Look to the New Mexico sky and feel your spirits lift among hundreds of colourful hot-air balloons as they take flight above Albuquerque. On your guided tour of New Mexico, you’ll be introduced to the art and science of ballooning, and witness the early morning mass ascension of the largest ballooning event in the world. Visit the International Balloon Museum, indulge in tequila tasting, and gaze upon the evening’s Balloon Glow and Afterglow Fireworks Show.
Your visit to Albuquerque also includes a visit to the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, historic Route 66, and Old Town. Tour the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History, and hear about the famed Manhattan Project. Travel along the “Turquoise Trail” through the Sandia Mountains to Santa Fe. Take a guided Trolley Tour to see the San Miguel Mission and the “Miracle Stairway” of Loretto Chapel. You’ll join an excursion to visit Santuario de Chimayo to learn about the miraculous healing powers that attract thousands of pilgrims each year. This escorted tour of the American southwest highlights the enchanted landscapes and legends of New Mexico that will lift your heart.
Welcome to Albuquerque! At 6 pm, meet your travelling companions for a welcome drink. You'll also enjoy a short presentation from a local balloonist, who will educate you on the sport of ballooning and what you can expect the next several days.
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 colours, all led by a balloon flying the American flag to the music of The Star Spangled Banner. What began as a gathering of 13 balloons more than 47 years ago has grown into the largest ballooning event in the world. While on the balloon grounds, visit the International Balloon Museum, dedicated to the art, culture, science, history, and spectacle of ballooning. Then, visit a traditional New Mexican restaurant for a tequila tasting followed by lunch. Return to the hotel before catching the popular balloon glow, where all balloons fire up their burners and light up at the same time, and the amazing After-Glow Fireworks Show. (B,L)
This morning, visit the Indian Pueblo Cultural Centre, a fascinating museum and crafts market collectively run by the 19 New Mexico pueblos (villages). Here, you will learn about the history, background, and life of what now comprise the 19 pueblos of New Mexico. Next, see historic Route 66 and Old Town. This afternoon, learn about New Mexico's legendary covert military projects, including the Manhattan Project, with a guided tour of the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History. The museum 34 provides an objective, accessible window into the past, present, and future of nuclear science from the origins of atomic theory to modernday advances in nuclear medicine. Tonight your Tour Director will have dining suggestions for your evening at leisure. (B) Note: Schedule of activities vary from year to year and can be impacted by weather. Your Tour Director will be able to confirm exact schedule of activities on tour.
Today, travel along the Turquoise Trail to Santa Fe. This scenic drive passes through the foothills of the Sandia Mountains, past wide-open spaces and dramatic scenery. Arrive in Santa Fe, the oldest seat of government in the U.S. Experience this city up close as you embark on a guided Trolley Tour, including the San Miguel Mission, the Palace of the Governors, the State Capitol, and Loretto Chapel's "Miracle Stairway." With your afternoon free, why not visit the New Mexico Museum of Art or try one of Santa Fe's many delicious restaurants? (B)
This morning, visit nearby Chimayo, which was founded in the 17th century by Spanish settlers. Visit Santuario de Chimayo and learn about the miraculous healing powers that still attract thousands of pilgrims each year. Return to Santa Fe Plaza for lunch at a celebrated restaurant featuring New American West cuisine. Enjoy the afternoon at leisure to explore the plaza or return to your resort. This evening, enjoy a festive farewell dinner with entertainment. (B,L,D)
Depart Santa Fe for Albuquerque International Sunport Airport. An airport transfer is provided. Flights must be scheduled after 11 am. (B)