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How to Plan a Corporate Retreat

  • May 16, 2019
  • Villa Punto de Vista

The idea behind a Company Retreat lies in retaining and nurturing your employees’ brainpower. So much of a company’s value lies in its workforce, and as time has gone by, employers have recognized this and figured out ways to entice their employees to stay. Fortunately for workers, this has resulted in an unprecedented level of employee perks. Corporate retreats are one of the most effective perks available.

If you are thinking of planning a corporate retreat, this is a guide on how to do it. From the benefits of the corporate retreat to how to plan it, we’ll look at all aspects of how to get one off the ground. Additionally, we will describe the incredible host of activities available at Manuel Antonio National Park in Costa Rica, and why Villa Punto de Vista is gaining a reputation as one of the best Company Retreat sites worldwide.

The Proven Benefits of Company Retreats

What makes Company Retreats such a useful tool? Why have they become an expectation for a particular caliber of company, and why do employers continue to offer them year after year?

There are plenty of reasons Company Retreats continue to be a growing trend in the business world: they boost a company’s bottom line, they enhance productivity and communication, they are a springboard for new ideas and they make employees happy and proud to be a part of the company.

Take a look at the different ways corporate retreats can lead to a healthier, more productive company.


  1. Teambuilding: Today’s world is built to cater to the individual. However excellent this may be for us as people, in an office setting where teamwork is required, the mentality can pose some challenges. Corporate retreats are perhaps the best method for getting a group of independent thinkers working together as a team, and the secret behind this is making them feel like a family. No matter how productive an employee can be in isolation, they are always going to be happier and more productive as part of a family.
  2. Destressing: The office can turn into a world of stress at certain times of the year, which takes a toll on everyone involved. In Western culture, gone are the days of “churn and burn” — many employees no longer tolerate prolonged periods of unbroken stress. A Company Retreat allows them to have fun, complete physical challenges and experience thrills while still in the context of their workplace relationships. When they do return to the workplace, the relaxed attitude will breathe new life into their workdays and motivation levels.
  3. Morale boost: Every executive knows a company with low morale is a sinking ship. Add to this the fact that employees now have higher expectations, and that a good paycheck is not enough to justify tolerating prolonged stress. The positive effects of corporate retreats on morale have been well-documented. It demonstrates the company genuinely cares about the well-being of its employees, which urges them to work harder. Companies with good morale tend to have 20 percent better performance than their competitors.
  4. A more valuable company: Setting happiness aside, there are proven financial benefits to Company Retreats as well. High morale is an incredible boon to a company’s value. Happy employees are motivated. Motivation leads to productivity, outside-the-box thinking, inspiration and many other benefits. In fact, companies with high morale have been shown to have a 47 percent higher value than their counterparts.
  5. Reflection: Without the time to reflect on things, daily tasks and energy expenditure begin to lose their meaning. Corporate retreats offer the time for introspection, both on the part of the individual employees and the company as a whole. During this introspective period, both entities can reflect on what they have accomplished and what they could have done better. Encouraging this type of thought shows the company cares about its employees’ journeys, as well as being true to its core mission statement.
  6. Discover new talents: Office work, by the nature of its obligations, often fails to let people discover new talents they may have. Workers tend to perform the same tasks over and over, which can lead to burnout. With Company Retreats, people get to showcase and uncover new talents they might not otherwise be able to. It may turn out Lindsay from HR can kayak a class IV rapid, or that the boss is an incredible rock climber. Revealing people’s strengths outside the office can build appreciation and give new depth to relationships.

How to Plan a Company Retreat

If you want to put on a great Company Retreat, you must first be aware that poorly planned Company Retreats can be downright cringeworthy. No one, and we mean no one, wants to sing “Kumbaya” and do awkward icebreakers. Instead, people are looking to connect with one another through activities they could not otherwise experience in their daily lives.

Keeping this in mind, follow these steps in planning a corporate retreat that is both incredible and productive.

Breaking from Routine

  1. Start with clear objectives. What do you want to accomplish with your corporate retreat? Or, put another way, what are your company’s shortcomings or potential pitfalls? Do you want better communication among employees? Are there business silos that create cliques or prevent efficient transfer of information? Is there a project you foresee putting a lot of stress and strain on everyone? Articulating exactly what you want out of the experience will help you plan your business retreat agenda and choose the right activities.
  2. Don’t be afraid to crowdsource. Crowdsourcing can be a great way to build excitement about the upcoming retreat, as well as get people involved and bring out their playful sides. Some companies encourage employee involvement by asking them what they don’t want in a corporate retreat — in other words, by asking them, “What retreat would be a complete disaster?” It’s not only funny, but it will also let you home in on what your employees may want to do.
  3. Don’t base the retreat on performance. It may seem natural to offer a Company Retreat as an incentive for performance or hitting certain numbers, but this method can backfire. Instead, your Company Retreat should happen regardless of performance. In fact, low performance may be just the sign a retreat is necessary — in which case, nixing the idea could do more harm than good.
  4. Communicate the goal of the retreat. If you host a retreat without explaining why you’re doing it, some employees may wonder why you’re not just allocating that money to higher paychecks. For many employees, leaving town for several days can be a bit of a challenge — they may have kids, pets and other plans to take care of. Explaining why your corporate retreat is happening helps people justify the trip.
  5. Choose an unforgettable location. Why does Villa Punto de Vista continue to host corporate retreats year after year? Because the location is absolutely unforgettable. Executives know they will forever be responsible for the memories employees create during these retreats, and when their employees go home with visions of lush jungles, singing birds, sparkling ocean waters and sandy beaches in their heads, they have done an excellent job in selecting a location. Be sure to choose a spot for your retreat that will put your employees in another world altogether.
  6. Make sure the retreat encourages a break from routine. When you take your company to a new environment, whether it be Costa Rica or somewhere else, you are showing them you see them as people. That means they are allowed to dress in different clothes than they would wear at the office. They get a chance to relax and be themselves. Getting out of a rut is an excellent leveler in that it removes competition and lets your employees’ personalities shine as more than whatever their office roles dictate.
  7. Choose teambuilding-in-disguise activities. Our aversion to the term “teambuilding” arises from the fact that so much teambuilding is forced and unnatural. Ordering people to build a team is akin to instructing someone to laugh. The ultimate teambuilding exercise occurs without anyone being aware of it — that’s why activities such as whitewater rafting, mountain biking, horseback riding, hiking, ziplining and others are such excellent choices.
  8. Don’t push people too far out of their comfort zones. That’s a delicate line to walk, but an important one. It is a great idea to include excitement, relaxation and interconnection in your Company Retreat, but be aware some activities may be significantly out of some employees’ comfort zones. Steer clear of anything that may make people feel too vulnerable or intimate, or where failure is likely to be disappointing. Instead, choose activities you are sure your employees will be able to handle and have fun with.

Why Costa Rica’s Manuel Antonio Is the Perfect Company Retreat

Both the town of Manuel Antonio, and it’s national park is one-of-a-kind. The park, At just under three square miles, is one of the smallest national parks anywhere in the country. However, the jaw-dropping natural beauty and pristine beaches make it one of the most popular destinations in Costa Rica. Villa Punto de Vista is in a paradise of exquisite greenery and shorefront views just north of the park’s boundary, making it the perfect point to access the park’s many wonders.

Manuel Antonio offers an endless number of executive retreat ideas. You may find planning your agenda is more difficult not by choosing what to do, but what not to do. Here are some of the activities available to corporate groups visiting Manuel Antonio.

1. Ziplining

Costa Rica is rather proud of its ziplining heritage. The sport is said to have originated in the country when a biologist was looking for ways to perform his canopy research. Regardless, it stands as one of the most fun and thrilling activities to experience as a group.

Corporate retreats are the perfect occasion for ziplining. The sport’s adrenaline boost is balanced by the fact that there is practically no risk involved, making it fun and non-stressful. Teams work their way through different ziplines, with each person having their moment to shine as they whir off through the treetops between platforms. All the while, teams have the chance to talk and have fun together.

So much of the beauty of Manuel Antonio lies above the ground. The canopy is richly textured with different foliage layers and ecosystems, and teams can also witness waterfalls, animal life and the cool wisps of fog that tend to rise from the treetops. Additionally, they will be thrilled to experience Central America’s longest zipline, at almost a mile long.

A professional guide will treat your team to hours of fun, conversation, learning and thrills with these high jungle tours. Groups will traverse the treetops on high walkways, ziplines and by climbing and rappelling.

2. Wildlife Tours

Company retreats where employees can learn new things while enjoying a new environment strike the perfect balance. Wildlife and eco-tours let guests strike off into the shady, green world of the jungle, where they will find monkeys, iguanas, frogs, insects, three-toed sloths, anteaters, quaramundis, parrots and more. An experienced nature guide will show them the boundless wonders Manuel Antonio’s nature has to offer.

The plants in this part of the world are incredible both for their biodiversity and their history with human use. The animals are unlike any that live in most parts of the United States, making this an unforgettable excursion. Additionally, there are several different ways to take this type of tour: by foot, by boat, by jet ski or on ATVs. In other words, there is no way your group will be disappointed.

A nighttime tour of the mangroves is an absolute must. A professional guide and crocodile hunter will pilot your team through the mangroves, pointing out the world of life that comes awake during these hours — bats, owls, crocodiles and more are part of the excitement of this tour.

3. Whitewater Rafting in Warm Water

When you think of whitewater rafting, you probably think of incredible fun, lots of splashing and plenty of thrills — in freezing water.

But because Manuel Antonio is located in the tropics, its nearby Savegre and Naranjo Rivers are full of warm water and exciting rapids. Let an experienced guide take your team on rapids ranging from Class III to V, depending on the thrill level your team is looking to experience. Additionally, the Savegre River is our country’s cleanest river and will delight your team with its gorges, canyons and chutes.

If your team may be looking for more relaxation and less heart-pumping action, consider tubing as an alternative. Your team will float in tubes through rainforest and palm plantations, and the river will vary between glassy smooth and fast.

4. Standup Paddleboarding

This sport has become extremely common in the last few years, and for a good reason — it is fun, healthy, convenient and can easily turn into surfing. Exploring the coast of Manuel Antonio on a paddleboard is the perfect way for your company retreat group to bond. Organize a trip paddling out to small islands or between the various beaches. Stop anytime for a dip in the ocean or a bit of surfing.

This sport is the perfect way to combine watersports with exploration and teambuilding. Your team will cherish the memory of standup paddleboarding along the lush coast of Manuel Antonio for years to come.

Come to Villa Punto de Vista for Your Company Retreat

Villa Punto de Vista is Costa Rica’s foremost luxury private villa, combining that of a luxury hotel with the exclusivity of a private villa. Located just a short walk from the beach and rising vertically into the canopy of the surrounding jungle, this incredible feat of architecture provides breathtaking and panoramic views, seamlessly blending the outdoor world with the comfort and coolness of the indoors. Including a bespoke staff of 10 to attend to your every whim.

We have only just scratched the surface of the activities available in Manuel Antonio, which also include stunning beaches, waterfall hikes, 4WD tours, horseback riding, nightlife, kayaking in the Damas Island Estuary and scuba diving and snorkeling when the season permits.

Having a corporate retreat gives you a great return on your investment because reinvigorating your employees’ minds, sparking creativity and growing teamwork actually help improve your bottom line. Create an unforgettable experience for your team and give a boost to one of the biggest assets in your company — your people.

Contact Villa Punto de Vista for a quote and for all inquiries. We are happy to explain how we offer the best location and services for a perfect company retreat.

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