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10 Days in New Mexico

North Woodmere, New...
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10 Days in New Mexico

Originally our trip was going to be about a week and we were going to spend it around the Sante Fe/ABQ/Taos area, however we were lucky enough to be able to extend our time to about 10 days now in New Mexico and want to see more of the state. We are arriving from NY 5/14 into ABQ around 8pm. We thought we would sleep in ABQ that night and leave early the next morning and travel south. We would now like to visit Carlsbad Caverns and White Sand National Monument and just would like to get an idea of the best central location to stay and how nights to be that area. We still want to make Santa Fe/Abq and the surrounding areas the main focus of our trip. I was considering Alamogordo or Las Cruces to stay while touring this area. What other sites/activities to do suggest while in this area. We love beautiful scenary/shopping, not really museum people.

Another question I have is whether split my stays in ABQ and Santa Fe or just stay somewhere in between. Right now we are looking at the Hilton Buffalo Thunder. We do like to gamble and also like some down time and relax by a pool and their pool looks very pretty. We are also considering the Hyatt Tamaya but they are a little more pricey than the Hilton. Any other suggestions will be much appreciated. We are so looking foward to our trip. This will be our first visit to NM. I have just started reading Frommers and TA forums. Just to add it is myself and my husband traveling, we are in our early 50's and we would do some hiking, off roading, white water rafting, of course the tram ride, and like I said before like beautiful scenary and like to explore little towns and I am a shopper. Also we heard alot about the Ten Thousand Spa....is it really that nice? Any natural mineral springs to go to? And I'm reading the weather is usually in the high 70's...is that about right?

So any suggestions are much appreciated. Thanks.

Albuquerque, New...
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1. Re: 10 Days in New Mexico

You can help us by letting us know what time of the year you are coming. In the summer, White Sands can be HOT!!. Really early morning for there. I would recommend driving to Carlsbad Caverns, spend the next day there, as to really enjoy them, you need most of a day. Then the next day, travel to White Sands. In the southern part of the state, you also have Mesilla, which is quite picturesque, and quite old. There are hiking trails both in the Sandia Mountains by Albuquerque, and the Sangre de Cristo mountains from Santa Fe north. White water rafting usually is the best in the spring and very early summer. I would suggest on-line to New Mexico's tourism site, which will have info on that. The Buffalo Thunder is north of Santa Fe, and is beautiful, but unless you golf, there isn't much right there except gambling. Bandelier National Monument is close by, but it doesn't take a whole day. My suggestion would be staying in Albuquerque and Santa Fe. There are two Casinos in the Albuquerque area that have hotels connected: Sandia Casino, and Isleta Casino (soon to be Hardrock Casino)

There are quite a few other casinos in New Mexico, especially the northern part of the state, all Indian owned. Give us an idea when you are coming, and other posters can offer more information. Look forward to having you visit our beautiful state.

North Woodmere, New...
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2. Re: 10 Days in New Mexico

We are coming May14-May 24th. We do not necessarily have to stay in a hotel with a casino, that is why we were also looking at the Tamaya.

Albuquerque, New...
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3. Re: 10 Days in New Mexico

Ten days...that's great...so many possibilities. Nothing to stay at between Santa Fe and ABQ. Just an hour's drive. Split might be best so you can enjoy ABQ (including the tram...great trails to hike up there) and have base in Santa Fe for all that's in northern part. Tamaya would be very nice. I would consider it the only resort near ABQ. To repeat myself, it's very nice. There's also the Sandia casino hotel on north edge of ABQ and Isleta casino hotel on south edge. I've never figured out what to advise about places to stay to go south to Carlsbad Caverns & White Sands, but in addition to Alamogordo there's also Ruidoso (very nice town in the mountains, several options for a stay & dining, including Inn of the Mountain Gods, which is also another casino), Cloudcroft (also in the mountains above Alamogordo, home of The Lodge), and Las Cruces, with dining in Old Mesilla. I like to mention Lincoln, too, for trips south. For the caverns, I think you are forced to stay either in Carlsbad or White's City (but see the poor reviews) if you are doing an overnight. There should be good High Water rafting options during your time, either "Taos Box" or Chama. Taos rafting takes out and buses from Pilar, on the low road to Taos. Bandelier by all means when in Santa Fe; can be enjoyed in half day. Hot springs spa at Ojo Caliente you might like. Check out their web. On a smaller scale, hot springs in Jemez: http://www.jemezsprings.org/hotsprings.html Haven't stayed at Buffalo Thunder. Another "resort" away from the Santa Fe plaza is Bishop's Lodge. For picturesque rural towns (and some shopping), check out the High Road to Taos from Santa Fe. Glorious shopping and dining in Santa Fe!

North Woodmere, New...
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4. Re: 10 Days in New Mexico

I am leaving ABQ early Sat. morning 5/15. I am not sure if I should drive directly to White Sands or to Carlsbad Caverns first. We are giving ourselves 2 nights out in the south to sightsee. I was thinking to do White Sands on 5/15 and then stay in Las Cruces and then start out 5/16 for Carlsbad and see the Caverns that day and stay over in Carlsbad on the 16th. On May 17th we would be driving back to the ABQ/Santa Fe area for about 1 week. I would like to stop off in Ruidoso, Cloudcroft and some other towns too. Am I giving myself too much time or too little time or sounds about right?. I did the distances on mapquest and the drives are quite far.

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5. Re: 10 Days in New Mexico

You should have a great opportunity to take in many of New Mexico's best tourism sites!

If you went from White Sands to Las Cruces, then to Carlsbad Caverns, you would be backtracking.

I would suggest you drive from Albuquerque to Carlsbad Caverns via Roswell. Then north to Artesia, and west into the Sacramento Mountains to Cloudcroft at 9,000ft. elevation...or to Ruidoso...then down to Cloudcroft through the Mescalero Apache Reservation's ranches. Ruidoso and Cloudcroft have cabins if they are of any interest to you. Ruidoso also has the Inn of the Mountain Gods Resort & Casino.

Day 3, visit White Sands National Monument in the morning as mid-May will probably be producing highs in the upper 80's, if not low 90's in the desert areas. Continue to Las Cruces, visiting Old Mesilla just south of town. You can then make good time (about 4 hours) from Las Cruces to Albuquerque. Take in Old Town in the late afternoon, and evening. We should also be in the lower 80's by mid-May, with Santa Fe and Taos remaining in the 70's.

You might want to check out the Sandia Casino & Resort, just north of Albuquerque. Buffalo Thunder would be a mid-point between Santa Fe and Taos however.

Have a great "adventure" in the Land of Enchantment!

Albuquerque, New...
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6. Re: 10 Days in New Mexico

I'm not an expert on this part of your trip, so I hope others advise re: time of day to visit White Sands & Caverns, etc. I don't think I'd drive all the way to Calsbad Caverns in one day; although having said that that's exactly what I did with my daughter on a cross country trip, with a stop in Lincoln, many years ago. We stayed at White's City, which I can't really advise, and proceeded on to Texas. I think your plan makes some sense, since you can catch White Sands as it's cooling off in the evening. Sunset tours and all that. You might want to check into a hotel in Las Cruces or Alamogordo just before so you don't have to worry about checking in later. I guess you could also stop by first thing in the morning and then drive to Carlsbad Caverns (always forget the season for bats at sunset). May even drive by Cloudcroft on the way. On return, probably go through Roswell and either north to Santa Fe or west to Lincoln and then Albuquerque. Inn of the Mountain Gods and Ruidoso would be nice; but not sure how they fit. Distances ARE quite far.

Uden, The...
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7. Re: 10 Days in New Mexico

With only 2 nights for the southern part of NM I'd start ABQ early and drive to Alamogordo via I25, us380 to Carrizozo and 54 to Alamogordo. Maybe with a stop at Valley of Fires SP just before Carrizozo. 380 and 54 are nice drives and more scenic than I25 to Las Cruces. I'd visit White Sands in the afternoon and stay Alamogordo for the night.

Then drive from Alamogordo via Cloudcroft on us82 to Artesia is much nicer imo than the drive from Las Cruces via El Paso to the Caverns. So another early rise and drive to Carlsbad. The Caverns are app. 30 minutes south of Carlsbad. You can visit them in the afternoon and maybe stay for the bats fly out at dusk. Then drive to Carlsbad for the night.

3rd day drive from Carlsbad back to ABQ/SF via Roswell and maybe visit it's UFO museum.

If you want to visit other places like Ruidoso, Capitan and Lincoln you'll need more time I'm afraid.

Tet

Edited: 17 March 2010, 17:53
Albuquerque, New...
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8. Re: 10 Days in New Mexico

Well, as I was writing my reply....I do like NM Photo's suggestion. Haul it to Carlsbad first day. I think he's suggesting going east on I-40 from ABQ to Clines Corners and then down to Roswell on way to Carlsbad. Day 2, more caverns and relatively easy drive to Cloudcroft or Ruidoso. (Several choices, but at least peak online at Inn of the Mountain of Gods.) Then morning to White Sands, Old Mesilla & Las Cruces, and hightail to Albuquerque.

Albuquerque, New...
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9. Re: 10 Days in New Mexico

Funny. Just as I was writing, another good response. Think Tet's is like my first suggestion but with a little more knowledge. May be some debate on when in day to visit White Sands. Of course, going Tet's way you could check into Alamogordo first.

Edited: 17 March 2010, 18:02
Albuquerque, New...
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10. Re: 10 Days in New Mexico

I like all the suggestions, but, I still think you should give the Caverns the better part of a day. Leave Carlsbad in the early morning, do the main entrance to the cave, (or even before daylight to see the bat flight into the cave), then do the Big Room, and after lunch the King & Queens rooms. You need reservations for the latter, but well worth it; it's quite beautiful. Then your next day back to Artesia, over the Sacramento Mountains to Alamogordo. You might enjoy the Space Museum in the afternoon, overnight there, and do White Sands early in the morning. Your return to Albuquerque could be back through Alamogordo to Carizzozo, across to San Antonio, and I-25 to Albuq. Or, over west from White Sands to Las Cruces, then I-25 all the way. Just my personal opinion. Holiday Inn Express in Carlsbad is very nice; new place, and the Best Western Stevens Inn is probably next. Everything else is pretty bad.