El Camino Real


Follow the fabled Camino Real in New Mexico.  Beginning in Mexico City in 1598, El Camino Real was explored, settled, and extended to a point just north of Santa Fe. After Mexico gained it’s freedom from Spain in 1821, it provided a link to the Santa Fe Trail, resulting in an extensive trade route stretching all the way to central Missouri.

Blazed over 400 years ago in the conquistador tradition, El Camino Real became the longest highway in North America and has served as a commercial artery for a longer period of time than any other road.

Don’t miss this opportunity to learn about the origins of New Mexico’s unique cultural heritage, as we follow the Rio Grande north on El Camino Real!

Begins in El Paso, ends in Albuquerque

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Tour highlights:

  • Magoffin Home
  • Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum
  • White Sands National Monument
  • Farmers & Crafts Market
  • Old Mesilla
  • Fort Selden
  • El Camino Real International Heritage Center
  • San Miguel Pueblo
  • Indian Pueblo Cultural Center
  • Albuquerque’s Old Town
  • Casa San Ysidro
  • Albuquerque Museum
  • National Historic Cultural Center
  • free time in Santa Fe
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Tour Itinerary:

Day # 1 - Arrivals

Welcome to El Camino Real. Arriving passengers will be met at El Paso International Airport as we begin our adventure along the Rio Grande. We’ll begin with a visit to the Magoffin Home, an1875 territorial-style adobe built by Joseph Magoffin, a founder of El Paso whose family and descendants lived there for 111 years. We’ll enjoy a wine-tasting and welcome dinner in one of New Mexico’s finest wineries before checking into our home for the next three nights in Las Cruces.  (D)

Day # 2 - NM Farm & Ranch Museum / White Sands

This morning we will visit the outstanding Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum, which will give us a good background on El Camino Real and the colonial period that it produced. Next it’s on to the amazing White Sands National Monument, a desert area which provided a major challenge to Don Juan de Oñate and his entrada 400 years ago. The park encompasses the largest gypsum dunefield in the world. Overnight: Las Cruces, NM. (B)

Day # 3 - Las Cruces Farmers & Crafts Market / Old Mesilla

A real treat is in store this morning: a visit to Las Cruces’ Farmers & Crafts Market. The distinctly New Mexican event lines four blocks with booths featuring Southwestern foods, hand-made arts and crafts, clothing and much more. We’ll have time to sample the local salsa and browse the homemade wares for bargains while mingling with the Native shoppers. No visit to southern New Mexico would be complete without a visit to Old Mesilla, the original Mexican community located across the Rio Grande from Las Cruces. We’ll have time to explore the hacienda-style plaza featuring shops specializing in high-end ladies apparel, authentic Mexican furniture and home decor, before enjoying an authentic dinnerat a one of the town’s finest restaurants. Overnight: Las Cruces, NM. (B, D)

Day # 4 - Fort Selden / El Camino Real Int. Heritage Center

As we head north today along the original route of El Camino Real, we’ll visit Fort Selden, established in 1865 to protect settlers in the valley from Apache attacks and desperados. Now a state park, it was also once the home of the buffalo soldiers and Gen. Douglas MacArthur. A highlight of our journey is the El Camino Real International Heritage Center, located near Socorro. Built in 2005 to provide interpretation of this pivotal historic roadway, it is also the home of El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro Trail Association. Here we’ll be treated to a special interpretive tour. Before we’ll call it day, we’ll also visit the San Miguel Pueblo, an important trade center before and after the Spanish entrada. Overnight: Socorro, NM. (B, L)

Day # 5 - Albuquerque / Indian Pueblo Cultural Center

Today we proceed northward to New Mexico’s largest metropolis, Albuquerque, home of the world-famous Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. We’ll have time to explore the city’s famous Old Town and enjoy a very special tour of historic Casa San Ysidro, which sits literally on El Camino Real. Dating to the 1870’s, this authentic colonial style home showcases household goods, farm equipment and carretas (carts) which settlers used on the trail and after settling along El Camino Real. Overnight: Albuquerque, NM. (CB,D)

Day # 6 - Santa Fe - the End of the Trail

This morning we’ll visit the outstanding Albuquerque Museum and the National Hispanic Cultural Center which will provide a better understanding of El Camino Real and its impact on the region. The trail ended just north of the location which would become Santa Fe (1610), but Oñate’s San Gabriel didn’t succeed, despite his herculean efforts. We’ll take time to explore the storied plaza and shops of New Mexico’s capitol city before returning to Albuquerque for our festive farewell dinner at one of the city’s most famous restaurants: El Pinto. Overnight: Albuquerque, NM. (B,D)


Day # 7 - Departures

Sadly we bid a fond farewell to our Camino Real adventure and the memories we made here as we head to the airport for departures home. Airport transfers provided. (B)

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Happy Trails!