Punta Serena Holistic Mexican Spa
I arrived at the idyllic Punta Serena adult-only holistic
spa in Mexico on December 26, 2001 with my sister, who took me on a
much-needed 12 day vacation for my birthday. The restaurant, yoga and
meditation room, pool and hot tubs overlook Tenacatita Bay located on
Mexico's gorgeous west coast, between Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo. If
it is possible to experience the feeling of encountering too much beauty in
one place, it surely happens here.
As I write this, I am sitting in the shade of a structure of palm fronds on
the private clothing-optional Punta Serena beach, watching brown pelicans
dive for fish as gentle waves lap the sandy shore. Only one other woman is
on this beach now, and we just discovered that neither of us are wearing
watches. My stomach tells me it's about 2:00 PM, time for a tasty lunch
buffet upstairs whenever I'm ready.
The bay here near Manzanillo (where Bo Derek starred in the
movie "10") is
almost completely surrounded by protective hills, so only one sixth of the
visible horizon is open to the Pacific Ocean. Temperatures here in
December range from 60 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit every day, and most of the
days and nights here have been clear.
My typical day at Punta Serena begins by watching the sun rise over the
hills to the east, a breakfast of fresh-squeezed juice, coffee, a choice of
six different hot dishes, pastries, fresh fruits (including
melt-in-your-mouth papaya) and vegetables and eggs and/or pancakes cooked
by the chef. Diners are serenaded by birds in the outdoor dining room
under the palapas, and the sound of waves mingles with soft jazz or new age
music. The emphasis is on healthy cuisine here, and many vegetarian
entrees are available at each meal. I then go to the morning Chi Kung or
Yoga class, to see and hear the soothing sounds of the waves. Afterwards,
I decide whether to enjoy the pleasant atmosphere by the pool and spa, or
down at the beach. What a tough choice!
Two of Punta Serena's three hot tubs are situated on the
cliff above the
bay, and provide exceptional views of the breathtakingly beautiful natural
surroundings. I enjoyed bringing a drink or two from the bar down to the
hot tub, and savoring every sip as I watched the sun go down and the stars
come out at night.
A siesta after lunch is always a fine idea, and since the rooms all have
air-conditioning, cable TV, and a hammock, it is easy to relax and rest
during the hottest time of the day. There are only 24 rooms here, and each
one feels spacious and features spectacular views from the windows and the
private balcony or patio. Staying at Punta Serena includes free access to
the adjacent Blue Bay Club Los Angeles Locos, and is "all-inclusive",
meaning that one price is paid which includes lodging, food, and included
The people are what makes this resort experience so special. Everyone from
the maids, groundskeepers, waitresses, and chef to the holistic healers and
teachers exude positive energy and show they genuinely care.
Since Punta Serena is a holistic resort, a number of healing
possibilities are available with skilled and friendly practioners of Reiki,
Phoenix Rising Yoga, and Tibetan meditation. Whether your goal is
relaxation (meditation, massage, Reiki, watsu), inner work
(phoenix rising yoga, chakra balancing, card readings), or exercise
(yoga, chi-kung, or the exercise room) there is something exactly right for
Chi-kung, or QiGong helps practioners let go of their energy
blocks by relaxing mind, body, and emotions. Free morning chi-kung (active
style) classes are taught for one hour every other day by Gretchen
Yoga increases body awareness. Free morning yoga classes (Hatha
Yoga style) are taught for one hour every other day by Ani Mac. For a fee,
Ani also provides individual yoga classes, and Phoenix Rising Yoga which
helps clear personal issues held in the body, mind, and emotions through
guided breathing and assisted yoga postures.
Reiki & Reflexology treatments are provided for a fee by Charmaine
Conrad on the massage tables located on the cliff overlooking Tenacatita
bay. The Reiki treatment is marvelously soothing and healing, leaving one
feeling energized with every muscle completely relaxed.
The Exercise Room includes a stair-master, a walking machine with
adjustable ramp, a couple of exercise bikes, weight training equipment,
sauna, jacuzzi, and showers. Two televisions are located conveniently, so
you can watch cable TV while you work out.
Another unique offering in Punta Serena is the Temazcal cleansing
ceremony. This ceremony is the traditional Mexican herbal steam bath which
takes place inside an adobe chamber. The word Temazcal or temazcalli is
made of two Nahuatl words: "Temaz" which means bath, and "Calli" which
means house or home. The Temezcal ceremony is an ancient one, which the
Aztecs, Zapotecs, Mixtecs, Mayans, and other indigenous groups have used as
a therapeutic and purifying ritual. At Punta Serena, this ceremony is
conducted (for a fee on first-come, first-served basis) by Gretchen
Andersen, who combines shamanic traditions from Mexico with those of other
cultures, such as Tibet.
Barra de Navidad is a nearby town that is well worth
a visit. Local vendors display their wares in booths, and you can purchase
silver jewelry, hammocks, brightly colored wooden boxes, beaded bracelets
and many other things.
A Jungle Boat Ride through the mangroves can be arranged at the Blue
Bay Club (just down the steps from Punta Serena) to nearby
Tenacatita for snorkeling, shopping, and walking along the
The Ringtailed Coatimundi, or Tejon as it is
more commonly known in Mexico, is a frequent visitor to Punta Serena and
its sister Blue Bay resort. A medium sized carnivore, the coati stands
about 12 inches at the shoulders, weighs up to 14 pounds and has an
overall body length of up to 48 inches. These furry animals are nocturnal,
and begin their rounds as the sun goes down each evening. Watching the
tejones leap over the stone railings leading down to the lower jacuzzi is
better than watching sheep!
Alligators frequent the mangrove swamps in the jungle by the Blue
Bay club, and can often be seen sunning themselves near the water. As
alligator experts wisely advise, "Under no circumstances should you
approach an alligator closely. They are quite agile, even on land."
Brown Pelicans are often seen diving from the sky into the bay to
catch fish in the calm tropical waters. Since pelicans are at the top
level of the food chain, they are an excellent indicator species for
judging the environmental health of the area. I once saw forty pelicans
flying together in a great swirling vortex, and every day watched at least
Dolphins often swim into the bay, and can be seen swimming near
shore on occasion. I saw a dolphin on several days in the early morning
hours -- both while I was eating breakfast, and during the morning yoga and
chi kung classes.
Iguanas climb the coconut trees and an especially large iguana is
fond of sunning by the Temezcal area every afternoon around 4:00 PM.
Crabs frequent the private beach, and can be seen climbing about on
the rocks during low tide. I enjoyed bringing larger shells to some of the
crabs, and watching them upgrade to more spacious attire.
Km 20 Carretera Federal 200
Manzanillo International Airport - 45 minutes by taxi
To Make Reservations, Contact:
BLUE BAY CLUB LOS ANGELES LOCOS
1-800 BLUE BAY
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Copyright @ 2002 by Cynthia Sue Larson, All