Fast facts about The Island Experience

  1. *Located on Ilha Grande in Brazil

  2. *Offers a 7 Day Spa & Fitness Program

  3. *Detox & de-stress with yoga, excursions & massage
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For more information, including full itineraries please contact Unique Destinations via email: info@uniquedestinations.cl

Unique Destination’s Review of The Island Experience

An American General named George S. Patton once remarked. “Accept the challenges so that you may feel the exhilaration of victory”.

Throughout my week-long stay at The Island Experience, located in Ilha Grande, Brazil, I certainly accepted many challenges and many times felt the exhilaration of victory!

This Brazilian hideaway is situated amongst a tropical rainforest, overlooking a secluded bay of calm green water. Accessible only by boat from the mainland this is the ideal location to start the transition towards changing your life.

From March to December, The Island Experience operate a 7 Day Spa & Fitness Program with the philosophy of helping people face their limits   and open their minds up to a new way of living, where healthy habits are encouraged.  The program is operated from a Sunday to a Saturday    with a a maximum of 12 guests able to participate. During this time each guest will face both physical and mental challenges while guided and supported by professionals in nutrition, yoga, physical health and well-being.

On a Sunday morning I was greeted at my hotel in Rio de Janeiro by two guides and 7 fellow guests all taking part in the program. After traveling a scenic 2 hours by car then 1 hour by boat we arrived at the boat deck of the lodge where the owner Martin, and his team welcomed us with open arms. 

And of course, a true detox experience wouldn’t be complete without the exclusion of caffeine and salt. Your morning coffee will instead be replaced with a selection of herbal teas or ginger infused water with a squeeze of lime - said to assist with the bodies’ re-hydration process and help with flushing out toxins. Every morning is started with a freshly squeezed juice made from a variety of local fruits or veges. One of my favorite treats during the retreat was coming home from a day of activity to fresh chilled coconut milk, served straight from the coconut itself!

Now a Spa & Fitness retreat wouldn’t be complete without a certain amount of physical activity. Firstly, each morning a 6:30am knock at the door will get you up in time for the daily yoga class, commencing at 7:00am. The class is taken on the deck overlooking the water just after sunrise. The sound of the ocean gently lapping up against the deck and the rocks put both your body and mind at ease, while the guidance from the calmly spoken yoga instructor takes the relaxation to a new level.

Once you have made peace with your mind, body and spirit, it’s time for a healthy breakfast then the first real physical challenge of the day. What better way could there be to explore an island than kayaking and hiking through the local eco-system? Each physical challenge that is undertaken is rewarded with an amazing piece of scenery from Ilha Grande and a sense of accomplishment on a grandeur level.

Before you retire for the evening the group meets in the main lodge again for dinner and a discussion of the days activities.  Following dinner each night there are different activities designed to introduce you to Brazilian culture. Do you like to paint? How about learn the Samba? Well my favorite was the Capoeira performance - a Brazilian art form that combines fight, dance, rhythm and movement.

From this 7 Day Spa & Fitness program I took away many things. A new outlook and perspective on life. A realization of the fact that any physical challenge is possible if you put your mind to it. The knowledge and importance of how to relax. Changed eating habits. And of course the prowess of Indiana Jones!

During the month of April, The Island Experience are offering a 20% discount off the 7 Day Spa & Fitness programs when booked through Unique Destinations. For more information please email info@uniquedestinations.cl This offer is valid for bookings made before 30 April 2009 and traveled before December 2009.

One lucky person will also be able to WIN a 7 Day Spa & Fitness Program. To enter, send your answer to the following query to info@uniquedestinations.cl before 29 April 2009.

“Name the Brazilian art form that combines fight, dance, rhythm and movement”

Following a brief introduction to the lodge and the program we commenced our detox with a cooling welcome drink of green melon, lime and ginger. (The perfect cure for sea-sickness too!) Each guest was then acquainted with one of only nine exclusive rooms in the lodge, designed specifically for the tropical weather. Incorporating wooden furnishings, a fan, air-conditioning and French doors opening out onto a private deck. Here, you could relax in a hammock while overlooking the tranquil bay. Inside, the bed is covered by a large mosquito net so you can leave open the French doors at night and enjoy the fresh air and soft sounds of the surrounding rainforest and waters.

One question that I’m sure you’re wondering about is, what is the food like during a detox retreat? Well for a start, each meal is carefully designed by the onsite nutritionist Adriana to ensure that you are receiving a balanced diet with enough nutrients and energy to get you through an active week. All meals are vegetarian with the exception of fish served on two evenings. Brazil’s abundance of fresh, local fruits, vegetables, nuts and grains allows for an array of variety in the cuisine. I must say, I never actually realized that there could be so many different delicious ways to prepare healthy, vegetarian food! Quinoa is my new best friend!

Every trek is accompanied by three guides. There was the barefoot “rasta” Daniel, leading the group with a never-ending sense of endurance about him; the curly dark haired Brazilian Bob providing friendly words of encouragement and the barefoot bikini clad Canadian Dawn keeping up the spirit with her bubbly personality.

By the end of the week I had trekked beneath the canopy of a rainforest, climbed up and over tree roots, stood beneath a gushing waterfall, dodged spider webs and branches, snorkeled in aquamarine waters viewing exotic species of fish, body surfed at one of Brazil’s top 10 beaches, and kayaked across parts of the ocean. At times, I remember thinking to myself that I must have been pretty close to the female version of Indiana Jones!

Returning to the lodge after a full day of activity was also something to look forward to. After having another delicious smoothie or juice and a snack, there was time to snooze in the hammock on your private deck, take an optional yoga class and enjoy a relaxing massage given by a Brazilian masseuse with the touch of a goddess! Never before have I felt so relaxed. 

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