Merida: (Yucatan state)

For a truly impressive incentive trip that will knock people's socks off, visit one-- or a combination-- of these three cities that have been declared National Historic Monuments.

Merida was founded in 1542 on the site of an ancient Mayan city. Residents speak both Spanish and Mayan.

During the 19th century, Merida flourished, thanks to its valuable hemp exports. The city enjoyed an influx of European luxuries and, today, remains full of visible legacies and lavishly decorated homes from that prosperous time.

Called "The Paris of the Western World," Merida exudes a distinctly European air. Horse-drawn calesas cruise the streets and take visitors on tours of the city. Paseo Montejo, a boulevard built at the turn of the 20th century, leads past splendid mansions, which range from Moorish to rococo in style. (During World War I, Merida claimed more millionaires per capita than any other city in the world.) An incentive trip to Merida can be combined with a segment in Cancun.