The Gulf Islands are known as a destination for a healthy, active lifestyle, and people here value relaxation and wellness. Visitors can experience the laid-back vibe and relaxed lifestyle residents of the Gulf Islands cherish by enjoying some of the magical health and wellness opportunities available.

There are several spas on the Gulf Islands, along with health retreats and resorts that offer everything from five-star pampering to boot-camp fitness vacations. Understand that these are not the urban day spas you'll find in larger cities; they are often near the water or in the wilderness, feature stunning ocean or rainforest views where visitors can truly unplug. Some spa treatments incorporate local ingredients, such as seaweed, wine, berries and cedar trees.

At Poets Cove Resort & Spa on Pender Island, enjoy waves of relaxation while sitting in a sandstone cave under a waterfall. At Galiano Island Oceanfront Spa Resort every room has a wood-burning fireplace and an ocean view. The resort's spa - Madrona del Mar - focuses on healing and elevating the spirit through indigenous treatments such as the Blueberry Sugar Body Polish, Blackberry Vino Therapy Massage and the Wild British Columbia Seaweed Glacial Clay Masque. With the sounds of the sea as gentle backdrop, you can enjoy a massage in a treatment room or in an outdoor cabana by the sea.

Planning a wellness retreat on the Gulf Islands is not limited to the spa experience. It's easy to craft a custom getaway that combines relaxing with activities such as hiking, yoga or kayaking. Flying Dreams Aerial Arts Productions on Salt Spring Island allows visitors defy gravity in an aerial hammock. Their aerial yoga class is a fusion of yoga and low-flying aerial arts and is purported to increase flexibility and mobility, strengthen core muscles, improve circulation, and decompress the spine through the gentle traction of inversion techniques. It's also your chance to feel like a circus acrobat!

When developing his property, Galiano artist Steve Ocsko (who has since passed away) excavated giant slabs of rock, some weighing as much as four tonnes. Rather than paying to have the incredibly heavy stones shipped away, he arranged them around the property in a Stonehenge-like manner with impressive results. Known locally as "Stoneworld", it's where he completed much of his beautiful stone carving work and where visitors can feel transported to another place. His partner Barbara Gearey's photography, which is displayed onsite, is also stunning.

The activities and spas noted in this blog are just a snapshot of the range of ways visitors can engage their health, wellness and spirituality on the Gulf Islands. For more information, be sure to visit our listings and check other blogs in this series.

Health, Wellness and Spirituality