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Santa Fe (New Mexico)

Photo © jabyb

Travel Guide North America USA Western United States New Mexico Santa Fe

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Introduction

St Francis Cathedral, Santa Fe

St Francis Cathedral, Santa Fe

© All Rights Reserved Utrecht

Santa Fe is the capital of the state of New Mexico. It is located in the central north of the state and has about 74,000 inhabitants (city, metropolitan area about 184,000 people).

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Sights and Activities

  • The New Mexico History Museum, located in the historic Santa Fe Plaza, consists of the newly opened museum, the Palace of the Governors, and the Portal Native American Artisans Program, where New Mexico Native Americans sell authentic arts and crafts. The Palace of Governors, built in 1610, is the oldest government building in the United States.
  • Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian is one of several located on "Museum Hill," a few kilometres or so from the central Plaza of Santa Fe. Built in the shape of a traditional Navajo shelter, called a hogan, its one high-ceilinged main room is the perfect size for a show concentrating on a single artist or theme. Downstairs is a re-creation of an early 20th century trading post selling jewelry, pots, rugs and other crafts by Navajo, Hopi and other tribal artists.
  • Loretto Line Tour Company offers 90-minute tours of the important sites in Santa Fe in a motorized open-air tram (shaded from the direct sun, and generally suitable for 9 or 10 months of the year). The drivers are experts in history, archaeology, architecture and the multiple cultures of Santa Fe. It's a great way to get oriented and decide what you want to explore in greater depth on your own.
  • No one who has been to Santa Fe will be surprised if you decide to get married there. It's a romantic, beautiful town with enough diverse activities for all the guests from both sides of the aisle. A favorite spot is Loretto Chapel which has its own romantic and mysterious story. It was designed to resemble a famous French chapel, but the builders forgot to design in a staircase to the choir loft. Do you know the story? If not, see the TV movie, or visit the web site. Better yet, come see for yourself!

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Events and Festivals

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Weather

Summers are from June to mid-September when the average temperatures during the day mostly in the 26-30 °C range while nights drop to 10-13 °C during this time. Winters from December to February see average highs of 6-9 °C while nights are in the -10 to -7 °C range. Alltime highs and lows are 38 °F and -27 °C! Average annual precipitation is around 14 inches, with most of it falling during the wetter summers. Though winters see regular snow with around 10 to 18 centimetres a month from December to March.

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Getting There

By Plane

American Eagle operates flights out of Santa Fe Municpal Airport (SAF) to and from Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) and to and from Los Angeles (LAX). The Albuquerque International Sunport is only an hour's drive from Santa Fe, and offers additional flight options.

By Car

Santa Fe can easily be reached along Interstate 25 which runs north-south through the state of New Mexico. US Highway 84 connects Santa Fe with places to the north.

By Bus

Check Greyhound for connections.

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Getting Around

By Car

Many international rental companies have a wide selection of rental cars and these include Hertz, Avis, Dollar, Thrifty, Enterprise, Budget and Alamo/National. Most companies will require you are at least 25 years of age, although younger people might be able to rent cars at slightly higher rates and with some insurance differences as well. A national driver's license is usually enough, but an additional international one is recommended. Also note that it usually costs more to include lots of other extra things. For example extra drivers, GPS, the first full tank, SLI (Supplemental Liability Insurance), PAI (Personal Accident Insurance, usually covered already at home), road assistance/service plan, and drop-off costs for one-way rentals.
If you want to book a car, it is recommended that you book your car before arriving in the USA. This is almost always (much) cheaper compared to just showing up. Also, try and book with a so-called 'broker', which usually works together with a few or many car rental companies and can offer the best deal. Some examples include Holidayautos, Holidaycars and Sunny Cars. Some of the cheapest deals to book from Europe, includes Drive-USA, which also has a German version.

For more information and tips about renting cars and campers, additional costs, insurance, traffic rules, scenic routes and getting maps and fuel it is advised to check the USA Getting Around section.

By Foot

Many of the hotels, restaurants, shops and boutiques, and historic sites are located in and around the Santa Fe Plaza, providing the opportunity for leisurely explorations on foot. The Santa Fe visitor's website offers guides to several free walking tours.

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Sleep

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
Motel 6 Santa Fe3007 cerrillos rd Santa Fe, NM 87507Hotel-

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Keep Connected

Internet

There is a very small internet bar/cafe culture in the USA. Even then most of the internet bars/cafes tend be located in major urban centers. Accessible WiFi networks, however, are common. The most generally useful WiFi spots are in coffee shops, fast-food chains, and bookshops, but also restaurants and hotels more and more have a network to connect on. Some of them might require you to buy something and you might need a password too, especially in hotels.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The general emergency phone number is 911. The USA has a great landline phone system that is easy to use. The country code for the U.S. is +1. The rest of the telephone number consists of 10 digits: a 3-digit area code, and a 7-digit number. Any small grocery store or pharmacy has pre paid domestic or international phone cards. These phone cards are very cheap and offer good rates. The once ubiquitous pay phone is now much harder to find. Likely locations include in or near stores and restaurants, and near bus stops. The cellphone network in the states is slowly getting better but is still not as good when compared to other western countries. Cell phones tend to operate using different frequencies (850 MHz and 1900 MHz) from those used elsewhere in the world (2100 MHz). This used to prevent most foreign phones from working in America. Phones must be tri- or quad-band to work in the U.S. Fortunately, technology has meant that most phones should now be able to pick up one of the U.S. networks. Prepaid phones and top-up cards can be purchased at mobile phone boutiques and at many discount, electronics, office supply and convenience stores. A very basic handset with some credit can be had for under $40.

Post

The US Postal Service is a very good and well priced mail system. There are post offices in every small and large town for sending packages internationally or domestically. Although some might keep longer hours, most are open at least between 9:00am and 5:00pm. If wanting to send a letter or postcard it is best just to leave it in a blue mail box with the proper postage. First-class international airmail postcards and letters (up 28.5 grams) cost $1.10. There are also private postal services like FedEx, UPS, TNT and DHL, which might be better value sometimes and are generally very quick and reliable too.

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References

  1. 1 Mid-2008 estimate, U.S. Census Bureau

Quick Facts

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Population
64,040[1]

Contributors

as well as NuMexiKan (6%)

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This is version 19. Last edited at 10:16 on Jul 11, 13 by Utrecht. 2 articles link to this page.

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