Visit northern New Mexico, the "Land of enchantment," and southwestern Colorado, on an unforgettable immersion into the lives, traditions, and history of the native people of the southwest. Your 3-night stay in Santa Fe includes a sightseeing tour showcasing the historic Town Plaza, St. Francis Cathedral, and the Loretto Chapel with its remarkable spiral staircase, and ample free time to explore the city on your own. A private cooking class at the Santa Fe School of Cooking introduces you to the ingredients and dishes unique to the Southwest. On a river float along the Rio Grande, a Native American guide will teach you about the history and culture of the Pueblo Indians who still inhabit the river valley. See a demonstration of the traditional art of pottery making and enjoy a delicious customary feast prepared by local Pueblo families. Get a glimpse into the past when you visit the Taos Pueblo, a community that has been continuously inhabited by descendants of the same tribe for over one thousand years. Journey through scenic mountain landscapes, deserts, and Indian reservations to Durango, Colorado. You'll spend an incredible day in Mesa Verde National Park, gaining some insight into the lives of the Anasazi Indians whose elaborate stone villages are built into the sheltered alcoves of the canyon walls. Spend your final two nights exploring the multi-cultural, richly historic city of Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Day #1 Arrive Albuquerque, New Mexico - Tour Begins - Combine northern New Mexico, “the land of enchantment,” and southwestern Colorado for an unforgettable adventure into America’s old west.
Day #2 Albuquerque - Balloon Fiesta - Today is sure to be one of the highlights of your trip, Albuquerque’s International Balloon Fiesta. Join in this annual extravaganza of hot air ballooning and experience what has grown into the most photographed event in the world. The highlight is the ascension where you witness the launch of all the participating balloons. You’ll see balloons launch in two waves, considered the most spectacular display of sound and color in all of aviation.
Day #3 Albuquerque - Durango, Colorado - Your journey continues north through scenic mountain landscapes to the cowboy town of Durango.
Day #4 Durango - Silverton - Durango - It's "All Aboard" the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. This 1881 steam train was built primarily to haul mine ores through the San Juan Mountains. Today you will relive this scenic journey from Silverton to Durango and be awestruck by the spectacular views. Your train will arrive in the small mining town of Silverton. Hidden high in the San Juan Mountains, this town offers spectacular old town charm combined with magnificent Victorian architecture. Enjoy some free time in town to explore its historic buildings and perhaps stop in one of its charming cafes for lunch.
Day #5 Durango - Mesa Verde - Travel to Mesa Verde National Park, the nation's richest archaeological preserve with over 4,000 sites. There's no better way to explore these ancient sites and spectacular cliff dwellings than to stay in the park, in the midst of their magic. This afternoon you will enjoy a chronological tour of Mesa Verde's archaeological sites and dwellings, exploring the culture, architecture, flora and fauna of Mesa Verde National Park including a visit to the Spruce Tree House cliff dwelling, which is the second-largest cliff dwelling in the park.
Day #6 Mesa Verde - Taos, New Mexico - Santa Fe - Travel to Taos along the Rio Grande River and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Visit Taos Pueblo, a five-story pueblo community that has been continuously inhabited by descendants of the same tribe of Native Americans for over one thousand years. Later, continue to Santa Fe, nestled at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
Day #7 Santa Fe - Today a local guide will join you for a sightseeing tour of Santa Fe. See the Loretto Chapel with its miraculous spiral staircase, St. Francis Cathedral, the historic Town Plaza, which marks the end of the Santa Fe Trail, and the ultra-modern state capitol building. The remainder of the afternoon is at leisure so you may explore this beautiful town on your own. Your Tour Manager will be on hand to assist in planning your leisure time.
Day #8 Santa Fe - Tour Ends - All too soon your tour comes to an end. Your greatest souvenir will be the memories of your trip to New Mexico and Colorado.