American Southwest Tour
Why Take This Tour?
- Private tour of Ute Tribal Park with a Ute guide
- Private tour of Canyon de Chelly with a Navajo guide
- Private tour at Aztec Ruins National Monument and Point Pueblo with a local archaeologist
- Full day tour at Chaco Canyon, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Full day tour at Mesa Verde, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Full day at Navajo Nation Fair and Rodeo
- Maximum 12 participants
Day 1: Arrive Albuquerque. Indiana Pueblo Cultural Center, Petroglyph National Monument.
Day 2: Laguna Pueblo. Acoma Pueblo.
Day 3: Navajo Nation Fair and Rodeo.
Day 4: Canyon de Chelly.
Day 5: Ute Mountain Tribal Park.
Day 6: Mesa Verde National Park.
Day 7: Hovenweep. Aztec National Monument.
Day 8: Chaco Canyon.
Day 9: Salinas Pueblo Missions.
Day 10: Fly home.
Why the Navajo Fair and Rodeo?
Established 75 years ago and held annually in the Navajo Nation Capital of Window Rock n Arizona, this world-renowned five day Native celebration has something for every one to enjoy. Along with an all-Indian rodeo with hundreds of cowboys and cowgirls, there is horse racing, an inter-tribal powwow, a Miss Navajo coronation, a frybread contest, and traditional dancing and singing with people participating in colorful traditional dress. The Navajo are renowned for their turquoise and silver jewelry, sand paintings, and woven rugs, and much is on display during the fair. Legend says that the art of weaving was taught to them by Spider Woman, an important creation figure in Navajo mythology.
The Four Corners area of the American Southwest is one of the most breathtaking landscapes in the world. It is an enchanting land of painted deserts, verdant forests, and towering red mesas visible for miles under the brilliant sunlight. The ancient Anasazi ruins, Colonial Spanish villages and Native American pueblos (villages) reflect a proud heritage intimately in tune with nature and rooted in tradition.
Join Far Horizons for an extraordinary ten day tour of the spectacular Four Corners, where the states of New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, and Arizona come together. Our trip begins and ends in Albuquerque, New Mexico where we visit the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center and Petroglyph National Monument. We spend a day in Chaco Canyon, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, before moving north to Hovenweep with its free-standing towers, and Mesa Verde, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In both the Ute Tribal Park and Canyon de Chelly, Native American guides take us on specially-arranged tours to out-of-the-way areas seldom seen by tourists. Other highlights include Acoma, the oldest continuously occupied town in the United States; Laguna Mission Church; the Salinas Mission churches built in the early 17th century by Franciscans, and a full day at the festive Navajo Nation Fair and Rodeo.
Join us on this Four Corners tour as we travel through a truly enchanting part of the United States!
Todd Bostwick received both his M.A. in Anthropology (with an emphasis on Archaeology) and his PhD in History from Arizona State University. He is presently Director of Archaeology for the Verde Valley Archaeology Center in northern Arizona. For twenty years he was the Phoenix City Archaeologist at the Pueblo Grande Museum. He has also taught at Arizona State University. Dr. Bostwick is widely published, including both books and articles, and has been featured on video productions for PBS and the History Channel. He has curated more than a dozen exhibits on the American Southwest, and given more than 400 talks at seminars, professional conferences, museums and other public events. Dr. Bostwick has been the recipient of several awards, including from the National Park Service, the Arizona Governor’s office, and the Arizona Archaeological Society.
“Todd is absolutely wonderful. He can answer any question in great detail. He has the perfect personality for this job. More Todd trips please!” – Alberta and Peter Chulick
“Thank you for helping to make the Four Corners trip as pleasant as it was.” – Eleanor and David Larsen
(B) breakfast, (L) lunch, (D) dinner
Day 1: Arrive into Albuquerque by 11am. Transfer to the Best Western Rio Grande Hotel. After a light lunch at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, there will be time to view the exhibits displaying the history, culture and art of the 19 Pueblos of New Mexico and watch the Native dancing. In the late afternoon drive to the outskirts of Albuquerque to explore Petroglyph National Monument including a hike into Rinconada Canyon. As we walk along the trail, a plethora of prehistoric and historic petroglyphs carved along the escarpment await the discerning eye. Some 20,000 images have been identified and are protected, and we will view birds, snakes, circles, spirals, stars, masks, and handprints that have been pecked into the black volcanic boulders. Gather this evening for a welcome dinner of traditional southwestern cuisine. Overnight for one night in the Best Western Rio Grande Inn, located in Old Town. (L/D)
Day 2: Begin in Laguna. Our destination is the Laguna Mission Church with its beautiful retablo. Drive on to Acoma Pueblo, perched atop a striking sandstone mesa 367 feet above the valley floor. Known as ‘Sky City’ and inhabited since the 12th century, it is reputed to be the oldest continuously occupied community in the United States. In 1629, Acoma Pueblo received its first missionary, Fray Juan Ramirez, and under his direction, the San Estevan de Rey Mission, a monumental adobe structure, was built. Our guided tour of the pueblo takes us into the church and through the village. We learn about the customs and way of life as well as the distinctive and famous black-and-white pottery made here by the people who continue to inhabit the mesa and preserve this ancient and living site. In the afternoon, we drive to Gallup, New Mexico and overnight for one night at the El Rancho Hotel, located on historic U.S. Route 66. This quaint inn, built in 1937 by the brother of movie magnate D.W. Griffith. It became the temporary home for many Hollywood movie stars who filmed Westerns in the area throughout the 1930s to 1940s. Their autographed photos adorn the historic two story lobby. (B/L/D)
Day 3: We immerse ourselves into tribal culture at the Navajo Fair and Rodeo in Window Rock, Arizona, the capital of the Navajo Nation. The day is free to enjoy an all Indian rodeo with championship bull riding, horse races, an intertribal powwow, a Miss Navajo coronation, country and western concert, frybread contest, and traditional singing, dancing and drumming by various tribes from throughout North America. And of course, there will be an arts and crafts show featuring Native American artists. This is the largest Native American Fair in the world. Lunch and dinner are on our own to take advantage of the traditional food being presented at the fair. In the evening, drive to Chinle, Arizona and overnight for two nights at the Best Western Canyon de Chelly Inn. (B)
Day 4: Part of the Navajo Tribal Land, Canyon de Chelly lies at the junction of two canyons. Sheer ruddy sandstone walls rise up to 1,000 feet, towering over arroyos with white sand stream beds. Within caves and recesses, dramatic masonry dwellings were forged, some of them hundreds of feet from the valley floor and reached only by hand and foot holds carved into the rock. These cliff houses, along with exquisite rock paintings and petroglyphs recall the prehistoric culture that once existed here. The grandeur of this countryside will be truly appreciated as we ride through remote canyons in four-wheel drive vehicles with our own specially-arranged Navajo guide. This will provide us with fascinating insights into the present day life of the Navajo, or Diné, who still inhabit and cultivate the lush valley floor. In the afternoon, we will drive the rim of the canyon and stop for stunning views of the valley. Dinner tonight is on our own. (B/L)
Day 5: Cross back into New Mexico and continue to the Southern Ute Tribal Park where we spend the day with a Ute guide on a private 4-wheel drive expedition. Directly south of Mesa Verde, the park has similar architecture, but has received only minimal stabilization. The “undiscovered” feel is one of the park’s appealing attributes. As we hike into the backcountry, we will discover various cliff dwellings as well as historic Ute wall paintings and ancient petroglyphs. Continue on to Cortez, Colorado and overnight at the Holiday Inn Express Mesa Verde for two nights. (B/L/D)
Day 6: Rise early today in order to drive to Mesa Verde National Park, the first national park set aside for its archaeological treasures. It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Cultural site in 1978. Around 600 AD, indigenous peoples built cliff dwellings in the canyons and occupied them for more than 700 years. During the centuries they built elaborate stone multi-storied “apartment houses” in the sheltered recesses of the towering canyon walls. (B/L/D)
Day 7: We will cross into southeastern Utah to visit Hovenweep National Monument where prehistoric communities carefully constructed ashlar buildings, often accompanied by multistory towers perched on canyon rims and balanced on boulders. Next, stop at Four Corners National Monument, the only place in the United States where four states come together. Retrun to New Mexico and visit the multi-storied Aztec National Monument situated on the north bank of the Animas River. This five-hundred-room complex was built almost 1,000 years ago and contains a large and beautifully restored kiva, an underground chamber used for religious rites. This thousand-year-old village is also claimed to be the terminus of Chaco Canyon’s Great North Road. Also enjoy a tour of the excavations at Point Pueblo. Overnight for one night at the Step Back Inn in Aztec, New Mexico. (B/L/D)
Day 8: An early start this morning for a long but memorable day as we explore remote Chaco Canyon. An archaeological survey has recorded over 2,000 ancient sites within the valley and nearby areas. This arid, tree-less arroyo was the center for the Pueblo culture a thousand years ago, and magnificent building complexes still stand as mute testimony to its former grandeur. An important hub for commerce, the immense road system branching out from Chaco Canyon shows the importance of trade to the area. In complexity of community life, in social organization and architecture, the inhabitants of Chaco Canyon reached heights rarely matched and never surpassed by their kindred in the Four Corners Region. Continue on to Albuquerque and overnight for two nights at the Best Western Rio Grande Inn. Dinner is on our own. (B/L)
Day 9: We delve into the role of the missions in the Colonial era of New Mexico’s history during an excursion to the Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument where we will focus on two of the Salinas missions: Quarai and Abó. Originally known as La Purisima Concepcion de Cuarac, Quarai was built in 1630. The surrounding village, consisting of compact apartment complexes built around kivas, or subterranean ceremonial chambers, dates to 1300 AD. The magnificent crimson sandstone walls of the mission church still stand overlooking the settlement. Established in the 12th century, Abó became the seat of the Mission of San Gregorio with a monastery, orchards, and gardens. The intriguing remains of the church stands next to the crumbling remains of the community, and a kiva within the courtyard of the church leads anthropologists to speculate about the methods used by the missionaries to convert the local Tempiro to Catholicism. Return to Albuquerque with time for last minute shopping in Old Town. Gather this evening for a farewell dinner in one of Albuquerque’s renowned restaurants. (B/L/D)
Day 10: Transfer to the airport for our return flight home. (B)
$7,295.00 (per person, based on double occupancy) includes hotels, meals as noted in the itinerary, entry fees to sites named in itinerary; ground transportation, emergency evacuation insurance for each participant and gratuities.
Single Supplement: $595.00 Far Horizons will attempt to find a roommate for participants requesting that we do so. However, if one is not available, the single supplement will be charged.
Cost Does Not Include: Flights to and from Albuquerque, New Mexico; meals other than those listed in the itinerary; food, alcoholic and other beverages not on set menus; porterage fees; airport fees and taxes; excess baggage charges; internet, telephone and fax charges; laundry, personal tips; or other items of a personal nature.
Fuel Surcharges: Far Horizons must pass on price increases when additional fuel charges are levied.
The cost of the tour does not include air tickets into and out of Albuquerque. The hotel offers airport to hotel transfers. You must contact the hotel to confirm your transfers. You are responsible for all flight arrangements and transportation (including airport transfers) to join the group. If Far Horizons must change the trip dates or cancel the trip for any reason, Far Horizons is not responsible for any air ticket you may have purchased.
A deposit of $500.00 is required along with your completed and signed registration form. Upon receipt of your deposit and completed registration form, you will be sent a reading list and tour bulletin containing travel information. Click here to download the Registration Form.
Cancellations and Refunds
Cancellations received by Far Horizons in writing at least 90 days before departure will result in an administrative fee of $300.00. Cancellations received less than 90 days prior to departure will not receive a refund. If for any reason you are unable to complete the tour, we will not reimburse any fees. Registrants are strongly advised to purchase travel insurance that includes trip cancellation upon registration.
Private Tours and Talks
The private tours of archaeological sites and talks by specialists are scheduled in advance and include a donation to each. Specialists working at these sites are excited about showing their work to interested enthusiasts. However, please be aware that there may be times when the director or a member of the staff may not be onsite when our groups arrive due to other commitments, or that the date or time of our visit to their project must be changed.
Note About Itinerary Changes
Changes in our itinerary, accommodations, and transportation schedules may occur. A good book to read as well as a flexible attitude and a sense of humor are essential.
Travel in this Part of the World
We will be traveling into remote areas. The itinerary is designed for those who are active, in good health and have a spirit of adventure. Hotels will be simple and clean but will not be five- or even four-star. Most will not have bell staff so you may have to carry your own luggage. Meals will not be haute cuisine and several lunches will be picnics or box lunches. At times we will be walking over uneven terrain for a mile or more; hiking boots are strongly recommended. All participants are expected to be physically active and able to walk independently throughout our very full touring days. Keeping up with the group is each participant’s responsibility. We will be at altitudes from 5,000 to 7,000 feet. August is ‘monsoon’ season in the Southwest. There is a possibility of showers in the afternoons which will keep the temperatures lower than at other times in the summer. Team spirit and a good sense of humor are vital! If you have questions about your ability to handle this sort of challenge, please call us.
This Archaeological Tour is limited to 12 participants