You’ll never want to leave after this culturally vibrant western state puts you under its spell.   

New Mexico is called the ‘Land of Enchantment' for a reason, and one epic adventure through its otherworldly landscapes, Pueblo-style streets, jaw-dropping national parks, and eerily quiet ghost towns will have you feelin’ the magic. Travel like you never have before and follow your guide through this varied, expansive, and entirely extraordinary state, stopping to appreciate the Indigenous American and Spanish influences and marvel at the desert scenery millions of years in the making. If you want to sample some local food favorites, join us for a legendary trip you’ll want to relive over and over again on our tours and holidays in New Mexico.  

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Things to do in New Mexico 

Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi in Santa Fe, New Mexico

Marvel at St. Francis Basilica

Named after the patron saint of Santa Fe, the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi is a breathtaking Roman Catholic cathedral that looks like it’d be more at home in a European country than in the heart of the southwest. Built in 1869 as a way for parishioners to practice Catholic faith and build a supportive community, this basilica features a French Romanesque style with thick walls, barrel vaults, and round arches and doorways for a magnificent combination of faith and architecture you’re going to want to take lots of photos of. 

Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico

Admire the Carlsbad Caverns

Looking out over the dry Chihuahuan Desert full of flowering cactus and vast, rocky canyons, you’d never guess there were over 100 caves hidden beneath the surface. Created when sulfuric acid met limestone over 4 million years ago, these caves are filled with fascinating geological formations, rare microbes, ancient fossils, and over 400,000 Brazilian free-tail bats. Simply waiting for you to explore them, this collection of caverns promises to be of the most enchanting and spectacular natural sights you’ll ever see. 

Taos Pueblo in New Mexico

Visit Taos Pueblo

Located at the base of the astonishing Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range lies Taos Pueblo, a living Native American community with inhabitants willing to share their culture and celebrations with travelers from all over the United States. Guaranteed to be an adventure like no other, this fascinating neighborhood features buildings created long before Columbus sailed over the seas with some structures dating back to 1000 A.D. Made entirely of adobe (dirt mixed with straw and water) and vigas (timber), these houses are currently home to 150 people and make for something to marvel at. 

Local food sopapillas with drizzled honey

Eat some local food

There’s no better way to immerse yourself within the culture of a new destination than to try some of its local delicacies and New Mexico has some of the best food goin’ round. Adding more than a little bit of spice to their meals, New Mexicans cook with love, passion, and bold flavors, mixing the best of both Spanish cuisine and southwestern ingredients for meals that are simply mouthwatering. From cheeseburgers stuffed with green chiles and enchiladas stacked with red ones to blue corn pancakes and sopapillas drizzled with honey, New Mexican food is bound to satisfy your cravings. 

Cave dwellings in Bandelier National Monument, New Mexico

Explore the Bandelier National Monument

If you want to get a bigger and better taste of New Mexico’s natural beauty then lace up your hiking boots and head on over to Bandelier National Monument, a vast landscape of unusually shaped ancient runes. Featuring over 33,000 acres of jagged canyons full of petroglyphs, pictographs, and cave dwellings that offer an insight into a culture that’s survived many centuries, this national monument not only allows for a deeper understanding of the ancestral Pueblo people but also a greater appreciation for what Mother Nature can do when you give her time. 

Travelers walking through Kasha Katuwe National Monument in New Mexico

Go hiking at Kasha Katuwe National Monument

Another day, another national monument to explore, and this one’s arguably more extraordinary than the last. Located 40 miles southwest of Santa Fe, the Kasha Katuwe National Monument is remarkable in every way possible, from its geological observation opportunities and several hiking trails to its cone-shaped rock formations your camera’s going to love. Formed from volcanic eruptions millions of years ago, these natural landmarks are just one of the many fascinating things to look at in the park. Mother Nature simply doesn’t get any better than this.  

New Mexico tour reviews 

New Mexico FAQs

Trips from 1 January 2023 onwards

From 1 January 2023, Intrepid will no longer require travelers to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 (excluding all Polar trips and select adventure cruises).

However, we continue to strongly recommend that all Intrepid travelers and leaders get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.

Specific proof of testing or vaccination may still be required by your destination or airline. Please ensure you check travel and entry requirements carefully.

Learn more about Intrepid’s COVID-19 policy

There are a number of ways you can get to New Mexico with flying, self-driving, and catching public transport among the most popular ones. New Mexico has several airports offering flights in and out of the state with Albuquerque's international airport being the busiest. You can also embark on an epic road trip if you're traveling from a neighboring state or catch public transportation via bus/coach and train/rail systems. 

Again, there are a number of ways to move around New Mexico with the most popular one being catching public transport via the state's Greyhound/Trailways bus lines. You can also fly between destinations as New Mexico has over 50 commercial airports for passengers to use. Driving from destination to destination is also popular as it's a good way to see as much of New Mexico's beautiful scenery as possible. 

The climate in New Mexico is categorized as being mild and arid as most of the state is made up of desert landscapes leaving summers to get quite hot. July is the hottest month out of the year with temperatures averaging around 88F, making it one of the hottest states in the United States. Despite experiencing a high level of heat throughout the year, New Mexico enjoys little to no humidity and also sees snowfall seven months out of the year. 

Click to read more about snow in New Mexico

The months of May, August, and September are considered the best time to travel to New Mexico as the weather is milder than in the summer months but still warm enough to enjoy spending time outdoors. If you're into skiing, snowboarding, and other winter activities, New Mexico experiences a snow season from mid-December to April so that can also be a popular time to travel to the state. 

Deciding what to pack for your trip to New Mexico often largely depends on what kind of vacation you intend on having. If you're keen to do some exploring of the state's breathtaking landscapes and hike through its various national parks then comfortable walking shoes, a backpack or day bag, and a reusable drink bottle is advised. If you're traveling in summer, make sure to pack t-shirts, shorts, dresses, and hats, as well as sunscreen to protect your skin. 

Click to read more about packing for New Mexico

New Mexico is full of breathtaking national parks each with its own unique formations and history. Suitable for avid outdoor-lovers and for those who just want to appreciate a bit of nature, these are the best national parks in New Mexico: 

  • Carlsbad Caverns National Park 
  • White Sands National Monument
  • Bandelier National Monument
  • Kasha Katuwe National Monument
  • Chaco Culture National Historical Park 

Read more about the national parks in New Mexico here. 

    Surprisingly there are over 60 ghost towns scattered around New Mexico, most of them being classified as 'neglected', 'abandoned', or 'historic' depending on how many buildings remain. If you're a history buff and are fascinated by the lives people lived centuries ago then check out these top ghost towns in New Mexico: 

    • Shakespeare 
    • Lake Valley 
    • Chloride 
    • Mongollon 
    • Golden

    Read more about the ghost towns of New Mexico here. 

    Intrepid is committed to making travel widely accessible, regardless of ability or disability. That’s why we do our best to help as many people see the world as possible, regardless of any physical or mental limitations they might have. We’re always happy to talk to travelers with disabilities and see if we can help guide them towards the most suitable itinerary for their needs and where possible, make reasonable adjustments to our itineraries.

    Yes, all Intrepid trips support the Intrepid Foundation. In fact, we make a donation on behalf of every traveller. Trips to this country directly support our global Intrepid Foundation partner, Eden Reforestation Projects. 

    Eden Reforestation Projects

    Eden Reforestation Projects are helping to mitigate climate change by restoring forests worldwide; they also hire locally and create job opportunities within vulnerable communities. Donations from our trips support restoration across planting sites in 10 countries around the globe.

    Find out more or make a donation

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