Last Updated: 7th Jun 2012
by – Alex McCarty, Tour Manager, North America
In the ‘Land of Enchantment’, Albuquerque stands as a gleaming example of quintessential life in a southwestern community. The largest city in the state of New Mexico with a population of almost half a million, ‘ABQ’ was also the first settlement established in the territory when it was the Spanish who first conquered the region.
These days the city is visited as often for its peaceful, rugged scenery with parts of the famous Painted Desert as a backdrop, as it is for being America’s Hot-air ballooning capital. With mountains rising to heights of close to 2000 meters casting a jagged shadow over the city and the Rio Grande River snaking its way through town, south into Mexico, Albuquerque is truly one of the unsung beautiful American cities.
The nights Contiki tours travel through Albuquerque (Mondays or Thursdays) tend to be rather lackluster for nightlife action for such a large metropolis and I have often discouraged leaving the hotel to find a club or pub, when the hotel bar offers a perfectly good time. Your barman (usually Edgar is pouring the drinks) is more than happy to serve all comers well into the night at the Contiki hotel in Albuquerque!
Old Town Albuquerque is made up of a collection of buildings that constituted the original settlement where the first 40 families lived. In recent years the area was renovated and has become souvenir central.