8 Detox secrets from Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita, Riviera Maya

As I popped one perfect chocolate bonbon into my mouth and a second into my swag bag at the Cancun Riviera-Maya Wine & Food Festival,  I had a momentary pang of guilt. Between trays laden with artisanal chocolates and endless wine flights,  press trips are packed with calories.  Which means if you’re like me and consider cheese trays to be grazing food, it’s easy to pack on the pounds. Fortunately, I’d scored a post-festival assignment to write about Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita, an all-inclusive holistic retreat near Puerto Morelos, so decided to use the opportunity to kickstart a  wellness regimen. Here are the 8 strategies I learned during my DIY detox:

1. Cocktail Hour Swap  

One perfect Mango Margarita cocktail

One perfect Mango Margarita…for research purposes

Upon arrival, I dodged the welcome bottle of tequila and  poolside cocktails (who knew a pina colada has the same calories as a Big Mac???) and opted for iced herbal tea. Chugging three or four glasses of organic tea a day didn’t leave much room for boozy drinks although I did sample a few for research purposes.

2. Long Beach Walks 

Beach at Puerto Morelos Mexico

Walk the beach and take in the unexpected views

The fact I got blisters on my feet from walking  has nothing to do with the nude men at nearby Desire Resort. Located between  Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita and Puerto Morelos, the adult-only Desire Resort promotes a “feeling of liberation” which I discovered includes all-nude men’s beach volleyball tournaments. Thankfully I missed their nude yoga class.

3. Healthy Meals 

fruit and yogurt breakfast at Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita

Breakfast of fruit and natural yogurt

A recent British study reported that the average vacationer gains 7.5  pounds during a two-week stay at an all-inclusive Caribbean resort. I suspect the buffets are to blame. If you take a spoonful of everything as I do, it doesn’t take long to gather enough food to feed the Russian army.   At Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita, all meals are ordered a la carte which made it easy  to swap fruit and yogurt for my usual bacon, scrambled eggs and hash browns. To be extra sure I wasn’t tempted by the smell of warm chocolate croissants, I ordered room service.  Given my villa was a 10 minute walk to the restaurant, there was little chance of snatching a strip of bacon on the fly.

4. Feast on the views 

Enjoy a healthy breakfast from your room

Eat less when dining outdoors

Terrace in Khiva Villa room at Zoetry

Terrace in Khiva Villa

Dining on my terrace helped avoid mindless eating while browsing  my iPhone. Executive Chef Antonio Torres’s “green cuisine” philosophy meant plenty of fresh herbs from the resort’s organic garden, big flavors and unprocessed local ingredients. As part of Zoetry’s  commitment to Healthy Eating Choices, the menu displayed the calorie, carb and fat content of each dish. Delicious grilled fish vs. pasta most days for me.

5. Daily Yoga and Fitness 

Detox at the pool and wear a big sarong

Detox at the pool and wear a big sarong

There’s nothing quite as soothing as  the sound of the waves when you’re downward- dogging it in yoga class, unless you’re peering through the floorboards of a pier and watching fish swim beneath your feet.  And while some resorts may offer a token yoga class or two, at Zoetry you get daily classes offered by a teacher accredited in Vinyasa Flow, Hatha and Ashtanga techniques. All wellness classes –such as Aqua Fit Class and guided  beach meditation walks — are included in your room rate. The Zoetry Wellness Center lent me a yoga mat ( $50 USD deposit) so I was able to practice yoga on my own terrace at sunrise. My travel writer pals Sue Campbell and Lori Keenan shared some of their secret tips on how to pose in a bathing suit — it had something to do with working the angles. Wearing a big sarong  was easier.

6. Feed your soul 

Purification ritual by the shaman

Purification ritual by the shaman

With a Maya shaman on staff, Zoetry  offers enrichment activities such as temazcal sweat lodge ceremony and traditional blessings. Each morning, the shaman would blow sacred smoke from the copal tree toward the four cardinal points of north, south, east, and west of the earth in a purification ritual. All I had to do was lie on my lounger and detoxing came to me.

7. Awaken with Nature 

View of the bird-filled trees from my room at Zoetry Resort

View of the bird-filled palm trees from my room at Zoetry Resort

The zen of being surrounded by greenery, ocean sounds and wildlife was a welcome break from the white noise of city life, computer screens and electronics. The resort is set at the edge of the Puerto Morelos Marine Park and is certified by Rainforest Alliance,  so you’re never far from nature.  Or noise. Most mornings the birds awoke at 6:00 am creating such a cacophony of noise they made my  There’s a Rooster in my Bathroom in Puerto Escondido seem like a silent retreat. But  being up early did mean more time for long walks on the beach and sightings of nude men.

8. Thalasso Spa Hydrotherapy

Thalasso Spa at Zoetry Paraiso

Bubble away the toxins at the Thalasso spa featuring natural seawater

 My writing pal Carol Perehudoff of the Wandering Carol luxury travel blog is the ultimate detoxer (wellness spas figure prominently in  her Flabby Thighs Guide to International Travel)  so I  followed her advice.   After working out in the gym (running on a treadmill while watching the waves break made the time speed by) I headed for a Swedish massage and the Thalasso spa to soak up the beneficial powers of seawater. The water, a warm 27-31C, was so  effervescent it felts like floating in a  glass of bubbly champagne.

The Verdict 

By the end of my stay, while I hadn’t lost any weight, I hadn’t gained any either.  I felt healthy, relaxed and de-stressed. And, best of all, I still had my bag of artisanal chocolates.

How do you stay healthy on press trips? Let’s hear all about it!

Read my full review of Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita on Luxury Latin America. 

Browse for room rates at Zoetry Paraiso Resort and we’ll earn a commission if you book. We only feature hotels we recommend and always give our honest opinion. Your support will help keep this website running. Read our Full Disclosure Statement for details.



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Showing 25 comments
  • Lois Alter Mark
    Reply

    This sounds amazing! What could be better than a food festival followed by a luxury holistic retreat?! I love everything about this!

    • Michele Peterson
      Reply

      Yes, it was a perfect combo! I’m going to check out your post on the fragrance giveaway right away.

  • Irene S. Levine
    Reply

    What great tips these are to indulge the senses and save the calories!
    I find that walking really helps keep the weight gain in check.

  • Wandering Carol
    Reply

    This post makes me want a chocolate and a cheese plate. And some sunshine! It’s cold in the South of France! Thanks for mentioning me. And let’s give a tequilla-free toast to nude men beaches. Or not. Good thing you missed the nude yoga.

    • Michele Peterson
      Reply

      On second thought a shot of tequila might be advised before a foray past the nude beach.

  • santafetraveler
    Reply

    What great suggestions for detoxing the body and the soul and what a great place to do it in.

    • Michele Peterson
      Reply

      So true! The challenge is to keep the Zoetry philosophy alive once I’m back home.

  • sarah
    Reply

    Darn, so sorry I missed you in the Yucatan! Great post and very near and dear to my heart. In fact after 8 months of nomadic life I am in the process of re-creating my blog to focus more on how to live a healthy balanced life while away from home. It’s certainly a challenge but one well worth the effort. Thanks for giving me some more inspiration!

    • Michele Peterson
      Reply

      Yes too bad! We seem to be criss-crossing Mexico and missing each other. Maybe Puerto Escondido in September? If you’re around, give me a shout!

  • Colleen Friesen
    Reply

    Nicely done Miz Michele. Sounds like a pretty schmancy detox plan to me.
    I am so glad you missed the naked men’s yoga too. I’m thinking you’d need more than tequila to deal with that…

    • Michele Peterson
      Reply

      You’re the travel fitness inspiration Miz Colleen! Your post on bungee jumping in South Africa makes my beach walks look like walks in the park …which is exactly what they were now that I think about it 🙂

  • Neva @ Retire for the fun of it
    Reply

    Your photos look so peaceful. Who could’ve guessed that the (noisy) birds and (nude) men’s volleyball was also there too. I’m glad that your picture taking was selectively showing the best of a beautiful place. Love your sarong outfit.

  • Nancie
    Reply

    Just getting caught up in those views could help a person lose weight! The question is…Did you get to witness the nude volley ball? 🙂

    • Michele Peterson
      Reply

      I confess that I did stick around to watch a volley or two!

  • Anita @ No Particular Place To Go
    Reply

    I have to agree that travel doesn’t help with my natural inclination to pack on the pounds and it can be difficult to make wise choices, too. It sounded like your retreat was lovely and, far from being spartan, offered some delicious meals without the guilt!

  • Patti
    Reply

    Well it certainly seemed as if this was a tough gig to take on, I’m so glad you were up to the task! 😉

  • Michelle
    Reply

    This is all great advice. I’m going on a cruise next week and I need to plan how I will resist the temptation to eat 24/7. You obviously practice what you preach, you look great!!!

    • Michele Peterson
      Reply

      Good luck on your cruise…those midnight buffets are so tempting!

  • esperanza
    Reply

    It all sounds so lovely, the view from your balcony, the food, the pool and the possible nude sightings on the beach. You look as though it all agreed with you!

  • Doreen Pendgracs
    Reply

    Love your sense of humour, Michele. Wish I’d been on that trip with you! The chocolates sounded great. But the hydrotherapy sounded even better.

    • Michele Peterson
      Reply

      I’m sure you’d love to meet Don Chocolato in Cancun, Doreen. His new chocolate shop uses local ingredients such as honey and herbs and they’re shaped like Maya glyphs. Impossible to resist!

  • alison abbott
    Reply

    Hi Michele-Love your tongue in cheek style of writing! Sounds like you had the perfect combo of balanced trips. And scary calorie info about the Pina colada, anything that can be compared to a Big Mac is off my list! Great tips to tuck away for future trips.

  • Lori Bosworth
    Reply

    I’m glad you tried the Mango Margarita for research purposes. It looks too good to resist! Wow, this place looks amazing! I’m sure you would feel de-stressed after staying here. Love the Thalasso Spa!

    • Michele Peterson
      Reply

      Thanks for stopping by, Lori…It was great to meet you over a craft ale at the Aeroplan event. And yes, I do have a weakness for mango margaritas.

  • Sand In My Suitcase
    Reply

    Love this – the luxury spa as detox from the excesses of a press trip :-). Glad you still had some chocolates at the end…

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