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If you're looking to drop $20, $10 to get in and $10 to take some lousy pictures then visit the Taos Pueblo. In all honesty, there's really not a whole lot to see except an outdoor cemetery, a few indoor trinket shops selling overpriced jewelry and a few outdoor stalls with more more of the same. Before I forget, there's even a few places that sell fry bread, otherwise known as fried dough w/dusted sugar on top. However, I have to admit when I first went there back in '01 I was intrigued with the spectacle of it, seeing as how this was the first time I ever visited a pueblo. The second time though, I was a bit more jaded after having seen a couple of others and seeing it for what it really is, a well-rehearsed hustle.
Unique Suggestions: My advice, go there once just to say you saw it and then you'll never have to go there again.
Fun Alternatives: A better alternative would be to get back in your car and drive south to Santa Fee or Albuquerque and visit the Old Town Square and buy your jewelry from the Native Americans that have their jewelry laid out on the sidewalk. No admission and you can take all the pictures you want for free.
Updated May 26, 2009
Do not waste your money in the following places. Santa Fe Plaza, Albuquerque Old Town, Clines Corners, Taos, any roadside lean to selling indian stuff. If you really want to buy the tourist stuff, it is not all junk, go to a truck stop. If you want real authentic indian crafted silver and turquoise go to any pawn shop near a reservation. Gallup or Grants have several and are the most convenient to I-40. If you must see indians go to a reservation and speed. When you are pulled over you can visit with the indian as he/she writes you a ticket. Reservation does not mean restricted entry. It is federal land and open to the public, so don‘t think you have to be invited. One or two tips though. The people on the reservation are just people, not a show for your amusement. The main tribes are Hopi, Zuni, and Navaho. They generally regard each other like Christians and Jews regard Muslims. Don’t point or take pictures of some of the “quaint” customs.
Unique Suggestions: Buy your souvenirs from a truck stop.
Fun Alternatives: Use the truck stops.
Updated May 23, 2009
Roswell is a very small town. Make your Hotel reservations early, as there are limited places to stay and the population of the city doubles during Alienfest. I am sorry to say, I was not impressed, seems to be more of a tourist trap event then anything else.
Unique Suggestions: Make the most of it though and take a day trip to Carlsbad Caverns!
Fun Alternatives: Have dinner at the Cattle Baron
Written Apr 13, 2008
As one of my fellow VTers stated, the worst tourist traps seem to put the most signs along the road. Along I-10 you will find a couple of shops run by the Bowlin's people. If you want to get authentic Native American crafts try the reservations. Not Bowlin's.
Unique Suggestions: Feel free to stop and look; but you may want to buy elsewhere. The Bowlin's on the continental divide offers a free liter of water so try that one. At least you get some water.
Fun Alternatives: Buiy your Native American crafts and souvenirs from a reputable place on or near a reservation.
Written Jul 17, 2007
Imagine a small but perfectly formed city situated in a scenic setting that has seen centuries of history. Imagine a thriving artists colony with huge craft shows, exclusive shops and world-class cultural fare. Imagine a quaint town known for its off-beat, progressive citizens. What comes to mind? I could be talking about Lawrence, Kansas but in this case I’m referring to a city with a kindred spirit, Santa Fe.
The capital of New Mexico is the oldest of all American capitals, dating from 1610. The Palace of Governors, the country’s oldest public building, has been the home to the governments of the Spanish, Mexicans and Americans.
The population is one-third Hispanic, one-third Native American and one-third blue-blooded art collector. In my view, Santa Fe is becoming the exclusive domain of the idle rich. A sense of snobbery pervades the museums and markets. Admission prices to the sights are costly, the merchandise in the shops is overpriced to ridiculous levels and tourists are more likely to be carting around shopping bags instead of backpacks. I found this commercial atmosphere to be off-putting, but to be fair Santa Fe has been a trading post for many centuries so there is no reason for them to stop now!
Santa Fe felt like a conveyor belt, with the crowds pushing from sight to sight and from shop to shop. All the city’s heritage was just a commodity being packaged and sold. At times it seemed I was in a Las Vegas casino with a Santa Fe theme.
Granted, we didn’t take much time to visit. Maybe if we had stayed for a couple days and seen the city in the evenings after the tourist buses were gone we would have got a better feel for the city. If we’d had more money to spend on artworks and crafts, I’m sure we’d been happy to browse the shops (which is about all you can do after seeing the main historical sites).
Unique Suggestions: The city is undeniably attractive and certainly deserves a look-see. But a half-day walkabout one morning (get there early for a parking space) and a look around the Georgia O’Keeffe museum the next afternoon pretty much was all we wanted to do there at the time.
Fun Alternatives: Nip down the road to Chimayo or take the Turquoise Trail highway to Albuquerque.
Updated Sep 20, 2003
I'm not sure this is an outright tourist trap, but it's certainly given Roswell a pin on the map !
Unique Suggestions: We didn't make it to the museum, but were mildly entertained at the number of local businesses that used the little green fellows as part of their advertising.
Written Aug 15, 2003
Well, as much as I hate to admite it The Taos plaza has gotten to be a tourist trap, but that does mean you should pass it by. Take a few hours and explore it still as a few good shops and a little history. Take a day and go a street or two down from the plaza you will be suprised what you will find.
Written Sep 7, 2002
When buying Native American pottery and Art- make sure that they don't say 'made in Thialand, or China'..... You'll see alot of fakes and you won't realize it. There are pawn shops in the area that the Natives sell their stuff in at a fraction of the price of the tourist traps.
Written Aug 26, 2002
It is fun to look at the street vendors' jewlery in Santa Fe, but don't buy it there. It is expensive and you can get it much cheaper if you go to Taos or another outlying area. Also, many things that say they are authentic Native American pieces are not - there are no regulations for this. On the other hand, the jewlery shops in downtown Santa Fe have very unique pieces and are reasonably priced, but you have to bargain with them a bit.
Written Aug 26, 2002
I really wanted to go to the 'Four Corners' and found out that it's really blown out of proportion. There is a charge just to get in. It is just a concrete marker to mark the spot where the four states meet. And when I wanted to take a picture on 'the spot', you have to wait in a long line and you can't be sure that you'll get the picture by yourself. Kind of like trying get that picture with Mickey in Disneyland. The drive to get there is big. You feel like you have been driving forever.
Written Aug 25, 2002
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