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.