Hot Air Balloon Festival in New Mexico

Study Environmental Sciences & Ecotourism in New Mexico

Boasting diverse landscapes from arid deserts to mountains and beyond, New Mexico is a state with plenty to be discovered. However, the southwestern state faces issues related to pollution, deforestation, mining and more. Add an impact by eliminating single-use plastics from your routine.

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Sojourn – Gain a better understanding of the community you’re visiting. Learn about different religions or spiritual practices. How do these impact the communities? How does religion or spirituality influence local traditions?

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Savor – Will you choose sweet or savory? Take the time to visit local markets and discover unique local ingredients. Learn how to prepare traditional meals & local favorites.

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Tip of the Tongue – Each morning, take the time to learn a few basic greetings and phrases in the local language. Learn how to write greetings & your name in the local script.

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A Wrinkle in Time – History influences our present. Discover the history of the country you visit. Hear the stories of your guides & their family history. Where do they come from?

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Journal Journeys – Take some time to reflect on the day’s events and document your journey. Spend a moment journaling about the day had & day ahead. These are memories for a lifetime!

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Culture – From local dances, festivals, or simple gestures to communicate – all of these make up a country’s culture. Learn and practice cultural norms & how to show respect in the culture you visit.

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Upon your arrival at the Santa Fe Regional Airport, grab your suitcase and get ready for a week of ecotourism in New Mexico. As you exit the arrivals gate, you will be greeted by your local guide who will be showing you around Santa Fe and Albuquerque for the week. 

From the airport, you will head to your accommodation in the city of Santa Fe via shuttle. Drop off your belongings and take the rest of the afternoon to explore the neighborhood gems with your guide. Welcome to Santa Fe! 

For your first full day in Santa Fe, you will be heading into the great outdoors to check out the Santa Fe National Forest. This protected area covers 1.6 million acres of land and is home to many outdoor recreational activities, making it a great location for avid photographers. 

Today you will hike along some of the park’s trails alongside your guide and an environmental scientist. While conversing with your two guides throughout the day, you will get a better idea of the importance of natural ecosystems in the United States and around the world. 

Today you will be connected with a wildlife conservation organization that is working to protect the natural environment and wildlife in the western United States. Bringing communities, science and law together, this organization aims to defend wildlife, public lands, waterways and more. 

During the meeting, you will get a breakdown of the issues currently facing the region and how the organization is working to counteract environmental depletion. Afterward, you will head to Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument for an afternoon hike and catch the sunset before returning to your accommodation in Santa Fe. 

At this point, it’s time to make your way to the neighboring city of Albuquerque and gear up for the iconic Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. Albuquerque is situated is about a one-hour drive from Santa Fe, making the drive short and sweet. Upon your arrival, you will drop off your bags at the hotel and head out to embark on your next excursion. 

First up is the Cibola National Forest. Here you will take part in a rock climbing adventure up a few of the park’s stunning rock faces with one of the area’s local climbing instructors. Following a few hours of climbing, you will enjoy a picnic lunch atop one of the rock faces you’ve summited with your climbing guide. 

The day has come for you to experience one of the most interesting spectacles in the state of New Mexico. The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is an annual event loved by locals and travelers alike. While you’re here, you will experience several events ranging from Mass Ascension (when all of the balloons lifting off the ground at the same time) to Dawn Patrol (when the balloons are lit up and launched at night) and more. 

In addition to being a bucket list event for many around the world, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta also spurs major economic benefits for local communities. The festival showcases New Mexcian culture across a variety of cultural exhibitions and is a great way to better understand the history and culture of the region.  

This morning you will be returning to the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta to experience more of the festival’s events. Believe it or not, today you will also be taking a ride up in one of the balloons. Joining one of the festival’s balloon pilots, you will be head up into the sky and take a flight unlike any other you’ve experienced before. 

Hosting over 500 different hot air balloons every year, this is the biggest hot air balloon festival in the world. Make sure your camera has a full charge, because for the rest of the afternoon you will be joined by one of the event photographers who will be showing you how to capture some stunning images of this annual spectacle. 

After a week of immersing yourself into some of New Mexico’s top natural sites and attending the world-renowned Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, it’s time to pack up and head back to Santa Fe Regional Airport. From the airport, you will be able to catch a flight onto your next destination. 

Enjoy a week of ecotourism in New Mexico and uncover one of the most renowned festivals on the globe! In addition, to exploring the natural highlights of the area and going to the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, you will also be connected with environmental organizations who will give you a wake-up call regarding the region’s current environmental state.  


Full of pristine natural beauty, culture and beyond, New Mexico is an ideal hub for any avid traveler. However, when you travel to explore new places, it’s important to remain vigilant. As you discover the highlights of an area, also be aware that there is usually other aspects which are facing environmental, political or cultural hardships.


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