Albuquerque is the Hot Air Balloon Capital of the World. We see evidence of this all the time in the form of pick up trucks with gondolas (a balloon basket for pilot and passengers), or giant fans in the back and these trucks are often adorned with colorful flags. Nearly everyday in the weeks leading up to the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, (always held during the first two weeks of October every year), the sky is dotted with balloons from early to mid morning. Because of our bed and breakfast’s location in Albuquerque’s North Valley, it is not unusual to see balloons flying over on any given weekend morning during any months when the morning air is cool.
So, it was not unusual to see a balloon flying right over our bed and breakfast here in Albuquerque at 8:30 am, just as breakfast was starting this past Friday morning. Even though we see them all the time, we still stand in the yard and gawk at them when they pass over. Sometimes they are so close we can speak to the people on board. This time I ran in the house to get my camera and took a couple of pictures. The first one is shot straight up from the courtyard between the main and the guest house. The second pic is looking south from the back of the main house. This balloon was moving pretty quickly.
I pointed this balloon out to our guest, Heather and sure enough, the next morning she booked a balloon ride, and the morning after that she and her husband Ian were flying at 8,000 ft above the Rio Grande instead of sipping coffee with us. They had an incredible time and “highly” recommend it to everyone.
There are many, many companies to choose from offering Balloon Rides in Albuquerque. I have no favorite company, and their prices are very close to the same. Some offer champagne upon landing, some offer to pick you up, and some offer breakfast too. My best suggestions for a fantastic Balloon Ride in Albuquerque are:
- get a ride NOT during the Balloon Fiesta Week – the price is double at that time
- be sure your pilot is experienced – ask how long they have been flying balloons
- don’t be afraid to ask for proof of insurance before you book
- if the price is too good to be true you may be taking a chance for a less than good experience
I’m not making this up as I go along…I was given this advice by a balloon pilot. Have fun searching for the perfect Balloon Ride in Albuquerque, but be flexible with your plans. Mother Nature often changes them, and Balloon Rides are very weather dependent. Bon Voyage!
I know the best things to do in Albuquerque!
Sarah Dolk, Adobe Nido Bed & Breakfast
Expert on Destination Albuquerque and Central New Mexico!