McMaster University

DCSxEMP: Destination Colombia

Project Basics

With the growing-number of aspiring professionals looking to work in emerging markets upon graduation, the need for a well-rounded international education is becoming increasingly critical. Specifically, knowing what it means to live and work in a developing country gives you the tools you need to work with organizations internationally.

Take advantage of this trip – it’s not only an incredible opportunity to learn, but it may just be your first step to finding your international dream job. It is an opportunity to learn more about yourself, an incredible culture, and meet some incredible people along the way. The first few days may be intimidating, but you will learn to adapt quickly with the fantastic group that you’re traveling with. We can’t wait to show you what some of the world’s fastest growing countries have to offer! Now get ready, it’s almost time for take off!

Explore Medellin, Bogota, the Coffee Triangle, Cartagena
Departure Mon May 14 | Only 16 People Accepted!*
Check out what’s included here


2018/03/01 11:59:59
About Colombia

A country that has been transforming over the past decade, Colombia has become a Latin American powerhouse for business, innovation, and entrepreneurship.

What’s Included

Round-Trip Flight to Colombia**

Company visits and presentations

All breakfasts and meals listed

Hotel Accommodations in 3+ star hotels

All scheduled activities in the itinerary

Learning package prior to departure and swag bag

Inter-country transportation

Local guides (day and evening)

Support whenever you need us




Medellin, once home to the notorious Pablo Escobar, has reinvented itself as an innovative city attracting visitors, tourists, and business. It is Colombia’s second largest city and was named ‘the most innovative city in the world’ in 2013. Its modern architecture mixed with out-of-the-box solutions for reducing poverty and inclusion has resulted in the city becoming a model for other developing nations looking to solve similar issues. When visiting Medellin, you will enjoy a beautiful city nestled in the Andes mountain, interact with a diverse population, and meet the incredibly friendly people of Medellin.


Bogota is Colombia’s capital, the largest metropolitan area, and the main economic and industrial centre of the country. With more and more countries investing in Colombia, Bogota has transformed into a melting pot of people from around the world. Bogota is the Colombian headquarters for many international firms looking to set up operations in the country. You will be greeted by a vibrant cosmopolitan city with some of the best nightlife, restaurants, hotspots (and most fashionable people) that Colombia has to offer.

Coffee Triangle

Discover Colombian coffee, one of the world’s best and a major export of Colombia. The Colombian coffee landscape, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, has unique geographic qualities resulting in a cup of coffee characterized by a medium-high acidity, round body, good balance and pronounced aroma. You will also visit the Cocora valley located at an altitude between 2000 and 2400m (6.500 and 7.900ft). This cloud forest is part of the Los Nevados National Natural Park and is the principal location of the national tree and symbol of Colombia, the Quindío wax palm. You will be truly amazed by the natural beauty of this rural region!


Cartagena, once a city visited by pirates and a storage place for stolen gold, is now a city that has been transformed into a modern tourist destination. South Americans and vacationers from around the world visit this exotic Caribbean destination known for its beaches, tropical climate, and historic gated city. The city is home to entrepreneurs and business professionals alike fueled particularly by its tourism industry. The city has also become a meeting area for major politicians around the world.

Major Industries
Key industries that keep the economic running are: textiles, oil, minerals, flowers, coffee, tropical fruits, and clothing. You will discover some of these main industries during your project and understand what makes a powerhouse in South America.


Day One – Flying to Colombia

Flying across the world is not only exciting but also gives you lots of time to catch up on sleep, watch movies, meet other EMP travelers and brush up on your Spanish. Arrive at Medellin’s International Airport, clear all immigration and customs formalities and meet your project representative in the arrival area of the airport. Transfer you to your city hotel.

Meals Included: Dinner


Day Two in Medellin – Exploring the City

The guided tour of Medellín starts at Pueblito Paisa, from where you can enjoy a wonderful view 300ft above the city. The next destination is the historical centre of Medellín. Listen to local musicians playing traditional Guasca music at Parque Berrio. Then visit the Plaza Botero, where you will see famous sculptures by renowned Colombian artist Fernando Botero. The tour continues through the busy streets of downtown Medellín visiting both the Parque Bolivar and the central business district. Immerse yourself in the exciting story of the transformation of Medellín from being once known as one of the most dangerous cities in the world to a bustling, innovative cultural hub.

Meals Included: Breakfast


Day Three and Four in Medellin – Discover Business

You will have the chance to visit a local or international business, visit a university, and attend cultural activities integration during these two days. From learning South American business etiquette to the basics of Spanish, you will continue to surround yourself with the country’s bright culture.

In the evening, you will discover the botanical garden “Joaquín Antonio Uribe” contain a must-see collection of orchids. Here you will enjoy a lovely dinner in a unique ambiance.

Meals Included (Day Three): Breakfast || Dinner
Meals Included (Day Four): Breakfast


Day Five in Medellin – Driving to the Coffee Triangle

In the morning, you will head to the traditional town of Fredonia, an isolated village southwest of Medellín. You will continue driving through the fascinating landscape of the Andes mountains until reaching the Cauca River, where you will meet traditional gold washers and discover their daily work. In the afternoon you will visit an organic chocolate farm and learn more about cacao.

Meals Included: Breakfast || Dinner


Day Six in the Coffee Triangle- Discover Coffee

From your traditional Finca in Támesis you follow the narrowing valley of the Río Cauca until you reach the gentle hills of the coffee zone.

During this visit, you will learn everything about Colombian coffee, known as some of the world’s best. The Colombian coffee landscape declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO has unique geographic qualities, resulting in a cup of coffee characterized by a medium-high acidity, round body, good balance, and pronounced aroma. Visiting the coffee farm will follow the process of growing, harvesting, and peeling of the beans. Learn about the particular attributes of Colombian coffee through a delicious sensorial trip. By the end of the session, you will be able to recognise coffee beans according to their characteristics.

Meals Included: Breakfast || Dinner


Day Seven in the Coffee Triangle- Cocora Valley

You will visit the Cocora valley located at an altitude between 6,500 and 7,900ft. This cloud forest is part of the Los Nevados National Natural Park and the principal location of the national tree and symbol of Colombia, the Quindío wax palm. The journey 60-minute hike will bring you through the luscious hills of the valley. Following this, enjoy a well-deserved lunch at a local restaurant. Opt for the traditional Trucha al ajillo (grilled trout in garlic sauce) or some of the many other options. Afterwards, you will visit the charming town of Salento. Explore its easily walkable streets and venture down the Calle Real the el mirador (look-out point) Alto de la Cruz. This view offers breathtaking views of the Cocora valley and the many mountains of the Los Nevados National Natural Park.

Meals Included: Breakfast || Lunch || Dinner


Day Eight in Bogota – Exploring the City

Start the day with a city tour through both modern and the historical Bogotá. You will see the most important constructions from the colonial era in La Candelaria, the old town of Bogotá, as well as the government district around Plaza Bolívar with its Cathedral, Palace of Justice, Parliament, and Town Hall. The Gold Museum is a highlight, with its unique collection of pre-Colombian gold jewellery.

Meals Included: Breakfast

Meals Included: Breakfast || Lunch || Dinner


Day Nine in Bogota – A Day of Your Own

This day is free time for you! Choose to relax, take part in an optional activity or explore Bogota with your group.

Meals Included: Breakfast


Day Ten and Eleven in Bogota – Learn about Business Culture

You will have the chance to either visit a local or international business, an embassy, a university and attend cultural activities during these two days. From learning South American business etiquette to the basics of Spanish, you will continue to surround yourself by the country’s bright culture.

At the end of your Bogota journey, you will fly out to Cartagena.

Meals Included: Breakfast


Day Twelve in Cartagena – Exploring the City

Start exploring this colonial town at the hill of La Popa. At this highest point of Cartagena, Augustinian monks built a monastery in the 16th century. From here, you have a perfect view of the bay of Cartagena and the most important colonial port city of the Spaniards in South America. Then visit the Fort San Felipe, which was built by the Spaniards to protect the rich city of Cartagena against attacks from the mainland. Cartagena was the place where the looted treasures of the Incas by the Spaniards and the gold and silver treasures from the mines of Peru and Bolivia were stored for shipping to Spain. Thus, the city was repeatedly the object of desire of many pirates. In the labyrinthine corridors of the fortress, you will feel transported back to this historical time. From the fortress, walk through the colonial Old Town. In the afternoon, walk through the central business district.

Meals Included: Breakfast


Day Thirteen in Cartagena – A Day of Your Own

This day is free time for you! Choose to relax, take part in an optional activity or enjoy the gorgeous beaches of Cartagena.

Meals Included: Breakfast


Day Fourteen in Cartagena – Departure

Enjoy the morning at leisure before you are transferred to Cartagena’s airport to board your flight back home. The trip may be over, but the experiences and memories will certainly last a lifetime.

Meals Included: Breakfast

* Certain conditions apply. Prices are valid until March 1, 2018 or while supplies last. Rates are for double occupancy in hotel accommodations. The prices advertised on this site include all taxes and service charges. The prices shown include the contribution to FICAV of 1$ per $1,000 of tourist products or services purchased. In the event of an increase in taxes, duties or other charges authorized by a recognized public authority, the prices shown could increase accordingly. The price may also vary in the case of an increase in exchange rate or a fuel surcharge imposed by the air carriers. Prices advertised on our website are valid if you purchase services in a same session. If you sign off our website, prices may be different the next time you log on. Minimum of 16 travelers required for guaranteed departure. Details can be found at

** Flights provided by Air Canada, Aeromexico, United Airlines, American Airlines, Copa Airlines, LATAM, Avianca or similar

*** Companies vary for each project. The names of the companies to be visited are revealed a few weeks prior to departure.

Activities and cities in the itinerary may be completed on different days than in the suggested itinerary – the final itinerary will be provided to all participants prior to departure.