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Finding Balance in Bacalar

By: Evan Upchurch

Bacalar is a divine gift from nature. The calm lagoon of seven colors sits quietly as stillness stretches as far as the horizon. The colorful birds sing their songs, and buzzing bees work days on end to produce sweet honey. Plants with millennia-old healing powers grow abundantly, and the golden sunsets bring peace to a world that seemingly never stops. Here in the jungle, reconnecting to our planet and ourselves is made simple.

Wellness is about finding and implementing practices that bring balance to our lives. Through our model, we hope to participate in changing our guests’ lifestyles through food, movement, and holistic treatments. We caught up with Habitas’s Head of Wellness, Alejandro Leo, who spoke more about our upcoming hotel in Bacalar and its innovative wellness program. “In general, being at Habitas, guests are always close to nature. It’s that closeness that helps them reconnect with our Earth, themselves, or the people next to them. Bacalar’s natural beauty gives us the opportunity to create the ideal atmosphere for wellness experiences. The tranquility allows you to reconnect quicker. Our program there is going to be truly beautiful,” says Alejandro.

In ancient Mayan culture, like other early civilizations, currency was not measured with gold or silver but with fruits of the land, like cacao, maize, and honey. Today, more than ever, health is wealth, and Habitas sees the value of these natural products that are cultivated in the Bacalar area. Alejandro explains, “We will be working with the local community to obtain the ingredients for our treatments and therapies. For example, we will use both endemic cacao and honey in wellness treatments, such as facials, massages, and body wraps. We’ll also have aromatic plants in our botanic garden that we’ll freshly cut when needed. The idea is to use them for teas, infusions, treatments, and traditional Mayan energy cleanses.” 

Honey cultivation is one of our most exciting ventures on the Bacalar property. The stingless Melipona bees are native to the Yucatán, Central Mexico, and other parts of Latin America. We will be working with a local Mayan family, Gabriel Caamal Ruiz and his wife Apolinaria, who will provide us with the apiaries found at the hotel. The couple will be our teachers and partners in harvesting the honey, which will be used for treatments and food purposes, as well as available for purchase. 

It is ancestral knowledge that honey has strong healing properties. Native to Bacalar, Gabriel grew up understanding the power of honey. He tells us, “The Mayans left us a great legacy that is used to this day. Our grandparents used, and still use, honey as a healing agent for wounds and burns, a relief from coughs, a natural revitalizer, and a digestive aid. Honey consumption is also excellent for disease prevention.”

Beyond honey’s invaluable benefit to health, our relationship with bees – our planet’s pollinators – should be of the utmost importance, a priority for us all. Gabriel says, “Apiculture is an activity of great social and cultural value and is vital to the preservation of life on Earth. It is a divine gift that we must protect seriously and with love. We must share our knowledge with new generations so that the practices can stay alive.” 

Honey should be of the utmost importance, a priority for us all.
– Evan Upchurch

At our hotels, wellness also embodies a sense of belonging. One of our main objectives is to create community, one in which people can openly share their intentions and connect with others. By including meaningful activities in guests’ stays, Alejandro points out, “It sets us apart. There is no extra fee because we want our guests to have experiences that contribute to their growth as human beings.”

Similar to Habitas Tulum, the hotel in Bacalar will offer a variety of activities that draw from local culture and global tendencies. Alejandro says, “One of the signature activities we’ll be offering is Janzu, which is a powerful water therapy that works to release fears and emotions as well as realigns energy. We have the honor of working with Sol Naciente, an instructor that trained with the founder of Janzu.” He continues, “There will also be temazcal, or also called zumpul-ché in the Mayan region. It will go hand in hand with traditional Mayan medicine that uses herbs and plants.”

To reconnect is not merely a one-time decision or a single vacation. It is a series of moments in which consciousness overrides that constant stream of thoughts plaguing our minds. During those gentle instances, we become embodiments of love and joy. Through our wellness experiences, Habitas seeks to curate moments in support of that never-ending journey. As part of our community in Tulum, Bacalar, Namibia, or locations to come, your well-being is an expression of ours.