New Mexico

A Comparison of Hot Air Balloon Rides in Albuquerque

by Oliver Stallwood  |  Published May 9, 2024

Albuquerque is the home of hot air ballooning in America – there is no better place to take to the skies.


Little-known fact – Albuquerque in New Mexico is one of the best places to hot air balloon in the world. The main reason for this is the weather – the climate around the city and county seat of Bernalillo County is one of the most predictable on the planet, with dependable cool air in the morning that helps the balloons get airborne quickly and safely. The Albuquerque balloon scene even has its own festival – the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta – when the sky fills with a rainbow of colours. To get a slice of the Albuquerque balloon action take a ride with one of the recognised tour operators – it is an unforgettable experience.

Albuquerque: Rio Grande Valley Hot Air Balloon Ride

The balloon ride itself is one hour but the experience starts before you get in the air. Arriving at the launch site you’ll quickly feel like a hands-on crew member, helping with the inflation – or if you prefer you can sit back and watch it inflate. Once airbourne there are majestic views of the Rio Grande Valley, a region of rich biodiversity that straddles the US-Mexico border. On returning to terra firma you can help with the packing of the balloon (optional) and then take part in a celebratory toast (recommended). From €194.07.

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Sunrise Hot Air Balloon Tour in New Mexico

This is an excellent, well-organised balloon experience run by a professional crew. The team chooses the best launch site based on the weather and flies within a 30-mile radius of Albuquerque. One of the best-loved flights is slightly south of Albuquerque in a farming community called Los Lunas, floating over the mighty Rio Grande river – if you’re lucky they may even do a ‘splash and dash’, a favourite at the balloon festival which involves a touch down in the river. The pilots are top notch and you get to toast their skills after the ride. From €188.01.

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Private Hot Air Balloon Flights with Elevated New Mexico

If you don’t fancy being in a basket full of strangers then it has to be a private balloon flight. This is a really personalised experience with a pilot who can explain everything about the balloon and the scenery below. Included in the trip are snacks and beverages to toast the experience too. Also as standard are stunning views of the Rio Grande River Valley and the Sandia mountains, as well as a guided aerial tour of the the city. There is a fly by of the Petroglyph National Monument plus unrivalled views of ancient volcanoes and lava flows. From €318.86.

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