There is an epidemic of physician burnout in the United States, and it has a pervasive negative effect on all aspects of medical care. According to one researcher, “Numerous global studies involving nearly every medical and surgical specialty indicate that one in every three physicians is experiencing burnout at any given time.” Burnout has also been linked to hopelessness and a higher risk of suicide, which is already more than two times higher than in the general population.
There are many ways to repair frazzled nerves, reconnect with loved ones, and restore your motivation and enthusiasm for your career. Tulum in Mexico’s Riviera Maya tops MedScape’s list of 30 Amazing Anti-Burnout Vacations for Doctors in 2018 and indeed offers an unique vacation experience that will engage your senses and help you feel reinvigorated. A visit to Tulum is a wonderful prelude or grand finale to a fabulous cruise of a lifetime to Cuba and the Western Caribbean round trip from Cozumel. On board, you can reset, revive and renew with a one-of-a-kind, completely personalized Wellness Experience that will allow you to meet your health and wellness goals while enjoying a unique Mediterranean style cruise experience with MSC Cruises.
Tulum's Hippy-Chic Vibe
Tulum has a reputation as the ultimate place for an unplugged beach vacation for a good reason. In contrast to the mega-resorts of neighboring Cancun and the Riviera Maya, the places to stay in Tulum are all eco-friendly and laid-back.
The main draw is Tulum's gorgeous beach—one of the best in Mexico. You'll spend your days here eating fresh fish tacos, doing yoga overlooking clear turquoise waters, and reading in a palapa on the beach.
Located on the federal highway 307, Tulum is easy to get to. About 72 miles (115 km) and roughly an hour-and-a-half drive south from the Cancun International Airport, the city of Tulum is a secluded oasis from the more heavily populated tourist spots along Mexico's East Coast. This Mexican Caribbean magical town will make you fall in love.
Tulum’s spectacular coastline–with all its confectioner-sugar sands, stunning jade-green water and balmy breezes–will make you feel you’ve found paradise! Where else can you get all that and a dramatically situated Maya ruin? Located on a cliff facing the Caribbean Sea lies the only archaeological site that sits on the seashore. It is the most photogenic site in the region and perhaps the whole country. Under the cliff is Paradise beach, considered one of the best beaches in the Mayan Riviera, from which snorkeling and dive excursions are organized to the famous Mesoamerican Barrier Reef. There’s also excellent cave and cavern diving, fun cenotes and a variety of lodgings and restaurants to fit every budget.
Over the past decade, Tulum’s population has tripled and is comprised of a eclectic mix of locals—including descendants of the Mayans—and expats from around the world who have made this bohemian town their home. Once a laid-back resort village with a hippie vibe, Tulum is Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula hottest spot where “eco-chic” travelers can practice soul-cleansing yoga, enjoy gourmet vegan meals in jungle-shrouded restaurants, and shop at bespoke fashion boutiques while staying at any of the dozens of luxury hotels and yoga retreats lining the town’s pristine tropical beach.
Attractions and Things to Do
You come on vacation to get away from it all, but also to go home with lifelong memories. Exploring Tulum's surrounding areas pays big rewards! Tulum’s most well-known attraction is its ruins, and there are plenty of them in the surrounding areas, from the Tulum Ruins (located right at the north end of Tulum Beach) to the awe-inspiring Cobá. And no trip here would be complete without a visit to the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve or to one of the area’s eco-parks.
Zama – “City of the Dawn”
Besides the spectacular beaches, the closest and most popular local attraction is Tulum's own archaeological site. Just over a mile (2 kms) from the modern, thriving town of Tulum, the ruins of an ancient Mayan holy city overlook the turquoise waters of the Caribbean from atop rugged cliffs.
Even if you are not a history buff, the ruins will take your breath away. Originally called Zama (city of the dawn), the walled city of Tulum was one of the last major cities to be built by the Mayans between 1200 and 1450. It played an important role as a port city, trade hub and centre of worship. Abandoned during the Spanish conquest of the 16th century, this well-preserved ruins are the third most visited archaeological site in Mexico after Teotihuacan and Chichen Itza, and is visited by millions of tourists annually.
Possibly the most magnificent structure of all is Pyramid El Castillo. Standing tall before the ocean, this structure served as a lighthouse of sorts to guide incoming ships safely to shore through the jagged corals. Other highlights include the Temple of the Frescoes, the Temple of the God of Wind, the Temple of the Descending God, and the House of the Columns.
Tulum sits among hundreds of cenotes, or sinkholes perfect for swimming. These crystal clear watering holes are awe-inspiring. You can easily spend a whole day lounging, snorkeling and exploring. If you're an experienced diver, there are also expeditions available that will guide you through some of the deeper caverns.
Sian Ka’an – “Origin of the Sky"
Thousands of years ago the original Maya inhabitants appreciated the exceptional natural beauty of this stretch of coastline, naming it Sian Ka’an, or “Origin of the Sky".
Established in 1986 as one of Mexico's largest protected areas, Sian Ka’an became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. The property boasts diverse tropical forests, a palm savannah, one of the most pristine wetlands in the region, lagoons, extensive mangroves, as well as sandy beaches and dunes. The lush green of the forests, the many shades of blue of the lagoons, and the Caribbean Sea under a wide sky offer fascinating visual impressions.
The biodiversity of life in Sian Ka'an is exceptional. The tropical forests are home to charismatic mammals such as jaguar, puma, ocelot and Central American tapir. The property also provides habitat for more than 300 species of resident and migratory birds. There is a great diversity of marine life, including the West Indian manatee, dolphins, four species of nesting marine turtles, Morelet's crocodiles, also known as the Mexican crocodile, and hundreds of fish species. A geological, biological and cultural particularity are the "cenotes", deep natural sinkholes harboring fascinating life forms, many of them endemic. This karst phenomenon results from collapsing limestone exposing groundwater.
Cobá Mayan Ruins
Only in recent years has the importance of this mystical ruins come to light; now archaeologists are convinced that in time Cobá will prove to be one of the largest Mayan excavations on the Yucatan Peninsula.
Situated about a 30 minute ride north-west of Tulum, this ancient Mayan site is different from the other archaeological big sites in Yucatan. First of all, it's situated by four natural lakes, which is a rare sight in the Yucatan. These lakes are believed to have given the city its name, which means "Waters stirred by wind". Furthermore, it is not as excavated nor reconstructed as Chichen Itza or Tulum. Cobá still has a number of big structures covered with the growth of the jungle, making it a wild place that truly triggers your imagination and adds a feeling of discovery to your visit. You can still climb the main pyramid, Nohoch Mul, the highest pyramid in the Yucatan Peninsula.
Eco-Friendly Eco Parks
A short form of Ecological Park, an ecopark is exploited as an amusement park without hampering its natural environment so that the biodiversity remains unaffected there. Visitors can learn about local flora and fauna and Mayan culture.
Xcaret (ish - caret), Xel-Ha (shell-ha), Xplor (Explore) and Xenotes (seh- No- tays) are some of the main attractions in the Mayan Riviera. These ecoparks are all different in terms of activities and entertainment. Xplor for zipline and adrenaline junkies. Xel Ha for water babies who love to snorkel. Xenotes for adventurers who want to discover the underworld while walking and swimming through caves and caverns. Xcaret for a mix of them all, plus the colorful Mexican culture.
Live the Stories You'd Love to Tell
A stay in Tulum can be a magical Prologue or Epilogue to a Epic Cruise of a Lifetime to Cuba and the Western Caribbean!
Shrouded in mystery for more than 50 years, the island nation of Cuba is waiting to be rediscovered. Be among the first American travelers in five decades to visit Cuba aboard MSC Cruises—a rare opportunity to experience the colorful history and lively culture of this captivating country. From its beautifully adorned churches and vintage cars to its world-renowned cigars and lush tropical climate, Cuba will transport you to a bygone era. A MSC Cruise to Cuba and the Western Caribbean is an once-in-a-lifetime experience!
In Cuba, you’ll discover a place filled with friendly people, eager to share their heritage and culture with you….and equally curious to hear about the customs and traditions in the neighboring United States. MSC Cruises offers OFAC-compliant, special people-to-people shore excursions designed around daily interaction with local residents that deliver insight into the past, present, and future. Through open-minded conversations and respectful exchanges of ideas with the Cuban people, you’ll experience the trip of a lifetime during the educational, cultural, and personal encounters that await you.
All year round, MSC Cruises offers weekly cruises to Cuba and the Western Caribbean round trip from Cozumel. The MSC Armonia currently sails two popular 8 Days, 7 Nights Caribbean itineraries. One itinerary features 3 days, 2 nights in Havana, Cuba, and one day each in Montego Bay (Jamaica) and George Town (Grand Cayman Islands), with one day at sea for relaxation.
An alternate itinerary features 2 days and 1 night in Havana, Cuba, and one day each in Belize City (Belize), Isla de Roatan (Honduras), and Costa Maya (Mexico), with one day at sea for relaxation.
Starting in December 2018, the MSC Opera with take over these two sailings, while the MSC Armonia adopts Miami as its new home port.
The Wellness Experience
In a partnership with fitness manufacturer Technogym, MSC Cruises offers a Wellness Experience package aboard its ship. The experience begins with a pre-cruise questionnaire that's used to determine your specific goals. It then targets all aspects of a healthy lifestyle, ranging from mindful eating to exercise and weight loss. You're encouraged to continue the program even after your cruise ends. Access to Technogym's app, mywellness, aids in this process, and internet is provided in the fare so you can use the application for the duration of your cruise.
Once on board you will undergo a medical evaluation with the shipboard doctor who will test your blood pressure and perform a lipid panel and EKG. The Wellness Experience also includes a one-on-one consultation with a Master Trainer, trained by Technogym (extra training sessions are available for a fee) and fitness classes like barre, hula hooping, yoga, Pilates and cycling that focus mainly on core and bodyweight movements. MSC ship fitness centers are equipped with Technogym equipment that links to the mywellness app to track your progress while you workout. Two fitness-themed shore excursions are included in the program and vary by itinerary but might include a fun triathlon in Cozumel (running, kayaking and snorkeling).
Also included in the package: A workout mat and Technogym Wellness Bag, filled with items like resistance bands for in-cabin use. Workout clothing and towels are provided. Complimentary laundering of provided exercise clothing. The mini-fridge will be filled with items such as sports drinks and bars to keep your workout recovery on track.
To top it off, special healthy food options compatible with your goals will be in onboard dining rooms and "dedicated wellness corner" buffet. (Yes, can can cheat and eat from the main menu too).
Relax your body and mind with a visit to the luxurious MSC Aurea Spa. Enter the zen-like tranquil atmosphere of this authentic Balinese spa and indulge in a state of pure relaxation. Don a plush robe and relax on a teak bed in the meditation area, surrounded by glass walls with spectacular ocean views. Enjoy rejuvenating treatments such as a Balinese massage with lava stones, shiatsu, acupuncture and reflexology. Follow-up with the total relaxation of the spa's sauna, steam room and whirlpool bath that rid the body from toxins for total purification. The Thermal Suite with Aromatherapy is truly a corner of paradise where a sensation of absolute wellness overcomes you. Thanks to the aromas of the Balinese essential oils, you will notice an incredible improvement in circulation and feel rejuvenated.
A Family Holiday Like No Other
As a family-run company with a family-friendly philosophy reflected in their "Kids Cruise Free" policy (on select sailings), no one understands families better than MSC. And no one does more to help you and your loved ones enjoy every moment to the fullest, both together and individually on board and ashore. MSC Cruises allows you and your family to explore the world and its cultures together.
MSC Cruises provides a variety of programs for the whole family and supervised activities, entertainment and social events tailor-made for four separate age groups in their own social clubs: Miniclub for Sailors 3-6 years old, Juniors Club for Pirates aged 7-11, Young Club for tweens 12-14 years old, and Teens Club for the 15-17 year olds. Kids will have endless fun with qualified entertainment staff on hand all day, every day to entertain. And it’s all free, too!
Innovative activities like Fun Time Dinner, Happy Dinners, and Kids Around the Clock let everyone in the family do things their own way—even at mealtimes, late at night and during shore excursions. So your children are free to explore a social life of their own, meeting new friends from around the world in a safe environment, immersed in a vacation they’ll never forget. And the grown-ups gain equally special free moments, relaxed in the knowledge that the kids are cared for and enjoying the time of their lives.
Experiential and Wellness Travel are where it's at. Experiential Wellness Travel is a hybrid of both. But Transformative Travel is the next evolution in travel. Like many land-based resorts, the global cruise industry has kept apace of this current trend with vacations that are fun, authentic, and meaningful by offering travelers on board and on shore fitness and wellness activities, healthy meal options, local cooking classes, culturally immersive shore excursions, participation in the local communities they visit, and a variety of tailor-made experiences that are transformative in a deep and personal way.