More than 60 percent of the world’s population lives in urban centers that are increasingly facing problems such as pollution, traffic, and poor diet, a situation that has begun to have a negative impact on the health of its inhabitants.
As a result, in recent years a unique offer of tourist experiences has emerged that seek to break with this situation and provide city dwellers with a temporary escape into a different and healthier environment.
Experiences for practices such as yoga, meditation, vegetarianism and the different forms of alternative therapy, spas and hot springs, are growing in demand for people looking to increase their levels of well-being and health.
Destinations in the Costa Rican coasts have generated an extensive offer of yoga and meditation centers, spas, temazcales, and holistic health centers offering spiritual retreats that specialize in meditation, yoga and healthy gastronomy retreats.
These spiritual practices coming from philosophical and religious traditions of the East and Mesoamerica such as Buddhism, Hinduism, or pre-Hispanic indigenous cultures, has its origin in the social movements that emerged in response to the problems of industrialization and ecological predation, promoting environmentalism, spirituality, and the exploration of altered states of consciousness as a means to counteract the harmful effects of uncontrolled urbanization.
Gradually these alternative practices have been incorporated into the lifestyle of the modern world, leading to the flourishing of a large international holistic health and naturism offers.
Thanks to this growing interest in the physical-spiritual practices of ancient traditions, global destinations such as Costa Rica, have considerably increased their numbers of visitors in recent years.
This mystical-spiritual tourism has begun to take hold in indigenous and rural communities, where through organizations like Resonance, tourists participate in a series of transformational experiences involving the culture and lifestyle of the host community.
Experiences like this innovative spiritual tourism and alternative health resort option have consolidated to take advantage of these trends, which have already been recognized by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), that promotes Spiritual Tourism for Sustainable Development, in which the importance of spiritual tourism as a means to achieve sustainable development and the preservation of natural and cultural heritage is recognized.
These emerging forms of alternative tourism will continue to spread over the next years, and their effects will have to be analyzed from different disciplinary perspectives to be understood and managed in favor of local populations and the protection for the heritage of their communities.