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How to vacation eco-chic on the Mexican Caribbean

Tulum is the Mexican Caribbean home of new-agey, eco-chic wellness and spiritual awakening so that means crack-of-dawn zen with Mayan yogi Pamela Caceres.

As soon as I stretch up into my first sun salutation, the regret melts away.

You see, this is sunrise yoga and when the alarm first jangled in the dark, I seriously considered jamming out of this early-morning exercise.

After all, my wife, Kerry, and I are on vacation at the Hilton Tulum All-Inclusive Resort and the holiday tendency is to sleep in and kick start the day with a mimosa.

But we’re in Tulum – the Mexican Caribbean home of new-agey, eco-chic wellness and spiritual awakening – so we’ve decided to get with the program.

That means crack-of-dawn zen with Mayan yogi Pamela Caceres right on the beach in front of the fitness centre at the resort where the sky gradually illuminates rosy pink and burnished yellow.

Immediately after unrolling our mats, Pamela lights her little incense pot of copal, an ancient Mayan mineral used to purify the body and lift our intentions to the gods.

She swirls the incense with ritualistic purpose and invites us to be at one with the four elements – earth, air, fire and water.

We acquiesce and flow into a 45-minute practice of sun salutation, downward dog, plank and warrior poses.

We feel stretched and centred and lucky to be in Tulum, where this kind of divine discovery is right at home with the all-inclusive luxury of the resort.

Thus, we make a beeline for an al fresco table at the Vela Sur buffet for a hearty breakfast and that aforementioned mimosa.

The Hilton will also cater to all our other eco-indulgent dualities with time split between lounging in a cabana on the beach or poolside and cycling through the jungle learning about conservation.

Our bike guide Jonathan also entertains us with his description of Tuluminatis, gringo hippies with money who love to come to the area to vacation or be digital nomads.

Hilton is on an expansion jag in the region, recently opening its first all-inclusives in Tulum and Cancun as well as the Conrad in Tulum, Waldorf Astoria in Cancun and Canopy La Isla in Cancun.

Air Canada Vacations packages flights and airport transfers with the Hilton all-inclusives for a seamless holiday.

Cancun is also the Mexican destination Air Canada flies to most often from the most Canadian cities – Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, London, Montreal, Halifax and Moncton.

That's how we find ourselves flying Vancouver-Cancun and sampling as many of the properties as possible on this trip.

Thus, we're excited to experience the Full Moon Celebration at Conrad Tulum.

This once-a-month lunar spectacle is part Mayan tradition, part candle-and-fire lit, long table dinner party on the beach.

As the full moon darts in and out of clouds overhead, we’re blessed and granted permission to enter the celebration by presenting a gift to the aluxes, the mythical children of the jungle.

The four-course dinner is wine paired, of course, and the live entertainment is a magical mix of acrobats and fire dancers, all in an ode to the moon goddess.

The next day, up the road at the Hilton Cancun All-Inclusive there are margaritas poolside, but also a bike ride through the mangrove with more talk about respecting and embracing nature.

Next door at the spa of the new Waldorf Astoria Cancun, we embark on the 80-minute Yaxche inner journey.

Again, the spirituality (and pampering) is amped up with a three-phase massage with two therapists working simultaneously with semi-precious stones known for their healing properties to help us let go of our past, accept the present and connect to the future.

Luckily, our immediate future includes dinner at the Waldorf Astoria’s Malpeque signature restaurant for catch-of-the-day grouper with Mexican chardonnay.

Indeed, again, another example of how indulgence and mindfulness can go hand-in-hand on a holiday to the blessed land of the Mayans.

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