Spirit-Renewing Destinations

There are many paths to finding yourself. We asked several spiritual travel writers for their picks for destinations with the most spirit-renewing focus. Here's what they had to say.

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Welcome to Wanderlust O'ahu. Yogis take their practice to the crystal clear Hawaiian ocean for standup paddleboard yoga – the ultimate test of balance. Hawaii was the birthplace for standup paddleboarding, after all, so it's no surprise SUP yoga has taken off here, too. 960 1280

Mike Bernard  

Low lunges meet tall palm trees during yogi, surfer and “blissologist” Eoin Finn’s class at Wanderlust O’ahu. 960 1280

Ali Kaukas  

Wanderlust O’ahu pays homage to Hawaiian culture with classes in the art of carving traditional wood surfboards with Hawaii native Tom Pohaku Stone. 960 1280

Ali Kaukas  

Today’s hottest musical acts like ALO rock the outdoor stage at Wanderlust O’ahu. 960 1280

Ali Kaukas  

Wanderlust festival is the largest multi-day yoga event in the world, with annual events in Squaw Valley, CA, Stratton Mountain, VT, Copper Mountain, CO, and Whistler, British Columbia. In 2013, it has expanded to Chile and O’ahu. 960 1280

Ali Kaukas  

The infectious beats of musician Michael Franti leads to a spontaneous dance party during Shiva Rea’s “trance dance.” 960 1280

Ali Kaukas  

Tutu Janet teaches Wanderlust-ers how to play Hawaii’s favorite musical instrument -- the ukulele! 960 1280

Ali Kaukas  

In between yoga classes, yogis soak up the Hawaiian sunshine on O'ahu's North Shore. 960 1280

Ali Kaukas  

Wanderlust O’ahu showcases the best of Hawaiian culture -- like these fire dancers from Soul Fire Productions heating up the stage. 960 1280

Ali Kaukas  

Michael Franti, no stranger to the stage at Wanderlust, brings the crowd to new heights with his catchy beats. 960 1280

Ali Kaukas  

Turtle Bay Resort, which hosted this year’s Wanderlust O’ahu, is a 880-acre paradise that sits on the northernmost tip of the North Shore with 5 miles of remote beachfront. 960 1280

Ali Kaukas  

Dancing in the sun on Hawaii's fabled North Shore in your comfy yoga pants? Pure happiness. 960 1280

Ali Kaukas  

Michael Franti leaves the stage to dance with the crowd in his sold-out performance. 960 1280

  

Female surf legend Rochelle Ballard discusses the synchronicity of surfing and yoga during her speakeasy at Surfer, The Bar. 960 1280

Ali Kaukas  

LYFE Kitchen showcases their new healthy fare with free tastings. Look for the health-conscious food line in supermarkets near you soon. 960 1280

Ali Kaukas  

Yoga meets tightrope for a true balance challenge -- slackline yoga. 960 1280

Ali Kaukas  

Forget your mat -- practice yoga right on the grass at Wanderlust. 960 1280

Ali Kaukas  

Standup paddleboard yoga lets you soak in the sunshine (and take a dip to cool off) while you practice your down dogs. 960 1280

Kathleen Rellihan   

Yogis take to the waves for surf lessons on O'ahu's North Shore, where big wave surfing was born. Luckily, there are smaller waves in spots for beginners, too. 960 1280

Ali Kaukas  

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Macau

Macau

Macau has the second-highest life expectancy in the world, according to the CIA World Factbook. Some point to this Chinese territory’s strong (largely gambling-based) economy -- about 70% of money generated on the casino floor is invested by Macau’s government into healthcare.

Average Life Span: 84.41 years
Typical Diet: Mainly plant- and seafood-based
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iStock  

San Marino

San Marino

The 30,000 citizens of this tiny microstate, landlocked by Italy, enjoy one of the longest life spans in the world. San Marino has one of the lowest unemployment rates in Europe, no national debt, a budget surplus, and roughly half its people actively practice their faith -- all possible factors.

Average Life Span: 83.01 years
Typical Diet: Similar to cuisine in Italy's Emilia-Romagna and Marche regions
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Thinkstock  

Monaco

Monaco

It may be the second-smallest -- and the most densely populated -- country in the world, but Monaco sees the world’s highest life expectancy. It doesn’t hurt that the Western European country, on the French Riviera, is home to the highest number of millionaires and billionaires per capita in the world.

Average Life Span: 89.73 years
Typical Diet: Largely Mediterranean
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Sardinia

Sardinia

Sardinia ties with Okinawa for having the highest ratio of centenarians in the world -- 22 centenarians per 100,000 people. The island, 120 miles off Italy’s coast, is home to rugged terrain great for calorie-burning. Come evening, locals enjoy a glass of red wine alongside humor-filled conversation -- in fact, the word “sardonic” originates in Sardinia.

Average Life Span: 81 years
Typical Diet: Plants and beans; sheep cheese and goat’s milk; meat eaten as an accent
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Getty Images  

Iceland

Iceland

Iceland has the sixth-highest life expectancy in the world, according to United Nations’ figures. One possible reason is Iceland’s low levels of pollution (geothermal energy reliance is the norm). The country’s low levels of common illnesses, such as heart disease and depression, are also linked to a daily diet rich in fish oil.

Average Life Span: 81.28 years
Typical Diet: Fish; pasture-raised lamb and wild game; black tea, veggies, wild berries and whole grains
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Ryan Harvey, flickr  

Loma Linda, California

Loma Linda, California

Just 60 miles from the fast-paced LA scene, the town of Loma Linda, CA, is home to America’s longest living population -- and some say it’s a matter of faith: Many of the town’s 23,000 residents are members of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, a religion whose members typically live 4 to 7 years longer (with more health and happiness) than the rest of the country.

Average Life Span: Well into the 80s
Typical Diet: Vegetarianism is a popular practice among 7th Day Adventists; most restaurants in town accommodate with a vegetarian menu option.
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ccpix, flickr  

Okinawa

Okinawa

Elderly Okinawans have among the lowest death rates in the world from common diseases -- a fact attributed to a traditional Japanese diet, with only 25% of its sugar and 75% of its grain intake. In recent years, though, younger Okinawans’ move toward fattier foods (Spam is now sometimes added to stir-fries) has led to lower life expectancy.

Average Life Span: 5 times as many Okinawans live to be 100 as their compatriots elsewhere in Japan.
Typical Diet: Lots of fish, soy and legumes
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Australia

Australia

Surfs up in Australia -- the country now surpasses the UK, Canada, New Zealand and the US in overall life expectancy rates, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. A low smoking rate, coupled with an active lifestyle, is among the reasons. That good fortune isn’t universal, though: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples still trail behind.

Average Life Span: For women, 83.7 years; men, 79.2 years
Typical Diet: Shrimp on the barbie, mate!
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Getty Images  

Andorra

Andorra

This tiny European nation, wedged in quiet isolation between France and Spain, also boasts many long-timers. An active lifestyle, encouraged by some of the best skiing and day hikes in the Pyrenees, is a big reason. So is Andorrans’ focus on family and friends. The influx of tourism (and fast food) is quickening life’s pace, though.

Average Life Span: 82.51 years
Typical Diet: Mediterranean-style, with meat, veggies and fish from Andorra’s larger neighbors
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Getty Images  

Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica

Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica

In this 75-mile-long stretch of Costa Rica, longevity rules supreme: The 75,000 Nicoyans who call this peninsula home have more than 4 times the chance of making it to 90 than a 60-year-old in America. Maybe it’s because of the area’s relative calm -- it’s home to some of the country’s most isolated and beautiful beaches.

Average Life Span: Well into the 90s
Typical Diet: Meso-American diet includes beans, squash and corn tortilla; also, the area’s calcium- and magnesium-rich water, which strengthens bones and relaxes arteries, is an added benefit.
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Marissa Strniste, flickr  

Guernsey

Guernsey

This second-largest island in the English Channel sees a high standard of living -- and long life expectancy. Islanders’ relative wealth may be the reason; it’s the sixth-richest place in the world. Other life-enhancing perks include Guernsey’s low tax rates and high-paying jobs, which afford residents top healthcare options.

Average Life Span: 82.24 years
Typical Diet: Champagne wishes and caviar dreams … come true
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Thinkstock  

Israel

Israel

Israel has the fifth-longest life expectancy in the world. The top 3 cities ranked by life expectancy are Ra’anana (85.5 years), Modiin-Maccabim-Reut (84.1) and Beith Shemesh (83.1); the bottom 2 cities are Nazareth (77.9) and Rahat (77.1) -- a gap that’s been narrowing over the past few decades, with a 7-year gain among Israeli Arabs since 1980.

Average Life Span: 81.5 years
Typical Diet: Fusion of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines
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Ikaria, Greece

Ikaria, Greece

Blue Zones author Dan Buettner has called this the “island where people forgot to die.” The 10,000 residents of this island in Greece typically live well into their 90s. Laid-back, daily socializing may be one reason. As one resident told Buettner: “When you invite someone to lunch, they might come at 10 a.m. or 6 p.m. We simply don’t care about the clock here.”

Average Life Span: 1 in 3 residents lives into their 90s
Typical Diet: Vegetables from the garden, legumes, greens and lots of olive oil
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Getty Images  

Hong Kong

Hong Kong

It’s not just remote, slow-paced corners of the world that see long life spans. Hong Kongers are among the longest living people in the world. That’s especially true for Hong Kong’s women, who live longer than most other populations in the world. Experts credit a tradition in Hong Kong of dawn workouts, such as daily swims and morning hikes.

Average Life Span: 86.7 years for women, 80.5 years for men
Typical diet: Cantonese food, big on steamed fish and vegetables
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Alexander Meins, flickr  

Singapore

Singapore

Singapore ranks as one of the top places in the world for life expectancy – signaling great strides in the country’s public health initiatives and economic opportunity. Over the last 3 decades, Singaporeans have seen their life expectancies increase by 10 years. Adult obesity is around 11% -- far lower than many Western countries.

Average Life Span: 82.14 years
Typical Diet: Mix of Chinese, Indian and Malay cuisines
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Leong Him, flickr   

14 Photos

Just outside of San Diego, the Golden Door Spa pampers guests with a stress-reducing in-room massage. 960 1280

Golden Door Spa  

In addition to fitness and healthy eating, the Golden Door Spa works with guests to create a balance of body, mind and spirit. Guests can let their minds rest while walking the circular labyrinth. 960 1280

Golden Door Spa  

Chi, the Spa at Shangri-La Hotel in Shanghai, coaxes guests to relax with healing massage therapy based on the principles of Eastern medicine. 960 1280

Chi, the Spa at Shangri-La Hotel  

Couples can indulge in spa treatments for 2 at Chi, The Spa at Shangri-La. 960 1280

Chi, the Spa at Shangri-La Hotel  

Take a dip in a private plunge pool at Kamalaya Koh Samui's Wellness Sanctuary and Holistic Spa in Thailand. 960 1280

Kamalaya Co.Ltd/JD Marston  

Ramp up your detox with group yoga classes in an open-air studio at Kamalaya Wellness Sanctuary. 960 1280

Kamalaya Co.Ltd/JD Marston  

The Puyuhuapi Lodge and Spa has 3 open-air thermal baths where you can relax in the healing waters surrounded by stunning scenery of the fjords in Chile's Patagonia Mountains. 960 1280

Puyuhuapi Lodge and Spa  

Explore Patagonia in rustic luxury and pamper your body and soul at the Puyuhuapi Lodge with spa treatments and hikes into the nearby national parks. 960 1280

Puyuhuapi Lodge and Spa  

Escape for a healing retreat in Arizona's desert at the Miraval all-inclusive spa known for its top-rated facilities, fresh and tasty local food and plethora of fitness activities. 960 1280

Miraval  

Mindfulness and self-discovery are integral parts of the Miraval Spa experience, with yoga classes throughout the day catering to all skill levels. 960 1280

Miraval  

The SHA Wellness Clinic is a glamorous spa getaway in southern Spain where trained staff members guide guests through a myriad of programs, including healthy detox sessions, weight-loss programs and wellness clinics lasting from 2 to 14 days. 960 1280

SHA Wellness Clinic  

SHA's staff is loaded with medical and fitness professionals who are available to share their expertise in natural therapies, Eastern medicine and fitness. 960 1280

SHA Wellness Clinic  

Couples indulge in some spa time together at the world-class Canyon Ranch Spa in Miami. 960 1280

Canyon Ranch  

Embrace a more peaceful side of Miami Beach, thanks to a stellar seaside setting and Canyon Ranch's trademark health and nutrition specialists. 960 1280

Canyon Ranch  

The Clayoquot Wilderness Resort is a luxe eco-safari resort in the wilds of British Columbia, Canada, accessible by boat or plane from Tofino. 960 1280

Clayoquot Wilderness Resort  

Guests can soak in a wood-fired cedar hot tub overlooking the mountainous wild at Clayoquot Healing Grounds compound, which promises Zen in the wilderness with soaking tubs and spa treatments. 960 1280

Clayoquot Wilderness Resort  

People come from around the world to soak in Iceland's Blue Lagoon with mineral-rich, geothermal water known for its healing properties. 960 1280

Reuters  

Bathers may soak in the warm Blue Lagoon waters even during the cold winter months when the geothermal water and cool air meet to create a haze of vapor steam that rises from the water. 960 1280

Reuters  

Guests at the snazzy Burj Al Arab may soak in an ornate tub with impressive city vies of Dubai and the Arabian Gulf. 960 1280

Burj Al Arab, Jumeirah Group  

Cunard cruise line brings swanky hot tubs to sea with state-of-the-art aqua-therapy pools aboard the Queen Mary 2. 960 1280

Cunard Line  

Multiple hot tubs are available for a relaxing soak at the Canyon Ranch spa facilities aboard the Queen Mary 2. 960 1280

Cunard Line  

The VUE Bar atop the Hyatt on the Bund in Shanghai has a cool hot tub amidst a busy nightlife scene. Bathers enjoy cocktails and a killer city view from the bar's bubbling hot tub. 960 1280

Hyatt Hotels  

The soaking tub at the Hotel Rio Sagardo in Peru has expansive windows that look out over Cusco's Sacred Valley, the heart of the former Incan Empire. 960 1280

Hotel Rio Sagrado/Pedro Rivas  

Onsen are public baths fed from hot springs found throughout Japan where locals and tourists take a wellness break in remote spots and even along the waterfront in Tokyo. 960 1280

Reuters  


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