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Graced with ancient cultures, vibrant cities, and sweeping canyons where geology seems frozen in motion, New Mexico is a true national treasure. Discover its natural splendor, the secrets of its remote wildernesses, and its thriving cultural centers. Explore ancient Pueblo ruins tucked into canyon walls at Bandelier National Monument and become immersed in modern-day Pueblo culture at the National Historic Landmark of Taos Pueblo. Go hiking at Georgia O’Keeffe’s Ghost Ranch, delve into the history of the Manhattan Project, and learn about local crafts with the weavers of Chimayó village. Soak up Santa Fe’s charm and character, and venture into the picturesque lanes of old Taos.
Hike into the narrow canyons of Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument, where fantastical hoodoos with pointed caps lord over the landscape.
Delve into the history and culture of New Mexico’s American Indians at Santa Fe’s Museum of Indian Arts and Culture.
Examine ancient petroglyphs and artifacts on a private tour of remote Mesa Prieta.
Join renowned Pueblo flautist Robert Mirabal for a private performance, then discuss pueblo life, art, and culture.
Itinerary - 6 Days
Day 1 — Albuquerque/Santa Fe
After meeting in Albuquerque this morning, head to the foothills of the Jemez Mountains for an easy hike. Venture into the narrow canyons of Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument and walk below clusters of the whimsical, capped hoodoos that gave the monument its name. Climb up to a lookout with impressive views of the surrounding mountain ranges—Sangre de Cristo, Sandia, and Jemez—and the famous Rio Grande Valley. This afternoon, drive to Santa Fe and enjoy time on your own to explore this vibrant city’s museums and lively street life. Gather tonight for a welcome reception and dinner at a renowned restaurant downtown. Inn and Spa at Loretto (L,D)
Day 2 — Santa Fe
Set out on foot to explore Santa Fe with a local expert. Learn about the city’s various cultural influences and discover its unique architectural traditions. Stop in at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis, located near historic La Casa Sena. Then encounter the city’s rich artistic heritage in the Canyon Road arts district, where we’ll have lunch and free time to explore the galleries, cafes, and long past of this historic area. Choose one of two excursions this afternoon. Art lovers head to Museum Hill for a visit to the Museum of International Folk Art, said to be the largest folk art museum in the world, with more than 135,000 artifacts from more than 100 countries, and then continue to the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture to learn about the history and culture of Pueblo, Navajo, Apache, and other regional American Indians and examine a broad collection of arts and crafts. Outdoor enthusiasts can hit the trail in Tesuque Valley for a hike through aspens and ponderosa pines. Examine the unique flora of the high desert and descend Big Tesuque Mountain. Meet up this evening for a private Southwestern cooking class—and then sit down to a delicious meal that you’ve had a hand in creating. Inn and Spa at Loretto (B,L,D)
Day 3 — Bandelier National Monument/Los Alamos/Ojo Caliente
Early this morning, head to Bandelier National Monument, where the ancient Pueblo people built their homes right into the sheer walls of Frijoles Canyon. Explore the cavates and kivas on an easy, moderate, or strenuous hike before enjoying a picnic lunch and the visitor center exhibits. After lunch, visit the Bradbury Science Museum, located on the grounds of Los Alamos National Laboratory, and encounter a very different side of New Mexico’s history: its participation in the Manhattan Project and the evolution of nuclear science during World War II. Our home tonight is a spa resort in Ojo Caliente, where you’ll have free time to treat yourself to a massage or take a dip in the mineral springs. Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort & Spa (B,L,D)
Day 4 — Mesa Prieta/Ghost Ranch/Taos
Travel today to Mesa Prieta and the Wells Petroglyph Preserve for a private tour of this remote plateau where petroglyphs and ancient artifacts have been found along the Rio Grande river. Later, experience Ghost Ranch, whose stunning landscapes and mystical atmosphere inspired artist Georgia O’Keeffe to make a home here in the 1940s. Before our picnic lunch on the grounds, visit the property’s two museums—one dedicated to anthropology, the other to paleontology—or choose to hike to Chimney Rock. Later this afternoon, enjoy New Mexico’s sweeping vistas as we journey to Taos. Along the way, pay a visit to the world headquarters of the Greater World Earthship Community to see its self-sustaining homes built from natural and recycled materials. Stop at the Rio Grande Gorge to take in the view before arriving at our lodging, a high desert sanctuary. Take advantage of a free evening to discover the fine dining options at our lodge or in Taos.
El Monte Sagrado Living Resort and Spa (B,L)
Day 5 — Taos
Meet our Taoseno guide and storyteller at the Mabel Dodge Luhan house, where we'll begin our exploration through the old town and hear about the the colorful people and history of Taos. Later set out for Taos Pueblo, a typical Pueblo village that dates back more than a thousand years and is still inhabited by about 150 full-time residents. Now a National Historic Landmark, Taos Pueblo preserves an ancient way of life: its traditional buildings have no running water or electricity. In the company of a Taos Pueblo Indian guide, enjoy a unique opportunity to meet the village residents and learn about their way of life.* After a picnic lunch, continue to explore the galleries, shops, or spa at our hotel or, If you wish, head out on a late afternoon hike to Williams Lake, set at the base of Wheeler Peak. Gather for a festive farewell dinner followed by an ethereal private performance and audience with internationally renowned flutist Robert Mirabal of the Taos Pueblo. El Monte Sagrado Living Resort and Spa (B,L,D)
*Taos Pueblo occasionally closes its doors to visitors to tend to Pueblo business.
Day 6 — Chimayó/Albuquerque
Take the high road out of Taos on our way to Chimayó, a tiny village founded after the Spanish re-conquest of New Mexico in the late 1600s and renowned for its talented weavers. Examine impressive woven rugs and clothing at the family-owned shop Ortega’s Weaving, which displays examples of eight generations of craftsmanship. Visit El Santuario de Chimayó, a 19th-century adobe church built on some of the most revered land in the Southwest. Pilgrims come here seeking miracle cures, and can sometimes be found rubbing its soil on their arms, legs, and faces. Later enjoy a lunch of fresh, local cuisine surrounded by the vines at local Estrella del Norte vineyards and take a short walk to Nambé Falls, a series of three dramatic waterfalls. Continue to Albuquerque to catch your flight home this afternoon. (B,L)