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New Mexico

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San Miguel Chapel, Sante Fe, New Mexico. ©Pretzelpaws

New Mexico, billed as the 'land of enchantment', is a geological wonderland featuring everything from the high Rocky Mountain ranges of the north, the Chihuahuan Desert in the south, the great plains in the east, the spectacular canyons of the west and, cutting right through the centre, the Rio Grande, a river much revered in a state were water is sacred. A rich heritage of ancient Native American culture and Hispanic occupation combines under a bright blue sky, making a fascinating and colourful mosaic that quite understandably draws thousands of visitors looking for a destination that brings surprises at every turn, and reveals hidden treasures behind every mysterious rock formation.

Originally the home of the Anasazi people, who evolved into today's Pueblo Indians still living in their traditional settlements, New Mexico was also the scene of territorial wars between the legendary Apache and Navajo tribes. Along came the Spanish explorers and by 1610 the capital of Santa Fe had been founded and settled.

Today the dual Spanish and Indian heritage provides for some fascinating historic attractions in the State, and the 'living museums' of the pueblos welcome visitors. The state was also home to some of the most legendary mountain men and notorious cowboys, like Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, not to mention cattle barons like John Chisum who grew rich rounding up longhorns on the southeastern plains. From cowboys to alien space ships is a big leap, but one New Mexico makes with ease in the town of Roswell in the southeast, where UFO enthusiasts flock to investigate the famed 'Roswell Incident'.

Aside from its historic and physical attractions New Mexico has the special appeal of being caught in a time warp. A laid-back attitude prevails even in the cities, and the pace is as slow and languid as the ascent of the myriad of colourful hot-air balloons that fill the skies over the city of Albuquerque in the world-famous annual festival.

Climate Info

The summer months from May to October are the warmest, but also the wettest. July and August receive the most rainfall, about 30 to 40 percent of the annual total, which occurs mostly during brief thunderstorms. During the height of summer the temperature averages 90°F (32°C), with cooler temperatures at higher altitudes. January is the coldest month with average temperatures ranging from 55°F (13°C) in the central and southern valleys to 35°F (2°C) at higher elevations.

Getting Around

A bus network operates around Albuquerque, but is not comprehensive enough to link all the major tourist sights, and most bus routes stop running at about 6pm. The sprawling city is difficult to get around without a car, while the simple layout makes driving easy, as long as rush hour is avoided. Most agencies require drivers to be at least 21 years of age. Metered taxis are also available and can easily be hired from outside main transport terminals and major hotels. Albuquerque also has an extensive bike route system.

Albuquerque International Sunport Airport (ABQ)

LocationAlbuquerque International Sunport is located approximately four miles (6km) southeast of central Albuquerque.
Time DifferenceGMT -7 (GMT -6 from mid-March to the first Sunday in November).

Tel: +1 505 244 7700.

Getting to city

Ground transportation from the airport and around Albuquerque and New Mexico is provided by numerous cab companies, door-to-door shuttles, buses, limousines, and hotel/motel courtesy vehicles. Bus Route 250 (weekdays only) and Bus Route 50 (weekdays and Saturdays) service the airport.

Car Rental

Car rental agencies at the airport include Advantage, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz and Thrifty, among others. All are located at the Sunport's Car Rental Center, which is connected to the passenger terminal building by free shuttle buses.

Airpor Taxis

Several taxi companies operate from the airport, including Alburqueque Cab Company, Yellow Cab Company and ABQ Green Cab Company.

Airport Facilities

There are a number of restaurants, bars, and shops available, as well as a tourist information desk. Business facilities are available in nearby hotels. There are smoking areas within the airport. ATMs are located throughout the terminal building in front of and beyond the security checkpoint. Disabled facilities are good.

Car Parking

Short-term parking at Albuquerque International Sunport is located near the terminal with prices ranging from $1 for 30 minutes up to $10 per day, while long-term parking is slightly farther away and tops out at $7 per day. There is a free cell phone waiting area for drivers picking up or dropping off passengers.


Sandia Peak Tramway

The perfect awe-inspiring overview of Albuquerque can be had from nearly one mile (2km) above the city on top of Sandia Crest, the windy mountaintop where the view is said to extend for over 1,000 miles (1,609km). Simply follow Tramway Boulevard for a few miles north of the city to board
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The Sandia Peak Tramway ©W. Guy Finley

Indian Pueblo Cultural Center

The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center is designed to give an introduction to New Mexico's rich Native American cultural heritage and the 19 individual pueblo communities of the State. The centre is situated on 12th Street, about a mile northeast of the Old Town in Albuquerque, and is a recre
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The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center ©Jonny Brownbill

Petroglyph National Monument

One of Albuquerque's most enjoyable recreational attractions is the 17-mile-long (27km) stretch of escarpment of the West Mesa, entered from Unser Boulevard, that is a treasure-trove of more than 25,000 prehistoric and historic rock carvings or petroglyphs, some dating as far back as 2,0
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Petroglyphs at Petroglyph National Monument ©Steven C. Price

American International Rattlesnake Museum

Albuquerque's Rattlesnake Museum is an exciting and educational experience. Billed as an animal conservation museum the establishment is dedicated to displaying how rattlesnakes influence our lives. Exhibits include artefacts, memorabilia and the largest collection of live rattlesnakes i
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American International Rattlesnake Museum ©Blueag9

New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science

The exciting Museum of Natural History takes visitors on a time trip through 12 billion years, from the formation of the universe up to the present day. From the earth's beginnings exhibits, displays and recreated scenes take you through an erupting volcano, an ice-age cave, an aquarium,
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New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science ©Asis Carlos

Albuquerque Museum

The Albuquerque Museum, on the edge of the city's Old Town, explores New Mexico's past using the largest collection of Spanish colonial artefacts in the United States. The museum also pays homage to the Vaqueros, the original cowboys who rode the range in New Mexico in the 16th century.<
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The Albuquerque Museum ©PerryPlanet

Turquoise Trail

Travellers who abandon the highway and opt for the scenic byways will be rewarded with The Turquoise Trail state-designated scenic and historic route, which runs from Albuquerque to Sante Fe through the majestic Sandia Mountains, passing through the revived 'ghost' towns of New Mexico's
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Turquoise Trail ©John Phelan


The town of Roswell in south-east New Mexico has become the focus of UFO and alien hunters from all over the world every since the 'Roswell Incident' in 1947, when an alien craft purportedly crashed near the town leaving surviving extra-terrestrials. Conspiracy theorists believe governme
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Roswell ©AllenS

Palace of Governors

To begin sightseeing in Santa Fe, start where it all began on the city's historic central Plaza, which is dominated by the adobe structure known as the Palace of the Governors, the oldest public building in the United States. The palace was built in 1610 as Spain's seat of government for
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Portal of the Palace of the Governors ©Asaavedra32

New Mexico Museum of Art

Opposite the Governor's Palace on Santa Fe's historic Plaza stands a prime example of Pueblo Revival architecture, built in 1917, which houses the state's oldest art museum, home to more than 20,000 works of art.

The distinguished collection spans the historic art colonies of
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New Mexico Museum of Art ©PerryPlanet

Museum of International Folk Art

The most important and comprehensive collection of cross-cultural folk art in the world is housed in the Santa Fe Museum of International Folk Art, about two miles (3km) southeast of the city's central Plaza on the old Sante Fe Trail.

Fascinating for tourists, and a treasure
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Museum of International Folk Art ©John Phelan

Georgia OKeeffe Museum

The museum dedicated to the work of artist Georgia O'Keeffe opened in 1997, eleven years after the death of the artist who loved the state of New Mexico so much. Since then the museum has welcomed more than 1.3 million visitors, who come to enjoy the exhibition of the works of one of the
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Near Abiquiu, NM. Georgia O'Keeffe referred to this as the White Place ©Larry Lamsa

Loretto Chapel

Although the Loretto Chapel on the Old Santa Fe Trail is no longer used for worship, it nevertheless remains a place of congregation, mainly for tourists who come to marvel at the chapel's 'miraculous' spiral staircase. The chapel, copied from Sainte-Chapelle Church in Paris, was built i
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Loretto Chapel ©Camerafiend

El Rancho de las Golondrinas

The 'Ranch of the Swallows' (El Rancho de las Golondrinas) is a living history site that was originally a real ranch, founded in the early 1700s, today offering an entertaining and educational attraction about 15 miles (24km) south-east of Santa Fe's central Plaza.

The ranch
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Hacienda, Santa Fe ©Diana Marín


The laid-back mountain resort town of Taos, about 70 miles (113km) north of Santa Fe, is in the centre of New Mexico's most sparsely populated region, serving as a popular ski resort in winter and artist's colony all year round. Aside from the slopes, the main attraction at Taos is Taos
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Taos Plaza and Hotel La Fonda ©Zeality

Carlsbad Caverns

Carlsbad Caverns National Park is a popular attraction in New Mexico containing the Carlsbad Cavern, (also known as the 'Big Cave'), one of the largest underground chambers on earth. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the cave is one of 80 around the park, but is incredibly popular for tours
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Carlsbad Caverns National Park ©Eric Guinther

Las Cruces

Located in the middle of an arid desert that sees only eight inches (20cm) of rain per year, Las Cruces was an important waypoint on El Camino Royal, a trade route between Santa Fe and Mexico City.

The historic town acted as the backdrop for wild west dramas involving Billy t
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The town of Las Cruces. ©Neomexicanus lc

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