Attend the largest hot air balloon festival in the U.S.
SCENIC DRIVE through Sedona's Red Rock Country, Oak Creek Canyon Scenic Drive, Grand Canyon National Park's Desert View Scenic Drive, Painted Desert Scenic Drive, Monument Valley Tribal Park's renowned scenic drives, Trail of the Ancients National Scenic Byway, the High Road Scenic Skyway from Taos to Santa Fe
VISIT Scottsdale, Grand Canyon National Park, Monument Valley, Mesa Verde, Arches National Park, Moab, Durango, Taos, Santa Fe
First Class Travel Highlights:
Audio Headsets for flexible sightseeing
Daily breakfast and an average of 50% of evening meals
Luxury air-conditioned coach with WiFi in most countries or alternative transportation (such as rail journeys)
Cherry-picked hotels all tried and trusted
Optional Experiences and free time
All porterage and local charges included
Must-see sightseeing and surprise extras
An expert Travel Director and separate Driver
All hotel tips, charges and local taxes
Airport transfers on the first and last day of your guided holiday
VIP entry to many sights
Arrive Phoenix – Scottsdale
Sun-kissed Phoenix kickstarts your journey through America's stunning Southwest. You'll have the day on your own to recover from your travels, then meet your Travel Director and fellow travellers for a Welcome Reception later this evening.
Scottsdale – Sedona – Grand Canyon National Park
Your first stop today is in the artists' enclave of Sedona - surrounded by red-rock buttes, steep canyon walls and pine forests. You'll travel through Oak Creek Canyon next, with its rocky red cliffs, then venture to the UNESCO-listed Grand Canyon National Park, where a Local Specialist will share the canyon's many geological marvels. Tonight, you'll have an opportunity to overnight at one of the lodges inside the park.
Grand Canyon National Park – Monument Valley Tribal Park – Bluff
Rise early for an optional flightseeing over the Grand Canyon and then trace the scenic South Rim of the Grand Canyon along Desert View Drive. Stop at Cameron Trading Post to browse through handicrafts and perhaps sample traditional fry bread. Continue to Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park where you'll board 4X4 vehicles to navigate the iconic red valley landscape guided by a member of the Navajo Nation and Local Specialist. Savour the flavours of the Southwest this evening with an included dinner.
Bluff – Canyonlands National Park – Moab (2 Nights)
Sit back and watch the scenery unfold as you drive along Utah's Scenic Byway 191 between Bluff and Moab. Arriving at Canyonlands National Park, we ascend the Island in the Sky mesa and admire the spectacular scenery below.
Arches National Park Excursion and Moab
This morning, discover how the forces of wind and rain have shaped the enchanting landscape of Arches National Park. Later, enjoy a free afternoon or consider a deeper exploration of the area with an optional guided hike to Delicate Arch if you're feeling adventurous.
Moab – Mesa Verde National Park – Durango (2 Nights)
We arrive in the UNESCO-listed Mesa Verde National Park to delve into the history and culture of the Ancestral Puebloan people. Explore their beautifully preserved sandstone dwellings and admire the massive Cliff Palace. This evening, in Durango, your 'Stay with Story' is historic Strater Hotel. You'll have a choice of different restaurants for dinner, served with wine.
Durango Free Time
Enjoy free time in Durango today. Perhaps, enjoy a truly unforgettable step back in time, on an optional ride aboard the coal-fired, steam-powered narrow-gauge train to the historic mining town of Silverton. The train chugs along rails that were originally laid at the end of the 19th century, winding through a spectacular wilderness which would be inaccessible by car. If you're feeling more adventurous, opt for a white water rafting trip on the Animas River.
Durango – Taos – Santa Fe (2 Nights)
This morning's drive takes you through the towns of Vallecito, Pagosa Springs and Chama before arriving in Taos, where there will be time at Taos Plaza, a Historical Landmark. Then, meet a Navajo who lives in the pueblo, to explore the only living Native American community designated both a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and a National Historic Landmark. The journey continues along the High Road, the Taos - Santa Fe Scenic Byway, rich in history, art and culture. Arrive at the hotel, ideally located two short blocks from Santa Fe's Historic Plaza.
Santa Fe Sightseeing and Free Time
Join your Local Specialist this morning on a guided tour of Santa Fe. Experience this city where Spanish, Native American and Old West influences all combine to form a city with its own exclusive culture and character. See many of the city's major sights before you have the rest of the day to pursue your own interests. Perhaps venture down the artistic hub of Canyon Road lined with galleries, visit some of the city's top museums, or shop for Native American art and handicraft. This evening enjoy a Farewell Dinner with wine at one of Santa Fe's many restaurants.
Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta
You're in for a wild time at the colourful aerial extravaganza that is Albuquerque's Balloon Fiesta. But first, you'll have an opportunity to explore Old Town Albuquerque with its narrow brick lanes and adobe architecture. This evening, enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime experience in the exclusive Chasers' Club, featuring guaranteed private seating, deluxe views of the colourful balloons and dinner. Witness the Balloon Glow when the festival balloons light their burners under the moonlight, a magnificent prelude to Albuquerque's spectacular fireworks display.
Gaze upwards as hundreds of balloons take to the sky like vividly coloured lanterns hanging from thin air. Bid a fond farewell to New Mexico, transferring to Albuquerque International Airport or consider extending your stay at the Sheraton Albuquerque Uptown.