If you haven’t already, be sure to check out parts one and two on our SoJo tour of New Mexico. Our next stop is Santa Fe, New Mexico, the capital and the fourth largest city in the state. Santa Fe has a long, strong artistic history starting well before Gustave Baumann and stretching well past George R.R. Martin.
Safety Tips for Desert Travel
The landscape and climate are pleasant depending upon traveler preferences and the time of year of the visit. In any case, we recommend traveling with a cooler of water as dehydration can sneak up on a body quickly in such a dry climate. Be sure to consume plenty of water even if you are visiting in the colder months. In the spring months, beware of strong winds and protect your eyes and face from blowing sands.
Keep an eye on the gas tank as well. New Mexico is quite vast with very few small towns in between the major cities. Often you’ll find that you’re the only vehicle on the highway, there is no cell phone service, and gas stations are placed 200 miles apart. Our advice? When you see an opportunity to stop for gas or a restroom, you should take it—there is no way to know when there will be another one and you certainly do not want to be stranded here.
Museums and Galleries
One could devote an entire vacation to just seeing museums in Santa Fe. We recommend starting with the Traveler’s Market located in the Devargas Center.
Much like a swap-meet or bazaar, artists, craftsman, and merchants peddle their wares to the lively throng of shoppers, everything from Spanish beads to Japanese textiles. There are also galleries in the same building that are well worth the stop. Hours vary depending on the time of year. Check out their website for more details: http://www.travelersmarket.net/.
San Miguel Chapel
Beautifully maintained and open for visitors, San Miguel Chapel is the oldest church in the United States. Built in 1610 by Franciscan friars, the chapel has been witness to many of the events that shaped the nation’s history such as the Pueblo Revolt of 1680 (in which the chapel was partially burned down). Today the church is preserved by cultural experts who are eager to share this attraction’s rich history with you.
Located just slightly north of Santa Fe, Taos is a popular spot to visit for tourists coming to Santa Fe for the first time. You’ll remember hearing about Taos on the news every year around Easter because hundreds of thousands of people participate in the spiritual pilgrimage from the city to the churches in Taos. Even if you don’t want to participate in the pilgrimage, the city is still worth the stop. Taos is the oldest continuously populated town in the United States, primarily inhabited by Native Americans of the Tiwa tribe. There are over a thousand years of history here, three languages (Tiwa, Spanish, and English), and an endless array of art, crafts, and goods to partake in.
Be sure to go on a feast day, if you can. Feast days were introduced by the Spanish settlers to the Native Americans and have been going on ever since. Please be sure to observe local customs when attending these events. Note that you must be invited to eat at feast table if you are not a member of the tribe or community. This can be confusing because you’ll often see people going in and out of private homes like they would a store or restaurant. Outside, you may partake in the celebration as much as you like. Remember that this is not entertainment to the local people—it’s a cultural ritual. No photography of any kind and be sure not to clap at the end of any dances. Tickets are $16 for adults. Check out their website for more details:
To plan your New Mexico vacation visit www.myvacationquest.com!