Relax, Unwind, Get fit. Ok. Real talk.

How many of you plan a holiday, diet like crazy to get your “holiday body” only to get to the airport, get ridiculous excited out the impending adventures and down a box of crispy cremes, 2 large fries, a burger, a block of chocolate, some sweet and sour pork then proceed to wash it all down with a bottle of prosecco, all before you’ve even checked in.

The struggle is real, and we are here to look it straight in the face.

We work so hard to obtain our idea of a “holiday body” only to then get caught in the carbohydrate/ sugar hurricane. We eat ourselves to oblivion and undo everything we worked so hard for.
You became the healthiest, happiest version of yourself, only to be left feeling anxious and stressed about impending weight gain from rapid and excessive food consumption and lack of exercise. Sound familiar?

A vicious cycle indeed!

Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t eat and drink yourself silly. I believe everything in moderation is the way to travel. If you are only going for a week, go crazy! Let your hair down. Find out what your pizza slice limit really is. Embrace everything your new culture has to offer you, trying new food is one of my favourite parts about travelling. But, if you are going for an extended holiday, or like me, 2.5 years, this “see all, eat all, be all” idea isn’t going to cut it. Trust me. I learnt the hard way.

I started out a little crazy. I had trained really hard before I left for this world wide adventure and was the fittest and healthiest I had ever been. When I landed in South America, Excitement levels were high. The aromas were all consuming. The colourful food was so enticing. I was in sensory overload. So I did what any normal person would do. I loosened my belt a notch and went to town. For days. Months even. Until My jeans no longer fit me. I started to really stress about this. I thought to myself, surely there is a way to travel but to keep healthy and sane at the same time! Thats when I first discovered the fitness and health retreats that are hidden everywhere!


These are becoming the new hot thing and with good reason. Imagine doing yoga beach side surrounded by lush rainforest. Or running up a mountain with a group of like minded individuals to be rewarded views fit for a queen. You still eat beautiful food. You still go out dancing. You still relax in beautiful waters. But you stay healthy doing it.

This trend is becoming increasingly more popular and I whole heartedly back it. I was whipped right back into shape and I never felt like I wasn’t on holiday.

These fitness and health retreats are available in many different levels, from self catered, come and go classes to intense and all inclusive fitness holidays, with meals included. It is up to you to decide what level you require. All I know is that the thought of going on holiday and returning both more relaxed and fitter than when you left gets a huge tick from me.

One I can highly recommend and one I ended up settling in is Palmar tent lodge on red frog beach (fittingly named, their frogs are red) in Bocas Del toro.

This place is some serious #bliss. Tech free, tent-sleeping, beachside, tropical yoga retreat. I was immediately altogether bewitched by this charming hideaway.

Adventure is all around here, from hiking through the Bastimentos National Marine Park and discovering surrounding beaches and hidden gems, snorkeling the reefs, exploring caves and organic cacao farms (ahhh am gawwwd), practicing some beachfront yoga, flying the sky on a canopy tour, or just relaxing in a hammock with a cocktail. This place is magic.

Accommodations include private safari style tents, a private island cabin, a cabin style dorm, and a two-story Jungalow with private bath. I filled my days with early beach runs, yoga, ocean swims, great food, hikes, and of course a cheeky end of day cocktail (or two).

Also, it is not completely tech free. It has wifi available for a technical emergency, but it is recommended that you shut down, switch off and disconnect completely. Scroll at your own risk.

If you’re busy planning your next adventure, keep a retreat in mind. It’s kind of hard to shake a place like Palmar that seeps into your bones and makes you want to run away, take root and never leave.

By Brittany Hockley