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Native Peoples Past & Present

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Native Peoples Past & Present: Southwest Archaeology!

Acoma & Zuni pueblos; Gallup, NM's Southwest Indian Arts; the Archaeology of Chaco Canyon & Dinétah, NM and the Montezuma Valley & Mesa Verde, CO.

This small group is filling now for September 12-24, 2017. 

Experience our impressive new learning vacation! We have been asked by previous guests to blend three of our most popular Southwestern experiences into one comprehensive program. Offered individually,  we have operated this as three individual 5-7 day programs from Tucson. Our new 13 day adventure operates from delightful Albuquerque, NM. Our small group will travel scenic routes round-trip from Albuquerque in the luxurious comfort of spacious new Chevy Suburbans; each guest will enjoy their own window seat, permitting comfort both on paved highways and byways and on occasional seldom seen back-country roads, as well. 

Our new tour begins and ends in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Travel with us round-trip through some of New Mexico’s most breathtaking scenery, including a corner of strikingly beautiful Navajo Land, and into Colorado’s fabled Four Corners Country. Enjoy a quick peek into Utah! Very comfortable accommodations throughout, all breakfasts and four delightful picnics afield are all included. For your savings, convenience and peace of mind, whis includes trip cancellation insurance and more, and is provided in the price for all of our guests! 

2017 Chevrolet Suburban Release Date, Price, Exterior Colors, Hybrid ...  We will travel extravagantly scenic routes in very pleasant spacious new Chevy Sububans, permitting significant comfort both on the paved highways and byways, as well as on established back-country roads. Everyone delights in their own window seat. Our small group is not crowded! 

Among our points of interest and study will be Acoma & Zuni pueblos; Gallup, New Mexico, the center of Southwest Indian Arts; the Archaeology of the Montezuma Valley & Mesa Verde in Colorado; and Chaco Canyon in New Mexico; plus an exciting day of exploration in Dinétah, the ancestral homeland of the Navajo. 

During our 13 days, we've selected some seldom seen and many other significant sites, and museums, too; we've chosen very comfortable relaxing non-smoking accommodations throughout the trip. In addition to several yummy picnics afield, we know some really great restaurants to enjoy together, as well! 

The first additional decisive people will be able to anticipate and share this unique learning vacation; some have already made the decision; we are ready to answer your questions and take your reservations now if you determine that this learning adventure is for you!

Meals included? Please let me explain: This trip includes several very enjoyable picnic lunches afield when we find ourselves far from restaurants at mealtime. Additionally, all breakfasts are included!  By not including the other restaurant meals, you save money; perhaps lots of money. For example: When we include meals, restaurants don't give us the price breaks you might expect; also, we must choose ample meals to satisfy the grandest of appetites; and meals must be limited choices of what we think you want to eat, rather than what you might choose for yourself. So, if you eat lightly (perhaps you and your traveling companion prefer to share entrees?), then you're paying for a big meal that you're not enjoying. Additionally, when you do the ordering, you may choose from the full range of an often-extensive menu, thus enjoying - and paying for - exactly, and only, what you choose. Our guests have long appreciated this freedom.

Please call or email Mary and Piet with any questions...(520) 887-2340;



q Three popular tours combined in one New Learning Vacation

q Luxurious travel pleasure in new Chevy Suburbans

q Small group comfort. Each guest enjoys a window seat

q Trip cancellation/Travel Protection Plan for each guest

q Chaco Canyon and  Mesa Verde area archaeology

q Acoma and Zuni pueblos. SW Indian arts & crafts

q Day in Dinétah: Navajo rock art and pueblitos

q In-depth exploration of Southwest culture

q Twelve very pleasant hotel nights are included

q Breathtaking Southwest beauty of  NM and CO

q Very pleasant travel companions. Never Stop Learning

q Four picnics afield in spectacular beautiful Southwest places

q Visit significant seldom-seen Chaco outliers

q Old Hawikuh exploration with a Zuni archaeologist

q All breakfasts included

Chaco Canyon Archaeology, New Mexico

   Imagine!  Who walked through these doors before you came? And where on earth did they go? Imagine: Market Day at Chaco Canyon a millennium ago... thousands of people have gathered at Pueblo Bonito... having come afoot from far, far away: Mesa Verde, Paquimé, Central Mexico... Screams of bright macaws echo off sandstone walls. Shells from the Sea of Cortez sparkle in the high desert sunshine. Stones and gems, skins, wood, pottery, foods and seeds from far-off lands are bartered. For reasons still debated, this entire civilization crumbled. Or did it just change? How? Why? Who went where? And when? Come discover the possibilities! Know the immense beauty of this remote, little-visited and delightful place: Chaco Culture National Historical Park, a World Heritage Site, hidden among the dirt roads in the northwestern corner of the very lovely state of New Mexico. 



Impressive Pueblo Bonito!  © Nancy Bower Photo 2012

The center of Ancestral Puebloan culture 1000 years ago, Chaco Canyon in Northwestern New Mexico is an awesomely impressive archaeological site!  

The magnificent masonry ruins encompass six large pueblos containing over 1600 multi-story rooms, more than 90 kivas and Great Kivas. In addition to Chaco Canyon itself, there are numerous pueblos on old connecting roads that encompass the greater Chacoan world.



We’ll begin with an overview of Chacoan culture and during the days we'll trace the expanding Chacoan system throughout the San Juan basin. 

Our exploration takes us not only to well-known sites such as Pueblo Bonito and Casa Rinconada, the largest of Chaco's great kivas, but also to significant and seldom- visited Chacoan outliers. 

Learn the science and theories surrounding the strategies and techniques that Chacoan people used to adapt to their often- challenging environment.  

We'll visit outlier sites both large and small; some are well-restored and others seldom seen and natural. 

A bit of back-country trail walking in some of New Mexico's beautiful places is involved;  please rest assured, strenuous activity is entirely optional. 


A day exploring Dinétah, the traditional homeland of the Navajo Indian Tribe, includes visits to remote Ancestral Puebloan (Anasazi) and Navajo rock art. We'll visit small and remote Navajo ruins called pueblitos, Spanish for “little pueblos.” There is also evidence left for us by the Ute tribes and the early Spanish explorers and settlers. 

Crow Canyon Rock Art

Gallup, Zuni and Acoma Pueblo, New Mexico

Indian Trader is an all-too-common moniker nowadays. To be direct, some purveyors of what appears to be local native-made merchandise are not being altogether honest in their purveyance.

It will be our pleasure to introduce you to some people who have traded with Southwestern Indians for generations. In doing so, they have earned a solid reputation for honesty among the artists with whom they do business. This benefits you, our guest, because you are thereby assured to be able to enjoy buying - or just looking and learning - knowledgeably and at a fair price. 

Of particular interest during our time at Zuni will be our visit to Hawikuh in the company of a Zuni Archaeologist.  Founded in the 1200s, Hawikuh was the largest of the Zuñi pueblos. Originally thought to be one of the fabled gold Cities of Cíbola, Hawikuh was conquered by Coronado in 1540. The mission, La Purisima Concepcíón, was established at the pueblo, and was destroyed during the Great Pueblo Revolt of 1680, after which Hawikuh was permanently abandoned. In its prime Hawikuh had up to 125 rooms surrounding a central plaza and stood four stories high with multiple numbers of kivas.  


 The old Spanish mission church is impressive. 

Ancient Acoma Pueblo sits grandly atop the mesa.

The Montezuma Valley and Mesa Verde, Colorado

The Grandest of them all: Cliff Palace

The vast Mesa Verde rises into southwestern Colorado's bright blue sky, and is renowned for its striking landscape and spectacular cliff dwellings, many of which were constructed in the A.D. 1200s. These same places have received much notoriety as the last homes of the so-called “Anasazi” before the region’s abrupt abandonment in A.D. 1280. 

Where did these people come from and where did they go?  We will consider these questions both afield with our archaeologist and at an excellent regional museum or two.

To understand the great span of Pueblo history in the Four Corners region, we choose to begin our exploration at sites situated in the archaeologically rich Montezuma Valley, an amazing, beautiful and comparatively little-known basin country that lies at the foot of the grand  Mesa Verde.

Our archaeologist, Larry Baker, will unravel the past for us as we visit a variety of sites -- small & large prehistoric villages, a prehistoric road, great kiva and Great House -- that date to different points in time during the 700-year Pueblo history. 

Adding to our Montezuma Valley explorations, we will turn our attention to the incredible Mesa Verde itself and will complete our story with visits to a number of sites, including walking through a cliff dwelling or two.

The wildlife habitat both on Mesa Verde and in the surrounding Montezuma Valley is plentiful and photogenic. On other visits, we photographed mule deer and turkeys until they became commonplace; well, almost. Birds are everywhere. While scouting for a trip in 2010, Mary and I enjoyed the best look at a wild mountain lion we've ever experienced!

Vast Montezuma Valley from Mesa Verde

Sleeping Ute Mtn. from Montezuma Valley

La Plata Mountains...distant & snowy

Please call or email with any questions...(520) 887-2340;


Contact Mary & Piet Van de Mark at Baja's Frontier Tours with your questions.

520-887-2340 (Tucson, Arizona) 


September 12-24, 2017

Small Group Now Reserving

$3995 per person, double occupancy

Private rooms are available at $790 additional

Deluxe Travel & Trip Cancellation Plan is Provided for Each Guest

Luxurious Travel Comfort in New Chevy Suburbans

Each Guest Enjoys Their Own Window Seat!


Mary & Piet are the tour producers as well as your personal hosts on this - and every - BFT learning vacation!

 Unparalleled photographic opportunities, friendly fellow-travelers...and much, much more!

Deluxe accommodations. small group. 

Spacious seating in new Chevy Suburbans where everyone enjoys a window seat!


 Contact us by phone: 520-887-2340 (Tucson, Arizona)

©Baja's Frontier Tours LLC, Tucson, Arizona 2004 & 2009 & 2014 & 2016 & 2017

July 27, 2018

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