Image Courtesy Danae Hurst CC BY 2.0_Flickr
Capture the big spirit of Santa Fe in small doses while you tour the Museum of International Folk Art. Capitols and churches come alive during the tour, featuring the State Capitol Building, Cristo Rey Church, Old Santa Fe Trail, and the miraculous staircase at the Loretto Chapel. See the views from the Rio Grande River Valley and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains en route to Taos, where you will tour the Taos Indian Pueblo.
Next is Ruidoso, home of Billy the Kid, who fought during the Lincoln County Wars of the 1870’s. Discover the dunes at the White Sands National Monument, tour the limestone corridors of Carlesbad Caverns, featuring the “Big Room” chamber.
Onto Albuquerque for the International Hot Air Balloon Festival, featuring a gorgeous gas glow illuminating the evening sky from more than 800 colorful hot air balloons. Take in the morning spectacle of the world’s largest mass ascension. Your next stop includes a guided tour of Acoma “Sky City” Indian Pueblo, a mesa-topped fortress, and free time to shop or explore the Old Town.
|PRICING DETAILS (Cost Per Person)*||PRICING|
|Deposit||$350 per person|
|Travel Insurance||Call for quote|
|Vacation Pace||Moderately Active Pace|
|SAVE $125||Book by May 1st|
*Air departure from Indianapolis included; airfare pricing estimated and subject to change. Call for pricing from other departure cities.
Payment schedule: 2nd deposit of $500 due 136 days prior to departure; final payment 76 days prior to departure.
Day 1: Fly to Albuquerque / Coach to Santa Fe
Fly to the Albuquerque airport, meet your tour director and board your coach for the short drive to Santa Fe (at 7,000′). Founded in 1610, Santa Fe reflects the influence of its Spanish, Pueblo Indian, and Mexican history. Enjoy an afternoon visit to the renowned Museum of International Folk Art to observe the famous Girard Collection of miniature figurines. Then check in for a 3-night stay. Tonight, relax prior to your private Get Acquainted Dinner at the Santa Fe Cooking School. Doubletree Hotel, Santa Fe, NM (D)
Day 2: Santa Fe Tour / Free Time
Begin today with a tour of this capital city, and historic artist’s colony. See the State Capitol Building, Cristo Rey Church, and Old Santa Fe Trail. Stop at famous Loretto Chapel with its miraculous staircase. This afternoon is free to shop on the Plaza, visit the Palace of the Governors, or tour the Georgia O’Keefe Museum, showcasing her many works inspired by New Mexico’s stark beauty. Return to our hotel and relax before another included meal. Tonight, enjoy dinner and a musical show at La Casa Sena. Doubletree Hotel, Santa Fe, NM (B,D)
Day 3: Day Trip to Taos
Travel north along the Rio Grande River Valley with a breathtaking panorama of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains on the way to Taos (altitude 7,000′) Here you’ll see a colorful blend of Indian & Spanish Cultures. Visir the Taos Indian Pueblo, an authentic 600-year-old Indian Village. After free time for shopping and lunch on your own in the historic Plaza, return to Santa Fe for a free evening. Doubletree Hotel, Santa Fe, NM (B)
Day 4: Santa Fe to Carlsbad
Travel south to the 1870’s crossroads town of Roswell, famous for its UFO sightings. Continue on toe Carlsbad and enjoy dinner prior to your first of two trips to awe-inspiring Carlsbad Caverns. Stevens Inn, Carlsbad, NM (B,D)
Day 5: Carlsbad / Ruidoso
Today, return to Carlsbad Caverns. Enjoy a tour of the 21 miles of surveyed limestone corridors. Descend in an elevator to see the “Big Room,” the most impressive of the cavern’s chambers. This afternoon, travel west through the spectacular Sacramento Mountains to “Billy the Kid” Country and the town of Ruidoso (altitude 7,000′). The young gunfighter lived and fought here during the famous 1870 Lincoln County Wars. Later, gather for dinner at a local restaurant. Inn of the Mountain Gods, Ruidoso, NM (B,L,D)
Day 6: Ruidoso to Albuquerque / Balloon Glow
Begin today with a visit to White Sands National Monument to see the 60-foot snow white sand dunes. Motor north across the ancient “Valley of Fires” lava flows. Pause for an included lunch before following the Rio Grande River north to Albuquerque (altitude 5,000′). Check into your hotel for two nights. This evening, attend the world-famous International Hot Air Balloon Festival for the spectacular “Balloon Glow,” as tethered balloons are lit from within. Drury Inn & Suites, Albuquerque, NM (B,L)
Day 7: Acoma Pueblo / Old Town
Travel west to Acoma “Sky City” Pueblo for a guided tour of this authentic 1500’s mesa-top fortress still occupied by the local native tribe. Later, we return to Albuquerque and stop in the historic Old Town for sightseeing and shopping. Tonight, enjoy your Farewell Dinner at the festival grounds. Drury Inn & Suites, Albuquerque, NM (B,D)
Day 8: Balloon Fiesta / Fly Home
Early arrival at the nearby fiesta grounds this morning to marvel at the spectacle of hundreds of colorful balloons in mass ascension or the “Special shapes” ascension. Return to your hotel to relax prior to arriving at the airport for your flight home. (B)
Note: This tour involves high altitudes. Please check with your doctor, if you have any health conditions affected by high altitude.
Lodging Note: Lodging available in our National Parks, small towns or remote areas may not be of the same quality as larger cities.