Last Updated: 14th Nov 2013

<p>by &#8211; <a href="/people/060ff9ffdd0b7a0d613dfa816e329482">Alex McCarty</a>, Tour Manager, North America</p> <p>In the &#8216;Land of Enchantment&#8217;, 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, &#8216;<span class="caps">ABQ</span>&#8217; was also the first settlement established in the territory when it was the Spanish who first conquered the region.</p> <p>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.</p> <h2>Nightlife</h2> <p>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!</p> <h2>Shopping</h2> <p>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.</p>