All the highlights and many of the secrets of the Southwest are revealed on this in-depth exploration of the canyons, deserts, cities and valleys of Arizona, Colorado, Utah and New Mexico.
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Day 1: Arrive 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.
Hotel – The Saguaro
Day 2: 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.
Hotel: National Park Lodges
Day 3: 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 Local Specialist and member of the Navajo Nation. Savour the flavours of the Southwest at dinner this evening.
Hotel: Desert Rose Resort
Day 4: Bluff – Canyonlands National Park – Moab
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. This evening, we ‘Connect With Locals’ over an exclusive ‘Be My Guest’ dinner with wine at a local grill in Moab.
Hotel: Homewood Suites, 2 nights
Day 5: 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.
Day 6: Moab – Mesa Verde National Park – Durango
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. For dinner, enjoy a your choice dining option and choose from several different restaurants in town.
Hotel: The Strater Hotel, 2 nights
Day 7: 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.
Day 8: Durango – Taos – Santa Fe
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. Meet your local Navajo resident guide and 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.
Hotel: Inn and Spa at Loretto, 2 nights
Day 9: 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 the rest of the day is yours 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 dinner with wine at one of Santa Fe’s many restaurants.
Day 10: Santa Fe – White Sands National Park – Las Cruces
Leave Santa Fe bound for White Sands National Park, driving along scenic drives that capture the spirit of this Land of Enchantment. This is Billy the Kid country, where legends play against a spectacular backdrop of snowy peaks, rolling rivers, orchards and ranchlands. Stop at White Sands National Monument – like no other place on earth, the great wave-like dunes of gypsum sand form the world’s largest gypsum dune field. Walk these dreamy parabolic dunes barefoot, which unlike conventional sand stays cool to the touch. Next is Las Cruces on the edge of the Chihuahuan Desert. ‘Dive Into Culture’ as you learn about the production of New Mexico’s renowned spicy chilli and major-league pecan production. Dinner is at a local restaurant in town this evening.
Hotel: Encanto de la Cruces
Day 11: Las Cruces – Tombstone – Tucson
Blazing a trail across the Southwest, continue to Tombstone, a trip back in time to the days of the old Wild West. Meet with Arizona Bill, your guide for a private tour of the town. Here in “The Town Too Tough To Die,” hear the tales from this legendary frontier mining camp, make a stop by the OK Corral and hear about the infamous shootout, which some have called the world’s most famous 30-second gunfight. See inside the home of Wyatt Earp and his gunfighting friend Doc Holliday. Arrive at the AAA Four Diamond, 500 acres resort with amazing desert and mountain views in the Southwest.
Hotel: El Conquistador Tucson, A Hilton Resort, 2 nights
Day 12: Saguaro National Park and Tucson Foodie Tour
Start the morning with a visit to Saguaro National Park East, home to 1.6 million of the nation’s largest cacti – the giant saguaro. As you enter the park you’ll see large stands of gigantic saguaro cacti creating a breathtaking saguaro forest in the middle of a desert environment. Drive along the Cactus Forest Loop before heading to Downtown Tucson to ‘Dive into Culture’ and become a Tucson Foodie. Sample dishes from various restaurants and you’ll understand why Tucson was named the first UNESCO City of Gastronomy in the USA. Back at the resort there is time to relax before a farm-to-table Farewell Dinner concocted by Chef Joshua Willett. After dinner, go on a date with the stars. Tucson is recognized as Dark Sky City by the International Dark Sky Association and Local Specialist Ben Loker and his team of astronomers will reveal the secrets of the universe with their customized, transportable computerized telescopes.
Day 13: Depart Tucson or Phoenix
Your journey through the American Southwest comes to an end as you are taken to Tucson Airport. There is also an option aboard the coach to Phoenix International Airport, where you will arrive around 11 am.
2020 Dates & Prices
April: 12, 26
May: 10, 17, 24
September: 13, 20
12 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 7 dinners
Luxury air-conditioned coach
12 nights accommodation
An expert Travel Director and separate Driver
Entrance Fees & Touring:
Entrance fees & activities as per itinerary
* Tour departure dates are subject to availability at time of booking. * Prices and itinerary are correct at time of publication and are subject to change without notice.