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The indigenous experiences that make our Southwest USA tour so memorable

Recently updated on March 30th, 2023 at 12:14 pm

Indigenous travel allows you to witness ancient traditions, get insights into cultures, and bring history to life in the most remarkable way. The Southwest USA is one of the most incredible regions to experience indigenous travel and as part of our Southwest Native Trails tour, you’ll get firsthand insights into the local indigenous cultures. From meeting Local Navajo Specialists for a private drive through Monument Valley to sharing a traditional meal with elders at a Nambe Village, this is one of our most enriching trips yet. Read on to discover the memorable indigenous experiences you’ll have on our Southwest United States tour.

EXPERIENCE IT: Southwest Native Trails

TRAVEL INSPIRATION: US National Parks

Journey through the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park

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With its vast red landscapes dotted with giant mesas, buttes and cliffs, Monument Valley is an icon of the American West. We’ll journey through the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, set across the Utah and Arizona border. You’ll meet a Navajo Local Specialist for a private guided adventure in Monument Valley. As part of this MAKE TRAVEL MATTER®  experience, we’ll take all-terrain vehicles along the backroads unavailable to the public. As we cruise through the awe-inspiring scenery, you’ll learn about the history and culture of the Diné (Navajo people) from your guide. We’ll also visit an authentic hogan, the traditional dwelling of the Diné, and see a traditional underground summer home. 

RELATED CONTENT: Discover the indigenous history of Navajo Tribal Park

Meet Emigdio Ballon at the Tesuque Pueblo Community Farm

During this fascinating MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experience, you’ll meet Emigdio Ballon. He’s the agricultural director at the Tesuque Pueblo Community Farm, located in Santa Fe, New Mexico. As you wander through the farm, you’ll learn about this indigenous community and their mission to achieve food sovereignty. The community preserves heirloom seeds and grows its own food. It’s an eye-opening lesson in sustainability and indigenous culture. 

Learn the history of the Navajo Nation at Canyon de Chelly

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Get a glimpse into the history with a MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® experience at the Canyon de Chelly Visitor Center in Arizona. You’ll then see all that history come to life with a certified Navajo Local Specialist. We’ll board 6X6 vehicles and drive to the bottom of Canyon De Chelly, home to the Navajo Nation for over 5,000 years. We’ll explore the spectacular scenery and learn how Navajo people continue to live in the canyons today. Marvel at the sandstone canyons and ancient petroglyphs, pictographs and cave dwellings. You’ll even see pueblo ruins dating back to 350 to 1300 A.D.

As you peer over the edge of the White House overlook you’ll see the masterful Ancient Puebloan construction built into the sandstone cliff. You’ll also see nature defy gravity at Spider Rock, a 200-metre-high sandstone spire. Learn about the legend of the Spider Woman who lives in the soaring spire. This is one of our most unforgettable indigenous experiences yet.

GET INSPIRED BY: National Parks and Native Trails of the Dakotas

Discover Taos

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Dive into the gorgeous city of Taos, starting in the Taos Historic District. This artist enclave is home to dozens of galleries, shops, restaurants and 21 Historic Landmarks including the Taos Plaza. You’ll also join Local Specialists to explore the UNESCO-listed Taos Pueblo, also a National Historic Landmark. Meet some of the 150-odd locals who still live in the Pueblo, and learn about these impressive multi-storey adobe structures, built around 1,000 years ago.

See prehistoric settlements in Southwest Colorado

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Uncover the best of prehistoric history as we travel through southwest Colorado. We’ll first visit the prehistoric settlement at Hovenweep National Monument. Next, we’ll journey through the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument. You’ll have time to visit the Canyon of the Ancients Visitor Center, one of the leading archaeological museums in Colorado. Later, we’ll explore the iconic Mesa Verde National Park and see the remarkable Ancestral Puebloan archaeological sites and structures, including Spruce Tree House, the third-largest cliff dwelling in the national park. We’ll also stop by the Chapin Mesa Archaeological Museum, where you’ll learn about ancient Puebloan architecture.

RELATED CONTENT: The one-of-a-kind trip that celebrates Native American history

Explore Chaco Canyon with a Local Specialist

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Journey through New Mexico to the magnificent Chaco Culture National Historical Park for one of our special indigenous experiences. You’ll join your Local Specialist to head inside the park and explores its ancient treasures. Visit Pueblo Bonito and learn why it’s an important “Great House” in indigenous culture and marvel at the beauty of Chaco Canyon. As part of this MAKE TRAVEL MATTER®  Experience, you’ll enjoy a refreshing picnic lunch with your Local Specialist, with the striking backdrop of the historical park. 

Enjoy a traditional meal at a Nambe Village

During our time in Santa Fe, we’ll visit a Nambe Village set at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains along the Rio Grande River. While there you’ll enjoy a traditional feast day meal prepared by the village elders. As you savour traditional stews and desserts, you’ll learn more about Nambe culture and the active indigenous community here. This is sure to be one of the most memorable indigenous experiences on the whole trip.

GET INSPIRED BY: Colourful Trails of the Southwest

Discover the centuries-old stories of the Ancestral Puebloan peoples

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As we head to Albuquerque in New Mexico, we’ll visit the Petroglyph National Monument where you’ll see ancient stone carvings etched by Ancestral Puebloan peoples. This is a special MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experience, where you’ll learn the centuries-old stories of the Ancestral Puebloans, one of the oldest continuously inhabited communities in the United States.

Next up, we’ll visit the Acoma Sky City Cultural Center & Haak’u Museum in the stunning Acoma Valley. We’ll join a guided tour for an insight into Acoma’s living history and culture and the preservation of Puebloan culture. You’ll see exhibits and artworks by renowned Native American artists who are helping revive lost Pueblo art forms. 

Later, we’ll meet with a Native Acoma Local Specialist resident for a private visit to Acoma Pueblo. This National Registered Historical Landmark is one of the oldest continuously occupied communities in the US and its full of moving history and stories.

Have you taken any of our indigenous tours or joined our Southwest Native Trails tour in Southwest USA? Let us know in the comments below!

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