Good Times Travel
17132 Magnolia St., Fountain Valley, CA 92708
Featuring a Single-Hotel Stay in Santa Fe, Taos, Albuquerque, Los Alamos, Chimayo, Bandelier National Monument
Activity Level 2
Pace Level 2
Unpack once and enjoy a four-night stay at an upscale hotel in Santa Fe’s historic Plaza while experiencing the holidays in the “Land of Enchantment.” This time of year the Santa Fe Plaza is filled with flickering lights and traditional farolitos – luminous bags of candles that are lit by hand each night. While sightseeing in Santa Fe, Taos, Los Alamos, Chimayó and Albuquerque with local guides, we’ll travel the colorful trails of the Southwest, explore ancient cultures, diverse landscapes and renowned museums and taste the world-famous Southwestern cuisine as we ring in the holiday season southwest-style!
Optional transfers from our departure points will have us at LAX this morning for a scheduled nonstop flight arriving in Albuquerque, New Mexico this afternoon. Those guests making their own flight arrangements can request the group’s flight schedule to coordinate a flight arrival time that would allow them to join the group in Albuquerque. Upon arrival, we’ll board a deluxe motorcoach and travel to historic Old Town Albuquerque to enjoy time at leisure for lunch and browsing on your own. Since it was founded in 1706 by Spanish Settlers, the Old Town area has remained the center for Southwest culture, architecture, shopping, art and cuisine. We’ll visit the beautiful San Felipe de Neri Church, the beautiful Catholic church built in 1793. This afternoon we’ll continue north to Santa Fe – nestled at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. We’ll enjoy a four-night, single-hotel stay at an upscale hotel that offers a nightly “Kickback” reception and is located within walking distance of the Santa Fe Plaza, the historic heart of the city. This time of year, the historic Plaza is illuminated by silvery lights strung on the trees and farolitos – luminous little bags of candles and sand that are lit by hand each night. Enjoy an included dinner at a locals’ favorite this evening. (Dinner)
We’ll be joined by a local guide for a guided tour of Santa Fe this morning. Founded in 1610, Santa Fe is the oldest seat of government in the U.S. and this capital city reflects its Spanish, Pueblo, and Mexican history. On a walking tour of the historic Santa Fe Plaza we’ll see the Palace of the Governors and the tree-lined streets with buildings of distinctive design, adobe houses and eclectic shops. We’ll go inside the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi and visit the famed Loretto Chapel to see its miraculous spiral staircase – a true marvel of architectural ingenuity. See the New Mexico Capitol building and go inside the San Miguel Chapel – the oldest church in the U.S. Enjoy the afternoon at leisure exploring this spectacular city and its vibrant Plaza area featuring a variety of shops and museums including the New Mexico Museum of Art, the New Mexico History Museum and the Georgia O’Keefe Museum, home to the largest collection of O’Keefe’s work in the world! Don’t miss The Shop – A Christmas Store, specializing in handcrafted Christmas ornaments, Nativities and Santas by New Mexico artists. Most of the items found here can’t be found anywhere else. (Breakfast)
This morning a local guide will join us onboard as we travel the “Low Road” towards the mountain town of Taos, seated on a high desert mesa within the foothills of the Rocky Mountains (7,000 feet elevation). We’ll stop at the Rio Grande Gorge to see the gorge and the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge. At 650 feet above the river, the bridge is the second highest bridge on the U.S. Highway System and the fifth highest bridge in the U.S.! We’ll visit Taos Pueblo, a living Native American community that features multi-storied adobe building. Designated a National Historic Landmark and a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, this Pueblo dates back to the 14th century and is one of the oldest continuously inhabited settlements in North America! On a docent-guided tour we’ll learn about the traditional lifestyle and beliefs of the Pueblo Indians and see the striking San Geronimo Chapel. Should Taos Pueblo be unexpectedly closed due to religious activities or memorial services, we will instead visit the Millicent Rogers Museum, featuring more than a thousand years of Southwestern arts and cultures within 14 galleries. Enjoy time at leisure for lunch and browsing in the charming Taos Plaza before we continue via the Camino Alto, or “High Road,” following the same route taken by the Spanish colonists through the scenic grandeur of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and past villages that date from the Spanish Colonial era. We’ll stop in the village of Chimayó and tour El Santuario de Chimayó, the church known as the “Lourdes of the Southwest” as it’s believed to possess healing powers in its “holy dirt.” This National Historical Landmark is considered to be the most important Catholic pilgrimage center in the U.S. We’ll enjoy an included dinner at Rancho de Chimayó, the award-winning restaurant housed in a century-old adobe home known for its traditional northern New Mexico cuisine. (Breakfast, Dinner)
This morning we’ll join a local guide and travel the Jemez Mountain Trail National Scenic Byway, a mountain road that twists through time and terrain, contrasting vermilion desert cliffs and coniferous forests – the road connects 13th century cliff dwellings with the birth of the Atomic Age! Enjoy a guided walk through Bandelier National Monument for a peak into the lives of the ancient Anasazi Pueblo culture that existed here 11,000 years ago. Petroglyphs and dwellings carved into the soft rock cliffs pay tribute to the early days of a culture that still survives in the surrounding communities. This afternoon we’ll continue to Los Alamos, the American World War II Heritage City established as a secret city during World War II for the development of the atomic bomb. We’ll enjoy an included lunch at a locals’ favorite followed by a walking and driving tour of the Los Alamos Historic District to see where generations of true pioneers have created ground-breaking innovations. We’ll see the Groves and Oppenheimer Statues, the Ice House Memorial, Fuller Lodge and a variety of historic buildings on Bathtub Row including the Oppenheimer House. We return to Santa Fe with the balance of the evening at leisure. (Breakfast, Lunch)
This morning we’ll pass old ghost towns and beautiful scenery as we travel south towards Albuquerque via the famed Turquoise Trail National Scenic Byway. Weather permitting, we’ll step aboard
the Sandia Peak Tramway – the longest aerial tram in the U.S. – for a 2.7-mile journey from the
desert floor over the Rio Grande Valley. At the summit of Sandia Crest (elevation 10,378), we’ll enjoy
time at leisure to explore and take in the stunning views. This afternoon we’ll enjoy time at leisure
for exploration and lunch on own at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, which tells the story of
New Mexico’s Pueblo Indian culture through authentic native arts, craft, and dance. Our scheduled
non-stop afternoon flight from Albuquerque will return us to Los Angeles this evening. Those guests
making their own flight arrangements can request the group’s flight schedule to coordinate a flight departure
time that would allow them to return to the airport with the group. Back in Los Angeles those guests
with pre-arranged transfers will be returned to their respective drop-offs. (Breakfast)
While we make every effort to operate our tours as outlined in the itinerary, we ask for your patience, understanding and flexibility and to retain a sense of adventure while traveling with us. Situations may arise that necessitate changes to the itinerary. Should we need to adjust the itinerary either prior to or while on tour, these changes will be communicated to you and only done when absolutely necessary.
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