If you're looking to add a little magick to your next vacation, not all roads lead to Salem. Around the world, cultures have been practicing different variations of magick and healing for centuries, and many of their traditions are still around today. Of course, we can all agree relaxing on a beach with the waves slowly lapping in the distance is ideal. But what if you could couple it with a little healing for the soul as well? Isn't every vacation meant to take care of both body and mind? We've traveled the globe to find five unusual vacation destinations that will leave you feeling both refreshed and enlightened. From the deep forests of Brocken in Germany to the serene shores of Siquijor in the Philippines, there's a locale for every taste. Ready for an adventure? Take a dip into the cultural waters below.
Located in the south of Mexico within the state of Veracruz, Catemaco is a drop-dead gorgeous location, notable not just for its rainforests and sizeable lake (which is said to emit its own energy), but also its brujos, a community of (mostly male) sorcerers whose roots are steeped in the pre-Columbian period. Their magical practices are a mixture of those long-ago rituals as well as Catholic rites, with people seeking limpias (ritual cleansings), healing, or even a little something extra to help them with business dealings.
The main event every year is the Congreso Nacional de Brujas de Catemaco, officially known as Ritos, Ceremonias y Artesanías Mágicas (Magical Rituals, Ceremonies, and Handicrafts), which attracts about 200 shamans, healers, herbalists, psychics, fortune tellers... and about 5,000 visitors. Held on the first Friday of March, the three-day event begins with a "black mass" on the edge of Lake Catemaco, and the hours just after the event are best to seek out a shaman, as it is believed they are most powerful after the mass purification. Beware of con artists who claim to be authentic brujos, and take the time to find an authentic practitioner.
Beyond the fest, the area also offers loads of beautiful surroundings including Isla de los Monos (Monkey Island), which is home to stump-tailed macaques originally from Thailand. On the northeastern shore of the lake, in the rainforest of Reserva Ecolólogica de Naciyaga, you can take part in a shamanic-style "spiritual cleansing" or dip in a spa of mineral mud.