Wellness: Affordable Spring-Break Retreats

blue-lagoon-price.jpg

Blue Lagoon — Grindavik, Iceland

Although Iceland may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of spring break, the country's abundance of all natural geothermal spas does make it a top candidate for anyone in need of a little rest and relaxation. Lauded as one of National Geographic's "25 Wonders of the World," the Blue Lagoon's mineral-rich geothermal seawater has developed an international reputation for its healing effects on the skin, and for good reason — the combination of naturally occurring minerals, silica, and algae are known to stimulate collagen synthesis, the process that gives skin its smooth, youthful appearance. The standard rate of €40 ($44) is a rather small price to pay for four hours in a 100-degree, nine million-liter fountain of youth.

Pura Vida Retreat & Spa — Alajuela, Costa Rica

Spanning more than seven acres 4,900 feet above sea level, Pura Vida Retreat and Spa is where you go to find peace in the clouds. The resort's customized three, five, and seven-night mind-body-spirit packages include everything from room accommodations and meals to yoga sessions, massages, eco-adventures, and guided coffee plantation hikes. They even throw in round trip airport transfers to boot. Package rates start as low as $655 per person and nightly rates start at $115.

Tassajara — Carmel Valley, California

Situated in a mountain valley just inland from the iconic Big Sur coast, Tassajara is one of the three practice communities that comprise the San Francisco Zen Center. If you're looking for a later break, beginning in April, Tassajara offers Engaging Earth Retreats with a special focus on nature, wildflowers, and the culinary arts. Whether you sign up for "Cooking and Gardening in the Heart of Tassajara" or the "Zen of Baking," you will have the opportunity to practice bringing the art of Zen more fully into your daily life as you grow more intimate with Tassajara's gardens and kitchen. Retreat rates start at $225.