New Mexico

Photo © Utrecht

Travel Guide North America USA Western United States New Mexico

edit

Introduction

St Francis Cathedral, Santa Fe

St Francis Cathedral, Santa Fe

© All Rights Reserved Utrecht

New Mexico is one of the more fascinating states in the country. It is one of the few places in the United States with a long colonial history. This mixture of cultures and natural beauty is what draw most travelers to New Mexico. Today there is also thriving art scene in Santa Fe and Taos, which draw artists from around the world. Along with the art scene is a hippy culture that has created interesting communes and even the 100% off the net work architecture style of Earth Ships. Although if looking for the old New Mexico it is not very hard to find, just step a little off the main tourist avenues and inhale the centuries old stories.

Top

edit

Brief History

The area was first settled by the Clovis culture people during the last ice age. As the Clovis culture began to die the Pueblo Indian culture was born. Starting around 900 AD the Pueblo culture flourished in New Mexico although it went through many different phases. The Pueblo people are a sedentary farming society that live in adobe homes with similar architecture. Don't be fooled, the different Pueblos have very different cultures with some languages being as different as Chinese compared to Spanish. Evidence of their great culture can be experienced at the ruins of Chaco Canyon or Aztec Ruins National Monument or the current day Pueblos of Taos or Acoma.

In 1540 Coronado, a Spanish Conquistador, organized an expedition to explore the area for the mystical Seven Golden Cities of Cibola. What he found were the Pueblo cities. In 1598 Juan de Onate returned and founded the Province of New Mexico. The plan was to turn the different Pueblo tribes into surf like state with Spanish conquistadors ruling them. The harsh treatment of the conquistadors was only reenforced by the brutal tactics of the missionaries. This eventually reached a boiling point when in 1680 all the Pueblos united and lead the successful Pueblo Revolt, which pushed out or killed all the Spanish in New Mexico. An interesting result of the Pueblo Revolt was that many horses were released and went feral on the plains, which were later recaptured by plains and west coast tribes therefore spreading horses across North America.

Taos, New Mexico, USA

Taos, New Mexico, USA

© All Rights Reserved jeffreytao

The Spanish returned 12 years later in 1692, this time lead by Diego de Vargas. The truce among the Pueblos did not last long and de Vargas returned order to the area. Although brutal at times he stopped the missionaries and set up clear boundaries between Spanish and Native areas. A key difference was before the Pueblo Revolt the Spanish moved into the Pueblos and tried to rule directly from there in many cases. De Vargas would establish a Spanish town close to the Pueblo, at the same time respecting their distance. Also at the same time the Navajos, Apaches and Comanches became more aggressive making it that the Pueblo tribes and the Spanish allied themselves for safety.

Over the next 150 years the area became very isolated and was considered a backwater of the Spanish Empire. With the Spanish economy in decline the settlements along the Rio Grande were left to fend for themselves with little Spanish assistance. When the Mexican War of Independence ended in 1821 New Mexico was given to Mexico. This did little to help the area as even less resources were given to it.

After the Mexican-American War, from 1846 to 1848, the United States took New Mexico and pretty much ignored it until after the civil war. After the civil the United States committed great resources in their own words "to solve the Indian problem." This lead to most tribes being settled on reservations by treaty or by force. During the 20th century New Mexico started to change and was made into a state in 1912. More anglo settlers have moved in and tourism has become a large part of the economy. The last major historic event that took place in New Mexico was the site of the first atomic bomb test in 1945.

Top

edit

Geography

The state's total area is 314,460 km2). The eastern border of New Mexico lies along 103° W longitude with the state of Oklahoma, and 5 kilometres west of 103° W longitude with Texas. On the southern border, Texas makes up the eastern two-thirds, while the Mexican states of Chihuahua and Sonora make up the western third, with Chihuahua making up about 90% of that. The western border with Arizona runs along the 109° 03' W longitude.The southwestern corner of the state is known as the Bootheel. The 37° N latitude parallel forms the northern boundary with Colorado. The states New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, and Utah come together at the Four Corners in the northwestern corner of New Mexico. New Mexico, although a large state, has little water. Its surface water area is about 650 km2. The New Mexican landscape ranges from wide, rose-colored deserts to broken mesas to high, snow-capped peaks. Despite New Mexico's arid image, heavily forested mountain wildernesses cover a significant portion of the state, especially towards the north. The Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the southernmost part of the Rocky Mountains, run roughly north-south along the east side of the Rio Grande in the rugged, pastoral north. The most important of New Mexico's rivers are the Rio Grande, Pecos, Canadian, San Juan, and Gila. The Rio Grande is tied for the fourth longest river in the USA.

Top

edit

Regions

  • Central New Mexico - Situated along the Middle Rio Grande Valley and home to Albuquerque, the Central region contains most of the state's population.
  • North Central New Mexico - This scenic mountainous region has many of the better-known tourist destinations of New Mexico, such as Santa Fe and Taos.
  • Northeast New Mexico - Here, the Rocky Mountains meet the Great Plains. The Santa Fe Trail, railroads, and Route 66 all passed through here.
  • Northwest New Mexico - Part of the Four Corners region, this area is home to many unusual geological formations, red rocks, and part of the Navajo Nation.
  • Southwest New Mexico - Home to scenic low-lying mountains and much of the agricultural production in the state, along the Rio Grande.
  • Southeast New Mexico - Elevation-wise, this is the lowest region of the state, mostly desert but with some strange geologic phenomena.

Top

edit

Cities

  • Alamogordo - A large town notable for its museum of space history and proximity to the White Sands National Monument. The mountains to the east of Alamogrodo offer seasonal hiking opportunities and even snow skiing in winter,
  • Albuquerque - By far the state's largest city and the center of commerce for the state, with a fair number of tourist attractions in its own right, including a massive and spectacular hot-air balloon fiesta. Albuquerque also offers plenty of hiking in the Sandia foothills to the east of the city along with more trails on the opposite side of the Sandia range.
  • Carlsbad makes an obvious base for exploring Carlsbad Caverns National Park. The city is full of hotels and restaurants ready to cater to tourists visiting this southerly corner of New Mexico.
  • Clovis
  • Farmington - The largest town in the northwest section of the state, and a gateway to the Navajo Nation and Four Corners area. Farmington is the best base for exploring the Bisti Badlands National Wilderness Area.
  • Gallup has a well preserved section of Route 66, complete with old hotels and a few diners featuring authentic neon signs from the golden age of the American road trip.
  • Hobbs
  • Las Cruces - The state's second largest city and the largest in the southern portion of the state. The omnipresent Organ Mountains provide a stunning backdrop to the city as well as opportunity for many hiking options.
  • Las Vegas - A lovely little town with a lot of history, and the largest town in the northeast section of the state. There is a great roadside hot spring in the village of Montezuma, 5 miles north of Las Vegas. This hot spring is free to the public
  • Rio Rancho has become a bedroom community of Albuquerque. This suburb is situated along the Rio Grande River and features many national retail establishments.
  • Roswell - A medium sized town most well known for the alleged crash of a flying saucer near here in 1947. Today, Roswell's International UFO Museum and Research Center continues to draw in tourists from all over the planet. The museum features plenty of historical facts about the alleged crash in 1947 as well as relevant information on alien phenomenon from around the world.
  • Santa Fe - The state capital and primary tourist attraction of the state, with historic architecture, scenic beauty, and a concentration of arts and culture.
  • Silver City - An old mining town located in the southwestern section of the state, Silver City has become quite the burgeoning center for art galleries and hip culture in the last few years. Silver, as it is known to the locals, is also the gateway for exploration of the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument, reached by a winding road from town through the mountains of the Gila National Forest.
  • Taos is an artist town with an amazing traditional Spanish town-square and Native American Pueblo outside the city. Visitors come here for more than art galleries and traditional New Mexican handcrafts; there is great winter skiing in the nearby mountains and great outdoor opportunities at the nearby Rio Grande River Gorge.
  • Tucumcari is still embracing it's Route 66 history by providing a hand full of vintage motels from those heady road trip days. In New Mexico, Tucumcari has become THE place to experience the allure of "The Mother Road" and presents tourists with an unchanged look at what the city offered motorists all those years ago,

Top

edit

Sights and Activities

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Carlsbad Caverns

Carlsbad Caverns

© All Rights Reserved Jrshort

Carlsbad Caverns National Park is located in the Guadalupe Mountains, roughly a 300 miles (almost 500 kilometres) drive from Albuquerque, New Mexico. The Caverns date back 200 millions years and the limestone rocks that holds Carlsbad Cavern are full of ocean fossil plants and animals from a time before the dinosaurs, when the southeastern corner of New Mexico was a coastline similar to the Florida Keys. One of Carlsbad Caverns main attraction is the “Big Room” where visitors can go down 900 feet (over 250 metres) in an elevator into the cave's main area and witness the wonderful rock formations. The Carlsbad Caverns are a must-see attraction that gets busy all-year around. Visitors are able to take a self-guided tour or a guided tour and tours can often be set up through hotels in the area and cities nearby. The Caverns are a UNESCO World Heritage site.

White Sands National Monument

Micro canyon, White Sands NM

Micro canyon, White Sands NM

© All Rights Reserved Utrecht

The White Sands National Monument is a U.S. National Monument located about 26 kilometres southwest of Alamogordo in western Otero County and northeastern Doña Ana County in the state of New Mexico, at an elevation of 1,291 metres. The area is in the mountain-ringed Tularosa Basin and comprises the southern part of a 710 km2 field of white sand dunes composed of gypsum crystals. It is the largest gypsum dune field in the world.

Other National Parks, Monuments, Preserves and Sights

  • Aztec Ruins National Monument preserves Ancestral Puebloan structures in the northwestern part of the U.S. state of New Mexico. This national monument is close to both the town of Aztec and the Animas River, and it is about 12 miles (19 km) northeast of Farmington, New Mexico. The Salmon Ruins and Heritage Park, which also has Puebloan structures, is about 9.5 miles (15.3 km) south of the monument. The Aztec ruins date from the 11th to the 13th centuries. American settlers in the 19th century named them the "Aztec ruins" based on their erroneous belief that the Aztec civilization built them.
  • Bandelier National Monument presents visitors a glimpse into village life for the Ancestral Puebloans. Here, kivas and other adobe structures were mainly concentrated at the base of a sheer cliff. This was an advanced center of population and agriculture was practiced in the narrow valley in which the village was built. Bandelier National Monument also has over 70 miles of hiking trails throughout it's 33,000 acres. Trails for all skill levels can be found from 1 mile loops to several backcountry trails exceeding 12 miles in length. In winter months visitors will find several trails suitable for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
  • Capulin Volcano National Monument is a U.S. National Monument located in northeastern New Mexico that protects and interprets an extinct cinder cone volcano that is part of the Raton-Clayton Volcanic Field. A paved road spirals around the volcano and visitors can drive up to a parking lot at the rim. Hiking trails circle the rim as well as lead down into the mouth of the volcano. The monument was designated on August 9, 1916 and is administered by the National Park Service. The volcano is located 3.1 mi (5 km) north of the village of Capulin. The visitor center features exhibits about the volcano and the area's geology, natural and cultural history, and offers educational programs about volcanoes. There is also a video presentation about the volcano. The name capulin comes from a type of black cherry, Prunus virginiana, that is native to southern North America. Apollo 16's John Young and Charlie Duke did some of their geologic training here in May 1971.
  • Chaco Culture National Historical Park is a stunning series of ruined settlements in the desert and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A 9 mile, one way circuitous road passes through the heart of the park with stops at various points of interest along the way. There are 5 back country hiking trails within Chaco Culture National Historical Park, taking in ruined peublos not accessable from the road as well as picturesque views of the surrounding countryside from the ledges above Chaco Canyon. Limited camping is available throughout the year at the park's Gallo Campground. In summer and early autumn, free presentations on the night sky at Chaco Canyon are provided by park rangers, including chances to look deep into the cosmos with the park's super telescope. For more information visit the Chaco Canyon Night Sky webpage.
  • El Camino Real National Historic Trail
  • El Malpais National Monument is located in western New Mexico, primarily reached via NM Highway 53. It is on the Trails of the Ancients Byway, one of the designated New Mexico Scenic Byways. The name El Malpais is from the Spanish term Malpaís, meaning badlands, due to the extremely barren and dramatic volcanic field that covers much of the park's area. The area around El Malpais was used for resources, settlement, and travel by Oasisamerica cultures, Native Americans, and Spanish colonial and pioneer exploration. Archaeological sites remain in the park. In the 1940s the Malpais lava field was one of the eight candidate sites considered by the Manhattan Project to test detonate the first atomic bomb, the Trinity nuclear test, which did occur to the south at White Sands Proving Ground. The Department of Defense did use the site as a bombing range to train pilots during World War II. After the war, the Bureau of Land Management became the administrator of the area. In 1987, President Reagan created El Malpais National Monument and designated it a unit of the National Park Service. It is jointly managed with the nearby El Morro National Monument.
  • El Morro National Monument located on NM Route 53 between Grants and Gallup, is a free visitor attraction spanning hundreds of years of New Mexican history and chronicles the many marks man has left upon this striking rock formation. That first mark involved the ancestral Puebloan Culture that built and maintained an adobe settlement atop the rock known as El Morro Mesa in the western New Mexican high desert from about 1275 to 1350 AD. The next group of people to leave their mark, in the form of etched signatures on the base of the sandstone mesa walls, were Spanish Conquistadors making their way through the countryside in search of the fabled cities of gold as well as new lands for the crown. The very first signature was made by Juan de Oňate, the first Spanish governor of the colony, dated April 16th, 1605. Many more signatures followed throughout the years including those of soldiers, guides, surveyors and settlers. Hundreds of signatures, dates and messages are still visible today and can be viewed from a paved walkway along the base of El Morro Mesa. Visitors to El Morro National Monument can also hike a circuitous trail from the visitor center to the top of the mesa to see the ruined pueblo and enjoy the stunning views of the surrounding countryside.
  • Valles Caldera National Preserve is a new (2015) and unusual unit of the United States National Park system in the Jemez Mountains of North Central New Mexico. It preserves a huge volcanic structure of great scenic and scientific value. Facilities for the visitor are being developed and are undergoing rapid change. The Valles Caldera has had an unusual history that has given it a unique position among United States national parks. After a long pre-history of occupation by ancestral Puebloans and later Spanish settlers, the caldera and the surrounding Jemez Mountains passed into United States control after the Mexican-American War. At this time it wasn't viewed as particularly significant: a remote, if scenic, area of what seemed to be grazing land within a newly acquired territory, of little commercial interest to anyone but the old Spanish families that had already settled and pastured livestock there, sometimes in the face of considerable hostility from nearby Indian populations. Consequently, when a bill was passed in the United States Congress in 1860 to compensate the Baca family, a pioneering family in New Mexico with significant land holdings, for the federalization of some of their land, a large tract of land in the Jemez, including most of the caldera, was handed over to the Bacas, along with some other tracts elsewhere in the Southwest. This tract became known as "Baca Location No. 1" and would retain this name long after the Baca family sold it to other investors.
  • Fort Union National Monument is a unit of the National Park Service of the United States, and is located north of Watrous in Mora County, New Mexico. The national monument was founded on June 28, 1954. The site preserves the second of three forts constructed on the site beginning in 1851, as well as the ruins of the third. Also visible is a network of ruts from the Mountain and Cimarron Branches of the old Santa Fe Trail. There is a visitor center with exhibits about the fort and a film about the Santa Fe Trail. The altitude of the Visitor Center is 6760 ft (2060 m). A 1.2-mile (1.9 km) trail winds through the fort's adobe ruins. The fort was established in the New Mexico Territory, on the Santa Fe Trail. It was provisioned in large part by farmers and ranchers of what is now Mora County (formally created in 1860), including the town of Mora, where the grist mill established by Ceran St. Vrain in 1855 produced most of the flour used at the fort. The fort served as the headquarters of the 8th Cavalry in the early 1870s and as the headquarters of the 9th Cavalry in the late 1870s during the Apache Wars
  • Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument is reached by a winding road through the Gila National Forest from Silver City, 38 miles to the south. From the visitor center an easy trail and a 15 minute hike leads to a natural rock shelter that provided people from the ancient Mogollon Culture an excellent building site. About 15 families lived in 5 caves within the boundaries of this 550 acre monument. Visitors can step inside the caves, observe the ruined buildings and even enter several rooms. There are hot springs located at a campground several miles south of the entrance to Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument.
  • Rio Grande del Norte National Monument is a United States National Monument in North Central New Mexico, west of the town of Taos. The monument covers a long and spectacular stretch of gorge, sometimes 800 feet deep, carved by the Rio Grande through the Taos Plateau that is popular with hikers, whitewater rafters, and sightseers. Rio Grande del Norte was added to the national parks system when it was proclaimed as a national monument by Preseident Barack Obama in 2013. It was assembled out of a collection of lands held by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), who administer the monument. However, while the official proclamation is recent, the BLM has been working on developing the recreation areas within the current monument for a while now, constructing visitor centers, campgrounds, trails, and new roads over the past couple of decades. As such, visitors will find a well-developed monument still largely unknown to tourists, albeit one quickly being discovered. The monument is in the midst of an area of fairly recent (in geologic terms) volcanic activity. The area sits within the Rio Grande Rift, a place where the tectonic plates move away from each other; this created an opening in the Earth's crust where volcanoes formed, with the subsequent lava flows cooling and filling in the rift. Today's Taos Plateau, a vast expanse of basalt flows punctuated by the occasional dormant volcano, is the result of this activity. This also accounts for the existence of the gorge, as the Rio Grande was able to cut through the accumulated layers of basalt, carving the deep gorge that exists today.
  • Old Spanish National Historic Trail (Spanish: Viejo Sendero Español), is a historical trade route that connected the northern New Mexico settlements of (or near) Santa Fe, New Mexico with those of Los Angeles, California and southern California. Approximately 700 mi (1,100 km) long, the trail ran through areas of high mountains, arid deserts, and deep canyons. It is considered one of the most arduous of all trade routes ever established in the United States. Explored, in part, by Spanish explorers as early as the late 16th century, the trail saw extensive use by pack trains from about 1830 until the mid-1850s. The name of the trail comes from the publication of John C. Frémont’s Report of his 1844 journey for the U.S. Topographical Corps., guided by Kit Carson, from California to New Mexico. The name acknowledges the fact that parts of the trail had been known to the Spanish since the 16th century. Frémont's report named a trail that had already been in use for about 15 years. The trail is important to New Mexico history because it established an arduous but usable trade route with California.
  • Pecos National Historical Park is known to most visitors for the ancient ruins of Pecos Pueblo and the Spanish mission, known as Mission Neustra Seňora de los Ángeles di Porciúncula de los Pecos. Lesser known attractions within the park include a section of the Santa Fe Trail as well as large portions of the battlefield from the the Civil War Battle of Glorieta Pass, fought March 26th - 28th, 1862. Another part of the park contains the old Forked Lightning Ranch, founded in the 1920's. Visitors wishing to see the battlefield must check with staff at the visitor center to gain access to a gated portion of the park. Here, interpretive signs highlight the key moments of the battle as well as the aftermath and what it meant to both the Union and Confederate armies.
  • Petroglyph National Monument features 3 ancient volcano cones and the namesake petroglyphs etched into the scattered rocks produced by those eruptions. Visitors can climb the 3 volcanic cones which are easily accessible from the parking area off Atrisco Vista Blvd on the extreme west side of Albuquerque. Miles of hiking trails throughout the monument, along with stunning views of the Rio Grande valley, Albuquerque and the western slope of the Sandia Mountain Range make Petroglyph National Monument a popular destination for locals and visitors.
  • Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument is a complex of three Spanish missions located in the U.S. state of New Mexico, near Mountainair. The main park visitor center is in Mountainair. Construction of the missions began in 1622 and was completed in 1635. The Quarai Ruins are located about 8 miles north of Mountainair, at about 6650 ft (2026 m) above sea level. There is a visitor center and a 0.5 mi (0.8 km) trail through the ruins. The Gran Quivira Ruins are located about 25 miles south of Mountainair, at about 6500 feet (1981 m) above sea level. There is a small visitor center near the parking lot. A 0.5 mile (0.8 km) trail leads through partially excavated pueblo ruins and the ruins of the uncompleted mission church. The Abo Ruins are located about 9 mi (14 km) west of Mountainair, at about 6100 ft (1859 m) above sea level. They are said to date back to the 14th century. It was a major trading station during its time. There is a visitor contact station, a 0.25 mi (0.4 km) trail through the mission ruins, and a 0.5 mi (0.8 km) trail around the unexcavated pueblo ruins.
  • Santa Fe National Historic Trail was a 19th-century transportation route through central North America that connected Franklin, Missouri with Santa Fe, New Mexico. Pioneered in 1821 by William Becknell, who departed from the Boonslick region along the Missouri River, the trail served as a vital commercial highway until the introduction of the railroad to Santa Fe in 1880. Santa Fe was near the end of the El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro, which carried trade from Mexico City. The route skirted the northern edge and crossed the north-western corner of Comancheria, the territory of the Comanches, who demanded compensation for granting passage to the trail, and represented another market for American traders. Comanche raiding farther south in Mexico isolated New Mexico, making it more dependent on the American trade, and provided the Comanches with a steady supply of horses for sale. By the 1840s, trail traffic along the Arkansas Valley was so heavy that bison herds could not reach important seasonal grazing land, contributing to their collapse, which in turn hastened the decline of Comanche power in the region.
  • Sandia Cave, also called the Sandia Man Cave, is an archaeological site near Bernalillo, New Mexico, within Cibola National Forest. First discovered and excavated in the 1930s, the site exhibits evidence of human use from 9,000 to 11,000 years ago. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1961. The site is open to the public, up a difficult half-mile trail off New Mexico State Road 165. The Sandia Cave is located on a steep side wall of Las Huertas Canyon, on the north side of the Sandia Mountains northeast of Albuquerque, New Mexico. The public trailhead to access the cave is on the east side of NM165. The site is rather difficult to reach, as it is requires traversing ledges and a steep metal staircase. The cave was discovered in 1936. Archaeologists argued about claims associated with this site for decades, making it difficult to determine its importance. The site was excavated in the 1930s and 1940s by Frank Hibben while at the University of New Mexico. Both Folsom and Sandia hunting points were recovered, with the hitherto unknown Sandia points interpreted by Hibben as being much older than any other evidence of man in North America. Faunal remains included extinct, Pleistocene mammals. Later study of stratigraphy and radiometric dates corrected serious earlier misinterpretations, leaving "Sandia Man" as definitely younger than earlier claimed. Faunal remains recovered by Hibben and others include such extinct forms as mammoth, mastodon, sloth, horses, and camels, as well as many mammal and bird species that survived the end of the Pleistocene, making this one of the most important Pleistocene paleontological sites in northern New Mexico.
  • Folsom Site or Wild Horse Arroyo, designated by the Smithsonian trinomial 29CX1, is a major archaeological site about 8 miles west of Folsom, New Mexico. It is the type site for the Folsom tradition, a Paleo-Indian cultural sequence dating to between 9000 BC and 8000 BC. The Folsom Site was excavated in 1926 and found to have been a marsh-side kill site or camp where 23 bison had been killed using distinctive tools, known as Folsom points. This site is significant because it was the first time that artifacts indisputably made by humans were found directly associated with faunal remains from an extinct form of bison from the Late Pleistocene. The information culled from this site was the first of a set of discoveries that would allow archaeologists to revise their estimations for the time of arrival of Native Americans on the North American continent.
  • Shiprock is a monadnock rising nearly 1,583 feet above the high-desert plain of the Navajo Nation in San Juan County, New Mexico, United States. Its peak elevation is 7,177 feet above sea level. It lies about 10.75 miles southwest of the town of Shiprock, which is named for the peak. Governed by the Navajo Nation, the formation is in the Four Corners region and plays a significant role in Navajo religion, myth, and tradition. It is located in the center of the area occupied by the Ancient Pueblo People, a prehistoric Native American culture of the Southwest United States often referred to as the Anasazi. Shiprock is a point of interest for rock climbers and photographers and has been featured in several film productions and novels. It is the most prominent landmark in northwestern New Mexico. In 1975, Shiprock was designated as a National Natural Landmark by the National Park Service.
Micro canyon, White Sands NM

Micro canyon, White Sands NM

© All Rights Reserved Utrecht

  • Rio Grande Gorge offers scenic and recreational opportunities to visitors making their way to or from Taos. For scenic views from above, US Route 64 traverses the Rio Grande Gorge and provides dramatic views from a walkway along the bridge over the Rio Grande River 600 feet below. Recreation below the rim of the gorge includes hiking, fishing and the chance to soak in several hot springs along the riverside.
  • Bisti Badlands is a 45,000 acre wilderness area south of the city of Farmington. Free access to Bisti Badlands provides plenty of opportunity to wander through a landscape filled with otherworldly rock formations and even a petrified forest, where plenty of ancient fallen tree trunks have turned to solid stone. Most noteworthy here are the mushroom-like formations of various sizes that seem to have been randomly placed upon the barren ground. Note: there are no trails to follow from the parking area of Bisti Badlands/De-Na-Zin Wilderness Area. All exploration of the area is unguided and it is easy to get lost - carry GPS, plenty of water and ample protection from the sun at all times.
  • The International UFO Museum and Research Center has become a destination for many visitors to the state of New Mexico.This museum highlights the world famous alleged UFO crash from 1947 with historical accounts from the crash site as well as information on possible cover-ups from local officials and government agencies. There is a graphic depiction of the famous alien autopsy and a very extensive gift shop selling all sorts of alien-related merchandise.
  • Bandera Volcano and Ice Cave - A collapsed lava tube within an ancient volcano offers visitors a chance to peer into a geological oddity. This collapsed lava tube forms a natural tunnel where the temperature never rises above freezing, forming ice from rainwater and snow melt throughout the year in the cave. A trail leads to the rim of the volcano and steps lead down to a large viewing platform. Picnic grounds, a gift shop, a small museum and several easy hiking trails make Bandera Volcano and Ice Caves a pleasant day trip.
  • Taos Pueblo is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is an ancient pueblo belonging to a Taos-speaking (Tiwa) Native American tribe of Puebloan people. It lies about 1 mi (1.6 km) north of the modern city of Taos, New Mexico. The pueblos are considered to be one of the oldest continuously inhabited communities in the United States. Taos Pueblo is a member of the Eight Northern Pueblos, whose people speak two variants of the Tanoan language. The Taos community is known for being one of the most private, secretive, and conservative pueblos. Natives will almost never speak of their religious customs to outsiders, and because their language has never been written down, much of the culture remains unknown to the rest of the world.
  • Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary is an animal sanctuary in Candy Kitchen, New Mexico dedicated to rescuing and providing sanctuary for captive-bred wolves and wolfdogs. Visitors can take guided tours of the sanctuary to see the animals. Tours range in length from 45 minutes to about 90 minutes. They start on the patio of the main log cabin and they are about 1/4 miles long.The sanctuary also offers tours specifically for photography, where visitors are allowed inside an average of four of the enclosures (with a guide) over a period of 1–2 hours. Private group tours are also available.

Top

edit

Events and Festivals

  • Gathering of Nations is the largest pow-wow in the United States and North America. It is held annually the fourth weekend in April, on the Powwow Grounds at Expo NM, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Over 565 tribes from around the United States and 220 from Canada travel to Albuquerque to participate. There are 36 dance categories, and different age group categories including Elders (70+), Golden Age (55+), Adults (19+), Teens and Tiny Tots. Other competitions include Northern Singers, Southern Singers, Women's Back-up Singing, and a competition for Drum Groups and Drummers and other various special competitions. A pageant for Miss Indian World is held each year. The winner is chosen based upon personality, knowledge of tribal traditions, and dancing ability. There is also Indian Traders Market featuring artists, crafters and traders selling Native American and Indigenous arts and crafts. Additional activities during this native themed festival is stage 49 The contemporary music and performance space where native musicians and others experience performance on a professional stage and in front of a large audience. Also is the native horse and rider regalia parade, honoring the horse culture among tribes. And the tee pee village. Gathering of Nations also participates annually in a literacy program, delivering over four thousand books to young children registered to dance. Gathering of Nations maintains a high level traveling show since 1995, with performances throughout USA, Asia, Europe and on Broadway in New York City. Also numerous performances on national television with five live performances on the NBC Today show. 2010 Grammy winner for best Native American music album, A Spirit's Dance. The Gathering of Nations Powwow is a family event where everyone is invited. The Gathering of Nations is North America's biggest Powwow.
  • Zozobra, or Old Man Gloom in English, is a 50 ft high giant marionette effigy that is built and burned during the annual Fiestas de Santa Fe in Santa Fe, New Mexico and marks the Fiestas' start. As his name suggests, he embodies gloom; by burning him, people destroy the worries and troubles of the previous year in the flames. Anyone with an excess of gloom is encouraged to write down the nature of his or her gloom on a slip of paper and leave it in the "gloom box" found in the offices of the Santa Fe Reporter in the weeks leading up to the burn. Participants can also add documents on the day of the burning, prior to the event, by visiting a "gloom tent" where they can add to the marionette's stuffing. Many people put legal papers in the gloom box as well. At the festival the papers from the gloom box are placed at Zozobra's feet to be burned alongside him. Fiestas de Santa Fe has been held since 1712 to celebrate the Spanish retaking of the city in 1692 by Don Diego de Vargas from the Pueblo tribes who had occupied the city since the Pueblo Revolt of 1680. The burning of Zozobra dates from 1924. Santa Fe artist and marionette maker Gustave Baumann came up with the idea of creating the effigy, also called Old Man Gloom, and the ritual burning; and then conspired with his friend William Howard Shuster, Jr. to burn the first Zozobra. "Zozobra" means "anxiety" in Spanish. Baumann's idea might have been influenced by Mexican cartonería (papier-mâché sculpture), especially the effigies exploded during the burning of Judas that takes place on Holy Saturday or New Year's Eve, as a way of ridding oneself or one's community of evil.
  • Duke City Shootout is the world's first and longest-running script-to-screen movie-making contest. The Shootout and the 48 Hour Film Project were cited in MovieMaker Magazine as "pioneers of the marathon movie-making competition." The competition was begun in 2000 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, under the name Flicks on 66, and briefly changed to DigiFest Southwest, before settling on the current name. Each year, the Shootout conducts an international competition for short scripts, 12 minutes or shorter, and selects seven to produce during the competition, held annually in July. Selected competitors are brought to Albuquerque and have one week to shoot, edit and premiere their finished movie. The festival provides equipment, crews, cast, locations, editing facilities, mentors and everything necessary for the competitors to complete their movies. The movies are screened before a live audience on the final night of the event. The Shootout has also incorporated other movie-making contests since its inception. In 2006 and 2007, it partnered with the 48 Hour Film Project and hosted its own MiniCini to help aspiring filmmakers create nearly 50 additional shorts during the week.

Holidays

  • New Year’s Eve - The US celebrates the outgoing of the old year and incoming of the New Year quite dramatically. Every state boasts its own parties to ring in the New Year, but none is more extravagant than New York’s Time Square, which sees people overflowing into the neighboring restaurants, bars, parks, beaches, and neighborhoods.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day (officially Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. and sometimes referred to as MLK Day) is an American federal holiday marking the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. It is observed on the third Monday of January each year, which is around King's birthday, January 15. The holiday is similar to holidays set under the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. The earliest Monday for this holiday is January 15 and the latest is January 21. King was the chief spokesperson for nonviolent activism in the Civil Rights Movement, which successfully protested racial discrimination in federal and state law.
  • St Patrick’s Day - March 17 celebrates the US’s large Irish population. Many cities around the country boast boisterous parades and Irish-themed parties, especially New York and Chicago, where the river is dyed green. Be wary of the drunkenness that dominates as this is definitely a party-day.
  • Memorial Day - Memorial Day is an important holiday throughout the United States, but not for crazy festivities. Parades commemorating wartime heroes are often held and the day is also the ‘unofficial’ start of summer. Most visitors follow the crowds to parks and beaches, which are capped off with informal BBQs.
  • Independence Day - Also known as the Fourth of July, Independence Day celebrates the US’s break from the British during the 18th century. Barbecues, street parties, beach trips, and weekend getaways are commonplace to appreciate freedom.
  • Labor Day is a public holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. It honors the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, laws, and well-being of the country. It is the Monday of the long weekend known as Labor Day Weekend. It is recognized as a federal holiday. Beginning in the late 19th century, as the trade union and labor movements grew, trade unionists proposed that a day be set aside to celebrate labor.
  • Halloween - Halloween is a fun holiday on October 31 for all generations to dress up in costumes and relive their youth. Children walk around the neighborhood trick-or-treating for candy, while adults attend parties. Other seasonal events include haunted houses, pumpkin farms and carving, and corn mazes.
  • Thanksgiving - On the fourth Thursday in November, Thanksgiving is held in almost every home in the US. Tourists will have a hard time finding anything to do as the country essentially shuts down in observation. A typical Thanksgiving meal consists of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie commemorating the original Pilgrim’s feast at Plymouth Rock.
  • Christmas - On December 25, Christians celebrate Christmas as the pinnacle of their calendar by attending church and opening gifts from Santa Claus. Almost everything shuts down to promote family togetherness. The northern regions hope to experience a “white Christmas,” with trees and festive lights blanketed by snow.

Sport

  • Super Bowl Sunday - the world’s most watched sporting event and one of the highest grossing TV days of the year, Superbowl Sunday is a spectacular extravaganza. Held the first Sunday in February, the Superbowl is the final playoff game between the NFL’s top two teams. The venue rotates every year around America, yet the local parties seem to remain. Pubs, bars and restaurants are great places to enjoy the Superbowl or locals throw their own parties with different variations of betting.
  • The World Series is the annual championship series of Major League Baseball (MLB) in North America, contested since 1903 between the American League (AL) champion team and the National League (NL) champion team. The winner of the World Series championship is determined through a best-of-seven playoff, and the winning team is awarded the Commissioner's Trophy. As the series is played during the fall season in North America, it is sometimes referred to as the Fall Classic.

Other Events and Festivals

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is held every year in the Balloon Fiesta Park (north of Alameda Blvd, one mile (1.6 km) west of I-25, take either Alameda Blvd or Tramway Blvd exit off I-25). $10, children ages 12 and under free (parking $15 per car). The Fiesta is the world's largest ballooning event and one of the most photographed events in the world. A cultural landmark for Albuquerque (and indeed, all of New Mexico), this festival gives you a first-hand look at the world of ballooning. For nine days in October, you can walk out onto a large field where balloonists from around the world set up, inflate, launch, and possibly land their balloons. Mass ascensions of balloons with hundreds of different colors and shapes create an often stunning and magnificent sight. It's one of the most heavily attended festivals in the entire U.S. Balloons fly best in cooler conditions, so many of the events take place early in the morning. Traffic is pretty bad around the festival; expect a long, long line of cars (you may want to seriously consider taking park-and-ride to beat the traffic). Get your hotel reservations far in advance, because everyone fills up around this time of year. If the event is rained or snowed out, there are no refunds on prices. Most years the weather works in favor of the balloonists, so this shouldn't be a problem, though. The event begins on the first Saturday of October and ends with a farewell mass ascension on the Sunday of the following weekend, with numerous events in-between, such as concerts and balloon races. Here are a few of the highlights of the fiesta:

  • Dawn Patrol. Every day there's a Dawn Patrol at around 6AM, where a few balloons take off before the sun rises. These balloons test the conditions before other balloons take off.
  • Mass Ascension. On weekend days at about 7AM the Mass Ascension occurs, which is the lift off of all the balloons participating in the fiesta, usually in two waves. Not to be missed.
  • Balloon Glow. On weekend evenings (except for the final day of the event) a Balloon Glow takes place, when the balloons don't lift off the ground, but are illuminated by the light of their propane burners going off.
  • Morning Glow. The same as the balloon glow but early in the morning (may not always occur).
  • Special Shapes Rodeo. Happens at 7AM on the Thursday and Friday of the event, which is a Mass Ascension for all the "special shape" balloons. There are also Balloon Glows called Glowdeos (a portmanteau of "glow" and "rodeo") for the special shape balloons. The special shapes are the balloons in forms other than the standard balloon shape, and are very popular with kids; expect to see animals, cartoon characters, clowns, and many other colorful creations. Returning favorites include a milk cow, a wagon coach, and a trio of bees.

Top

edit

Weather

The climate of New Mexico is generally semi-arid to arid, though there are areas of continental and alpine climates, and its territory is mostly covered by mountains, high plains, and desert. The Great Plains (High Plains) are located in the eastern portion of the state, similar to the Colorado high plains in eastern Colorado. The two states share plenty of similarities in terrain, with both having plains, mountains, basins, mesas, and desert lands. New Mexico's average precipitation rate is 350 mm a year. The average annual temperatures can range from 18 °C in the southeast to less than 4 °C in the northern mountains. During the summer months, daytime temperatures can often exceed 38 °C at elevations below 1,500 metres, the average high temperature in July ranges from 36 °C at the lower elevations to the upper to 26 °C at the higher elevations. Many cities in New Mexico can have temperature well belove zero. The highest temperature recorded in New Mexico was 50 °C at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Loving on June 27, 1994 and the lowest recorded temperature is -46 °C at Gavilan on February 1, 1951. New Mexico receives a decent amount of snow as well, and a lot of snow in its higher elevations in the mountains.

Top

edit

Getting There

By Plane

Albuquerque International Airport is the main gateway. Southwest Airlines offers most flights, including to/from Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, El Paso, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Oakland, Orlando, Phoenix, St. Louis, Portland, Salt Lake City, San Diego, Seattle and Tucson.
Several other airlines serve San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Denver, Cleveland, Atlanta, Minneapolis-Saint Paul and (the only international flight) Chihuahua in Mexico.

By Train

A number of trains stop en route between the central states and California in New Mexico. The trains are operated by Amtrak and include:

  • The The Southwest Chief between Chicago and Los Angeles, stopping in Albuquerque and a number of other places.
  • The Sunset Limited between New Orleans and Los Angeles. The train only stops in Deming and Lordsburg in the extreme southwest of New Mexico.
  • The Texas Eagle travelling between Chicago and Los Angeles. The train operates daily between Chicago and San Antonio, Texas, but only three times a week continues from San Antonio to Los Angeles, stopping in Deming and Lordsburg as well.

By Car

Interstate highways 10 and 40 cross the state east/west, the former entering between El Paso and Las Cruces and paralleling the southern border, and the latter following the route of historic Route 66 through the middle of the state. Interstate 25 enters the state in its northeast corner near Raton, passes through the eastern plains, crosses the Sangre de Cristo Mountains at Glorieta Pass near Santa Fe, then follows the Rio Grande south through Albuquerque to its terminus at I-10 in Las Cruces.

Although New Mexico has a fairly long border with Mexico, there are few ports of entry. Most traffic inbound from Mexico enters the United States at El Paso and then continues to Las Cruces and beyond. In addition to the usual customs, etc., at the national border, there are checkpoints along the major highways out of Las Cruces at which vehicles may be searched for illegal immigrants. (If you're considering bringing an illegal in, don't; penalties are serious and enforcement is stepping up, if still uneven.) The small town of Columbus has a border crossing with Mexico that is open 24 hours a day. Santa Teresa NM, adjacent to El Paso and south of Las Cruces also has a port of entry. Although this border crossing is only open from 6:00am-10:00pm, it forms a handy bypass of Ciudad Juarez and El Paso and is an important route for international commerce and travel.

By Bus

Greyhound has bus services throughout the country.

Top

edit

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.

New Mexico has a number of National Scenic Byways which offer a great way to explore the state crossing beautiful landscapes. Mostly, there are lots of national parks, state parks or monuments along the way and it's generally a better alternative than the faster but boring Interstate Highways.

Top

edit

Eat

A distinctive regional cuisine has developed in New Mexico. Often considered a subset of "Mexican" food, "New Mexican" cooking is characterized by:

  • First and foremost, chile peppers. New Mexico chiles, despite their reputation, are generally not nearly as hot as habaneros and some Asian peppers, although their spiciness can still come as quite a jolt to the palate unused to spicy foods. Chiles are green for most of their growing life but turn red and dry out as they mature, and can be picked and cooked either "red" or "green." When you order a New Mexican dish in a restaurant, you'll be asked whether you prefer red or green sauce, referring to the color - maturity - of the peppers used to prepare the sauce. Green is usually hotter than red, but it depends on the seasons it was grown. They both have distinctive flavors; try both while you're here. The difference of red and green chile can also refer to how the chile will be served. In some instances, red chile will come as a sauce while green chile will come chopped or whole. (Incidentally, "red" chile has nothing at all in common with the red "chili" -- note spelling -- typical of Tex-Mex-style Mexican food, which is generally scoffed at in New Mexico.) The small town of Hatch, near Las Cruces, is famous for its chile farms, and is a good place to pick up some chile to take home.
  • New Mexico green chile is a variety of the chile pepper, Capsicum annuum, and was developed as a recognizable strain in New Mexico by the late nineteenth century. It is available today in several distinct and selectively-cultivated strains called cultivars. The chile pepper is grown in the state's very high altitude (4,000–8,000 ft) and dry, hot climate. Much like grapes for wine, these growing conditions contribute, along with genetics, to giving New Mexico green chile its distinctive deep green color, texture, and flavor. The climate of New Mexico tends to increase the capsaicin levels in the chile pod compared to pods grown in other regions. This results in the possibility of hotter varieties. New Mexico green chiles can range from mild to extremely hot. At harvest time (August through the middle of October) green chile is typically roasted, peeled and frozen for the year ahead. Chile is such a staple in New Mexico that many national restaurant chains offer New Mexico chile at their New Mexico locations.
  • New Mexico red chile is simply the fully ripened green chile pepper. As it ripens, it first turns orange and then quickly turns red. As it does so, the skin thickens and fuses to the inner fruit or "meat" of the pepper. This means that, for the red pepper to be enjoyable, it must first be dried then blended into a puree. The puree can be made using full red chile pods or red chile powder (which is made by finely grinding the dried pod). The purée is not edible until cooked as red chile sauce. This is made by cooking the puree with garlic, salt – and occasionally oregano – and has the consistency of tomato soup. Discerning native New Mexicans prefer sun-dried over oven-dried red chile, as the oven-drying process gives it a non-traditional smoky flavor and a dark maroon color. Red chile peppers are traditionally sun-dried in bundles called ristras, which are a common decorative sight on porches and in homes and businesses throughout the Southwest. The process of creating the ristra is highly labor-intensive, so the ristra in recent decades has become a predominantly decorative item.
  • The sopaipilla, a light, puffy fry bread that can be served as a side dish or turned into an entree by stuffing it with meat, cheese, beans and chile peppers. The stuffed sopaipilla is perhaps the quintessential New Mexican dish and is most commonly seen in the northern half of the state (southerly restaurants are more likely to involve tortillas as the table bread, as in the cuisine of "old" Mexico). As a dessert, sopaipillas are often topped with sugar and honey.
  • "Blue corn", which is just what it sounds like: corn in which the kernels, and resulting corn meal, have a distinctive bluish color. Tortillas made with blue corn differ from the usual tortillas not only to the eye but also to the palate, with a pleasingly gritty consistency and slightly "nutty" taste. Enchiladas made with blue-corn-meal tortillas are characteristic of Santa Fe and environs and have become trendy on a national if not world-wide level.
  • Piñon nuts, the fruit of the scruffy little piñon pine tree that is widespread in the state. These can be eaten as snacks or as components of dishes, particularly some of the upper-end "Southwestern" cuisine.

These components merge into a cuisine that ranges from utterly basic, everyday-lunch fare (served almost everywhere in the state) to incredibly elaborate "Southwestern" meals with any number of exotic variations and add-ons. Santa Fe is justly famous for its rich assortment of New Mexican and Southwestern restaurants, but don't eat New Mexican food just there; there are a number of subtle variations in New Mexican cooking in the different regions of the state (for example, topping enchiladas with a fried egg is characteristic of southern New Mexican food but rare in the north), and you'll be well advised to experiment locally.

Wheat flour tortillas are more prevalent in New Mexico cuisine as a table bread than corn tortillas. However, corn tortillas, corn tortilla chips, and masa are the foundations of many traditional New Mexico dishes, and sometimes made of blue corn. Common traditional dishes include enchiladas, tacos, posole, tamales, and sopaipillas as a dessert. However Corn (maize) remains a staple grain, the yellow sweet corn variety is most common in New Mexico, though white is sometimes used, and blue and red flint corn varieties are used for specialties like atole and blue-corn tortilla chips. Kernel corn and corn on the cob are frequent side dishes, as in the rest of the American South. Corn is not a frequent component of New Mexico salsa or Pico de gallo, and is usually a separate side dish in and of itself.

Anise is common in some desserts, especially the state cookie, the bizcochito. Cilantro, a pungent green herb (also called Mexican or Chinese parsley, the seeds of which are known as coriander) used fresh in salsas, and as a topping for virtually any dish; not common in traditional New Mexican cuisine, but one of the defining tastes of Santa Fe style. Cumin, the quintessential "Mexican food" spice, is used very differently in New Mexican food, usually reserved for spicing ground beef and sometimes other meats for burritos, tacos, and nachos. It is not used to flavor red and green chile sauces. Oregano is a sparingly used but common spice used in traditional New Mexican dishes.

The early Spanish Colonies along the Rio Grande River in New Mexico used Safflower as a substitute for Saffron in traditional recipes. An heirloom variety originating from Corrales, New Mexico called "Corrales Azafran" is still cultivated and used as a saffron substitute in New Mexican cuisine

Other New Mexican Foods

  • Green chile cheeseburger: widely considered the New Mexican variety of cheeseburger, it is a regular hamburger that is topped with melted cheese and either whole or chopped green chile. The flavor is very distinctively New Mexican as opposed to other types of hamburgers, and is even offered in the region by major fast food chains.
  • Green chile cheese fries: a New Mexican variant to traditional cheese fries, fries served smothered with green chile sauce and topped with cheese.
  • Indian Fry Bread: A traditional thick flatbread of deep-fried dough, developed by the Navajo people after the "Long Walk", when they were forcibly relocated to Bosque Redondo, New Mexico. Served as a snack with honey or for making Navajo tacos. The New Mexico sopaipilla is a variant of this.
  • Huevos rancheros: Fried eggs any style on corn tortillas, smothered with red or green chile sauce, and topped with shredded cheddar cheese - often served with potatoes and/or pinto beans. Flour tortillas on the side come standard.
  • Frito pie: A Tex-Mex casserole, made of red chile sauce, sometimes with meat and or pinto beans, atop a bed of Fritos (or similar) corn chips, topped with cheese, and usually topped with shredded lettuce, chopped tomato and onion. Some five and dime stores make it by slicing open a bag of Frito's and adding the rest of the ingredients. Although a Texas invention, it has become popular in New Mexico.
  • Posole: a thick stew made with hominy and pork. Chicken in lieu of pork is a popular variation. It is simmered for hours with pork or chicken and then combined with red or green chile plus other ingredients such as onion, garlic, and oregano. Native New Mexicans include off-cuts of pork (especially pork rinds and pigs feet) in the pork version. They also prefer to use the un-popped hominy kernel, either blue or white, which goes by the same name as the dish, "posole.". The un-popped kernels are boiled separately from the other ingredients until the kernels pop revealing the hominy-like form. To New Mexicans, posole is one of the most important of Christmas traditions. The Mexican spelling pozole is uncommon in New Mexico.
  • Calabacitas: Chopped summer squash with onions, garlic, yellow corn, green chile, sauteed in oil.
  • Bizcochito: anise-flavored cookie sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, traditionally made with lard. It was developed by residents of New Mexico over the centuries from the first Spanish colonists of what was then known as Santa Fe de Nuevo México. Although Biscochitos may sometimes be found at any time of year, they are a traditional Christmas cookie.
  • Arroz dulce: sweet rice pudding, a traditional Northern New Mexican desert, primarily popular in traditional homes, and rarely found in restaurants. Rice is generally cooked in milk and water. Then, simmered with sugar and raisins, garnished with cinnamon, and served hot.
  • Carne adovada: Cubes of pork that have been marinated and slow-cooked in red chile sauce, garlic and oregano.
  • Green chile stew: similar to caldillo with the use of green chile. Standard ingredients are coarsely-chopped green chile, ground or cubed beef, ground or cubed pork, potato, diced tomato, onion, garlic, and chicken or beef stock.
  • Tamale (plural tamales): meat rolled in cornmeal dough (masa), wrapped traditionally in corn husks (waxed paper is sometimes used for commercial versions), and steamed. Although there are many delicious variations, the standard New Mexico tamal filling is shredded pork cooked in red chile sauce. New Mexican tamales typically vary from other tamal styles in that red chile powder is typically blended into the masa.
  • Navajo taco: A taco made with frybread, rather than a tortilla.
  • Capirotada: a bread-pudding dessert, traditionally made during Lent festivities. Capirotada is made of toasted bread crumbs or fried slices of birote or bolillo bread, then soaked in a syrup made of melted sugar, or 'piloncillo, and cinnamon. It usually contains raisins, and possibly other fruits and nut bits. Finely grated cheese may be added when it's still hot from the oven, so that it melts. Served warm or cold.

Top

edit

Drink

Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Las Cruces are the only cities large enough to have significant night life. However, several of the American Indian pueblos operate casinos that bring in name-brand entertainment. The casinos themselves are controversial locally because of problems with patrons with gambling addictions, but the entertainment can be reasonably good.
There are a surprising number of acceptable wineries in New Mexico, concentrated mainly in the north central region, but there are several others in the middle Rio Grande valley, between Albuquerque and Socorro.
The wine- and fruit-based beverage known as sangría, more commonly associated with Spain, is also widespread in New Mexico. Most restaurants with a liquor license that serve New Mexican cuisine will also serve sangría.

Top

edit

Sleep

Hotel and Motel Chains

There are dozens of hotel and motel chains, ranging from budget to top end. Allthough they are not the most charming accommodations, they usually have a very decent midrange service with good rooms and are generally good value. At least you know what to expect and in some cases they are either the only or the best option in the area. Some of them include:

Top

References

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

Quick Facts

[edit]

Capital
Santa Fe
Population
1 984 356[1]

Contributors

as well as Lavafalls (5%), NuMexiKan (1%), Peter (<1%), Sander (<1%)

New Mexico Travel Helpers

We don't currently have any Travel Helpers for New Mexico

This is version 77. Last edited at 13:31 on Jul 5, 19 by road to roam. 50 articles link to this page.

Creative Commons License
Except where otherwise noted, content of this article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License