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Things to do in Albuquerque

Find your cowboy on a horse trail

Discover the fabulous desert scenery of pueblo backcountry, where cottonwood trees line the Rio Grande and the Jemez River. Horse trails still meander along paths that have been well trodden for centuries. Tours can be arranged at the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort and Spa (tel: +1 505 867 1234; www.tamaya.hyatt.com).

Hike the La Luz trail

It may not be for beginners, but this famous 14.5km (nine-mile) hike up Sandia Mountain (www.laluztrail.com) affords ramblers some of the best walking opportunities in New Mexico. The view constantly revises itself throughout the trail and there are wildflowers galore to pick, sniff and fawn over.

Shimmy up the Sandia Mountains on the tramway

Visiting Albuquerque and not taking the 4.3km-long (2.7 miles) Sandia Peak Tramway (tel: +1 505 856 7325) to the Sandia Mountains is like going to Naples and not eating pizza. In winter, this is the gateway to the ski slopes, in summer it comes to life with hikers, bikers and those after breathtaking views.

Slither into the rattlesnake museum

Unsurprisingly, Albuquerque's American International Rattlesnake Museum (tel: +1 505 242 6569; www.rattlesnakes.com) is the only rattlesnake museum in the world. With conservation in mind, it has the largest collection of live rattlesnakes on the planet, and is also home to a mind-boggling array of rattlesnake-geared toys, paintings, engravings, pictures and boots.

Take on the Rio Grande

The swirling Rio Grande offers fantastic rafting and paddling, just minutes from Albuquerque. Whilst there are placid stretches of water for swimming, the adrenaline rush comes when rafters hit the Racecourse, promising 10km (6 miles) of class two and three rapids with names like the Maze and The Thunderdome. Speak to Far Flung Adventures (tel: +1 575 758 2628, www.farflung.com) about a trip.

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Hotel Blue

Just west of downtown along legendary Route 66, this four-storey 1960s hotel has spacious, airy rooms at reasonable rates, decorated with a certain Art Deco flair. The rooms are on the small side, but there's complimentary breakfast, coffee, and a free shuttle service to and from the airport, bus or train station.

Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town

A short walk north of Old Town, this 11-storey hotel blends Native American, Mexican, Spanish and Western cultural traditions and includes a fitness centre, two well-respected restaurants and bars, and an Olympic-size outdoor swimming pool. There's even a wedding chapel, should you decide to get hitched.

Embassy Suites Hotel Albuquerque

One of the city's most attractive hotels, on the northeast edge of downtown, this all-suite property features a full-service day spa and a lovely open atrium with a cascade and meandering water trails. Each of its sizeable suites features a separate living area with sofa bed, armchair and well-lit work/dining table, wet bar, refrigerator, microwave and coffeemaker.

Hotel Andaluz

Built just before World War II by local-born Conrad Hilton, as the flagship property for his new hotel chain, this magnificently restored downtown gem is a delightful place to stay. Guest rooms are beautifully furnished and very comfortable, while the public spaces are superb, and include an excellent Spanish restaurant.

Hyatt Place Albuquerque/Uptown

Well located for first-time visitors, the Hyatta Place offers comfortable good-value rooms along with an outdoor swimming pool, free breakfasts and onsite parking, with a huge shopping mall alongside. A 24-hour kitchen prepares made-to-order snacks to ensure you don't go hungry, day or night.

Sandia Peak Inn

There's nothing very fancy about this modest low-slung motel, just across the Rio Grande from the Old Town, but it's clean and comfortable, and offers some of the best value rooms around.