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Let your spirits soar at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, the world's largest ballooning event and an annual attraction for ballooning enthusiasts from around the world. Join other delighted viewers as you witness the mass ascension of more than 700 balloons rising at once into the still dawn air of a New Mexico desert morning. It is the most spectacular display of sound and color in all of aviation. Marvel at the rainbow of colors and the fantastic array of patterns and shapes, bold and bright against the deep blue sky.
The spectacle continues to dazzle come evening as the tethered balloons are illuminated in a large-scale light show called the Balloon Glow. The sight of balloons lit from within like giant holiday ornaments, showing of their brightest colors against the night sky, is breathtaking. First launched in 1987 the Balloon Glows, followed by New Mexico’s most spectacular fireworks displays, are now among the Balloon Fiesta’s most popular events. And you'll see the best of this fantastic light show from the Gondola Lounge VIP section where you can enjoy outdoor seating and a private indoor tent with delicious food and private bathrooms.
You'll also have plenty of time for sightseeing. Visit Acoma Pueblo, where the Sky City Cultural Center showcases the heritage linking today’s Acoma residents to the pueblo's founding in the 12th century. Within the 40,000-square-foot center, peruse the gorgeous pottery and study Acoma history on permanent display at the Haak’u Museum. And take a walking tour of Santa Fe and its downtown plaza with free time to shop and explore.
• 5 nights accommodations at Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town
• Breakfast daily, 2 lunches and 2 dinners
• Admission to 3 Balloon Fiesta events: Opening Ceremonies, Mass Ascension and Evening Balloon Glow, where you will enjoy VIP seating
• Learn about Native American culture on a guided tour of Acoma Pueblo
• Walking Tour of historic Santa Fe followed by a visit to the mining town of Madrid
Note: Balloon Fiesta events are subject to change and possible cancellation if adverse weather conditions occur. Pre-tour and post-tour nights at Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town may be available. Inquire at time of booking.
Day 1 - Arrive in Albuquerque
Arrive at the Albuquerque International Airport and transfer on your own to the hotel, located in historic Old Town. This evening, enjoy a Welcome Reception at 6:00pm followed by dinner.
Accommodation: Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town - 5 nights
Day 2 - Morning Mass Ascension
Meet in the lobby at 5:00am to pick up a “grab and go” breakfast, then travel to the Albuquerque Balloon Park to see the opening ceremonies and the mass ascension of hundreds of balloons. You are most welcome to bring a foldable chair for your own use. Mass ascensions are the launch of all the participating balloons and have been a feature of the Balloon Fiesta since its earliest days. It is the most spectacular display of sound and color in all of aviation. During mass ascensions, balloons launch in two waves. Launch directors, also known as “zebras” because of their black-and-white-striped outfits, serve as “traffic cops,” coordinating the launch so balloons leave the field in a safe and coordinated manner. Weather permitting, balloons begin to launch at about 7:15am on mass ascension days, led by a balloon flying the American flag to the strains of “The Star Spangled Banner.”
Return to the hotel in the late morning with time to explore the Old Town Plaza, the 300-year-old historic heart of the city.
Day 3 - Evening Balloon Glow
After an early breakfast, return to Balloon Park for another early morning view of the many sights and sounds of hundreds and hundreds of balloons rising into the sky.
Enjoy the afternoon at leisure before returning to the park for the evening's luminescent Balloon Glow, when hundreds of moored balloons at the launch field light up the night. The sight of balloons lit from within at night like giant holiday ornaments is breathtaking and “glow” events are now held all over the world. Balloon Fiesta launched its Balloon Glow, the world’s largest, in 1987. Fiesta Glow “all burns,” when all the balloons fire their burners and light up at the same time, are perhaps the most spectacular single moment in all of Balloon Fiesta. The Balloon Glows, followed by New Mexico’s most spectacular fireworks displays, are now among Balloon Fiesta’s most popular events.
You will enjoy seating in the Gondola Lounge VIP section during the Balloon Glow. It is one of the most picturesque locations at Balloon Fiesta Park. This reserved area that lets you get away from the crowd with private seating indoors and out, delicious food and private bathrooms.
Day 4 - Acoma Pueblo
After breakfast, gather in the lobby for departure to Acoma Pueblo. Experience a living history of a centuries-old culture at the Sky City Cultural Center. Haak'u Museum showcases the ways of life, history and art of the Acoma people – a culture that has endured a thousand years. Explore Acoma in a way never before seen on a walking tour that covers areas of uneven and rough terrain over approximately ¾ of a mile. Bear in mind that the altitude is 6,460 feet above sea level and the climate is very dry. Be sure to drink plenty of water, wear suntan lotion and wear comfortable walking shoes. Return to Albuquerque in the late afternoon. Your evening is at leisure.
Day 5 - Santa Fe & Madrid
Following breakfast, depart to Santa Fe and visit its historic downtown plaza area. After lunch, take a walking tour of Santa Fe, including the plaza and the Loreto Chapel, home of a miraculous, physics-defying spiral staircase. There will be free time to explore Santa Fe and shop at the many wonderful stores along the plaza. Depart in the afternoon and discover the historic and colorful mining town of Madrid. Enjoy a Farewell Dinner this evening back at the hotel.
Day 6 - Depart Albuquerque
After breakfast, spend time at leisure then make your way back to the airport for your return flight home.
Limitations & Restrictions
*Prices are per person based on double occupancy, are subject to availability at time of booking, and may change without notice. Single supplement may apply. Except for packages including air transportation, unless stated otherwise, airfare, taxes and government fees are not included. Offers valid for new bookings only. Member Benefits are per person and apply to first and second traveler only. Member Benefits are available only with advertised fare and are subject to change without notice. Your travel arrangements may be modified or canceled subject to the travel providers’ policies. Blackout dates and other restrictions may apply. We make every effort for accuracy at time of printing but reserve the right to correct errors. AAA Travel strongly recommends the purchase of trip protection insurance. Except for packages including air transportation, fares may not reflect additional fuel supplement or port charges and vary by provider.
CST #1003968-80. Registration as seller of travel does not constitute approval by the State of California.