Quarai Ancient Ruins: Salinas National Monument, NM

Ruins at Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument, cloudy sky

If you’re interested in exploring ancient ruins and experiencing a bit of history, the Quarai Ancient Ruins in Salinas National Monument in New Mexico should definitely be on your list. My daughter, son-in-law, and I had the opportunity to visit these fascinating ruins during our recent trip to New Mexico, and I must say it was a truly incredible experience.

Located about 1.5 hours from Albuquerque, in the Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument, the Quarai Ruins are a set of Spanish missions that were established in the mid-1600s by Franciscan missionaries. These missions were built for the Tiwa and Tompiro-speaking Puebloans in the area.

Unfortunately, the area depopulated within a few years, and even though there was a brief attempt in the mid-1800s to reestablish a mission, it too was later abandoned. Today, what’s left are the striking ancient structures that tell a unique and captivating story of the people who once lived there.

Before you plan your visit to the Quarai Ruins, here are a few things you need to know. The main visitor center is in Mountainair, NM, and the closest mission sites are Quarai and Abo. Gran Quivira is farther out, so plan accordingly.

It’s also essential to bring a refillable water bottle or buy one at the bookstore, as bottled water is not available. However, there are free refilling stations at the visitor centers, so you don’t have to worry about running out of water during your visit.

Additionally, keep in mind that cell service can be quirky in the area. During my visit, I had intermittent cell service at Quarai with my Straight Talk phone that uses Verizon towers. It was slim pickings at Abo, and a park ranger cautioned us that cell service is largely unavailable at Gran Quivira.

When it comes to food, I’d suggest having lunch in Mountainair or bringing something with you. Just be sure to follow the directions on the third photo in my Instagram carousel if you decide to picnic

In conclusion, visiting the Quarai Ruins is a must-do if you’re interested in history and ancient ruins. The striking structures and intriguing history make for a fascinating and unique experience that you won’t soon forget. Just make sure you plan accordingly, bring a refillable water bottle, and be prepared for limited cell service.

What’s even better is that the National Park Service doesn’t charge a fee to see Salinas NM, which I think is pretty cool. It’s an excellent opportunity to experience history and explore the Quarai Ruins without breaking the bank.

I think places like the Quarai Ancient Ruins in Salinas National Monument in New Mexico are great places for families to visit. What do you think?


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