The 8 Best Boat Tours in New Mexico!

If you’re looking to keep cool in the hot New Mexico sun, the state’s pristine rivers and lakes offer the perfect escape. From adventures on the Rio Chama to guided rafting excursions on the Rio Grande, New Mexico’s boat tours will help you get to know the state a little bit better. Here are our favorites. 

1. New Mexico River Adventures, Embudo, NM

Unique to this outfitter is a boat tour guided by a local archaeologist who will share knowledge of local native peoples, history, agriculture and local culture along the natural corridor created by the Rio Chama throughout the millennia. It follows 33 miles of the Rio Chama Canyon over the course of three days. Along the way, you’ll be amazed at the colors and landscapes that inspired renowned artists like Georgia O’Keefe.

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2. Far Flung Adventures, El Prado, NM

Take the trip of a lifetime. Book a full-day trip and float down either the Rio Chama or Rio Grande rivers for a mellow day on either river. Plenty of time for wading and swimming, looking for wildlife or enjoying the beautiful desert environment. A manageable guided trip for folks of all ages, including small children. 

3. Kokopelli Rafting Adventures, Santa Fe, NM

The professionally guided river tours, on the Rio Chama and Rio Grande, are a mix of exploring the natural and cultural history of the region and a whole lot of fun and adventure. Choose a half, full or multi-day tour with an interpretive guide who is also committed to keeping everyone safe on the water. Brunch is served river-side on the full and multi-day tours. For ages five and up.

4. Quiet Waters Paddling Adventures, Bernalillo, NM

See a stretch of the Rio Grande River that traverses the spectacular volcanic topography of the Rio Grande Valley, the area where Spanish explorer Francisco Vásquez de Coronado campaigned in 1540. The tour also passes through the Santa Ana Pueblo area. The beautiful scenery of the Valley, with the towering Sandia Mountains in the distance is on display all around. Half and full-day guided tours available.

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5. Big River Raft Trips, Pilar, NM

Explore the Rio Grande Gorge from March through November with an interpretive guide who will identify the sights along the way and help navigate the river. Choose from a variety of adventures that test your skill or allow for a relaxing float downriver with a picnic stop, birdwatching and wildlife spotting. This full-service outfitter supplies everything a small, or large, group might need.

6. Christmas on the Pecos, Carlsbad, NM

This tour only happens during the holidays. Boats glide down the Pecos River, past a fairyland of twinkling lights all strung by river-side homeowners and sponsors throughout backyards and along boat docks. The dark river is aglow with the reflection of both the sparkling lights and the shimmering stars and moon in the night sky. An enchanting evening and a unique way to experience the river. For ages four and up.

7. Los Rios River Runners, Taos, NM

Whether you choose a tour on the Rio Grande or Rio Chama, your guided tour along these Wild and Scenic rivers, will include a smorgasbord of scenic beauty that highlights the natural beauty of this area from the wildlife—elk, deer, beavers, river otters, mountain lions and bighorn sheep—to the native plants, sage, piñon and hundred-year-old juniper trees. Remnants of ancient peoples and historic homesteads can be spotted along the way. Full and multi-day trips on both rivers.

8. Carlsbad Cruises, Carlsbad, NM

Get on board a pontoon boat at this venue for a relaxing ride down the Pecos River. This guided tour includes spectacular views of the historic flumes, an irrigation system that was built in the late 1800s, and the bath house and springs that gave Carlsbad its name. Tours run spring and summer. Accessible for all ages.

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