The desirability of an island that's part of the United States and yet uniquely Caribbean draws many meeting groups to Puerto Rico. In April 1996, Rosemary Bakken, conference coordinator for Mutual Trust Life Insurance in Oak Brook, IL, hosted a group of 200 attendees including spouses and families at El Conquistador, a 918-room resort on the island's east coast.

The annual incentive trip took advantage of Puerto Rico's many attractions. Groups can tour El Yunque rainforest (the only tropical rainforest under the U.S. Parks Service), which is 20 minutes from the resort; golf on world-class courses; snorkel and scuba dive; and travel into San Juan for a day of touring historic Old San Juan or shopping. "We had a lot of optional tours around the island," she recalls.

Bakken, who always makes sure that hotel staff at overseas destinations is trained to American standards, says the attendees at the El Conquistador incentive program commended the staff on their attentiveness in the evaluations.