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10 Healthiest Destinations to Visit This Summer 2018

by Skye Sherman - May 21 , 2018


Looking to travel but don’t want it to interfere with your health and fitness goals?

Traveling to intrinsically healthy spots around the world may be the perfect solution. You’re free to explore, soak up the local culture, and try cuisine that is native to the area, but you won’t have to worry about gaining weight or heading home unhealthy.

When you pour a significant amount of time, money, energy, and effort into leading a healthy lifestyle, ruining all your hard earned progress by taking a vacation just don’t seem worth it.

Why not visit places where splurging won’t get you off track? These ten destinations are some of the healthiest in the world right now. Whether you’re dreaming of a sun-soaked beach getaway or breathing in fresh mountain air, this list has it all.

1. The Mediterranean

Photo Credit: by Malta Tourism Authority

The Mediterranean region has long been heralded as offering one of the most health conscious lifestyles available anywhere in the world. In fact, people everywhere do what they can to replicate the Mediterranean diet at home on their own.

The Mediterranean consists of the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. A few of the most popular include Greece, Turkey, and parts of Italy, Spain, and France.

The typical diet consists of fresh, light foods that are often locally sourced and prepared using simple, unprocessed ingredients. In addition, items like olive oil, fish, tomatoes, and more are all high in Omega 3 fatty acids and other beneficial nutrients. Omega 3 fatty acids are essential for brain health and also aid body functions in a variety of ways.

But the healthy food that’s native to the Mediterranean is only part of its healthy appeal. The region also boasts primarily pleasant weather for most of the year. The warm, mild climate combined with the salty seaside air and the frequent days of sunshine come together to help visitors feel energetic, refreshed, and joyful.

But where in the Mediterranean region should you visit?

One of the rising stars of the Mediterranean is the country of Malta. Malta is an archipelago located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea and it has begun to trend in travel circles in recent years. The island features bountiful historic sites, unique cuisine with multinational influences, and plenty of things to keep tourists busy.

On the small and picturesque island of Malta, visitors can engage in adventurous sporting activities -- like diving, swimming, cliff jumping, and more -- and also dine on Mediterranean staples like fresh vegetables and fish.

As proof of Malta’s emphasis on health and wellness, the country boasts one of the highest life expectancies in the world! According to the World Health Organization, Maltese people rank 16 out of 190 when it comes to life expectancy.

Another Mediterranean island with one of the longest life expectancies in the world is the Greek isle of Ikaria. Many of its residents live to be 100 years old -- in fact, it’s been called the place “where people forget to die.” One story on the island even features a 106-year-old man explaining to the interviewer that people come from far away to watch him read the newspaper without glasses!

Clearly, as evidenced by places like Malta and Ikaria, the healthy Mediterranean lifestyle is working for its residents.

2. Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

Photo Credit: by Toursim Sante Fe

There’s something about fresh air that does the body good. And in Santa Fe, you’ll find plenty of it: the city actually won an accolade for cleanest air!

With farmers markets galore, a national forest, and unique outdoor activities like “yoga hiking,” Santa Fe is the perfect place to visit if you want to reset your health priorities. You’ll also find tons of wellness focused activities, with places like Ten Thousand Waves -- a serene spa inspired by Japanese mountain hot spring resorts -- and Sunrise Springs, where resort goers can seek deeper connection with themselves and the world around them.

In fact, Sunrise Springs defines integrative wellness as a blend of Eastern and Western therapeutic practices with Native American teachings. All comes together to form a sense of harmony between the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of wellness.

The resort invites visitors to try experiential and nature-based activities in order to develop new skills, increase self-awareness, and employ healthy living practices that enable them to thrive and experience life in a more meaningful way.

Rejuvenation is waiting around every corner in this sunny desert town.

3. Peru

Most people think of one thing when they think of Peru--heading to Machu Picchu and hiking the lush green hills to an ancient site. Travelers interested in wellness and connecting with the earth around them have been heading to Peru for a long time.

While strenuous hikes are great for physical health, Peru has also placed itself on the gastronomic map over the past decade.

Chefs in Lima and Cusco source from the abundant Andes Mountains surrounding them and craft dishes using superfoods like quinoa, chia, maca, camu camu, kiwicha, and more. These foods are also available in abundance in the local markets of the region.

Because of this, travelers interested in a healthy trip are heading to Peru for fitness, nourishing cuisine, and more. Fresh fruit and unique foods are in abundant supply, so travelers need not worry about ruining their diets during their trip to this enriching country.

4. California, USA

Photo Credit: by Pier South Resort

California has long been a health-conscious person’s paradise. Something about the beachy Californian lifestyle seems to beckon those who love to stay active and enjoy fun in the sun.

Of course, California is a big state -- and cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco are great to visit, but they can be very crowded and full of tourists. Why add stress to your life when the purpose of vacation is to wind down and enjoy yourself?

Many tourists nowadays are opting instead to visit hidden gems and less popular areas that haven’t become mainstream travel destinations yet.

For example, the city of Carlsbad isn’t the place most people plan their Californian vacation, and yet its warm weather and active residents make it a great place to visit. In fact, in 2017, Men’s Journal named Carlsbad one of the fittest cities in America! In addition, a recent survey by National Geographic names Carlsbad one of the happiest cities in the United States.

The area features untouched wilderness and invites you both to explore and engage while also taking a breath and slowing down the frenetic pace of your life.

Another great off-the-grid Californian destination is Imperial Beach. Flanked by the Pacific Ocean on one side and the San Diego Bay on the other, Imperial Beach is situated close to Mexico and boasts open space, big surf, uncrowded beaches, wetlands, and more. It is one of the last untouched beach towns in southern California.

The area is perfect for a wide range of physical activities -- from paddle boarding to horse back riding to nature walks and bird watching -- and the sunsets are a sight to behold. With all there is to do and the natural scenery surrounding you, California tops the list as one of the healthiest destinations to travel to this summer.

5. Costa Rica

Photo Credit: by James Dyde

Costa Rica, a country in Central America with abundant flora and fauna, is said to be one of the most peaceful places in the world to live. In fact, Costa Rica—where the motto is “pura vida,” or “pure life”—has not had an active military force since 1948.

One particularly idyllic area of Costa Rica is the Nicoya Peninsula. This part of Costa Rica is a Blue Zone, which is an area where the population tends to live a lot longer than the average life expectancy.

“Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula is home to one of the five Blue Zones in the world,” says James Dyde, editor of CentralAmerica.com. “A Blue Zone is an area where people live much longer than expected, and most Blue Zones have lots of centenarians.”

But what’s so special about Costa Rica and lifespan? “People live to a ripe old age on the Nicoya Peninsula for a number of reasons,” he explains. “There are strong family and social connections between people here.”

He adds, “The Nicoya Peninsula also supports a strong outdoor lifestyle. Year-round sunshine and great waves promote a healthy surf culture and most towns and villages on the Peninsula reflect this. There are also lots of wellness centers, spas, and yoga retreats across the peninsula.”

As if that weren’t enough, Costa Rican citizens don’t just live longer lives—they lead happier ones, too.

“Costa Rica is counted as one of the happiest countries in the world each year,” explains Dyde. “Lower stress levels here go a long way to a long, healthy life.”

With mild weather all year long, miles of pristine beaches, and inviting surf, it’s easy to see why the lifestyle of Costa Rica appeals to travelers who want a taste of the pure life.

6. Colorado, USA

Despite its snowy winters, Colorado is consistently ranked one of the healthiest and happiest places in the world. Why? Its population stays active and connected no matter the season.

Winter brings hordes of eager skiers and snowboarders to Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, while summer welcomes blooms of wild flowers and perfect hiking weather. Outdoor yoga and fresh food are the daily standard in this mountainous state.

From holistic spas to the emphasis on organic, locally sourced food, the state of Colorado is ideal for health-conscious travelers who want to enjoy the best life has to offer in a gorgeous natural setting.

This summer, travelers can head to Telluride for the WOW [Weekend of Wellness] Festival for health lectures, group fitness classes, one-on-one sessions by top health and fitness experts and an opportunity to explore all that Telluride has to offer in the summer including hiking, biking, stand-up paddle boarding and more.

Another popular city in Colorado is Glenwood Springs, where mountain bikers can explore a new single track trail called The Grandstaff Trail in Roaring Fork River Valley.

7. Aruba

Photo Credit: by Aruba Tourism Authority

Caribbean islands, with all their tropical bliss, don’t usually top the list of healthiest places to visit. Sure, they feature inviting beaches and endless opportunities for relaxation, but they also offer a whole lot of fried food and rum.

However, in Aruba, this summer’s focus is on health and wellness in cooperation with Global Wellness Day. In fact, the island has declared June to be Aloe Wellness Month, and establishments all over the island are creating specialty offers like aloe-focused spa treatments and more to honor this initiative.

Why aloe? The healing plant is the island’s top export. Visitors will be able to book activities that incorporate the healing wonders of the aloe plant while also enjoying Aruba’s year-round sunshiney weather and taking advantage of fitness opportunities like yoga classes, nature hikes, kayaking, and more.

8. Bali, Indonesia

Bali has become the “it” spot for healthy eaters and wellness focused individuals around the world.

With lush jungles, beautiful beaches, a peaceful way of life, and affordable costs of living, Bali has attracted a large population of young people who care about their health and the environment. This has led to a major influx of vegan restaurants and health cafes, making Bali a great place for visitors to reset their eating habits or keep up with their clean diet.

“Almost every meal you can get there is so healthy,” says Alex Waltner, full-time travel blogger at Swedish Nomad. “Another plus is that it’s cheap, so you get both quality and low price.”

Waltner adds, “So many people with a healthy lifestyle make their way to Bali, so the culture of healthy food is ever-growing and evolving.”

Looking for a wellness retreat where you can seek optimal health without breaking the bank? Bali is the place to be!

9. Monaco

Photo Credit: by Monaco Government Tourist Office

Believe it or not, the Principality of Monaco is quickly earning a name for itself as one of the healthiest places to visit!

Whether you head there for the Grand Prix or the variety of upscale restaurants and fitness opportunities, Monaco makes a great destination if you want to enjoy the finer things in life and keep your body healthy, too.

In fact, Monaco is home to the world’s first 100% organic Michelin-starred restaurant, Elsa, at the Monte Carlo Beach Hotel.

Tourists love going for a jog along the scenic harbor, sailing, scuba diving, hiking the rocky Via Alpina, or even just perusing the Princess Grace Rose Garden. There are a plethora of ways to get fit and enjoy this beautiful locale, which has drawn legions of the rich and famous for decades upon decades.

In addition, Monaco is home to some of the most luxurious spas in the world. They incorporate innovative trends like cryotherapy while also maintaining the timeless elegance that earned their world-class reputation.

For both luxury and a healthy approach to life—and some good old-fashioned thalassotherapy, or sea water therapy—Monaco is a prime vacation destination.

10. Washington, USA

Another West Coast favorite, the state of Washington is home to the kind of people who launched the “granola” movement that has now become a mainstream and standard way of life.

The Olympic Peninsula in particular is a popular spot for health conscious travelers, as it’s an ideal region for forest bathing. Forest bathing is a new name for an ancient concept -- the scientific fact that spending time in nature can improve immune system response, lower blood pressure, and increase attention span.

Washington offers plenty of space for such relaxing activities, with its mix of lowland forests, rocky coastline, and lush greenery. The state is known for having a lot of rainfall, which keeps the plant life healthy. In fact, the state is home to America’s largest rainforest and “the quietest square inch in North America.”

There’s no doubt that spending some time in the lush natural environment of Washington state will leave travelers feeling refreshed, healthy, and ready to take on the world.

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Skye Sherman is a freelance travel writer based in West Palm Beach, FL. Her work has appeared in Lonely Planet, AOPA Pilot, Palm Beach Illustrated, Skyscanner, and more.


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