Review of Villa Ananda: Ayurveda Health Retreat & Spa in Mexico


My Panchakarma Experience in Mexico

Ayurveda, the “science of life” in Sanskrit, is more than medicine. It is a roadmap to a “good” life in every sense of the word.


10 Ayurveda Tips I Learned

Everyone who works at Villa Ananda has studied Panchakarma in India (the hardcore way), for years. They are die-hard and know their stuff inside and out. Here are a few of the principles they taught me during my stay:

  1. Ginger is a natural antibiotic. It also helps with digestion if you eat a few slices of fresh ginger about 10 minutes before your meal. This helps fuel the “fire” in your belly, which can then more easily digest your food.
  2. Don’t drink liquid during your meal, as it puts out the digestive “fire”.
  3. Some foods should not be mixed, as it’s harder to digest, such as sweet and savory, or raw and cooked. These should be eaten at least an hour apart.
  4. Everything in health begins with digestion.
  5. Cilantro will help with skin and acne, and natural chelation (ie. it pulls toxins and heavy metals from your body).
  6. Helichrysum is good for getting rid of scars. It’s a common medicine used in Mexico, and it’s effective.
  7. Turmeric pills will help with digestion and overall health.
  8. Drink a jug of water every day. Add some lemon to make it detoxifying. If you’re weaning yourself off of sugary drinks, you can sweeten it with honey or maple syrup (yes, I added that last part).
  9. Rose Geranium balances hormones.
  10. When foods are as close to their state in nature as possible, that’s when they deliver the most potent nutrition.
My Panchakarma Experience in Mexico

The many essential oils and herbs that are mixed specifically for your needs and added to treatments.

The Yoga & Ayurveda Health Spa Experience

If you’re coming to detox, the process can involve anything from a day visit to a three-week-long stay in one of the spa’s two oceanfront casitas, each decorated simply in a serene palate and natural fibers reminiscent of the Greek Islands. On casita has a Queen size bed, and the other has two double beds, each with a small but beautiful bathroom with an open shower and windows.

My Panchakarma Experience in Mexico

Morning yoga in the health spa

Each day begins with herbal tea and Yoga Meditation practice in a sunny yoga room overlooking the ocean, with easy stretching poses demonstrated by one of the therapists. Treatments that follow may include herbal colon cleansing, aromatherapy steam, skin brushing, tandem Ayurveda massage, Chakra balancing and Shirodhara. The day begins at 8:00 am and finishes around 3:00 PM with afternoons free to rest, relax, swim, read, journal, whale-watch or walk on the beach. 

Ayurveda can be a lifetime study, and frequently is in India, and a review like this one can do no more than provide the merest glimpse into what, for most Westerners, is another world of physical and spiritual experience. And speaking of Westerners, if you prefer more conventional treatments in combination with Ayurveda, or on their own, Villa Ananda offers a full spa menu from mud wraps to aromatherapy massages and organic facials. As it was explained to us, the intent is to provide “wellness in a spa atmosphere.”

With my hubby, before our sweat lodge treatment on the beach

My Panchakarma Experience in Mexico

Another guest: a New York Times reporter

The concept of authentic Ayurvedic wellness in a spa atmosphere with Indian-trained and qualified therapists is one that seems sure to catch on. Then again, judging by the fact that the “Olsen Twins” were occupying our casita up until we arrived, maybe it already has.


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A writer, artist, and designer since she was young enough to put pencil to paper, Hilary taught herself code and created Urbanette when she was a teenager. Currently, she spends most of her time traveling around Europe, with pied-a-terre's in Zurich, London, Milan and Lyon, France. Hilary spent the past decade living in NYC, still considers herself a New Yorker, and visits regularly. She's always looking for hot new topics, destinations, and life hacks to bring to Urbanette readers.

Reader Discussion: 52 Comments

  1. Rachel Adams

    wow! what a great destination. thanks for the heads up 😀 will try and visit here soon.

  2. I fell in love with papaya the first time I came to Mexico. In England, it always seemed bland and boring. There, it is fresh, juicy and delicious. 🙂

  3. Katherine Swift

    When I was a little girl, the women in my family taught me the importance of “me-time.” I remember when they would all go off to the spa together, and how much more relaxed and accessible my mom was when she returned. That was only the beginning of my interest in the spa industry. Reading this article was a blast for me. I just book my flight to Mexico and I will definitely try the spa there 🙂

    • ysabelle raven

      I remember when I was little. whenever my mom and dad fight, my dad would immediately hold my mom’s hand and go somewhere. when I grew up I learned that whenever they argue on something they talk about it in a spa. and somehow when they get home it feels as though they save the world or something with the look of pleasure on their faces. and that’s how my siblings are born hahaha

  4. Isabella Jones

    I would love to do my yoga there. I can’t tell you how many times I have almost lost my cool and psychically eviscerated someone who made me mad, but instead, I took a deep breath and remained calm. The ability to react to aggression with peace has drastically improved my relations with others and decreased my stress. The more I connect to my breath, the clearer I think, and that not only makes me a better person, but also a more patient parent. Fine yoga and a very nice place like this is perfect! I will go there soon.

  5. Carla Peters

    Mexico is one of the most affordable international vacations you can take. A number of airlines that fly to Mexico have travel packages that can make the overall trip more affordable — I just booked one. A good tip is this: Trips are especially affordable when not around any major holidays, as there is less of a demand to fly there. I am really looking forward to have my vacation in Mexico 🙂

  6. Francis Lockwood

    I love Villa Ananda. Its an ideal place for a vacation within the greens of exotic Himalayas. Very nice hospitality with a personal touch. Accommodation, food, spa, surroundings, ambiance, yoga sessions, mini golf course, gym and the friendly dancing peacocks in the lawns are all superb. A ‘must visit’ place.

  7. Kimberly Shaw

    I also love mexican food aside from the beautiful attraction it has. It’s not a surprise that there are Mexican restaurants all around the world, especially in the big metropolitan cities. Most of the dishes have their own history of how they were created, like the Mole sauce, which was made at the Convent of Santa Rosa in Puebla when the convent nuns heard that the archbishop was going to visit them. My favorite dish is called tostadas, which is a hard tortilla with beans spread over it and lettuce, tomato, cheese and cream on top; so it’s basically a salad in a tortilla. Some of the most well known Mexican dishes around the world include mole poblano, tamales, tortas and, of course, tacos.

  8. May Baker

    I spent half a year in Mexico and felt far safer than I did during my three months vacation in the US beforehand. There’s a visible police presence anywhere – the authorities don’t want bad things to happen to visitors any more than the visitors do. I will definitely go back and try Villa Ananda.

  9. I have been to Mexico two more times with family and once backpacking as a solo traveler. With every trip, I have fallen more and more in love with this beautiful country!

  10. Connie Schmidt

    I love that photo of you!

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