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4 and half days - First time in NM.. Must-see places?

San Francisco...
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4 and half days - First time in NM.. Must-see places?

We are planning to visit new Mexico in mid September for about 4 days. We'd love to learn about the culture, enjoy nature, do some hikes, light shopping and also ensure the vacation is not too over-packed, meaning we get some time to relax as well.

Our plan is this.

Day 1: Land in ABQ. Drive to White Sands and enjoy the sunset there.

Day 2: A hike in White Sands in the morning and drive to Santa Fe. If time permits do some local shopping after sunset.

Day 3: In Santa Fe. Around 4pm, drive to ABQ via turquoise trail

Day 4: Sandia peak Tramway, Petroglyph Monument, Indian Peublo cultural center

Day 5: A few hours in Old Town and fly back from ABQ

For such a short time, there seems to be lot of things to do. It would be great to hear your expert suggestions to make the itinerary more practical and a wonderful experience.

Other inputs needed are:

1. Heard abt Sky City, El Malpais Monument, Taos Peblos, Rio Grande Gorge. Which of there are must-see places and how to accommodate them in our schedule.

2. Any good places to see en-route White Sands to Santa Fe?

3. Good, but inexpensive places to stay in Alamogordo, Santa Fe and ABQ

Thanks in advance!

Taos, New Mexico
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1. Re: 4 and half days - First time in NM.. Must-see places?

Sounds like you're going to be seeing some amazing things, but your first day alone involves about 10 hours of driving. It's 4 1/2 hours from Albuquerque Airport to White Sands and it's over 5 hours from Alamogordo to Santa Fe.

The distances involved will probably prevent you from driving to Taos Pueblo, the Rio Grande Gorge and Sky City unless you're willing to invest lots more time behind the wheel. We always recommend that first-time visitors try to scale things back a little and get a feel for the State.

Santa Fe, for example, could fill a week of simple sight-seeing and shopping. The museums and galleries, shopping, etc. Canyon Road in Santa Fe is a must-walk. Find yourself a copy of the publication called The Collector's Guide and look through the front Santa Fe section. We recommend that our guests find the art they LIKE in that publication and then visit those galleries on their first visit. With dozens and dozens of galleries, Canyon Road can be overwhelming without some focus.

You've got a great itenerary already and you might want to give yourself credit for having picked the bests highlights.

In terms of lodging, we haven't had any luck in Alamogordo, so we can't recommend anything there, but we know that in both Santa Fe and Albuquerque there are many choices. Our bias in favor of B&B's extends to those in the New Mexico Bed and Breakfast Association who have been inspected by health and fire inspectors, maintain licences and insurance and serve a hot breakfast each morning. http://www.nmbba.org.

A little used tool is to go on Hotels.com or BedandBreakfast.com and search for rooms and rates there. THEN call the hotel or lodger directly and see what kinds of deals you can get. They're often more competitive than those offered online.

Safe Journeys!

Destination Expert
for Colorado
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2. Re: 4 and half days - First time in NM.. Must-see places?

I'm thinking TaosBandBlover misunderstood...you won't have 10 hours driving your first day if you are going to spend the night in Alamogordo.

Here's a recent thread about places to stay in Alamogordo, or you can go to the Alamogordo forum and click on Hotels in the left hand column for reviews. tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g29760-i3336-k3689…

This thread also has a lodging suggestion as well as instructions for finding a sunset viewpoint! tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g29760-i3336-k2626…

Edited: 22 August 2010, 03:50
South Portland...
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3. Re: 4 and half days - First time in NM.. Must-see places?

No matter what, you will still be doing a lot of driving the first two days. Mapquest your route and be sure you want to spend that much time in the car. I love White Sands but you might want to limit your trip to either ABQ and Santa Fe for 4 days or hit the southern/central area, not both.

Also, I am not sure what kind of local shopping you are looking for, but a lot of shops, especially on the Plaza shut down after 6 PM in Santa Fe. Check the day you plan to shop and see what is open.

The State Fair may be open when you are here- you might want to include that and it might impact your hotel/price while you are in ABQ.

Merida, Yucatan
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4. Re: 4 and half days - First time in NM.. Must-see places?

I also agree that staying in the ABQ/SF area makes sense, seeing a bit of both cities and then planning trips.

We've been twice and would probaly name Taos Pueblo, Bandelier and Santa Fe downtown as our favourites.

Happy planning!

Albuquerque, New...
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for New Mexico
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5. Re: 4 and half days - First time in NM.. Must-see places?

I agree with the comments that you should restrict yourself to Santa Fe and Albuquerque for this short visit. This way, you could visit Acoma Pueblo, Bandelier, shop in Santa Fe and Albuquerque Old Town. Lots of great restaurants in both cities, as well as an abundance of lodging. Albuquerque is a little less expensive than Santa Fe in all catagories. The State Fair, if it is on when you are here, does not generate an increase in Hotel prices, so that shouldnt' be a factor in where you stay. On another trip you could do White Sands and Carlsbad Caverns (this is a must see).

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6. Re: 4 and half days - First time in NM.. Must-see places?

That is a pretty ambitious itinerary, but doable if you stay that first night near White Sands somewhere. This is an enormous state, the fifth largest by area in the country and looks can be deceiving on distances and such. especially once one leaves the interstate highway system.

I do have to interject on what I believe is some factually incorrect information put forth by TaosBandBLover. Given his repeated promotion and recommendations of Taos and Santa Fe B&B's he really should disclose that in addition to owning a B&B himself, is a member of said B&B Association and has close friends who own a B&B in Santa Fe.

Offering information here to help fellow travelers is great, but gilding the lily for oneself, friends, an organization one belongs to, etc. should trigger some disclosure of such.

Any B&B in the area that has a business license is inspected by the health/environmental department, fire department, carries insurance, serve scrumptious hot breakfasts, etc. and many are of as good of or better quality as those enjoying membership in the previously mentioned B&B Association.

While most top rated B&Bs are members of said association, there are plenty of reputable, high quality establishments that don't belong to industry groups for many different reasons.

The inference otherwise or that one should expect an inferior experience based simply on a B&B's membership or lack thereof is insulting to those choosing not to join and totally without basis in fact.

San Francisco...
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7. Re: 4 and half days - First time in NM.. Must-see places?

wow, thank you so much folks!

I have cut down my itinerary based on a lot of suggestions to just seeing ABQ and Santa Fe in the 4 days... I did badly want to see White Sands, but figured I would be trading a relaxed vacation for that and decided to do it another time!

My new itinerary and a few questions are posted here:


Please add your thoughts.

Thanks a bunch!

8. Re: 4 and half days - First time in NM.. Must-see places?

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