This past summer, a friend and I went on a rafting, hiking, sightseeing girls’ trip to New Mexico.  COVID-19 changed our plans a bit but it was still a great time.  After months of research and our 10 days exploring Central and Northern New Mexico, here is our best and worst list.

Favorite Activity:  Rafting the Rio Chama with New Mexico River Adventures.  A full post on this will be coming soon.  Spoiler: I can’t recommend it enough. 

Honorable MentionsMeow Wolf & The Albuquerque Holocaust museum

Meow Wolf is like nothing you have ever done before.  It is part Escape Room, part fun house, part digital museum.  It is a full senses experience.  Plan on spending 3 hours there.  Advance tickets are required. 

The ABQ Holocaust Museum is small and not well known.  I found a flyer at the airport.  I was intrigued because it covers more than just the Holocaust.  It covers genocide, bigotry, and hate across the spectrum.  It is well worth a visit.  Even though the museum only consists of one large room, we spent about 90 minutes there. 

Favorite Hike / Park:  Bandelier.  Visit first thing in the morning to try and beat the crowds.  Instead of trying to do it justice with a description I’ll let the photos speak for themselves. 

Favorite Meal:  Sawmill in Madrid.  This was our first meal in New Mexico and it set the standard.  We ordered a ton of food.  Shared everything and loved it all.  Madrid is also a cute town on the Turquoise highway and worth a stop if driving between Albuquerque and Santa Fe. 

Favorite Drink:  We agree on the blood orange margarita.  However, we disagree about which one.  I think the Shed in Santa Fe while she thinks The Backstreet Grill in Albuquerque.  (I guess you should just try them both and let me know your vote!)

Favorite Hotels:  This was a tie so I’ll list both.  The Abiquiu Inn in Abiquiu and Luna Mystica right outside Taos.   

Abiquiu is a great location for rafting, Ghost Ranch, hiking, and Monastery of the Christ.  The detached rooms feel like cabins, have a rustic look and have fireplaces.  The attached restaurant was also outstanding.  

Luna Mystica is outside Taos and each room is a retro Air Stream trailer!  Each trailer has a porch with a view of the mountain’s sunset and sunrise. 

Activities worth doing again:  Madrid.  Rafting.  Abiquiu.  Taos.

Biggest let downs:  Lunch at Bandelier (the park was great but eat somewhere else), Singing highway, and Sawmill. 

I should note that due to COVID, unfortunately all Pueblos were closed.  The following sights were also closed and are on our list for next time:  Purple Adobe Lavender Farm, Tent Rocks, and Taos Brewing.  Additionally, from people we met along the way, when we come back, we have these items on our list:

Wine and Chili festival (Sept)

Nambe lake hike. 

Horseback riding at Ghost Ranch.

Valley of the Christ the Monastery.

Carl’s Bad. 

Truth or Consequences. 

Roswell. 

Sky City and Taos Pueblos. 

White Sands. 

Tailgate at the opera.  We went to the opera but I didn’t believe my friend that tailgating was a real thing and that we should do it. It is and we should have!!

To Eat:  Chocolate Maven and the Pantry in Santa Fe.  Love Apple in Taos. 

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