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New Mexico & Arizona Annular Eclipse

October 9 - 18, 2023

New Mexico and Arizona, with their vast open spaces and arid climates that create exceptionally clear skies, have long attracted both professional astronomers and passionate stargazers. Dotting the desert landscape is a fascinating mix of historic towns and lively arts communities steeped in the heritage of the region’s native peoples. Put it all together and you can see why we chose this spectacular corner of the Southwest for our newest TravelQuest adventure: a 10-day trip showcasing the  ...Show more
 
At dawn, from our prime eclipse viewing location, and just steps away from your room, the Albuquerque International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta will do their Saturday mass ascension. While this is an early morning event, it is possible under the right conditions that those with cameras can capture the eclipse framed among the colorful hot air balloons.
 
This unique astronomical and cultural journey, taking you deep into areas of stunning natural beauty, will fill up fast – so get your plans in motion today!

 

October 2023 Albuquerque Annular Eclipse Viewing Prospects
By TravelQuest eclipse meteorologist Jay Anderson

The annular eclipse of 2023 comes at a fortunate time of year, crossing a New Mexico landscape blessed with good weather and pleasant but cool temperatures. In October, the monsoon season has ended across the American Southwest and winter is only a promise, heralded by an occasional dusting of snow on the surrounding mountain peaks. The distant Rocky Mountains wring Pacific moisture out of the air or block it altogether, and so the Southwest’s Colorado Plateau enjoys a dry, desert climate that favors the eclipse chaser.

Albuquerque, situated on the plateau and in the middle of the eclipse track, is the perfect place to view the Moon’s passage across the Sun. Not only does the city enjoy the dry environment of the Southwest, but it stands out with the highest frequency of sunshine anywhere along the eclipse track. Local measurements show that skies are sunny on 80 percent of October days – a statistic verified by past satellite images that show clear skies on eclipse day for 17 years out of 21. With its cosmopolitan, astronomy-aware population and a wealth of nearby sights to visit, Albuquerque is the perfect place to wait for an eclipse.

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Highlights

  • Best weather prospects for viewing the October 14th annular solar eclipse – nearly five minutes in duration – from our carefully selected site in Albuquerque.
  • Spectacular sunrise balloon ascent at the Albuquerque Hot Air Balloon Fiesta.
  • Expert-guided visits to astronomical landmarks, including Barringer Meteor Crater, the Very Large Array radio observatory, the Apache Point Observatory, and historic Lowell Observatory.
  • An exclusive tour of Spaceport America, home base of Virgin Galactic.
  • A visit to experience the unrivaled grandeur of the Grand Canyon.

Arrive according to your own flight plans at Albuquerque International Airport (code: ABQ), where we arrange the easy transfer to our centrally located hotel. If you’re checked in by late afternoon, join your fellow TravelQuest guests for our welcome dinner.

DATE(S): Monday, October 9, 2023

MEALS: Dinner

ACCOMMODATION: Sandia Resort, Albuquerque or similar

This morning we head into the Sacramento Mountains to Cloudcroft, a pioneer town that blends historic charm with contemporary amenities. Your home for the next two nights is The Lodge, a Victorian-style resort situated at 2,570 m (9,000 ft) above sea level. Set among aspens and pines with stunning views of the surrounding peaks, it’s the perfect backdrop for our first night of stargazing (weather permitting).

DATE(S): Tuesday, October 10, 2023

MEALS: Breakfast/Dinner

ACCOMMODATION: The Lodge at Cloudcroft

We begin today’s explorations with a visit to the Sunspot Solar Observatory, where your VIP tour includes the Evans Solar Facility – particularly its coronagraph, an instrument that blocks out the Sun’s surface brightness to allow more accurate observation. You also get a closeup look at the Dunn Solar Telescope, a staggering 110 m (364 ft) in height, two-thirds of it below ground. After lunch we head to the Apache Point Observatory, home to three major astronomical tools: the Astrophysical Research Consortium telescope (3.5 m), the Sloan Digital Sky Survey reflector (2.5 m) and the New Mexico State University telescope (1.0 m). Staff astronomers explain the research priorities of the observatory, which hosts teams from many universities and is credited with the discovery of nine minor planets. It’s also an ideal place to take in the natural beauty of the Tularosa Basin. We return by early evening to The Lodge, where you can look forward to another great night of scanning the skies.

DATE(S): Wednesday, October 11, 2023

MEALS: Breakfast/Dinner

ACCOMMODATION: The Lodge at Cloudcroft, Cloudcroft

 

After breakfast we’re off to White Sands, where glistening wave-like dunes have engulfed 710 square km (275 square miles) of desert to create the world’s largest gypsum field. After lunch we visit Spaceport America, built by Virgin Galactic as the world's first purpose-built commercial spaceport. Your guided tour of this active testing facility includes a mission control simulation, exhibits on spaceflight history and more. Then it’s on to Socorro, a desert town by the Rio Grande, to check into our hotel and enjoy dinner with your fellow travelers.

 

DATE(S): Thursday, October 12, 2023

MEALS: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner

ACCOMMODATION: Best Western Socorro Hotel, Socorro

Today we visit a true landmark of modern astronomy: the Very Large Array radio observatory, with its 27 dishes set in the arid expanse of what was once an ancient sea. Mounted on mobile platforms, the dishes – each 25 m (82 ft) in diameter – can be clustered together or spread out along tracks spanning 36 km (23 miles) across the San Agustin plain. Data from the antennas is combined to create the equivalent resolution of a telescope 36 km (22 miles) across. An impressive feat of science and engineering, the site is also celebrated in popular culture, appearing in films such as Independence Day, Armageddon, and Contact. After your unique insider’s tour, we head back to Albuquerque to prepare for tomorrow’s annular eclipse.

DATE(S): Friday, October 13, 2023

MEALS: Breakfast/Dinner

ACCOMMODATION: Sandia Resort, Albuquerque or similar

After seeing some of the incredible technology scientists use to explore the skies, it’s time to witness an astronomical wonder firsthand. We gather at our special viewing site to take in the annular eclipse and its remarkable “ring of fire,” when a brilliant circle of sunlight surrounds the dark lunar disk.  

 

October 2023 Albuquerque Annular Eclipse Viewing Prospects
By TravelQuest eclipse meteorologist Jay Anderson
The annular eclipse of 2023 comes at a fortunate time of year, crossing a New Mexico landscape blessed with good weather and pleasant but cool temperatures. In October, the monsoon season has ended across the American Southwest and winter is only a promise, heralded by an occasional dusting of snow on the surrounding mountain peaks. The distant Rocky Mountains wring Pacific moisture out of the air or block it altogether, and so the Southwest's Colorado Plateau enjoys a dry, desert climate that favors the eclipse chaser. Albuquerque, situated on the plateau and in the middle of the eclipse track, is the perfect place to view the Moon's passage across the Sun. Not only does the city enjoy the dry environment of the Southwest, but it stands out with the highest frequency of sunshine anywhere along the eclipse track. Local measurements show that skies are sunny on 80 percent of October days – a statistic verified by past satellite images that show clear skies on eclipse day for 17 years out of 21. With its cosmopolitan, astronomy-aware population and a wealth of nearby sights to visit, Albuquerque is the perfect place to wait for an eclipse.

DATE(S): Saturday, October 14, 2023

MEALS: Breakfast/Dinner

ACCOMMODATION: Sandia Resort, Albuquerque or similar

We set out from our hotel before sunrise (coffees in hand) to witness a spectacular mass ascent at the Albuquerque Hot Air Balloon Fiesta. From its humble beginnings 50 years ago, the Fiesta has grown into the largest event of its kind in the world, with more than 1,000 pilots participating. After watching hundreds of multi-colored balloons rise in the crystal-blue desert sky, we hit the road on historic Route 66, making our way to Winslow, Arizona (the Navajo County town memorialized in the Eagles’ hit “Take it Easy”).

DATE(S): Sunday, October 15, 2023

MEALS: Breakfast/Dinner

ACCOMMODATION: La Posada Hotel & Gardens Hotel

The best-preserved impact site on our planet, Barringer Meteor Crater was formed some 50,000 years ago when a small asteroid – with an estimated diameter of 50 m, or 160 ft – slammed into the Earth, creating a depression in the Arizona desert about 1,200 m (3,900 ft) across. After an expert-guided walk along the crater’s rim, you can explore the recently redesigned visitors’ center and museum. Then we carry on to Flagstaff, enjoying dinner before our evening visit to Lowell Observatory – the historic vantage point from which Percival Lowell studied Mars, Clyde Tombaugh discovered Pluto and Vesto Slipher measured the redshifts of galaxies. Your tour includes the observatory’s graceful rotunda, which houses Percival’s library, as well as a chance to look through the famous 24-inch Clark refractor (weather permitting).

DATE(S): Monday, October 16, 2023

MEALS: Breakfast/Dinner

ACCOMMODATION: Little America Hotel, Flagstaff

After days of exploring the skies overhead, we end our journey by looking deep into the Earth – at one of our planet’s magnificent natural wonders, the Grand Canyon. Over 440 km (275 miles) long, up to 29 km (18 miles) wide and in places over 1,800 m (6,000 ft) deep, the massive chasm can be seen from the International Space Station. Up close, it’s a living museum of geological history, with successive layers of red-hued rock dating back millions of years. Your day in Grand Canyon National Park includes some of the best overlooks – and, of course, a visit to rustic Cameron Trading Post to choose a few mementos.

DATE(S): Tuesday, October 17, 2023

MEALS: Breakfast/Dinner

ACCOMMODATION: Little America Hotel, Flagstaff

After a final breakfast, wish your fellow travelers well and head to Flagstaff Pulliam Airport (code: FLG) according to your flight schedule, carrying lifetime memories of your astronomical odyssey across the Southwest.

DATE(S): Wednesday, October 18, 2023

MEALS: Breakfast

ACCOMMODATION: N/A

Optional Add-ons

If you’d like to arrive in Albuquerque a night ahead of our eclipse tour, TravelQuest has reserved a limited number of rooms at the Sandia Resort (or similar). The cost per night, including room, airport arrival transfer and tax: $280 USD per person based on two people sharing one room; $540 USD for single occupancy.


TRIP LEVEL

Easy/Moderate: short to medium walks over hilly terrain, occasionally uneven with rugged travel conditions. While the pace of this tour is easy, it will take you from elevations of 1,525 m (5,000 ft) up to 2,800 m (9,190 ft).

IMPORTANT

  • TravelQuest, working with our partners, makes every effort to follow the published itinerary. However, please keep in mind that it is subject to change depending on weather and other local conditions.
  • It is important to acknowledge that seeing the annular solar eclipse is weather dependent, and TravelQuest can make no guarantees that the weather will cooperate.

Prices are per person in US Dollars based on the number of people in a room.

Double

$6340

Single

$7940

Important:

  • TravelQuest, working with our partners, makes every effort to follow the published itinerary. However, please keep in mind that it is subject to change depending on weather and other local conditions.
  • All tour prices, taxes and airfares quoted in this brochure are based on tariffs, costs and US dollar exchange rates that were in effect at the time of publication. Consequently, prices herein are subject to change. Due to fluctuations in global oil prices, a fuel surcharge may be added to your tour fee. You will be advised of details and costs prior to departure.
  • Viewing a solar eclipse is particularly weather-dependent, and as such, we can offer no guarantee that local conditions will cooperate.

Includes

  • Nine nights’ accommodation at select hotels
  • Arrival/departure transfers per the dates of the tour
  • All ground transportation
  • Services of your TravelQuest Trip Leader/Astronomer
  • Eclipse viewing safety glasses
  • Custom 2023 eclipse e-sourcebooks
  • Special October 14 eclipse day activities
  • Local guides throughout your journey
  • Meals as specified in the itinerary, including coffee, tea and water
  • Sightseeing admissions as noted in the itinerary
  • Gratuities for drivers and local guides

Not Included

  • Air transportation to Albuquerque International Airport (code: ABQ) and from Flagstaff Pulliam Airport (code: FLG)
  • Luggage handling
  • Meals and activities not specified in the itinerary
  • Beverages at meals (other than coffee, tea and water)
  • Expenses of a personal nature, including spa services, laundry, souvenirs, etc.
  • Passport and visa fees if applicable, along with any required immunization
  • Highly recommended travel cancellation insurance

Payments & Terms

  • An advance payment of $1,400 USD per person, along with the completed reservation form, are required to secure your reservation
  • Final payment, payable by check or bank wire only, is due by July 10, 2023

Cancellation Terms

  • Cancellations must be made in writing via email, fax or mail
  • All advance payments, less a $600 USD per person cancellation fee, are refundable until June 9, 2023
  • There are no refunds after June 9, 2023
  • Air cancellation terms are additional

TRAVELER HEALTH

At TravelQuest we want to be sure you choose a trip that best suits your interests and level of fitness. Prior to making a booking, it is the responsibility of each traveler to thoroughly read the itinerary, and to acquire and understand all pertinent medical advice to determine whether they are in an appropriate state of physical health to undertake the trip. At a minimum, participants must be able to climb into and out of buses, vans, and trains without assistance; to carry their own luggage; and to generally keep up with the pace of the trip. If you have any questions about your trip’s itinerary or its level of difficulty, please contact us prior to booking.

TRAVEL INSURANCE

Travel insurance protects you from unexpected “what ifs”: What if your bags go missing? What if you must cancel? What if you need medical assistance? TravelQuest highly recommends that you purchase a travel protection plan to help secure you and your trip investment against the unexpected. You can purchase this insurance on your own or contact our friends at Travelex, who are familiar with our trips and offer a selection of coverage options to suit your needs. To be eligible for the waiver of pre-existing medical condition exclusion, Travelex plans must be purchased within 15 days from the time you make your initial deposit to TravelQuest. ALL Travelex policies must be purchased at least 14 days prior to your departure date.

For more information on these plans or to enroll, click on the link below or contact Travelex Insurance Services directly at 1-800-228-9792 and reference location number 03-6043.

TravelEx Insurance

 

 

 

 

 

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