Conquistadors & Astronauts
From Santa Fe to Spaceport America
6 Days | June-October
Starting At $Flexible Pricing
Conquistadors first came to New Mexico in 1540, searching for a City of Gold. Earth’s first astronaut trained in NM in 1961, he was a Chimp named Ham. There may have been a UFO landing in Roswell in 1947. This State seems to attract adventurers. Is it your turn?
YankeeTrailsGroups by US Tours Flexible Pricing:
- Customizable Comps
- Net Rates
- Luxury or First Class Hotels & Meals
- Motorcoach Transportation & Professional Tour Managers are available
Whatever you want, YankeeTrailsGroups by US Tours will be happy to structure tour prices to match your needs. Just let us know!
Day 1 – Santa Fe
In 1540, Spanish explorer Francisco Coronado led his Conquistadors into New Mexico searching for Cibola, the fabled Seven Cities of Gold. He was the first of the modern day explorers to visit. Now it is your turn, almost 500 years later, but your adventure begins with a three-night stay at a local Santa Fe hotel.
Dinner is on your own this evening.
Day 2 – Ride the Cumbres & Toltec Railroad – Chama Limited Route
Early this morning (7:00am) you travel to Chama, NM for a ride on The Cumbres & Toltec Railroad. Perhaps the most beautiful ride in America, it is a rugged, narrow gauge, coal-fired, mountain train traversing 60+ miles of unparalleled scenery. You climb through an unspoiled landscape, past a few historic railroad structures dating back to the turn of the twentieth century. The route climbs through Cumbres Pass at 10,015 feet elevation.
During the ride you enjoy a hearty lunch in the historic rail town of Osier (included with your ride today). Following lunch in Osier return to the Chama Depot where your bus waits to return you to Santa Fe. Dinner on own. (B,L)
Day 3 – Palace of the Governors – Loretto Chapel – Sky Railway – Santa Fe Railyard District
Start the day with a tour of the Palace of the Governors. Originally constructed in the early 17th century as Spain’s seat of government in the American Southwest, the Palace chronicles the history of Santa Fe. An adobe structure, it is now the State’s history museum and sits opposite the Santa Fe Plaza.
Next, visit the Loretto Chapel a former Roman Catholic Church that is now used as a museum and wedding chapel. It is known for its unusual helix-shaped spiral staircase (the “Miraculous Stair”). It may have been created by carpenter “Frenchy” Rochas, but the Sisters of Loretto credit it to St. Joseph. Regardless the story is as fascinating as the stairway is unique.
This afternoon, take another scenic ride on the New Sky Railway. These passenger cars have been restored and reimagined by a team led by Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin, and feature visuals that reference his work in the form of a graffiti art-inspired dragon and wolf.
This rail adventure travels along an 18-mile stretch of track, dating to the 1880s, between the Santa Fe Railyard Depot and the Lamy Depot. New Mexico is known for its beautiful landscapes. You will see these gorgeous vistas from the comfort of the beautifully restored passenger cars. Enjoy first class service and live music while the Sky Railway takes you across the high desert over the Galisteo Basin.
Returning to the Santa Fe Depot, enjoy some free time in the Railyard District, a hub of entertainment, shopping, food and events. Browse local handmade goods and gifts at the local artisan shops or any of the other boutiques within the Railyard such as Bon Marche, REI, Casa Nova, Circle Antiques and more. There is also a Farmer’s Market, art galleries and a park.
Dinner is included this evening at Tomasita’s Restaurant. This family-owned restaurant has been serving traditional New Mexican Cuisine since 1974. (B,D)
Day 4 – Truth or Consequences, NM – Spaceport America Tour – Las Cruces, NM
Depart Santa Fe this morning for a town once known as Hot Springs. In 1950, it changed it’s name to Truth or Consequences to win a radio quiz show contest. You have free time for lunch on own in the Historic District. Surrounded by nature with the Rio Grande flowing right through town and Turtleback Mountain providing a backdrop, this is a beautiful community
This afternoon you tour nearby Spaceport America. The World’s First Commercial Spaceport offers you a glistening out-of-this-world promise to the exploration of Space. Perhaps one day soon your tour groups will take flight. This facility is located in a remote dry and dusty high desert. The drive will look similar to the Camino Real, the ancient trail taken by the Conquistadores as they searched for their treasure.
Spaceport is built to accommodate both vertical (rocket) and horizontal (plane winged) aerospace vehicles. Note: Spaceport is not owned by Sir Richard Branson, as has been frequently reported in the press. The facility is owned and operated by the State of New Mexico. Tenants of Spaceport America include Branson’s Virgin Galactic, as well as EXOS Aerospace Systems, SpaceX and UP Aerospace. (Touring Spaceport America is subject to availability).
Continue travel to Las Cruces, NM where you check your Las Cruces hotel for an overnight stay. Dinner is on your own this evening. (B)
Day 5 – White Sands Missile Range Museum – Museum of Space History – Roswell, NM – International UFO Museum – Free Time Downtown
Today, visit the White Sands Missile Range Museum & Missile Park. The facilities focus on the origin of the U.S. missile and space programs, and the beginning of the nuclear age. The Missile Park also features weapons that won the Cold War and Operation Desert Storm.
Next, stop is Alamogordo for a visit to the Museum of Space History where many different exhibitions offer exclusive insights into space programs. You will see some of the first experiments, as well as a collection of objects from space explorations. In the Hall of Fame, you will learn about pioneering astronauts from all nations. Including Ham the First Chimp in Space, who trained here prior to his 1961 Space Launch. His remains are buried here in the Garden dedicated to the Apollo 1, Space Shuttle Challenger & Columbia astronauts.
Then your afternoon features a visit to Roswell, NM, the site of the famous UFO event in 1947. What happened is still a mystery, yet it lives on here in Roswell. Whether you’re a skeptic or conspiracist your visit to the International UFO Museum and Research Center will give you a deep dive into the story. Did an alien craft land here 14 years before Ham the Astrochimp went into orbit? You will spend time learning about the 1947 UFO crash and the alleged cover-up that followed.
Enjoy some free time in downtown Roswell. Along Main Street, there are many alien-themed boutiques and experiences and unique gifts. Plus, there is the Roswell UFO Spacewalk and Gallery, a blacklight art adventure you’ll never forget.
Check into your Roswell hotel for the night. Dinner is included tonight at a local restaurant. (B,D)
Day 6 – Depart for Home
After breakfast, depart for home. (B)