wellness Retreats. Now that my eyes have been opened, I can’t stop telling everyone and anyone about this remarkable chance to find your balance and improve your own health and wellbeing. Whether you’ve been living a healthy, active lifestyle for years or you are just beginning your journey into a life of health and wellness, there is an Element that’s just right for you. El Conquistador’s Wellness Retreats present unparalleled opportunities to restore your body, revitalize your mind and reconnect with nature. I encourage you to make 2016 all about you and consider this unique experience designed to bring utter peace and tranquility. Gather your spouse, your kids, your girl friends, your guy friends or just yourself and enter into what is guaranteed to be a vacation for which your body and mind will say “thank you.”
El Conquistador Resort, A Waldorf Astoria Resort
Las Casitas Village, A Waldorf Astoria Resort
1000 El Conquistador Avenue
Fajardo, Puerto Rico, 00738