Planning a trip to New Mexico

Old Jan 3rd, 2002, 01:58 AM
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Planning a trip to New Mexico

I am in the process of planning a trip to New Mexico for 14 days. I would like to be able to do white water rafting, ballooning, attend an event as well as visit the sites. I would like to know if there is a tour group that incorporates all of this and takes you to see the entire state.

I have narrowed the time to be in either August or October. Which month is better?
If I go in August I was planning to attend the International Indian Ceremonial Dance Competition. If I go in October I was thinking of going to the Kodak Balloon Fiesta. Which event is more worth the money?

Also is kayaking and white water rafting a smart thing to do in October? This is one of the activities that I would like to participate in.
Old Jan 3rd, 2002, 04:54 AM
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I can't shed any light on tours, but it sounds like most of the activities you want to do would be available in the northern part of the state, probably around Albuquerque. I'd definitely urge you to go in October rather than August. It'll be too hot in August. We lived there for over four years so I know firsthand how blazing hot it gets in the desert in the summer. It'll still be warm in October, just not so blistering hot. It's a beautiful state; enjoy yourself!
Old Jan 3rd, 2002, 06:25 AM
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I went to Santa Fe in October 2000 the weekend of the balloon festival. It snowed! It was cloudy and very cool the entire weekend. I was disappointed that I didn't get to see the desert sunsets I'd heard about. Part of the balloon festival was cancelled due to the weather. I think this was a very abnormal year for weather in October, but I think it may be a little too late in the year for the white water rafting.
Old Jan 3rd, 2002, 06:53 AM
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You've got a couple of choices. Indian Market happens in Santa Fe in August, and while it's hot, we didn't find it terribly oppressive. The other choice would be the balloon fiesta in Albuquerque in October; that was wonderful, and the weather was quite lovely when we were there a few years ago. I don't think rafting is a possibility in October, though, so it depends on which activities are most important to you. The rafting company that we went with is called "Oars", and I think they have a website; they were really good and I'd definitely go with them again. Have a great trip.
Old Jan 3rd, 2002, 09:41 AM
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I think the decision between August and October all depends on where you want to spend the most time.

Santa Fe is considerably (3000 feet?) higher than Albuquerque, so I'd visit SF in August, ABQ in October, if they were the only places I were going. If you plan to spend a lot of time in high country (say, 6000 feet and over), then go in August.

In Durango (SW Colorado - 200 miles from SF and ABQ), the high season for rafting/kayaking happens around early June, when the snowmelt is at its peak. In August, the river has gone down quite a bit, but people still do some rafting; no one goes in October. I'd imagine the situation is similar in NM.

The ballon fiesta always seems to be affected by high winds, but doesn't usually have a lot of rain. I have no idea as to relative merits of the two events you mention. They both sound great.

On the whole, I'd stay in high country for most of the time, and go in August.
Old Jan 4th, 2002, 07:54 AM
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We visited NM and southern Colo. in August a few years back. The Inter tribal pow-wow in Gallup, NM was an amazing event, bringing together peoples from tribes all over the country and Mexico. It was prior to the Indian Market in SF, but there was another weekend art event in the Plaza which we really enjoyed. The weather was not an issue as it's so high up. There is a terrific steam railway trip out of Chama on the northern border well worth the time. You'll ride through country not very accessable by road. Unless you're set on balloons, I'd go in Aug.
Old Jan 4th, 2002, 08:26 AM
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I spent a few days in Albuquerque and Santa Fe in August 2001 and had a great time. It got hot in the afternoon in ABQ, so I did my outdoor activities in the morning and indoor ones (museums, aquarium, etc) in the afternoon, which worked out fine. Did some hiking at Petroglyph National Monument in ABQ first thing in the morning and it was fine. Another good thing to do in the afternoon is to take the aerial tramway up to Sandia Peak -- it was in the 80s at the bottom and in the 40s at the top!
I was in Santa Fe on the weekend and found it was oppressively crowded, the traffic was sitting still, and there was nowhere to park. There wasn't a festival or anything, this was just a normal Sunday afternoon. Keep that in mind. I did go to the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, though, and thought it was the best, most fascinating museum I've ever been to.

Have fun! Albuquerque is one of my favorite cities, and I can't wait to go back. When I was planning my trip, a lot of people told me about how great Santa Fe was and how there was nothing to do in ABQ, but I ended up liking ABQ much more, and hotels are a lot cheaper there, too. Enjoy!
Old Jan 5th, 2002, 08:07 AM
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Definitely go in August. You can do everything you want, including see the balloons!

At that time of year the weather in the early, early morning hours are perfect for ballooning. If you go out at about 4am to the site where they hold the balloon fiesta, you will see dozens & dozens of balloonists, even get to watch them blow them up, which is really neat.

If you stand close enough (but not too close) & take lots of pictures, you might even get lucky enough to get to ride on one. I did, and it was an experience I will never forget!

It is a family affair & everyone is really friendly. At the balloon fiesta, things are a lot more hectic & you won't be able to get very close.

Have fun!
Old Jan 5th, 2002, 10:07 AM
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I live in Santa Fe and lived in Albuquerque for over 10 years so here's my recommendations. If you like the bar scene then definitely stay in Albuquerque as Santa Fe is pretty quiet most of the time except during Indian Market in August.

My recommendations would be to stay in Albuquerque if you go in August and make it your "base" as there is lots to do within 1-1/2 hrs. drive from Albuquerque. Do make it up to Santa Fe or Taos for a night or two. In August there will be the Santa Fe Opera and Indian Market. The water will pretty low in the Rio Grande but I recommend you call an outfitter to get more info.
In October stay in Albuquerque if you can get a room. It's sometimes difficult to get a good deal on a room at that time. You might also want to use Santa Fe as your "base" to get away from the balloon crowds. The weather will be much nicer than August.
Have fun.
Old Jan 5th, 2002, 11:59 AM
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We went to New Mexico in Aug. last year. The water is lower so it is more technical manuvering around rocks. We went llama trekking in the mountains in Taos>Both of these trips I used guides. Go on New Mexico websites and there are alot of tours.

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