Last updated: 10:08 AM ET, Mon April 06 2015

5 Immersive Vacations that Let You Go Native

Features & Advice | Tom Bastek | April 03, 2015

5 Immersive Vacations that Let You Go Native

Photos are courtesy of each respective resort.

For some, when they get away for a vacation, there is little on their agenda other than rest and relaxation. Beach and pool time, fruity drinks and filling meals are the most “involved” that they get. For those folks, a vacation is true down time; an escape from the daily grind of work and overtaxing of their brains. But some vacationers out there want to learn more about the culture, take in-depth tours and experience local customs and cuisine. More and more resorts are aware of this and are tailoring their onsite activities to fit this design, as opposed to the typical laundry list of amenities and activities. Here are five of the many that are out there.

Mayan Experience - Mexico

At Sandos Caracol Eco Experience Resort, guests are immersed deep into the Mayan civilization, with ancient tributes, special night performances and ceremonies, and eco-tours of the Mayan jungle and Mayan Herbarium.  In the middle of the Mayan Jungle you can experience a Temazcal spa treatment, a Mayan experience that symbolizes rebirth. Through steam generated from volcanic rocks, varying levels of heat eliminate toxins, purify the body systems and stimulate circulation.

Costa Rican Experience – Costa Rica

At the Los Suenos Marriott Ocean & Golf Resort guests receive complimentary Spanish lessons, plus dance lessons focusing on salsa and merengue. Take authentic cooking classes and hike the La Iguana Experience where guides tour around the property for the chance to spot pizotes, monkeys and sloths. Through their “You Hook it, We Cook it” program, whatever you bring back from your fishing excursions goes straight to the resort’s kitchens to be enjoyed that evening.

Hawaiian Culture Experience - Hawaii

Guests receive the full Hawaiian treatment at the Hilton Waikoloa Village with interactive cultural entertainment such as ukulele and hula lessons as well as historic Petroglyph tours. Observe a variety of exotic wildlife from cockatoos, the official Hawaii state bird, to Nenes throughout the 62 acres resort. Whale watching and Dolphin encounters are available as well. The resort also features a mile-long museum walkway where guests can explore Polynesian art through the resort’s 1,800 pieces that inspired the culture of Hawaii.

Marine Biologist Experience – Puerto Rico

Located on a former coconut plantation, The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort, Puerto Rico offers excursions at the foot of El Yunque National Rainforest. Nature walks and kayaking tours are offered by the on-site Marine Biologist. Guests have the chance to “guardian” the Leatherback Turtles nesting on the property’s shore as well as learn about the property’s bird sanctuary, Tree Planting Program, and visit the Plant Nursery where its herbs are sourced.

For the Kids: Aquamarine Experience - Florida

Recently receiving Fodor’s Choice Gold Award as one of the Best Hotels for Kids and Families in the U.S., the Acqualina Resort & Spa has taken their children’s program to the next level. They offer complimentary immersive Aquamarine activities for children ages 5-12 that focus on all things pertaining to the ocean. Combining education and fun, the program includes “Whimsical Waves,” a program that takes children on a journey of waves through science projects, wave-making arts and crafts and skim boarding adventures. They also feature a “City Under the Sea” program that explores the coral reef through snorkeling and the creation of an “edible reef.”

Do you enjoy an immersive experience?  What are you looking for when you go to a resort for vacation?  Have a favorite immersive experience that you loved?  Tell me below in the comments.


You may use your Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook information, including your name, photo & any other personal data you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on Click here to learn more.