• Cassandra Londono

My Wellness Experience with G Adventures

I ended 2019 with one of G Adventures new wellness tours and it was probably one of the best things I could've done for myself.

It was a very cold December day when I woke up at about 3:30 AM so I could get ready to head to the airport and after a 6 hour flight from JFK I landed in Cartagena.

Cartagena alone would have been worth the trip but G Adventures went above and beyond with their wellness experience and in turn I was able to return home just in time for Christmas and the New Year with more than just an amazing trip but with a clear head and a refreshed body. Here's what the tour and my experience entailed:

On the first day I mainly relaxed at the hotel which like most buildings in the historic city had a lovely courtyard area with a pool. The hotel was also perfectly located to explore the surrounding area a bit. At 6 PM we met our guide and the rest of the group up in the breakfast dining room area which was on the top floor with an amazing view of the city. My group ranged from people in their 20's-50's and most were solo travelers just like me. We had travelers from UK, Germany, US and Canada- it was lovely to meet everyone and at the end of the meeting our guide gave us a slip of paper and a pen to write down our intention for the week as well as a small bracelet to tie on that had the colors of the Colombian flag as a reminder of our intentions. My personal intentions were to unplug, recharge and to do some deep thinking in order to make some important decisions I needed to when I got back home. We didn't share these with the group, just tucked them away in our bags. Afterwards we had our first meal in Cartagena which was DELICIOUS (I wish I could remember the name of the restaurant!)

On our second day after breakfast on the lovely rooftop terrace we went to a local marketplace and tried plenty of fresh fruits that I have never tasted before. In the afternoon we had our first yoga class which was in a beautiful open air courtyard. Hosted by Vive Yoga Cartagena it was magical and also really refreshing. My favorite part was when we ended with an inversion and we each took turns cheering each other on when we got our feet up. We ended with shivasana of course and our instructor came around and helped crack our backs which felt great. I loved looking up into the treetops during class it was a unique experience compared to yoga classes back home which are always tucked away in studios. We each went our separate way later in the day, some opted for salsa lessons, others to relax or explore. We all met in the evening to watch the sunset over the Caribbean and then I had dinner with 2 of the other girls at an amazing restaurant called Zaitin.

On the 3rd day we took a boat out to the Rosario islands. Tip if you get seasick like me take a Dramamine first! The boat ride was about 30 minutes or so on speed boat. After arriving we had a mini yoga session (be sure to bring bug spray for this!!) afterwards we had another delicious lunch and then had plenty of downtime which I spent lazing on the beautiful beach. After getting back to Cartagena we had some free time to explore town which was nice. The historic center is so lively and beautiful it feels like you're on a movie set, the Christmas lights were amazing as well!

Day four we left Cartagena! The bus ride was long about 6 hours but we stopped twice along the way to get out, stretch, go to the bathroom and grab snacks. I'm not a fan of long bus rides but the trip was worth it. When we finally reached Magdalena (a small town just outside of Tayrona national park) it was amazing. Tucked in the jungle which spilled it's lush greenery right out onto the beach it was a sight to be seen. The water here was more rough than the islands but still enjoyable and our first yoga session here was done in a lovely beach setup just before our dinner.

On the fifth day we skipped yoga to get an early start on a long but beautiful hike of Tayrona National Park. Dress for the heat, wear extra comfy shoes and pack a swimsuit, plenty of water, snacks and a change of clothes! By the time we reached the beach I was dripping sweat and it was he perfect time for a swim in the ocean, nap on the beach and then lunch before the hike back (it was about 2 hours in each direction). Once we got back to the hotel a shower and nap is all you'll want lol.

Our 6th day was our last in Magdalena, we started the day with a yoga session before a very short (although steep) hike- about 20 minutes to a hidden waterfall where we swam and enjoyed a picnic. After getting back we had some free time to enjoy the beach before our evening ceremony with a local Shaman. We had a lovely set up on the beach where we learned about the local natives and participated in a short ceremony for cleansing. When we first arrived in Magdalena we had written let go and gratitude cards, mine was to let go of self-doubt and my fear of making decisions and that I am grateful for my experiences and all I have learned from them. At the end of the ceremony we burned our cards in the bonfire.

Day 7 we woke up early for a 6 AM morning yoga class (I know- I'm not a morning person either but it was the perfect start to the day) we had time to pack and check out of our rooms afterwards and have breakfast before the long bus ride back to Cartagena. That evening we shared a group dinner and a short rooftop meeting to reflect on the trip. Afterwards some of the other travelers went out for drinks but I called it an early night. On our final and 8th day my flight didn't leave until the afternoon so I had time to walk the town and grab souvenirs (and my last latte frio and pandebono at Tienda Cafe) before splitting a cab with 3 other ladies to the airport.

Overall it was hands down one of my favorite traveling experiences and I highly recommend the G Adventures Wellness tours. They currently have them in Bali, Thailand, India, Nepal, Colombia, Peru, Argentina, Costa Rica, Italy and Iceland. Email me or contact your local Liberty Travel for more information!

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© 2019 Travel With Cassandra

Rockaway, NJ, USA

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