Capital of the state of Yucatan, Merida is a treasure trove of history and traditions and this trip includes a city tour and a visit to Hacienda Sotuta de Peon, where you'll learn about henequen, the miracle plant that was so lucrative for local estate owners in the late 19th and early 20th centuries that it was called 'green gold.'

First stop is Hacienda Sotuta de Pen, an estate where the henequen plant is still grown and processed to extract sisal fiber using machinery and techniques that date from the late 19th century. Your tour includes a visit to the fields, the machine house where the fiber was extracted from henequen leaves to make rope, and the great house to see how the estate owner and his family lived. You'll also have time to cool off with a refreshing dip in a cenote.

After lunch it's on to Merida where your City Tour includes some of the principal attractions in the main square such as the Cathedral, Casa de Montejo, the home of Francisco de Montejo, the Spanish conquistador who founded the city in 1542, City Hall and Government House. You'll also drive along Calle 60 where there are more historic churches and leafy squares. Paseo Montejo is the most famous attraction outside the city center. A wide boulevard built in the late 19th-century to emulate the Champs Elysees in Paris; it is lined with the elegant mansions of estate owners who amassed huge fortunes from the cultivation of henequen