New environments and challenging activities coupled with meditative moments can naturally strengthen relationships, inspire innovative ideas, and facilitate skills development.
1. MANITOBA: Polar bear trek in the tundra
Send your team to the wild in style. Accessible only by bush plane, Churchill Wild’s remote eco-lodges in northern Manitoba are ideal for small groups seeking a balance of wilderness and wellness activities in a cozy environment with ample space for strategy meetings around the fireplace, yoga along the riverbanks, and breakout sessions on the deck. Explore the tundra on foot with an expert guide and share the heart-stopping thrill of spotting polar bears in their natural environment. Gather ‘round the dinner table for hearty, home-cooked Canadian comfort foods and evening presentations (be sure to keep an eye on the landscape outside — Churchill Wild is the only company with eco-lodges from which guests can spot polar bears from the lodge, and you may catch one sauntering by while you are seated inside). Then head out on the deck or up to the watchtower and recharge under the enchanting energy of the Northern Lights.
2. LOS ANGELES (AND BEYOND): Embrace the unknown
Do you ever get the feeling you have no idea what you’re doing or where you’re going? That might pose a problem in the office, but it could help build bonds when your entire team is in the same boat. Los Angeles-based Mystery Trip encourages you to embrace the unknown with an experiential activity that is kept a secret from participants until the moment it starts. Embark on an adventure where no one — except the Mystery Trip staff and, to some extent, the group leader — knows exactly where they are going or what they are doing. “Keeping everyone in the dark creates a group experience that begins even before the event begins,” founder and Chief Mysterious Officer Dave Green explains.” It organically lowers walls between participants, allowing them to connect on a higher level.” Mystery Trip plans customized activities across the United States, and past participants have found themselves recreating the “We Are the World” video in the studio where it was originally recorded, performing a flash mob in Venice Beach, and producing a fake sitcom intro. You never know where you might end up — and that’s precisely what makes this teambuilding activity unlike any other.
3. SOUTH AFRICA: Bush boardrooms
Leave the A/V equipment behind, hop on a jeep, and take your meeting into the African bush. Sabi Sabi creates “bush boardrooms” — safari-style meetings the Sabi Sand Reserve for teams that want to get out of the office and into the wild. They can arrange a picnic lunch for daytime meetings out in the bush or South African sparkling wine for sundown celebrations. All bush boardroom activities are, of course, accompanied by highly trained driver-guides armed with extensive knowledge of the wildlife roaming the area — such as lions, leopards, and elephants — and a watchful eye, so you can conduct your meeting in the wild without worry.
4. COLORADO: Survival skills and a ghost town takeover
Book a wintertime retreat at Vista Verde Ranch and spend time together in the great outdoors developing survival skills such as snow cave building and orienteering the backcountry on snowshoes. Or, if your meeting warrants an exclusive town takeover complete with log cabins, Olympian-designed ski trails, heli-transfers, and horse-drawn sleighs, rent out Dunton Hot Springs, an 1800’s ghost-town-turned-hot-springs-resort tucked into the San Juan Mountains of the Colorado Rockies. Take your all-female teams to new heights with an ice climbing clinic led by Chicks with Picks in Ouray — the only dedicated all-female ice climbing clinic in the U.S.A.
5. CENTRAL INDIA: Tigers and jungle treehouses
A trek through the jungle in search of stealthy tigers provides the perfect ingredients for an unforgettable team-building activity: trust, communication, patience, adrenaline, and adventure outside the office and your comfort zone. Such an exhilarating shared experience fuses bonds and inspires creativity that can recalibrate and inspire your team. Pugdundee Safaris offers tiger walking safaris at Denwa Backwater Escape - Satpura, where you’ll also find contemporary safari-style accommodations and outdoor areas that can be transformed into candlelit bush barbeques under the stars. For teams keen on tiger safaris with a treetop stay, Pugdundee also arranges jeep safaris near their treehouse lodges, Pench Tree Lodge and Treehouse Hideaway Bandhavgarh.
6. ALBERTA: Caving and heli-hiking in the Canadian Rockies
Challenge your team to the extremes in Alberta, without sacrificing creature comforts and world-class dining. Get down to earth with Canmore Cave Tours, where crawling, shimmying, and sliding through caves requires more than courage — your group will exercise their communication, teamwork, and problem-solving skills here. Canmore Cave Tours operate year-round; book in the shoulder season (late March to mid-June and late September through mid-December) to avoid the summer and ski season crowds. Or take your exclusive retreat straight to the top with a stay at one of the heli-access-only CMH lodges. Get your blood pumping on a via ferrata climb or high alpine heli-hike (heli-skiing if you’re planning a winter visit) in the pristine and rugged setting, then return to the lodge and harness that amped energy into a strategy session.
7. COSTA RICA: Adrenaline highs and volcano vibes
The team that sweats together stays together. You’ll find endless opportunities to engage in high adrenaline and high relaxation activities in Costa Rica — creating the ideal chemistry for bonding and for business. Take your team out to hike the lava fields at the base of Arenal Volcano, rappel a 200-foot waterfall in the Lost Canyon, or take the leap into Gravity Falls. Trade your desk chairs for stand-up paddleboards and head for Lake Arenal where Blue Butterfly Events creates out-of-the-box (paddle)board meetings with a splash of pura vida (meaning “pure life,” a common phrase, attitude, and lifestyle in Costa Rica). Wrap up your evening with a strategy session while soaking in the mineral-rich thermal hot springs. Or book a tailor-made, intimate retreat at Kinkara, located at the foot of Mount Chirripo, where you can push your limits with a sweat lodge session and cold river plunge, then reset with sound healing and meditation. The highs and lows of these types of rush and relax activities naturally spark new ideas, so be sure to schedule in time for reflection and team brainstorming.
Photo Credit: Cheryl Hnatiuk, courtesy of Churchill Wild