Maybe it was when you were floating in the fresh turquoise waters, looking up at 165 ft. of vibrant vines, hanging from cenote walls against bright blue skies.
Or during that last bite of morning chillequeles, prepared by your in-house cocinera.
Maybe it happened during your massage, exhaling onto the white sand, underneath sun rays and palm tree sways, or maybe it wasn’t above the ground at all — but under the sea, swimming with the fish along the MesoAmerican reef.
Maybe it was while you laughed, stretched, let go, with strangers? friends? who knew anymore — on your private catamaran, or when you discovered land at a little island somewhere along the way.
Or just feet up in a hammock at the Villas, Aperol spritz in hand, because who really needs any more than that?
Whenever that moment hit, you knew this was how you wanted to spend your days off.
DOWU (Days Off With Us), is a lifestyle brand launching out of Riviera Maya’s lesser-known fisherman town of Puerto Morelos, aiming to change the way we look at our vacation time— and changing the game for experiencing the area with ease.
This November, I joined in on their first-ever retreat — The Tropical Gathering — creating memories to last a lifetime.
From the moment you arrive at Cancun airport, Founders Bai + Bri have captured every detail, and not in that kitschy all-inclusive resort kind of way.
Meals, personally prepped and prepared by Straight to Source private Chef Bailey Jeann, and activities carefully curated by Cancun native Briana Gomez, starting each day from her family Villas.
Leave your worries (and you’re wallet) behind. Once you’re here, it’s all covered.
The Tropical Gathering
The Tropical Gathering retreat was a 7-day escape in paradise, practicing two schools of yoga (Vinyasa + Bhakti), massages under the palms (Swedish + Thai), and adventure through authentic local experiences like a traditional sweat lodge journey, visit to new world wonder Chichen-Itza, and floating the day away through ancient trade canals in Muyil — not. bad.
There was plenty of mix of down time and experience, diving the reefs in the Caribbean Sea, keeping it low-key luxe oceanside in Playa del Carmen, or bossing out on a private catamaran to the area’s most beautiful Isla Mujeres.
Whether you’re bouncing around the Riviera for activities, or witnessing the incredible sunrises and starlit nights on your own back patio at the villas, the activities the DOWU girls put together give you a true local’s look at the best of the Riviera (along with some of Bri’s amazing stories of growing up here) — without ever having to lift a planning finger!
And, if the day’s itinerary sounds too intense (which trust me — you’re going to want to do it all), you can always hang back with your cocinera at the Villas and enjoy some solo time.
This is your vacation, after all!
Villas + Future DOWU Retreats
The villas are your home base, with room options ranging from a poolside two-story solo suite with it’s own patio and kitchen fit for a King, bunk beds to take in the experience between sleepovers with your favorite (or new!) friends, or anything in between.
You choose the vibe that fits you best.
And speaking of new friends — each retreat will have a different vibe and theme, with a range of 8-18 people. There is a pre-retreat application and survey, to be sure that everyone’s on the same page.
Don’t worry about stepping solo into a new group of people — DOWU’s whole theme is “cultivating the art of bringing people together,” so Bai + Bri have plenty in store to create a lasting bond between your group.
As always, the people can end up being the best part. :)
I’m seriously so stoked about the DOWU mission and hope you’ll jump in to experience a retreat for yourself!
Here are some of my favorite snaps from a 7 day escape into paradise with DOWU:
Ready for a break? DOWU is now accepting applications for it’s next retreat — “Refresh” — Jan 20-26 following BPM Music Festival. Come for a weekend or stay the whole time, with their flexible open door schedule.
“Don’t get so busy making a living, that you forget to make a life.”
currently exploring was proudly welcomed as a DOWU partner. All opinions are my own.