Spiritually restorative and anomalous gastronome Los Cabos spa treatments worth considering the next time you visit the southern tip of the Baja.
I have had the opportunity to experience many different types of spa treatments from around the world, but the two most anomalous have to be from a recent trip to Los Cabos, Mexico.
The first Los Cabos spa treatment took place in an outside setting at the Hacienda Encantada resort, overlooking the stunning Sea of Cortez. Spa staff served my group and me a preparatory green hydrating concoction, while a shaman individually prepared us to enter into what can best be described as an oversized hearth oven. The treatment, or perhaps ceremony, is a native Aztec ritual called Temazcal, which brings together the elements of earth, fire, wind and water into a spiritual experience.
As each of us waited to be spiritually cleansed, prior to entering the sweet lodge, one of the shamans was bringing in hot lava rocks by shovel, which had been warming in a nearby oven. Each time he passed the shallow doorway, he would say a short and nearly inaudible invocation.
Once the unit was prepared, we began to enter one by one. With heads bowed to pass through the small doorway, we filed in from the left and took our respective seats. Inside the small dome was a round and smooth concrete bench. In the center was a fire pit where the lava rocks lay stacked in a pile. Once we were all seated, the female shaman provided instructions and an overview of the proceedings. Then, the door was closed, blocking out nearly all light, except for a few striking rays making their way through a few cracks in the door. Each of the two shamans sat on opposite sides of the opening, both with musical instruments in hand.
There was a large pail of water infused with medicinal herbs that was used to pour over the hot lava rocks one scoop at a time, as needed, to raise the temperature of the sweat lodge. To say it was hot might be an understatement; it certainly took some controlled breathing to relax, but soon we all settled in for the experience.
Meditative music was performed that seemed to permeate our souls. The curvature of the dome made for sensational acoustics. The beat of the drum was meant to mimic that of our own heartbeats, this to further relax us into an almost hallucinogenic state. In between performances the shamans would say little prayers and then ask us to share our thoughts and feelings.
The entire ritual lasts for about 90 minutes and is broken up into four parts, one of which is in the middle when they open the door and add more hot lava rocks. Once the ceremony was concluded, we all exited from the right. Everything about the ceremony has a place and a purpose that most be obeyed. As we exited the sweat lodge we were greeted by spa personnel who provided us with fresh cut fruits and fluids to replenish everything we had lost.
It was a fascinating experience and one that really puts guests in spiritual alignment with the regional and cultural past.
The next unique Los Cabos spa treatments I had was at the Grand Fiesta Americana Resort and took place in the evening hours. This too was an outside experience and the venue was not in the spa, but rather on the beach. A semi-circle of at least 20 chaise lounge chairs were set up facing the ocean with a huge bon fire in the middle. Next to each chair was a table where a lantern and three wine glasses rested. Once all of the participates were seated, a team of spa treatment therapists marched in unison around the semi-circle, coming to a stop at the end, and then in front of each guest respectfully.
The spa manager came to the middle of the semi-circle, near the bon fire, and took up a microphone to explain the treatment to come. We then each stood, placing one foot after another into a wine barrel with a layer of large grapes. We were instructed to crush the grapes by raising and lowering our feet and squishing them in between our toes. We were told this was detoxifying and that the juice would be made to wine and served later. She, of course, was joking about the second part!
With our feet sufficiently detoxed, we laid down in our chaise chairs and let the therapists go to work. First they cleaned our feet, then provided a wonderful lower extremity massage.
After the spa treatments were completed, the therapists filed out and a sommelier entered the semi-circle to explain the next portion of the experience. As servers began dispensing wine to each of our tables, the sommelier described the wine and the amuse bouche that accompanied it. This process continued two additional times.
All the while we got to enjoy the sounds of the waves crashing ashore and the ambient light flickering from the fire and nearby lanterns. It was a magical end to a glorious day of activities in Los Cabos, Mexico.
Have you ever experience anything similar to the two Los Cabos spa treatments described? If so, please leave a comment below.