Learn about the traditions, legends, and archaeological finds of Mesa Verde National Park and Chaco Culture, both World Heritage sites, and other significant sites of the Southwest during this new tour.

Starting at: $4,845 Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 The cliff dwelling of Mesa Verde  Cliff Palace, Mesa Verde. Credit: NPS / Sandy Groves  Cliff Palace, Mesa Verde. Credit: NPS  Bonito Canyon, Chaco Canyon  Bonito Canyon, Chaco Canyon  Petroglyphs at Chaco Canyon  Fajada Butte, Chaco Canyon  Spider Rock Overlook, Canyon de Chelly. Credit: NPS  Sliding House Overlook, Canyon de Chelly. Credit: NPS  White House Ruin, Canyon de Chelly. Credit: NPS  White House Trail, Canyon de Chelly. Credit: NPS  Pueblo of Acoma

Pueblo Culture and History

Mesa Verde, Chaco Culture, Canyon de Chelly, and Pueblo of Acoma

8 days from $4,845

Learn about the traditions, legends, and archaeological finds of Mesa Verde National Park and Chaco Culture, both World Heritage sites, and other significant sites of the Southwest during this new tour.

or Call 855-330-1542


* Click on hotel name to visit hotel web-site.

Strater Hotel

Durango, Colorado, United States

Originally constructed in 1887, the fully renovated Strater Hotel continues to maintain an authentic, Victorian atmosphere. The hotel features 93 guest rooms, all uniquely decorated in Victorian style, with period wallpaper and one of the world’s largest collections of American Victorian walnut antique furniture. Each guest room features a private bath, air conditioning, a telephone/voicemail, cable television, complimentary WiFi, and laundry service at an additional charge. Dining is available in the Mahogany Grille and the Diamond Belle Saloon offers a and authentic ragtime piano bar experience. The hotel’s Henry Strater Theatre offers live entertainment year-round, featuring melodrama, vaudeville, comedy, music, and more. The charming shops and restaurants of Durango are just outside the hotel’s doors.

Number of nights: 1

Casa Blanca Inn & Suites

Farmington, New Mexico, United States

Casa Blanca sits in a quiet residential neighborhood just a few blocks from the shops and restaurants of Farmington’s Main Street. The inn was built in the 1940s, the home of a wealthy family that traded with the Navajos. There are nine spacious rooms, each with private bath, pillow-top beds, line-dried linens, cable television, a coffee maker, complimentary WiFi, a hair dryer, iron, ironing board, and robes. The inn has a guest library, living room, and dining room, and outside are beautiful gardens, shade trees, ponds, and inviting sitting areas. Relax at day’s end in the soothing hot tub, and wake to a delicious Southwestern-style full breakfast each morning.

Number of nights: 2

Thunderbird Lodge

Grand Canyon, Arizona, United States

Thunderbird Lodge sits on the site of the historic 1896 Chinle Trading Post and is Navajo-owned and operated. The lodge is motel-style and built of adobe, and the grounds are laden with tall shade-producing cottonwood trees that were planted in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps—a beautiful thing on a hot day!

There are 73 rooms, each with air-conditioning, cable television, a telephone, coffee maker, iron, ironing board, and hair dryer. Complimentary WiFi is available. Cell service is available within walking distance from the hotel, but is spotty. Onsite is a restaurant, business center, guest laundry, and trading post. The Trading Post is a gift shop, where you can purchase Navajo-made jewelry, pottery, rugs, and more. 

Number of nights: 2

Holiday Inn Express & Suites - Grants, NM

Grants, New Mexico, United States

Holiday Inn Express Hotel and Suites Grants-Milan is a simply decorated, modern and comfortable hotel chosen for it’s location and services. There are 76 guest rooms, each with a flat-screen cable and satellite television, telephone/voicemail, coffee maker, microwave, mini-fridge, hair dryer, iron, and ironing board. A hot breakfast buffet is available each morning. The hotel has an indoor swimming pool and whirlpool tub, a fitness center, a business center, and complimentary WiFi.

Number of nights: 1

Hotel Albuquerque

Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States

The Hotel Albuquerque Old Town sits in the heart of Albuquerque’s historic Old Town Plaza and museum district, and is within walking distance to shops, galleries, museums, and restaurants. The hotel was recently renovated, and features hand-forged iron chandeliers, Navajo rugs, and historic photographs, all working together to create an inviting, authentic New Mexican feeling. The hotel has 188 rooms, each with private bath, sitting area, television, telephone/voicemail, complimentary WiFi, hairdryers, iron and ironing board. Services include an ATM, business center, and laundry / dry cleaning services. There is an outdoor pool, work-out facility, Joseph’s Salon and Say Spa, and the lovely Grand Sala, an inviting great room for gathering, reading, or relaxing. Cristobal’s restaurant serves tapas and traditional Spanish recipes and is open for dinner, and the Café Plazuela Cantina serves lighter New Mexican fare for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Number of nights: 1

Activity Levels

Activity Level 3: Moderately Active

Expectations: This is a moderately active program incorporating walks and hikes from 1 up to 7 miles round-trip with options (at times) for shorter walks and hikes, most on well-marked trails. This trip visits several remote areas, so it should be expected that many of the trails will be rocky, uneven and dusty with little or no shade in many areas visited. Elevation gains during walks and hikes can be strenuous and participants may be affected with shortness of breath. The time on the trails will be taken at an easy to moderate pace suitable for study. A full-day 4-wheel drive tour is also included with off-road driving featuring uneven, rocky and dusty road surfaces. There will also be quite a bit of paved road driving to visit these National Parks and Monuments and these drives will often be through Navajo lands. Vans/coaches will be airconditioned. The sun will be very strong, so participants are urged to bring a sunhat, sunglasses and sunblock. It is also highly recommended to dress in layers and wear trail shoes with a sturdy tread or well-worn hiking boots as well as having rainwear on hand. A full list of suggested items to pack and “what to expect” will be included with your pre-tour documents.

Appropriate for: Travelers who are physically fit, expect a somewhat vigorous pace, are comfortable participating in up to five hours of physical activity per day and can endure a fair amount of physical exertion.

Reading List

Highly Recommended

All Roads Are Good: Native Voices on Life and Culture (Native American Studies)
By: West, W. Richard
Lonely Planet Southwest USA (Regional Guide)
By: Lonely Planet, McNaughtan, Hugh, McCarthy, Carolyn, Pitts, Christopher, Walker, Benedict
American Indians/American Presidents: A History
By: National Museum of the American Indian, Trafzer, Clifford E.
CREATION'S JOURNEY Native American Identity and Belief
By: National Museum of the American Indian (

Also Recommended

Essays on Native Modernism: Complexity and Contradiction in American Indian Art
Foods of the Americas: Native Recipes and Traditions [A Cookbook]
By: Smithsonian American Indian, Divina, Fernando, Divina, Marlene
Nation to Nation: Treaties Between the United States and American Indian Nations
Native American Dance: Ceremonies and Social Traditions
By: National Museum of the American Indian (U. S.)
Pueblo Nations: Eight Centuries of Pueblo Indian History
By: Joe S. Sando
Native American Tribes: The History and Culture of the Navajo
By: Charles River Editors
Code Talker: The First and Only Memoir By One of the Original Navajo Code Talkers of WWII
By: Nez, Chester, Schiess Avila, Judith
Indian Arts of the Southwest
By: Page, Susanne, Page, Jake
Falling Girl: A Navajo Nation Mystery
By: Chappell, R. Allen
Runner in the Sun (Zia Books)
By: McNickle, D'Arcy
The National Parks: America's Best Idea
30x48 World Wall Map by Smithsonian Journeys - Tan Oceans Special Edition (30x48 Laminated)
Travel Insurance

For the convenience of our travelers, Travel Guard provides an on-tour Insurance Plan. On-tour emergency evacuation insurance (up to $100,000), medical expense coverage (up to $25,000), dental expense coverage (up to $500), travel medical assistance and worldwide travel assistance (U.S. Residents only). It also includes up to $25,000 medical and up to $500 dental expense coverage, and 24-hour worldwide travel and medical assistance. Please click here to view complete coverage details.

Please visit www.TravelGuard.com/SmithsonianJourneys or call Travel Guard at 1-800-208-6142 to learn about additional (optional) coverage.

Terms and conditions

Our Mission

Smithsonian Journeys engage travelers in the mission of the Smithsonian – “the increase and diffusion of knowledge.” Like the Institution, our tours enrich our guests’ lives and satisfy their curiosity about the world around them. Your participation benefits the work of Smithsonian’s 19 museums, national zoo, and nine research centers, helping to preserve our national treasures and shape the future through science, research, and exhibitions.

What is Provided With Your Tour

  • Expertise of a Smithsonian Journeys Expert.
  • All accommodations (based on double occupancy). 
  • Meals and beverages as noted in the itinerary (B-breakfast; L-lunch; D-dinner; R-reception). 
  • All sightseeing and visits as noted in the itinerary.
  • Pre-tour information, including a reading list.
  • All on-tour transportation, unless otherwise noted.
  • Gratuities for all tour staff, local guides, and drivers. 

What is Not Provided With Your Tour

  • Passport fees, visas, and visa photos as required.
  • Personal items such as wines, liquors, à-la-carte orders, meals other than specified.
  • Expenses incurred by our tour operators in making individual travel arrangements in conjunction with the tour.
  • Other items not specifically mentioned as included.
  • Optional Travel Insurance


Space is reserved in the order of receipt of phone or web reservations.

To submit a request for a reservation, please order using our secure online process, or contact a Cultural Travel Specialist, at 1-855-330-1542 Mon-Fri 9 am - 6 pm.

Submitting an online request does not guarantee space on a tour. You will be notified of your status when your request has been received and processed. Please note: No new registrations can be accepted within 30 days of most tours. Some tours are more restrictive; please see individual tour pages for these exceptions.

To complete your request, the following is necessary:

Required Information 
For all international departures, passport information including the following, in accordance with the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) Secure Flight program as well as by our international travel partners: your full name as it appears on your passport, date of birth, and gender (for further information, please visit www.tsa.gov). In the event an airline ticket is issued with incorrect information you have provided, or if you use a different passport than originally cited, you will be responsible for charges associated with the ticket’s reissue.

Deposit of $500 per person, per tour, is required to reserve a space on a tour program. The deposit may be made by credit card or check to Smithsonian Journeys and is applied to final payment of the program price. Balance due upon invoicing at least 95 days prior to the program. If payment is not received by the final payment due date, your place cannot be guaranteed on the tour.

Late Registration

Any registration received within 95 days of departure is considered a “late registration” and must be subject to special confirmation. Smithsonian Journeys will process the credit card deposit of $500 per person, then payment in full must be made immediately by credit card or by check and sent by overnight mail to the tour operator before confirmation is possible. Once confirmed, cancellation penalties apply as set forth below. If confirmation is not possible, all payments made will be refunded in full. Late registration confirmation procedures apply to any participant who is transferred from the wait list to the program within the designated late registration period for that program.

A Note About Costs

Tour costs are based upon current airfares, tariffs, currency values, and on the basis of a minimum number of participants. While we will do everything possible to maintain the listed prices, they are subject to change. Should actual enrollments fall significantly below minimum numbers, a surcharge may be added. Due to fluctuations in oil prices, a fuel surcharge may be added to your tour fee (e.g. internal flights, cruises, etc.). Details and costs will be advised prior to departure.

Wait List

If the tour of your choice is fully subscribed, you may choose to be placed on a waitlist by contacting a Reservation Specialist at 1-855-330-1542 Mon-Fri 9 am - 6 pm or SJReservations@si.edu. Individuals on the wait list will be contacted if space becomes available and can inquire about tour status by contacting a Reservation Specialist. If you choose to withdraw from a wait list, please notify us.

Cancellation and Refund Policy

Per person cancellation fees are based on date of notice to Smithsonian Journeys.

  • Cancellations within 7 days of booking (if not within final payment date): full refund.
  • Cancellations after 7 days of booking: Entire deposit retained.
  • Final payment due: 95 days prior to departure.
  • Cancellations made less than 95 days prior to departure: no refund.
  • Cancellation by the Smithsonian: full refund.
  • No refund for unused portions of the tour, including but not limited to, missed meals, hotel nights, and sightseeing.

Please understand that there will be no exceptions to our cancellation policy.

Air Service

For tour packages that include round-trip international airfare, rates are based on economy class from designated departure cities as shown. Airfares from other cities are available upon request. Airline upgrades at additional cost may be available on request for the international portion of your flight. Since international and domestic air schedules are subject to change at any time, we recommend that if you choose to make your own airline reservations, you do not purchase nonrefundable tickets or those with high penalties for changes. Neither Smithsonian Journeys nor the tour operator has any liability for any loss resulting from tour cancellations or changes in international gateways, travel dates, or airline schedule changes. If an air schedule requires an overnight stay in a gateway city, the cost of the overnight will be at your expense. For tour packages that include round-trip international airfare, we will be happy to help with arrangements. Please note that seat assignment on your international flight is usually done at airport check-in. The tour operator is unable to guarantee any seat assignments.

When planning our tours that include international round-trip airfare, the tour operator contracts with those airlines that they feel provide the level of service, routings, and value necessary for your entire trip. While another airline may offer a more direct connection, it may be at a price unavailable at the lower group rates that enable us to offer you the best possible travel value. Please note that frequent flyer mileage credits are issued at the discretion of the airline(s) and may not be available for the flights on your tour. If you prefer to make your own airline reservations, “land only” pricing is available on most of our tours.

Individual Arrivals and Group Transfers
A designated group flight is not included on most tours. However, transportation from the arrival airport to the ship/hotel is included in your tour cost if you arrive in time to meet the scheduled group transfer. Your first tour bulletin will thoroughly explain the details of the options available for your individual flights.

Air Tickets Purchased Independently of the Tour
We urge you to check airline cancellation penalties before purchasing airline tickets since international departure times and flights can change. Tours also can be canceled due to low enrollments. Neither Smithsonian Institution nor the tour operator accepts liability for cancellation penalties related to domestic or international airline tickets purchased independently in conjunction with a tour.

Travel Insurance

For the convenience of our travelers, Travel Guard provides an on-tour Insurance Plan. On-tour emergency evacuation insurance (up to $100,000), medical expense coverage (up to $25,000), dental expense coverage (up to $500), travel medical assistance and worldwide travel assistance (U.S. Residents only). It also includes up to $25,000 medical and up to $500 dental expense coverage, and 24-hour worldwide travel and medical assistance. Please click here to view complete coverage details.

Please visit www.TravelGuard.com/SmithsonianJourneys or call Travel Guard at 1-800-208-6142 to learn about additional (optional) coverage.

Travel Documents
For all international departures, a passport valid for at least six months after the completion of your tour, and with at least six blank visa pages, is required for U.S. citizens on all tours in this catalog. If your tour requires a visa or other entry documents, we will send you the appropriate information after you make a reservation. You are responsible for obtaining these documents. If you are not a U.S. citizen, please contact your embassy or consulate to ensure you obtain the proper documentation.

Physical and Medical Considerations

Please note that these tours require that participants be in good physical condition. You must be capable, without assistance, of walking a minimum of two miles over uneven terrain and of climbing stairs that may not have handrails. Participants should have sufficient stamina to keep pace with an active group of travelers on long days of touring. If you have any questions about your ability to participate in a tour, please call us at 855-330-1542. Some tours have additional notes regarding physical and medical considerations, which may be discussed with the Cultural Travel Specialist at 855-330-1542.

Itinerary or Program Modifications

Smithsonian strives to improve tour itineraries and their features. If improvements can be made, or unforeseen circumstances beyond our control make changes necessary, we reserve the right to vary itineraries and to substitute hotels. Every effort will be made to carry out the program as planned but alterations may still occur after the final itinerary is sent. Please note that weather conditions may force changes to the advertised sailing schedule on cruise programs. The ship’s captain has the authority to change the ship’s schedule.


Smithsonian chooses hotels based on a combination of their location, service, atmosphere, and price. On adventure tours and programs in out-of-the-way places, best-available hotels are used. In most cases, hotels have elevators and meeting rooms for Smithsonian lectures. Program prices are based on two persons sharing a room with a bath.

Singles and Roommates
Hotel rooms are always reserved for single travelers; however the number of single rooms available on a tour may be limited. Therefore we recommend that you register early. Please note that a single supplement will apply for a single room. If you are traveling alone and wish to share a room, we will do our best to find someone of the same gender and smoking preference to share with you. If you are matched with a non-smoking roommate, it is mutually agreed that you cannot smoke in your hotel room. When a roommate cannot be found, the single supplement will be charged.


All tours, except family programs, are designed for adults. Some may be suitable for older children. Regardless of age, children must pay full price unless otherwise noted, and a parent or guardian must accompany those under 18.

Special Travel Arrangements
Participants may wish to extend their stay in the group hotel either before or after the tour. Our tour operators will work with you on these arrangements, dependent upon space availability. Please note that certain tour operators are unable to help with pre-tour arrangements. Your pre-tour bulletins will further explain all options.

Participants on tour may be photographed for the educational and promotional purposes of the Smithsonian Institution. Photographs may be printed in publications and posted on websites to promote Smithsonian Journeys. Travelers who prefer that their image not be used must advise the tour manager at the beginning of the tour.

Smoking Policy
For the comfort of all participants, we ask that there be no smoking during all group activities, including excursions and meals. On certain cruises, there is no smoking aboard the ship. Your pre-tour bulletins will provide further information.

Preparing for Your Journey

Prior to departure, you will receive tour bulletins containing both general and tour specific information to help you prepare for your travel experience. These bulletins will include:

  • Passport and visa instructions
  • Flight information
  • Weather, clothing, and packing suggestions
  • A suggested reading list
  • General information about the countries you will visit, e.g. the food, customs, medical precautions, and currency.
  • Information about your Smithsonian Journeys Expert and tour staff
  • Baggage tag(s) and name badge(s)
  • Final itinerary
  • Participant list


Smithsonian Journeys tours are organized and administered by professional tour operators hired as independent contractors. The use of designated tour operators allows the Smithsonian to offer participants a wide array of educational travel opportunities. The tour operator acts only as an agent for the respective suppliers by making arrangements for transportation, accommodations, and other services. Neither the Smithsonian Institution nor the tour operator shall be held liable for personal injury, death, property damage or accident, delay or irregularity arising out of any act or omission of these suppliers. The Smithsonian Institution and the tour operator reserve the right, without penalty, to make changes in the published itinerary whenever in their judgment conditions warrant, or if they deem it necessary for the comfort, convenience, or safety of tour participants.

The Smithsonian Institution and its designated tour operator also reserve the right, without penalty, to withdraw the tour announced, to decline to accept any person as a participant in a tour, or to require any participant to withdraw from the tour at any time (including, but not limited for inappropriate, or offensive behavior) when such action is determined by tour staff to be in the best interests of the health, safety or general welfare of the tour group or the individual participant.

Dates, schedules, tour details, and costs, although provided in good faith based on information available at the time of publication on the website, in the brochure or catalog, are subject to change and revision.


The undersigned has read carefully the Responsibility Statement and Liability Disclaimer set forth above, the schedule of activities for this tour, as well as the terms and conditions of application and participation as set forth in the tour materials, and recognizes and accepts any risk associated with the tour and the conditions, including the refund policy, set forth in the tour materials. The undersigned further acknowledges that there are many risks and uncertainties inherent in any travel tour, including but not limited to the hazards of various modes of transportation, forces of nature including, but not limited to, weather, flooding, and high/low water levels, acts or omissions of foreign governments, terrorism, war or insurrection, theft, illness, bites from or attacks by animals, insects, or pests, and damage to person or property due to the negligent acts or omissions of tour staff or others. In consideration of, and as part payment for, the right to participate in the tour, the undersigned, on behalf of himself, his dependents, heirs, executors, administrators and assigns, agrees to release the Smithsonian Institution, its Regents, officers, employees, representatives or agents, the United States, and the tour operator and its officers, employees and agents, from liability for personal injury, death, property damage or loss suffered by any person in connection with this tour, even if caused by the negligence (but not the reckless, willful, or fraudulent conduct) of tour staff or other related persons or entities. In addition, by registering for this tour, the applicant certifies that he or she is mentally and physically capable of full participation in this tour. By registering for a Smithsonian Journey, the participant agrees to the Responsibility Statement and Liability Disclaimer and the Terms and Conditions herein.

By Registering For A Smithsonian Journey, The Participant Agrees To The Responsibility Statement And Liability Disclaimer And The Terms And Conditions Herein. Updated April, 2019. ©2019, Smithsonian Institution