With its rich history of healing philosophies, natural remedies and incredibly diverse landscapes, the South American continent has something to offer every type of wellness traveller. From Colombia to the tip of Argentina, there’s a variety of traditional wellness remedies rooted in history. Plus, its state-of-the-art facilities are steeped in luxury. Customisable retreat experiences designed to leave travellers feeling revived and restored. Thus, they’ll leave with a spring in their step. So, we’ve rounded up the luxury wellness retreats in South America on our list for a next-level experience well worth travelling for.
This article was originally published on November 21, 2019, and was last updated on July 18, 2022.
1. Tierra Atacama
In the high-altitude Chilean desert, this boutique resort is one of the most unique luxury wellness retreats in South America. It offers guests an authentic experience that draws on the region’s rich history. Listed by National Geographic as one of its ‘Unique Lodges of the World’, this all-inclusive luxury wellness retreat offers guests full-board and daily excursions. Furthermore, rooms boast floor-to-ceiling views of the surrounding scenery. Meanwhile the UmaSpa features an outdoor hot tub, treatments utilising natural local ingredients and a wide range of spa treatments. So, that includes those derived from volcanic mud (in tribute to the resort’s proximity to the stunning Licancabur Volcano). The spa also hosts indoor and outdoor yoga sessions. Moreover, it boasts several quiet spaces for moments of quiet reflection and meditation.
2. Casa San Agustin
This boutique resort in Colombia’s Cartagena restored the 17th-century building. So, it transformed it into a modern wellness property that pays homage to its living history. It boasts exclusive access to a private beach on the island of Baru. Meanwhile, the Aurum Spa offers guests a range of revitalising body treatments, massages, hammam ritual experiences and more. Because it’s named after the Latin word for gold, Aurum spa’s aim is to awaken the inner power and light within guests through its restorative treatments.
3. Uxua Casa Hotel & Spa
Uxua Casa Hotel and Spa is steeped in a rich history. Half of its casas date back more than half a century. They were painstakingly restored back to their former glory with the work of designer Wilbert Das. A team of local artisans used traditional and restored materials throughout the process. In Brazil’s Bahia state near the pedestrian, UNESCO-protected town square, laidback is a way of life here, and one which guests find themselves quick to adopt. The hotel spa uses local produce and healing herbs, including almescar trees, virgin coconut oil and cacao.
4. Belmond Sanctuary Lodge
Belmond Sanctuary Lodge at Machu Picchu is the only hotel located at the entrance of the 600-year-old historic Inca citadel. With just 31 rooms and suites, the boutique property boasts a relaxing orchid garden, delicious Peruvian delicacies from its Tampu restaurant made from produce grown on-site, and a restorative spa space. Choose from a wide range of wellness activities, from yoga to shamanic ceremonies to spiritual coco leaf readings. Guests can enjoy spa treatments outdoors while overlooking Huayna Picchu, offering restorative experiences steeped in Inca traditions. Thus, it’s once of the most luxurious wellness retreats in South America.
5. Rosewood Sao Paulo
Brazil and South America’s first Rosewood Hotel is housed in a historic early 20th-century building in Citadel Matarazzo. Restored with the help of renowned architect Jean Nouvel, designer Philippe Starck and artist Vik Nunez, the hotel features 277 rooms and suites, two restaurants, a rooftop and ground-level swimming pool and a spacious spa with six separate treatment rooms.
6. Tierra Patagonia
Set among the rugged mountains of the Torres del Paine national park, Tierra Patagonia is a sustainable lodge that focuses as much on the luxurious experience it provides its guests as its ethical and environmental footprint. So, outdoor excursions include hiking, horseback riding and tours of stunning glaciers. The Uma Spa features an indoor pool with floor-to-ceiling windows offering unparalleled views of the surrounding scenery, while nourishing, locally sourced meals keep guests well-fed and energised throughout their stay.
7. The Vines Resort & Spa
Argentina is renowned around the world for its high-quality meat and wine, and this resort and spa offers you the chance to have the quintessential Argentinian experience with a healthy twist. Named one of Conde Nast’s Best New Hotels in the World, The Vines Resort & Spa lies in the Andean heartland, in Argentina’s Uco Valley and boasts its own vineyard where guests can join in with the vine-to-bottle process. Chef Francis Mallmann specialises in open-fire cooking, and while beef is what Argentina is famous for, vegans and vegetarians can also find plenty of culinary delights from the barbecue. Making the most of its surroundings, several fitness activities are organised outdoors overlooking the Andean mountain range, while a state-of-the-art indoor gym boasts treadmills, weights and a wide range of fitness equipment. Outdoor excursions, including heli-skiing, horseback riding and fly fishing, are also available.
8. Tambo del Inka Luxury Collection Resort & Spa
A trip to Machu Picchu is a once-in-a-lifetime, bucket list experience for many. And if you’re only going to do it once, it’s worth doing it in style. Tambo del Inka is the only hotel in Urubamba with a private train station leading to Machu Picchu. The luxury property’s elegant rooms have balconies overlooking the Vilcanota River. Meanwhile, organic and local produce forms the basis of local delicacies. The hotel’s fitness centre is open 24 hours a day. But be sure to try the Kallpa Spa. It comprises an indoor and outdoor swimming pool, Jacuzzi and water massage beds, among other facilities. Thus, you’ll be left feeling reinvigorated.
9. Cavas Wine Lodge
Situated in the heart of Andean wine country in Mendoza, Argentina, Cavas Wine Lodge is a sustainable resort, with solar panels, organic waste processing and recycling facilities on site. It’s just a 90-minute flight from Buenos Aires and with 320 days of sunshine each year, so there’s never a bad time to visit. Four-night, five-day yoga packages are inclusive of accommodation in a luxury room. Plus there are private plunge pools and outdoor fireplaces, nutritious meals, morning and sunset yoga practice, Tai massages, healthy cooking classes and guided hikes and meditation. But don’t forget to save time for a little tipple of the region’s famous wines, too.
Prices start from US$3,300 |cavaswinelodge.com
10. Hotel Las Islas
This Colombian eco-resort along the coast of Cartagena is nestled among the tropical forests. Look around and there’s also the azure waters of Rosario and San Bernardo Corals National Natural Park. The peninsula juts into the Caribbean Sea, where most of this underwater national park lies. It accommodates guests in luxurious yet quaint thatched-roof treehouses, beach-side suites, or private-island villas. Las Islas boasts a comprehensive range of on and off-site wellness activities. In addition to a spa, gym, yoga studio and pool, the resort elevates its wellness offerings. This includes cutting-edge neurostimulation technology, while on the beach, guests can kayak, canoe, paddleboard and snorkel. Guests can organise intensive diving tours to see the coral, visit Cartagena, or go island hopping. Thus, this is the perfect South American beach wellness getaway.