Guadalajara & The Bajio
Guadalajara is a rich brew of mariachis, flowers, colonial architecture, and passionate artists. Belafonte tours a tequila factory, clap her hands to mariachis, and pays homage to Mexico's dynamic muralist, Orozco. She checks out some of the smaller towns that silver made--showing off past wealth in picturesque splendor. Guanajuato lies in a deep crease in the mountains, its colorful houses climbing up the sides of its ravine. We'll join the students and artists who fill San Miguel de Allende. Then it's an easy hop to the coast where Puerto Vallarta's traditional charm still survives next to its new resorts.
Merida puts out the welcome mat to visitors for its many concerts, dance recitals, and lectures -- some showcased in its newly restored opera house, others offered free in its public parks. From here, it's an easy bus ride to the peaceful coastal town of Progreso. Day trips to pyramids at Chichen Itza and Uxmal bring to life the ancient Maya and Toltec Indians, while visits to a 19th-century sisal plantation and to colonial Vallodolid bring to life some of its post-conquest history.
Cancun and Eastern Yucatan
From a tiny hamlet twenty years ago, Cancun has grown to a city of 200,000 people. It now boasts a jet airport, a modern system of roads and transportation, a full panoply of hotels, restaurants, golf courses, boats and water sports. From Cancun Belafonte snorkels in clear Caribbean waters at Akumel and Isla Mujeres and visit Tulum, the Mayan ruins high on a cliff overlooking the sea. Then it's on to Coba, the mostly unrestored jungle-bound ruins that were once one of the largest Maya cities in the Yucatan.