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Exploring CIVANA

CIVANA Carefree

The Valley’s first—and only—sustainable wellness resort offers a place to relax and recharge

By Michelle Glicksman

Nestled in the desert in Carefree sits CIVANA, the Valley’s first sustainable wellness resort. Stunning in its scenery and sleek, stylish décor, the destination draws travelers from around the world, as well as locals looking for a place to relax and recharge.

The resort is dedicated to overall wellness, and the difference begins the moment you enter the lobby.


With modern touches and soothing hues, the tension and stress begin to melt away as you enter the resort. There’s a soothing feel to the property that somehow induces an exhale.

There are fitness rooms, a spa, restaurants, pools, firepits, and quiet and stunning surrounding desert scenery.

The resort was designed to offer “a regenerating experience to a wide audience of wellness travelers, as well as those simply looking for a serene and healthy getaway.”

How does it do that? Through four pillars: movement, spa, nourishment and discovery.


CIVANA offers a large array of complimentary movement and fitness classes. Each day there is a menu of classes to choose from, including options such as Tai Chi & Qigong, Aerial Yoga, Culinary Clinic, Myofascial Release, Gentle Yoga, Angel Meditation, Sound Healing, Sears Kay Ruin Hike and Indoor Cycling—and so many others.

During my stay I tried the Meditation class, Angel Messages class, and had a reading on animal spirits. The readings were incredibly interesting and spot-on (I’d share, but it was personal!).

Private classes and programs are also available for a separate fee, including for equine coaching, fitness classes, art classes and more. 


The Spa at CIVANA is set in its own building, and includes a hydrotherapy thermal circuit of hot and cold pools, a waterfall shower, treatment rooms, and a sanarium. There is also a salon located in the building.

The treatment options include bodywork, facials, massage therapies, therapeutic massages, energy and Eastern therapies, spa journeys for two, and body and water therapies.

I tried the Energy Aligning Chi Signature Massage, a blissful 80 minutes of massage and aromatherapy that helps restore Chi.

In addition to the amenities mentioned above, the Spa also has its own private outdoor pool, which is a perfect place to relax amidst quiet calm.


CIVANA offers what it calls “conscious cuisine” throughout the property’s two restaurants, which utilize seasonal, local ingredients. At Café Meto, find a menu that offers breakfast, lunch and snack options that include gluten-free, grain-free, vegetarian, vegan, anti-inflammatory, and gut-friendly options such as salads, wraps, smoothies and grain bowls. Sit at one of the indoor or outdoor tables, or grab food to go. There are also fresh juices available.

Terras is the main restaurant and offers breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as a kids’ menu and pool menu. Led by Executive Chef Justin Macy, it offers farm-to-table, veggie-forward meals that are flavorful and nutritious. Lunch includes salads, sandwiches and wraps, and for dinner there are choices that include the Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb, Chili Honey Glazed Salmon and Shiitake Mushroom Spinach Stir Fry.

Those who are looking for the next level in experiences can book the Chef’s Table (advance notice required), where Chef Macy will prepare a special four-course, wine-paired dinner.

There are also cooking classes, open to both guests staying at CIVANA as well as the public. Learn about sustainable juicing, how to make cocktails, bake healthy desserts, or about the journey of wine from grape to glass. These classes have a small fee.


The minds behind CIVANA hope that the combination of setting and offerings will help guests on the path to change, growth and discovery.

For me, I appreciated the time to let go of stress and clear my mind. I enjoyed the conversations I had with others and the exploration of ideas through the wellness classes. I left a little more self-aware, and a lot less stressed. Perfect.

CIVANA is located at 37220 Mule Train Road, Carefree; 480.653.9000;



Michelle Glicksman is editor-in-chief of Green Living Magazine and a frequent travel writer. Follow her on Instagram at @michelleglicksman.

Photos by Lisa Dieterich Photography/CIVANA


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