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1. Is this trip strenuous? This trip is designed so that most people, including seniors, can participate. We spend much of our time at 6500 feet in elevation, and only two hours in Silverton at 11000 feet in elevation. We will walk through a variety of museums and outdoor ruin sites, and participants will stroll through a variety of Southwestern towns, but strenuous hiking is not part of the official agenda. You can, of course, choose to do as much hiking as you like during free time (and there are trails everywhere). Mesa Verde cliff dwellings has a variety of experiences available, including easy walks and strenuous hikes. Both the Balcony House tour and the Cliff Palace tour require climbing stairs and ladders (and thus one can choose other activities at Mesa Verde if ladders are not of interest).
2. What is the transportation like? Transportation will include shuttles, trains, and 15 passenger vans that require stepping in and stepping out.
3. Do I need travel insurance? We encourage participants to purchase extra travel insurance to protect against trip cancellation/interruption due to sickness, injury, or death of you, a family member, or a traveling companion. Travel insurance can also cover against cancellations due to being laid off from work, changes in your work schedule, or even being called for jury duty. Ashé Tours makes no endorsements with regards to travel insurance. We do not recommend any particular insurance company, and make no claims as to the quality of their different products. For travel insurance recommendations check out the easily accessible websites compiled here.
4. What is the lodging like? The majority of our lodging is 4-5 star hotels. In Durango, Colorado we stay in the highly recommended Strater Hotel (feel free to look it up online). In Santa Fe, New Mexico we stay in the lovely Inn of the Governors which has a wonderful included breakfast and afternoon sherry and cookies. For the balloon festival, we hope to secure the closest hotel, one mile from the venue, the Holiday Inn Express. This hotel not only includes a free shuttle every 30 minutes to the festival, but was renovated in winter 2019-2020. It will be brand new when we arrive!
5. What is the cuisine like? The trip includes 4 breakfasts, 1 picnic lunch, and 4 dinners. Much of the food is Southwestern in flavor, although it is always possible to get typical American fare.
Breakfast: In Durango, you can breakfast at a variety of restaurants downtown. You can also choose to eat at the Mahogany Grill in the Strater, which has a full hot breakfast consisting of fruit, yogurt, cereal, juice, coffee, hotcakes, bacon or sausage, eggs, toast and/or bagels, and often regional foods such as pozole. Breakfast is included at the Inn of the Governors and includes fruit, yogurt, cereal, juice, coffee, hotcakes, bacon or sausage, eggs, toast and/or bagels, and often regional foods such as pozole. At the Holiday Inn Express we anticipate a continental breakfast.
Lunch and Dinner: Most lunches and some dinners are on your own and we are happy to make recommendations for restaurants. Generally, when possible, we will eat at highly recommended regional restaurants. These restaurants offer food with a Southwestern flavor. Get ready for some spice!
6. What if I am vegetarian? All of the restaurants offer vegetarian options. People with strict dietary concerns should inform us early in the process so that we can best assist you.
7. What is the weather like? What should I wear? If history serves as a gauge, the weather is extremely nice! It runs from 35 degrees at night to as high as 65-70 degrees in the day. If there is no rain, you can expect a dry 65 degrees on an average day. You should bring shorts, pants, a rain jacket and/or small umbrella, and light but warm sweaters or jackets for the evenings. We recommend a bathing suit if you want to go swimming in the pool at one of the hotels. Please see the detailed packing list for more information.