See the mass ascension of balloons and more during the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, the largest ballooning event in the world and one of New Mexico’s most dazzling spectacles. Experience the pre-dawn opening ceremonies and the unforgettable mass ascension of hundreds of hot-air balloons, where the sky transforms into a rainbow of colors. In the evening, see the dramatic Balloon Glow, when all the balloons fire up their burners and light up at the same time, and After-Glow Fireworks Show. There's also time for sightseeing with visits to the International Balloon Museum and the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, a fascinating museum and crafts market collectively run by the 19 New Mexico pueblos. Enjoy a guided walking tour in Santa Fe, including the San Miguel Mission and Loretto Chapel's "Miracle Stairway."If you want to see the spectacular Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, this is the vacation for you!
Day #1 Arrive in Albuquerque. Welcome to Albuquerque! At 6 pm, meet your traveling companions for a welcome drink. Your Tour Director will prepare you for your upcoming adventure.
Day #2 Albuquerque. Get ready for the world-famous Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta! Experience this morning’s pre-dawn OPENING CEREMONIES and the unforgettable MASS ASCENSION—where hundreds of hot air balloons take off and turn the sky into a virtual rainbow of colors, all of which are led by a balloon flying the American flag to the music of The Star Spangled Banner. What began as a gathering of 13 balloons 41 years ago has since turned into the largest ballooning event in the world, drawing entries from more than 28 different countries. While on the balloon grounds, visit the INTERNATIONAL BALLOON MUSEUM, dedicated to the art, culture, science, history, sport, and spectacle of ballooning. The Balloon Museum features one of the finest collections of ballooning equipment and memorabilia in the world. This afternoon, enjoy a leisurely ride on the SANDIA PEAK TRAM—the world’s longest aerial tramway—taking in breathtaking scenery along the way. At the top, relax as you take in the “Land of Enchantment” below. (B)
Day #3 Albuquerque. This morning, an Albuquerque sightseeing tour includes a visit to the Old Town and the INDIAN PUEBLO CULTURAL CENTER, a fascinating museum and crafts market collectively run by the state’s pueblos. Here you will learn about the history, background, and life of what now comprise the 19 pueblos of New Mexico. This evening, catch the popular BALLOON GLOW, where all balloons fire up their burners and light up at the same time, and the AFTER-GLOW FIREWORKS SHOW. (B)
Day #4 Albuquerque. Excursion to Santa Fe. Today, travel along the [LF] TURQUOISE TRAIL to Santa Fe. This scenic drive passes through the foothills of the Sandia Mountains, past wide open spaces and dramatic scenery. There’s time to stop in Madrid, a former mining town, before arriving in Santa Fe, the oldest seat of government in the United States. Experience this city up close as you embark on a guided WALKING TOUR, including the San Miguel Mission, the Palace of the Governors, the State Capitol, and LORETTO CHAPEL’S “Miracle Stairway.” Enjoy a special farewell dinner featuring [LF] authentic Southwestern cuisine before returning to Albuquerque. (B,D)
Day #5 Albuquerque. The tour ends this morning with guests departing on individual schedules. Airport transfers are provided. (B)