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Three Cities, One Adventure
The great thing about time is that when it passes things change. As the years go by countries change as well. They often become more modernized, crime goes down or up and their economies fluctuate. One country that has been transformed in recent years is Colombia. Once ridden by drug trafficking and a criminalized government, Colombia has worked hard over the years to change the image it once had. Made wildly popular by television series along with its beautiful landscapes and safe environment, people are now flocking to this diverse and magnificent country. The Maxcel team decided that the timing was perfect for us to travel south and absorb much of what this country has to offer to better serve our clients.
We knew it was going to be tough deciding on which cities to visit. Colombia’s geography is very different in each part of the country. From snow covered volcanos and the Andes Mountains to the tropical beaches in the west and north to beautiful jungles and forests, this country has it all. The team decided on Bogota for the beautiful mountains and vibrant city, Pereira for the lush coffee region with great outdoor activities and Cartagena for the tropical climate, beautiful beaches and ancient walled city.
Bogota was the coldest destination with annual temperatures ranging between 46F – 67F. One of our favorite stops while in Bogota was Monserrate. We took a winding road up a small mountain to the suburb of Monserrate. From there we took a cable car that transferred us to an even higher point on the mountain. Once you arrive there are breathtaking views of the city and a beautiful cathedral. Situated at the top were booths selling authentic Colombian cuisine made by locals as well as a variety of artisan crafts. Other places to visit in the city included Plaza de Bolivar with its beautiful cathedrals and buildings with rich history, la Candelaria, bustling with popular restaurants and a lively nightlife, and the Gold Museum.
Next, our research took us to Pereira. It is the dense coffee region in Colombia located at the foothills of the Andes Mountains. When in the coffee region visiting a coffee farm is one of the top priorities. Our visit was to Café San Alberto Hacienda. We tasted several different types of coffees as well as learned about the history of coffee. We had a full tour of the coffee region, lunch in Bosques del Cocora Donde Juan B. and hiking at Valle del Cocora. We didn’t even scratch the surface of all the offerings this region of Colombia offers.
Last, we took a short flight to Cartagena. One of the most vibrant cities in Colombia, it is a melting pot of locals and foreigners. Colorful buildings and homes line the streets, people are walking everywhere, and you’ll hear just about any language imaginable. We walked the streets of la Ciudad Amurallada, or the Walled City, during the day and at night took a carriage ride. We admired the lovely clock tower that is a landmark of the city, Carriage Plaza, cathedrals, and stopped at the rustic shopping area called Bovedas to pick up souvenirs. One of the things you must do while in Cartagena is take the hour long boat ride out to the Rosario Islands. The crystal blue water is a sight to be seen!
Colombia is an enchanting country with friendly locals, amazing cuisine, rich history, and an enthralling atmosphere. When it came time to pack our bags and head home we did not want our trip to end. Let us plan your next meeting or incentive trip to go above and beyond your expectations. The team at The Maxcel Company can help with any event no matter the magnitude and complexity involved. Please give us a call and we will be happy to discuss options regarding your next conference, convention, incentive trip or special interest group trip.
This summer could set a record for air travel, but packed airports don't have to put a damper on your vacation.
With low ticket fares and stable gasoline prices, more people could be taking to the skies than ever before.
Airlines are bracing for a potentially record breaking summer, with as many as 234 million passengers traveling from June 1 through Aug. 31, according to trade group Airlines for America. The previous record of 225 million passengers was set in the same period last summer.
“There’s never been a better time to fly,” David Lee, managing director of economics for Airlines for America, told Travel + Leisure. “And I say that with a straight face because if you look at trends in airfares over time, it’s really cheap relatively speaking.”
Air travel has become more accessible to a greater number of people over the past decade, as budget airlines like Spirit Airlines and Ryanair have become more well-known while offering a greater number of destinations. At the same time, as the economy has grown stronger and unemployment dropped, more people have more disposable income.
But more people traveling can also mean more stress at the airport. So before you take off on your next vacation, here are some tips to alleviate common airport headaches.
Sign up for TSA Pre-Check or Global Entry
Pre-Check and Global Entry give enrolled travelers access to expedited security screening, speeding up the tedious process that can take up to hours in crowded airports. TSA recommends this service for passengers who fly round-trip three or more times a year.
Since the process takes a little while, it might not help on an immediate trip, but just imagine how happy you'll be on your next trip, when you don't have to take off your shoes at airport security.
Get there (really) early
It seems like an obvious piece of advice, but giving yourself extra time to go through security and get settled is especially important when the rush of summer travel hits. Plan to arrive two hours in advance for domestic flights, and three hours ahead for international flights, and relax when you'd otherwise be rushing.
Be ready for new security guidelines
The TSA is testing out new security screening measures that require passengers to remove all electronics larger than a phone from their carry-on bags before going through security. While the measures are still in a testing phase, if the TSA decides to expand the measures, they will be put in place in time for summer. Pack appropriately.
Get some help from technology
Apps for everything from finding free Wi-Fi to getting access to a lounge can make your summer travel experience relaxing from start to finish.
Traveling on Tuesday and Wednesday is not only historically cheaper on domestic fares, but it can also save passengers time in the airport as it is a less popular time to travel than over the weekend.