Solo Travel in New Mexico
New Mexico is an interesting and safe region for women travelling solo. Not only has it got a quirky character but it offers culture and music too. The only problems you may face is acclimatising to the climate and the height, or being spooked in one of the ghost towns. Solo travel in New Mexico for good wine, deserts, aliens and ghost towns.
New Mexico is called ‘The Land of Enchantment' for many intriguing reasons. Below is our New Mexico travel guide for solo travellers including where to stay, which tour company to use and how to get around.
Find out how to get from the airports and what to do in each place. All companies included have been recommended by solo female travellers and come with our Solo Female Friendly endorsement. Just choose the relevant section or read the full article for your trip to New Mexico.
- About New Mexico
- New Mexico Tours
- Accommodation in New Mexico
- Conscious Travel in New Mexico
- Getting Around New Mexico
- From The Airport
- How Long Do You Need?
- Travelling Onwards
- Map of New Mexico
- Plan a Trip To New Mexico
About New Mexico
As your journey begins in the New Mexico state, signs welcoming you to “The Land of Enchantment” accompanied by chile peppers, lead the way. It’s almost as if you feel instant refreshment upon being in this delightful place.
When planning a holiday to the US, a road trip in New Mexico should absolutely be on your list. There are options for public transport; however, renting a car is the best way to experience all that this region is waiting to show you.
New Mexico is located in the southwest/western region of the United States, offering a unique and relaxing stop while visiting its neighbouring states. From picturesque mountainous landscapes, to hot springs, rivers, forests, and deserts, yet also city life, this state has it covered. Its Native American, Spanish and Mexican influences offer an incomparable place to dive in and get cultured.
One of New Mexico's attractions is the number of ghost towns. Home to more than 400 ghost towns, many of which were former mining towns which mysteriously vanished. It’s also said that the wine industry here is older than in California and the best places to visit the wineries are in the Northern and Central regions.
If traveling by car and starting in northern New Mexico, take a ride through the Enchanted Circle, a 83 mile scenic byway along mountainous views, valleys, mesas, and national forests. The highest point in New Mexico is Wheeler Peak, which the bypass is carved around.
You can find seven communities along the bypass: Taos, Angel Fire, Eagle Nest, Red River, Taos Ski Valley and Questa. In the winter there are opportunities for skiing, snowboarding, tubing, snowmobile tours, and in the summer, the areas offer golf, rafting, horseback riding, hiking, and camping.
Make your way over to Taos and its surrounding areas. Arroyo Seco is a beautiful little village just seven miles north of Taos. The village is lined with small shops and eateries, and offers the most stunning view of stars in the evening.
This is where you'll find Black Rock Hot Springs, a short walk from John Dunn Bridge, where you can bask in the beauty of their mineral pools and cover yourself in mud for an organic beauty treatment.
The Earthship Biotecture in Taos is a must see. Here you can experience sustainable living and visit their demonstration Earthship made from natural and recycled materials. Admission is only $7 and it is literally ‘out of this world.' Along your way back to the main center of Taos, it's worth a stop to admire the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge and the street vendors selling crystals, arts and stone.
If you are interested in the history of the Native Americans, enjoy a tour of Taos Pueblo, with adobe structures said to be over one thousand years old. In Taos’ Historic District you will find museums, fine art galleries and studios, jewellery, clothing shops, and restaurants.
Heading south to Santa Fe, stop at Santuario de Chimayo. This Roman Catholic Church, which appears to be in the middle of nowhere, is a part of New Mexico you won’t want to pass up. Once in Santa Fe, the state’s capital, check out the historical center and plaza area.
Named by UNESCO as one of the nine “Creative Cities” in the world, the city is oozing with beauty and art. From galleries and museums to great shopping and dining, this vibrant city has activities to keep you busy for a few days.
Drive down scenic and homey Canyon Road, which is now filled with art galleries and studios, which used to be an old trading route. Head over to the Santa Fe Railyard which is Santa Fe’s proud new district including a plaza and pedestrian promenade.
Here you will find a farmers market on Tuesdays (be sure to check if it is running when you are visiting), full of roasted chile peppers, veggies, fruits, crafts, herbs, breads, and much more, along with artists displaying their work for sale. If you didn’t get your spa fix in Taos, spend the day unwinding at Ten Thousand Waves.
The metropolis of Albuquerque, differs from Taos and Santa Fe with its high rise buildings. Although this is a thriving city in New Mexico, home to some major high-tech research facilities, there are still attributes that link Albuquerque to its past.
One being the Petroglyph National Monument, ancient rock carvings, and also Old Town Albuquerque, about ten blocks of original adobe buildings filled with restaurants, stores, and art galleries.
Historic Route 66, which is now Central Avenue, is the main strip guiding you throughout the city, from the chic Nob Hill area, to the Biological Park with four different attractions: the Albuquerque Aquarium, the Rio Grande Botanical Garden, the Rio Grande Zoo, and Tingley Beach.
Two hours Southwest of Albuquerque is another Pueblo worth visiting; the Acoma Pueblo, also called “Sky City”. The Acoma Pueblo has been crafted atop a 367-foot mesa, and has been called the “oldest continuous inhabited community in North America”.
New Mexico is home to many National Monuments and Parks worth visiting, one being White Sands National Monument, 3.5 hours south of Albuquerque. Sand dunes glistening like snow, made from gypsum, have covered 275 square miles of desert ad are definitely a sight to see.
Chaco Culture is a National Historical Park to experience, with history dating back to the 800’s, where the Chacoan people lived for more than 300 years. Here you will find guided tours, hiking and biking trails and camping. This is located northwest of Alberquerque and Santa Fe.
One of the top places to see in New Mexico is Roswell, the city where the infamous alien incident occurred in 1947. Roswell is full of hokey alien paraphernalia, alien faced-lamp posts, and the International UFO Museum and Research Center.
Other points of interest in New Mexico is Carlsbad Caverns National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, two hours south of Roswell, decorated in limestone. With white sands, alien memorabilia and ancient rock carvings, New Mexico USA certainly is a land of enchantment.
New Mexico Tours
Intrepid Travel – If you’re searching for some company to explore the USA with, Intrepid Travel is a responsible travel company that offers a New Mexico Discovery tour. Over 6 days experience the American Southwest on a desert adventure packed with history and art. Intrepid operate a flexible booking policy so you can change your travel plans up to 21 days before departure. Read our Intrepid Review here or click on the link below for their tours.
Get Your Guide – Get Your Guide helps you to find top-rated New Mexico activities and tours in New Mexico. Choose from a hot air balloon ride in Rio Grande Valley, Albuquerque tours such as a walking tour of Albuerque Old Town learning about the history and the legends, or a Breaking Bad city tour to visit the filming locations from the hit series. Some of the tours require a minimum of 2 people but there are several to book as a solo and it’s really simple to use. Just check the reviews, price and availability then book online.
Accommodation in New Mexico
New Mexico has a variety of accommodation choices. From spa resorts to motels, inns and mountain lodges. If you are visiting New Mexico on a budget, there are few hostel options in New Mexico or you can just take a tent and pitch up. If you plan on camping, make sure to check the weather before you go. Below are accommodation options recommended by our solo female traveller community. For all other accommodation, click on the link below.
Located in Santa Fe, just a 10 minute walk to downtown, this Native American-owned 4 star hotel is a good choice for solo travellers. Not only does it have fantastic Native-American food and service to match but there is plenty of cultural entertainment too. From historical storytelling to ceremonial dance performances and Native American music, you don’t even need to leave the hotel to experience the indigenous culture and mingle with others.
It’s sociable, has a shop with hand-made crafts, a warming outdoor fireplace, a hot tub and a pool, and you can pamper yourself in the spa or enjoy a cocktail at the bar. Plus, there is free tea and coffee every morning too. And did we mention the professional butlers? What more could you need from a New Mexico hotel! Choose from a traditional king or double room or upgrade to a suite. Breakfast is included in the rate.
- Prices start from US $180 for a traditional king room
- Check prices, dates and availability: Hotel Santa Fe
This elegant 3 star hotel in Las Cruces is ideal for those wanting to explore La Mesilla Historic District. The decor is beautiful and reflects the Spanish and Mexican colonial traditions. Relax by the pool in the day or at the spa, and around the fire pit at night or mingle with the other guests at the onsite nightclub. You can even take your dog with you. As it is the preferred hotel of Virgin Galactic in the region, you may even spot an astronaut or two! Choose from a king room or double room.
- Prices start from US $137 for a king room
- Check prices, dates and availability: Hotel Encanto de Las Cruces
If you are looking for somewhere to pamper yourself, you can’t get better than La Paloma Hot Springs & Spa located in Truth or Consequences. With 2 outdoor pools and 5 foot tubs all at different temperatures, this historic site with historical bathhouses and murals is such a sacred place, and has 9 cabins to choose from.
Each comes with a kitchenette so you can cook your own meals then lay in a hammock in the gardens and courtyard and enjoy the fire pit at night after experiencing a soak in the hot artesian water. You can treat yourself to a massage and facial too. Even the rooms have inspiring names such as ‘Faith’ or ‘Serenity’ and some come with a view of Turtleback Mountain. Choose from a historic cabin or a suite.
- Prices start from $240 for a 2 night stay in the Vista Bonita room
- Check prices, dates and availability: La Paloma Hot Springs & Spa
Stay Eco in New Mexico
Los Poblanos Historic Inn & Organic Farm
Los Poblanos offers 50 guest rooms and is also a working organic farm. Three generations of the Rembe family have been keeping history, art, craftsmanship, and architecture alive within the estate. The inn is a staple of the community, having partners within the arts and culture sector, as well as the agricultural sector. They also contribute to various non-profit and charitable organizations.
- Prices from £226/$314 per night for a standard room
- To book, check prices or availability for Los Poblanos Historic Inn
Bishop's Lodge Ranch Resort & Spa
Bishop’s lodge offers a range of activities for guests including an art tour to support the local art landscape, as well as gorgeous hiking trails. They also recycle water and employ other eco-friendly methods.
- Prices from £628/$874 for a king room
- To book, check prices or availability for Bishop’s Lodge Ranch Resort
Conscious Travel in New Mexico
Social Impact Programs
A non-profit organization located in Albuquerque, the Three Sisters Kitchen offers locally produced meals, as well as a Food Business Training Program for food entrepreneurs and community cooking classes. Support them by buying a delicious meal or by buying their own brand of granola.
If you are staying in Santa Fe for a while, why not join Kitchen Angels, a non-profit organization which aims to deliver free, nutritious meals to homebound individuals. They have been operating since 1992 and have served over 1.5 million meals!
Articles to read before travelling to New Mexico
• THE BOOK HUNTER: After falling in love with New Mexico, an East Coast author scours used book racks to rescue tomes about it by Maida Tilchen
• Reading New Mexico — literature that reveals life at a cultural crossroads by Rigoberto González
Getting Around New Mexico
There is only good public transport between Albuquerque and Santa Fe so hiring a car is the best option to travel New Mexico and get around this scenic state.
For those who prefer the freedom of the open road consider hiring an RV and driving yourself around the USA stopping in New Mexico on the way. As a solo traveller, you’ll have plenty of space for your accommodation, your own transport and possibly a kitchenette too. RVshare allows you to compare RV rates from different brands and find local owners near you. In most cases, they deliver to a specific location or park, so the home-away-from-home will be ready and waiting for you on arrival. Plus, you can bring your pet! Prices start from $75 a night. * Book a campervan with RVshare
From The Airport
From Albuquerque – Bus 350 is a free bus to Downtown but it doesn't run regularly. Bus 50 runs Monday to Friday 07.00 to 20.00 every 30 mins, Saturdays 10.00 to 19.00 every 70 minutes. A taxi cost $20 for the five mile journey.
From Santa Fe – Taxis cost $20 for the 15 minute ride.
How Long Do You Need?
A week is plenty of time to visit New Mexico and explore this region.
Where can I go from here?
- Las Vegas 1.5 hrs
- Phoenix 1.5 hrs
- Los Angeles 2 hrs
* All flying from Albuquerque Airport
Travelling Onwards (check visas before you travel)
New Mexico is surrounded by a vast variety of options for onward travel. From here you can easily head to Las Vegas, Colorado, Texas, Oklahoma, Arizona, and California.
The 4 Corners Monument, which marks the quadripoint where Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah meet, is worth the quick photo, if driving in that direction. You may also choose to head south to Mexico (check visa information before travel).
- Can I drink the water? Yes
- Is tipping expected? Yes, 20% is pretty standard in the US.
- Fixed price or barter? Fixed price.
- Any ATMs? Yes.
- Which side of the road do they drive? Right.
- Good for vegetarians? Yes.
- Any seven wonders of the world? No.
Map of New Mexico
Plan a Trip To New Mexico
Budget – £60 a day
Capital of New Mexico – Santa Fe
Population – 2.1 million
Language spoken – English, Spanish and Navajo
Flying Time to New Mexico – 15+ hrs from London (non-direct)
Did you know? Albuquerque is known as the ‘ballooning capital of the world’ as it hosts the world’s largest hot air balloon festival each October.
Lingo – People speak English