New Mexico – the true American Southwest – is adorned with deserts, forests, cities, lakes, mountains and a vibrant Native American and Hispanic culture. New Mexico’s largest city, Albuquerque, is a tourist hotspot and has recently experienced strong growth. The old town, museums and cultural centers are extremely worth seeing. Albuquerque is also a good jumping off point for trips to other regions of New Mexico. Known for its adobe architecture, Santa Fe is the oldest US state capital and is famous for its artistic community and festivals.
- Travelationary: Covers basic information about New Mexico geography and economy.
Arrival by car
Greyhound buses run from Los Angeles and Phoenix to Albuquerque, El Paso and Santa Fe. More information from Greyhound (website: www.greyhound.com).
Note on arrival by car
Average bus travel times: Albuquerque – Denver: 10 hrs; Albuquerque – El Paso: 6 hrs; Albuquerque – Los Angeles: 17 hrs 30; Albuquerque – Phoenix: 9 hrs
Arrival by train
The Amtrak Southwest Chief line runs from Chicago to Los Angeles, with stops in Lamy, Albuquerque, Gallup (all New Mexico), Flagstaff (Arizona), and Kansas City (Missouri), among others. The Sunset Limited runs from Orlando to Los Angeles via Deming and Lordsburg (both New Mexico). Additional information from Amtrak (website: www.amtrak.com).
Passport and visa regulations
Entry with children
Since June 27, 2012, children need their own travel document (passport / children’s passport) for trips abroad (also within the EU). Entries of children in the parental passport are no longer possible.
Taos County Chamber of Commerce
1139 Paseo del Pueblo Sur
US-87571 Taos, New Mexico
(575) 751 88 00.
http://www.taoschamber.com Santa Fe Convention & Visitors Bureau
201 West Marcy Street
US-87501 Santa Fe, New Mexico
(505) 955 62 00, (800) 777 24 89 (toll free within the US).
http://www.santafe.org Albuquerque Convention & Visitors Bureau
20 First Plaza NW, Suite 601
US-87102 Albuquerque, New Mexico
(505) 842 99 18, (800) 284 22 82 (toll free within the US).
http://www.itsatrip.org New Mexico Department of Tourism
491 Old Santa Fe Trail
US-87501 Santa Fe, New Mexico
(505) 827 74 00 or (505) 827 73 36.
- Usaers: Provides a full list of major rivers and mountains in New Mexico.
New Mexico’s largest city, Albuquerque has a charming Old Town with small craft shops, museums, restaurants, cultural centers and a charming gas lantern plaza. There are several good museums including the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History, Museum of Natural History and Science, Maxwell Museum of Anthropology, Meteorite Museum and Geology Museum. The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center is dedicated to Native American culture. You can ride the second longest cable car in the world, the Sandia Peak Tramway, to Sandia Peak. Every year in October, the city experiences the international Balloon Fiesta, when hundreds of colorful hot air balloons rise into the air.
Coronado State Monument
The Coronado State Monument is located north of Albuquerque near Bernalillo. It is primarily visited for the remains of the Kuaua Pueblo and six Kivas. The kivas are subterranean chambers and vaults covered in countless murals depicting ancient rituals from before the discovery of America. The kivas served as ceremonial and assembly rooms. Fourteen of the restored murals are on display at the visitor center at this historic site.
Petroglyph National Monument
The Petroglyph National Monument, located on the western outskirts of Albuquerque, features approximately 1,200 impressive rock carvings depicting people and animals. You can also explore volcanic landscapes, semi-desert vegetation and several ruins of prehistoric Indian settlements in this protected area.
New Mexico State Route 14 (NM 14), which connects Santa Fe to Albuquerque, coincides with most of the Turquoise Trail – a National Scenic Byway. Along the way lie attractions such as the former mining towns of Golden, Madrid and Cerrillos, which became ghost towns when gold, coal and turquoise ran out. Today, restaurants, art exhibitions, museums and theaters bring these ancient settlements back to life. The Turquoise Trail also passes Sandia Crest, whose summit offers a wonderful panoramic view of the Sandia Mountains.
Carlsbad Caverns National Park
The Carlsbad Caves in Carlsbad Caverns National Park are world famous, beautiful and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Only part of the 83 stalactite caves can be guided or visited on your own. For example, one of the caves is closed to the public to protect the 400,000 bats that nest in it. The endless array of stalactites and stalagmites have been formed into spectacular limestone formations over thousands of years and amaze every visitor. The limestone contains marine fossils that predate the dinosaurs. The national park can be reached via US Highway 62/180 about 29 km southwest of Carlsbad.
Inter Tribal Indian Ceremonial
In mid-August, the Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial takes place in Gallup, attended by Indians from 40 ethnic groups from all over North America and 50,000 visitors. Native American communities celebrate their culture with parades, dances and rodeos, traditional food and handicrafts for sale.
The fact that New Mexico offers year-round fishing makes the state one of the premier fishing spots in the nation. Added to this is the great variety of fish species such as trout, perch, catfish, pike and walleye in the waters of New Mexico. The Animas and San Juan rivers in New Mexico are well known to trout anglers across the country. A special attraction is winter ice fishing in New Mexico. All anglers over the age of twelve require a valid fishing license.
Discover Indian culture
If you want to follow in the footsteps of the Indians, you have many options in New Mexico: You can visit the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture in Santa Fe, watch Indian dances in one of the 19 Indian pueblos in New Mexico, and visit the three Indian reservations in the state, go to the Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial in Gallup, visit the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque, or visit the Native American and Spanish markets at Santa Fe Plaza in Santa Fe. The Native American ethnic groups in New Mexico allow visitors an insight into their traditions and into their present-day life. More information at http://www.us-infos.de/tourtips-pueblos.html. A tip are the prehistoric Indian sites and the Navajo Indian reservations near Farmington.
Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad
Take a trip on the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, a narrow-gauge heritage railway, for unforgettable New Mexico impressions. The railroad was built in 1880 to traverse the high mountain passes en route to the silver mines of southwestern Colorado. The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad is said to be one of the highest railway lines in the United States. The passing scenery is spectacular. As soon as you have passed US 84, you feel like you are in the Wild West of yesteryear.
White water rafting in New Mexico
The rapids of the Rio Grande lure experienced whitewater rafters, while beginners are more drawn to the Rio Chama, whose flow is controlled by dams. In addition to these two rivers, there are numerous smaller rivers that are suitable for rafting. The wildest part of a river cruise is in northern New Mexico because it’s home to most of the state’s mountains, and spring meltwater feeds the rivers. The white water rafting season usually begins in April.
Santa Fe Trail
Along the Santa Fe Trail, a National Historic Trail, you will pass numerous beautiful churches, of which the San Miguel Mission built in 1610 and Loretto Chapel with its mysterious spiral staircase are particularly worth a visit. Other attractions along the way include Fort Union National Monument and Pecos National Historical Park.
In the high and hilly Santa Fé, you can still discover old Indian and Spanish influences on every corner. In the oldest state capital of the USA you can see examples of Indian adobe architecture. Many historical buildings have been preserved in this magical and colorful UNESCO Creative City, which is a major center of the country’s artistic scene. The city is also an important art market with countless galleries. Handicrafts are sold at the Indian market. In the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture, visitors can immerse themselves in Indian culture. The Museum of New Mexico is also worth seeing. The New Mexico History Museum is located next to one of the oldest structures in the USA, the former Palace of the Governors.
Winter sports in New Mexico
Winter sports enthusiasts will also get their money’s worth in New Mexico. There are about eight notable ski resorts, including Angel Fire Resort, Pajarito, Red River Ski Area, Sandia Peak, Santa Fe, Sipapu, Ski Apache, and Taos. Taos with its colorful plaza is a quaint artists’ colony. Cross-country skiers cavort in the Enchanted Forest, in the Chama Crosscountry and in the Valles Caldera. In summer, the ski areas are popular destinations for hikers, anglers and cyclists.
The Spanish word »Pueblo« means village or community. There are a total of 19 Native American pueblos in New Mexico that regularly host dances and ceremonies, most of which tourists are welcome to attend. A visit is definitely worthwhile and provides fascinating insights into the life of an ancient culture. Mostly there are wonderful handicrafts to buy. Those interested should register with the respective village board, who will also familiarize them with the respective customs (e.g. photography is not allowed in all pueblos). Taos Pueblo is one of the oldest, loveliest and most famous pueblos and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
White Sands National Monument
The unreal beauty of the white dunes of White Sands National Monument makes visitors forget about the rest of the world. The white dunes are not made of sand but of gypsum that formed a seabed in the Tularosa Basin 250 million years ago. The largest gypsum dune field in the world covers an area of 712 km² and is located 25 km southwest of Alamogordo. Few plants and animals survive in this dream of white like the soap dandelion, rabbits, coyotes and lizards.
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