Colombia-MICE is part of the Pelecanus Travel Group. We are located in Bogota, Colombia. We are specialized in corporate travel and all services around Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions.
In other blogs, we’ve shown you the wide offer found in Colombia in terms of meetings and business events venues. But what about incentive travel? Well, Colombia has everything you can imagine – and more.
Incentive trips are an ideal strategy to reward high-performing employees and motivate your staff in order to improve productivity and teamwork, which at the end of the day will be profitable for your company!
But what kind of incentive trips are possible in Colombia? Below are 32 examples of great experiences your team can enjoy in the main MICE Colombian cities.
Incentive trips in Bogota, Colombia
Bogota, as the capital city of Colombia and home to the main international airport of the country, is the starting point for most business travelers. Although it may give the impression of a cold, boring city in the Andes, Bogota is actually a cultural paradise full of surprises.
A city tour will bring out the contrast between the high, modern buildings and the preserved historic center La Candelaria, which is preferred by foreigners. The old town houses a good percentage of the local museums, universities, and cultural centers, besides the seat of the national government. And there are a lot of museums in the so-called South American Athens. So one of the activities here is a museum tour that will bring you on a journey through Colombian history, traditions, and forms of expression.
There is also the possibility to know the city center in more dynamic ways. A group bike tour is ideal when you want to visit the most iconic places in Bogota but time is limited. Other interesting ways to get acquainted with the local culture are through food and art. Fortunately, you can book a Bogota food tour or a graffiti tour! Plus, the finest restaurants are located in exclusive G and T zones.
Finally, climbing to the top of Monserrate mountain at 3,100 m (10,170 ft) asl is a must. Whether it is by cable car, ferry, or hiking, the panoramic view of the city from the Catholic sanctuary is worth it.
As fascinating as the city sounds, the surroundings of Bogota are even more exciting. Nature becomes the protagonist. Close towns such as La Calera, Chia, Zipaquira, Guatavita, and Suesca offer diverse incentives for hiking, partying, and even rock climbing. Depending on your motivations and needs, you could visit:
- Chingaza National Natural Park, where you get to know the precious Paramo ecosystem where the white-tailed deer and the Andean bear live,
- Andres Carne de Res, a restaurant/bar/club famous for its chaotic Colombian parties with delicious typical food and drinks,
- Zipaquira’s Salt Cathedral, a striking religious monument built in a salt mine 180 m (590 ft) below the earth,
- Guatavita Lagoon, a place of indigenous heritage and home to the well-known El Dorado legend,
- or Suesca, the place for climbing huge rocks below the bluest skies.
Incentive trips in Medellin, Colombia
Medellin attracts a lot of business tourists because of the thriving industry of science and innovation reflected on its infrastructure, but also because of the climate. It is known as the city of eternal spring for a reason.
Just like Bogota, Medellin is full of museums and parks that give life to the city. The Botero Museum, Antioquia Museum, Explora Park, and Modern Art Museum of Medellin are some of the most attractive ones you could visit. On the other hand, the Botanical Garden and Arví Park are the perfect destinations to connect with nature without getting out of the city. There, ecotourism activities are offered.
But those who prefer absorbing culture through the streets can go on a walking tour visiting the main attractions and tasting typical food. Or take a more specific tour to Comuna 13, a once problematic neighborhood affected by violence and crime that now proves what social cooperation and sustainable tourism can do to help communities flourish.
Antioquia department – where Medellin is located, has a picturesque architecture style and culture very distinguished from other regions. Paisas are quite driven people with extreme friendliness and no fear of obstacles. All of the traditions and symbols of the paisa culture can be found in Pueblito Paisa, a viewpoint and replica of the classic Antioquia town on top of a hill. However, you could choose to visit the actual towns of Jardin, Santa Fe de Antioquia, Jerico, or Fredonia, to name a few.
Last, for a little more adventure, a day trip to Guatape is the right choice. 2 hours by car from Medellin, Guatape is a colorful town with an artificial reservoir decorated with small ‘islands’. This landscape is well-appreciated from the top of El Peñol rock, a huge rock with over 700 steps. In the reservoir, water sports such as water skiing and fishing can be practiced.
Incentive trips in Cartagena, Colombia
Cartagena is probably the best-known Colombian city among tropical beaches lovers. Indeed, it could be described as a Caribbean paradise. Not only does this city in northern Colombia boast awesome beaches but it is packed with history. Founded in 1533, Cartagena keeps the colonization history alive thanks to its architecture and many museums.
The most visited place is the Walled City, the historic city center characterized by being enclosed by ramparts – as the name suggests. This was to protect the city from pirate attacks. This zone is colorful and romantic, many boutique hotels and fine restaurants are located there. Its historic and cultural importance even granted it the appointment as a World Heritage Site.
There you can also find museums such as the Inquisition Palace, the Zenu Gold Museum, the Modern Art Museum, the Naval Museum, among others. Whether on foot or by bike, you can see colonial buildings including churches such as the San Pedro Claver church and big old houses. But the city tour is not complete without a visit to the landmark of San Felipe Castle, which is a fortress as old as the city with an incredible history and view of the Caribbean sea. To complement the journey, there are several squares, parks, and markets full of exotic fruits that make the most refreshing juices perfect for the hot weather.
Of course, a trip to a coastal city cannot lack a beach day. Cartagena’s best beaches are on islands though. Tierra Bomba, Baru, and the Rosario Islands archipelago offer spectacular landscapes with clear waters, pristine nature, and a lot of fun activities to work on team-building.
Incentive trips in Cali, Colombia
The third-most populated city in Colombia sure knows how to entertain tourists. Located in the Pacific region, Cali is close to the western coast of the country but lies between 2 of the Andes mountains.
What is Cali known for? Salsa dancing. It actually is the world’s capital of salsa thanks to the unique twist local dancers give to this genre. Caleños are joyful and welcoming people that make every visitor feel at home. Obviously, they offer salsa workshops for inexperienced dancers in the many academies throughout the city and amazing shows at night.
Another trait of the Colombian Pacific is its delicious cuisine. This can be enjoyed in elegant restaurants… or the streets. San Antonio district is a special place for tasting regional and international gastronomy and interacting with locals. Nights in San Antonio hill mean handicrafts, traditional dishes and snacks, music, and street storytelling, altogether with a shocking view of the awakened Cali.
Moreover, nature destinations around Cali are unforgettable. Experiences in nature reserves include hiking, bird watching, water sports, wildlife observation, or just relaxation. The portfolio is long: Los Farallones, Bataclan, Km 18, Calima lake, San Cipriano, and Sonso lagoon are just a few of the green havens this region has to offer.
Incentive trips in the Coffee Triangle, Colombia
One thing that Colombia stands out is in coffee production. In the foothills of the Andes, three departments are among the highest-quality coffee producers in the country. Quindio, Caldas, and Risaralda house the cities of Armenia, Manizales, and Pereira respectively. This region is a haven for nature lovers who wish to get away from the bustling cities and connect with themselves in the middle of lush forests.
Certainly, most of the activities offered in the coffee triangle belong to the nature tourism sector. The essential one is a tour of a coffee farm where all the process from seed to cup is explained by the farmers themselves and you get to taste and recognize the flavor of authentic Colombian coffee. By interacting with these local families, one learns and enjoys a lot. Our two recommended farms are Hacienda Venecia in Caldas and Café San Alberto in Quindio.
Whoever visits the coffee region for an incentive trip should be prepared for adventure. Hiking is one of the most popular activities since there are a plethora of nature trails. The famous destination? Los Nevados National Natural Park, which is formed by 3 of Colombia’s remaining glaciers and other important ecosystems such as paramos and high Andean forests.
One of the most common entrances to the park is the well-known Cocora Valley, a forest of the huge Quindio wax palms, Colombian flagship tree. This is also a great choice when the travelers are not in the conditions to practice trekking in altitudes above 4,000 masl.
Now, to get to the valley you will have to start from Salento, a traditional town once only known by backpackers that is currently succumbing to the development brought by tourism. In any case, there are several other pretty historical towns worth being visited, some of which belong to the 17 Heritage Towns list of Colombia.
There is an option for calmer groups that prefer wellness and relaxation in the mild climate of this region. Thanks to the volcanic activity coming from these nevados, a wide range of hot springs are open to the public with exclusive plans packed with medicinal benefits. Spa resorts Santa Rosa de Cabal, Termales del Ruiz, and Termales del Otoño are some of the best you can find.
Last but not least, this zone is blessed with biodiversity. For this, birdwatchers – whether enthusiasts or professionals, love to go on trips to hear and observe some exotic yet beautiful species. Various lodges and birding hotspots are within the buffer zone of Los Nevados Park, so it is easier to combine all of the experiences above.
Incentive trips in Yopal, Colombia
Yopal, Casanare, as part of the vast plains in the Orinoco river basin, would be the Colombian version of the Wild West. This comparison is to give you an idea, although both places are unique. Basically, the Llanos are pure cowboy land. This region is flooded by several bodies of water surrounded by immense savannas that are home to millions of animals.
Traveling to the Llanos and not going on a Llanero safari is like not going at all. This excursion can be made on horseback or by 4×4 vehicles. Although you cannot find giraffes and rhinos, you will see large groups of capybaras, deer, giant otters, giant anteaters, colorful big birds, and even crocodiles. Of course, cattle could not be missing as it is the main economic activity of the region. El Encanto de Guanapalo is one of the most famous reserves that offer this kind of tour.
However, observing wild animals is not the only choice. You also get to live like a local cowboy and learn their chores as you get familiar with their culture! You will see how cattle ranching is not an easy job and you will be lucky to taste the local delicacies – mostly made of meat, of course. For this, consider Hato Los Deseos.
This is just an overview of all the possible incentive trips you can enjoy in Colombia. But it is enough to spark your interest in traveling to Colombia with your company. For more information or a tailor-made trip, contact us.