New Mexico Explorer

Tilework on the side of a building in Mountainair
Tilework on the side of a building in Mountainair

The 'Land of Enchantment' is adopted as the official

nickname of New Mexico


---- Governor Bill Richardson

April 06, 2003



Through this website, we will open your eyes to New Mexico travel, helping you to have a richer experience of this place we call Land of Enchantment. If you want to explore New Mexico and see more of what this incredible state has to offer, you have come to the right place.


Whether you live here or are visiting, this site will acquaint you with the stories, people and places that will heighten your awareness of how to experience New Mexico travel at its best. Even if you will not be visiting all of the places we cover, you will feel as if you are here by looking at the photographs.


If you thought you knew what New Mexico has to offer, just wait until you dip into these pages. Here, you will discover back roads, meet a few artists, experience creativity in all its diversity, see historic places as you never imagined, learn about New Mexico history, and yes, learn a few recipes along the way.


New Mexico is truly unique. Honestly, have thousands of books and articles been written about, say, Ohio, Kansas, Wisconsin, or Georgia? Those are all fine places, but nothing compares to the history and sites of New Mexico. Those who come here are impacted for life. It is doubtful that many people leave here untouched---be it by beauty, art, geography, sunset, or one of a kind encounter---in a way that touches the heart and soul.


I started down the mountain on what resulted in the most

impressive journey of my life ... The color, the reflective character

of the landscape, the drama of the vast open spaces, the superb beauty and severity of the hills, stirred me deeply. I realized

I was getting my own impressions from nature,

seeing it for the first time, probably with my own eyes, uninfluenced by the art of any man. Notwithstanding the

painful handicap of the broken wheel I was carrying,

New Mexico inspired me to a profound degree. 


--- Ernest Blumenschien, 1898




Bienvenido, Wilkommen, Benvenuto, Bienvenue, Bem-vindo ...


Well! Well! Well!

Why didn't anyone ever tell me

it was like this?


        ---- Georgia O'Keefe on New Mexico



My guess is that a good number of visitors to New Mexico arrive at the Albuquerque or El Paso airport, rent a car or take a shuttle to their destination, return to the airport, and then fly home. Others drive here, but they mostly see what is accessible on Highway 25 or 40. For the majority, they will primarily see the community in which they stay---Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Farmington, Hobbs, Carlsbad, Las Cruces---but they will miss much of what this state has to offer. 


New Mexico tourism and travel is very popular, and increasingly so. Our number of visitors were up substantially in 2013 and it is expected to increase in 2014. Part of this is because of intense marketing, but it is also true that New Mexico holds a mystique and 'pull' for many people that can't easily be explained.


In terms of who comes to New Mexico, it varies, especially by region:


  • Santa Fe always pulls for visitors wanting to see art, though the number of people actually making purchases is down significantly;


  • Southeastern New Mexico is seeing a boom in oil/gas industry-related visitors, and it is one of the portions of the state that is growing significantly;


  • Southern New Mexico---especially Las Cruces---is growing in population and popularity, as more retirees are seeking the warmth and affordability of the Mesilla Valley;


  •  The Four Corners region is always a popular location for those wanting to engage in outdoor activities (hunting, fishing, and hiking), as well as having quick access to historic Native American sites such as Chaco Canyon;


  • The military presence in Hobbs, Alamogordo, and White Sands ensures frequent visitors to these communities, many of whom come for job-related reasons;


  • International travelers continue to hold a fascination for the Old West, especially Billy the Kid;


  • Roswell is a mecca for those wanting to see first-hand where aliens might have landed. 


While these visitors will see a few sites, sample the local fare, and buy jewelry, pottery and green chile, they miss a lot of what New Mexico has to offer.


This is where this website comes in.


Currently, there are some excellent websites devoted to New Mexico tourism. There, you will find highlights of New Mexico's top tourist attractions:


  • The Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta
  • Dining in Santa Fe
  • Carlsbad Caverns
  • Pueblo Life
  • Skiing Opportunities
  • Indian Casinos


This site takes you on a different route. While it is still recommended that you visit the popular attractions, here you will discover a lot more of what New Mexico has to offer. Admittedly, we strive to direct you to sites and places you probably won't read much about in the more typical guides. Much of this puts you in greater contact with New Mexico history and culture, which, honestly, is something most of us want when we see the state. 


All of the recommendations for what to see or do are based on the personal experience of living here. If we can't recommend it to family and friends, you won't see it here. That applies to museums, stores, restaurants, parks, national monuments, festivals, and activities.


Here, you will find suggestions for what to see and do in New Mexico. More than that, you will learn about New Mexico history and culture along the way. The story of New Mexico is rich and complex. While it is too great to summarize in a travel website, we want to make sure you don't just know where, but why.


Are you ready? Let's go see New Mexico.



While some areas of the country have obliterated their history--pushing it to the corners of some museum--the same is not true in New Mexico. Rather, the people, culture, art, and food that has dominated this state through the ages still permeates day-to-day life here. Yes, we have pockets of urban sprall, strip malls, traffic, and McDonalds. But you don't have to venture far from any part of New Mexico before you are faced with awe and wonder.


In less than an hour or so from Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Farmington, Clovis, or Las Cruces, you will experience New Mexico as it has always been; raw, primitive, and in-tune with what is important ... be it land, sky, family, food, faith, nature.


Just recently, I was speaking with a ranger at the Salinas National Monument (a little more than an hour southeast of Albuquerque). She told me that the majority of visitors stumble upon the park by accident, often when they're on their way to some other place. But stumble they do; in the five previous pages in the guest registry on that day, for example, there were entries from New York, Montana, Mexico, Sweden, and Australia.


As of today, early December 2013, this website is still being developed, but get ready to join us as we discover:


  • Spanish colonial art in New Mexico


  • Isolated museums


  • 300 year old churches still holding services


  • Buffalos in New Mexico


  • Petroglyphs in an urban setting


  • Fishing the wild river


  • Modern Native American art


  • Wine tasting, where it all originated


  • And of course, UFOs, Billy the Kid, Space travel, and green chile.


In keeping with our mission, you won't just see maps and directions on this site. Rather, you will learn New Mexico history ...


... and what a history it is.




If you do a Google search of New Mexico tourism and travel, you will see a lot of websites. New Mexico is a very popular state with local and international travelers. Just this past year, it was announced that tourism in New Mexico is up 2.6% over the prior year, with even more visitors expected in 2014.


Through this site, you won't find a lot of reference to the places you will readily find on the other sites. There are many excellent travel sites for New Mexico and this one is not designed to compete with them.


Rather, this site will acquaint you with the places you are less likely to find out about through the other websites. As such, this website is for those who want a richer and more unique travel experience in New Mexico. You might have to travel a little further than intended; wear durable shoes; rent a sturdier car; or carry water and snacks. But don't worry, you will be surprised at how many of these places are close to where you are .. you just didn't know it.


That stated, our philosophy isn't just to tell you what is where and how to get there. Yes, that will be included. More important, you will learn about New Mexico history along the way. Don't worry, there is no quiz at the end, but you will gain a larger view of what makes New Mexico special and unique.


Now, let's go explore.