Featuring Bandelier National Monument & Valle Caldera National Preserve
May 6th-9th, 2019 Monday-Thursday
$790 (Based Upon Double Occupancy) $215 (Single Supplement)
Day One: We’ll leave the Valley, with a stop for coffee & goodies in Payson. Back on the bus, we’re headed for the Petrified Forest National Park, home to the Painted Desert Diner, where we’ll enjoy lunch on self. Nothing fancy, the Painted Desert Diner’s menu offers burgers, sandwiches, homemade soup and more. After lunch we’ll make our way to Hilton Santa Fe Buffalo Thunder Resort & Casino, just 15 miles north of Santa Fe—our headquarters for the next two nights. We’ll check into our rooms, refresh and then enjoy a free evening and dinner on self. With 9 eateries at Buffalo Thunder, there’s sure to be something for everyone.
Day Two: A fabulous breakfast buffet is included at the hotel. After breakfast it’s back on the bus headed for the Santa Fe Plaza. Listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, the Plaza is the heart and soul of the city, surrounded by landmarks, shops and restaurants. We’ll board a comfortable open-air trolley to enjoy a brilliantly narrated tour. We’ll cover an eight-mile loop that includes the most important historical areas in Santa Fe, including Canyon Road with its colorful art galleries, Santa Fe’s Museum Hill area, the Palace of the Governors, and other notable locations in the heart of the oldest capital city in the United States. Back in the plaza, we’ll have time to explore the charming streets and enjoy lunch on self at the restaurant of your choice. Late afternoon we’ll return to our hotel for dinner on self and a free evening.
Day Three: The buffet breakfast is included at the hotel. After breakfast, it’s bags out and we’ll head for Albuquerque via the Jemez National Trail Scenic Byway. Just 30 minutes northwest of Santa Fe, we’ll explore Bandelier National Monument. This 33,000-acre United States National Monument protects ruggedly beautiful canyon and mesa country, as well as Native American cliff dwellings dating back to the 13th century. Back on the bus, we’ll travel to Valle Caldera National Preserve, a 13-mile crater left when a super volcano exploded some 1.25 million years ago. Today Valle Caldera contains lush meadows, forests and streams. Rich with wildlife Valle Caldera is home to thousands of elk, as well as eagles, roaming bears and trout. Valle Caldera is a playground for nature lovers, and a great place to enjoy our picnic lunch, included. We’ll continue along the Jemez Trail Scenic Byway, with a stop at iconic Battleship Rock, a sheer cliff that rises suddenly from the river like a prow of a ship. We‘ll stop at the Jemez National Historic Landmark, one of the most beautiful prehistoric sites in the Southwest. It includes the ruins of a 500 year old Indian village and San Jose de Jemez church, dating to 1621. Late afternoon we’ll arrive at the beautiful and historic Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town. We’ll check in, and after a refresh, take some time to explore the charming streets of Old Town where brick paths, gardens and balconies are waiting to be discovered. Later we’ll gather for a fantastic Farewell Dinner and a margarita, at Garduno’s, offering authentic regional New Mexico and Mexican cuisine, and it’s all included.
Day Four: Breakfast is included at the hotel, then it’s bags out and we’ll head for home with a stop in Gallup at the famous Route 66 landmark, El Rancho Hotel. A pillar of the American West, this historic hotel was home to movie stars throughout the 1930’s-40’s, who filmed in this area. To visit El Rancho Hotel is to follow in the footsteps of Americans who traveled Route 66 in the hopes of a better life, and El Rancho was a cornerstone of that westward journey. We’ll enjoy lunch on self at El Rancho, where the affordable menu offers traditional American and Mexican favorites, including burgers, fajitas, enchiladas and so much more. After lunch we’ll hightail it for home, with some great stops and sightseeing along the way. This is a fantastic tour! We hope you’ll come with us.