Dangers & Annoyances
Albuquerque sits over 5000ft above sea level, Santa Fe and Taos are at 7000ft and the mountains top 13,000ft – so if you're arriving from sea level, you may feel the altitude. Take it easy for the first day or two, and be sure to drink plenty of water – a good idea, anyway, considering how arid the state is. Combined with altitude, the 300-plus days of sunshine also make this an easy place to get sunburned. And New Mexico leads the nation in lightning-strike deaths per capita, so be cautious if hiking in exposed areas during monsoon thunderstorms, which can be downright apocalyptic.
If you're into outdoor adventures, your New Mexico plans may hinge on how wet or dry the year has been. Ski areas may have some of the best or worst conditions in the West depending on snowfall; national forests sometimes close completely during severe summer drought.
As Territorial Governor Lew Wallace put it back in 1880: 'Every calculation based on experience elsewhere fails in New Mexico.' Things here just don't work the way you might expect. That, paired with the mañana mindset, may create some baffling moments. Our advice: just roll with it.
If you plan on visiting several museums in New Mexico, cut the cost by buying a $30 Culture Pass (www.newmexicoculture.org/visit/culturepass), which grants admission to 15 museums and historic sites around the state. Santa Fe in particular is well represented. You can buy the pass at any participating museum or site.