Institute Travel – Using Rail Runner

Traveling to the Cuyamungue Institute using Rail Runner by Paul Robear

One of the transportation advancements made in New Mexico in the last decade is the Rail Runner commuter train.  It offers a way to get from downtown Albuquerque  to Santa Fe for a modest fee – around $9. (Senior rate $4  – 62 and over)  You can take a bus from the airport to the Rail Runner station. Once you arrive in Santa Fe, there is a free shuttle to the Hilton/ Buffalo Thunder resort which is down the hill from the Cuyamungue Institute. It does take more patience and time rather than renting a car or hiring van shuttle, but the cost difference is significantly lower.

I just completed a trip on Rail Runner, here is what I found.

First by Bus.  Arriving at the Albuquerque Airport head down to baggage claim and out the door to the public transportation options.  Directly to your left, at the end of the pick up area, is a place designated for the downtown Albuquerque Bus ($1 fare) that will take you over to the Downtown Albuquerque Rail Runner station.  This is about a twenty minute ride.  Visit their website  for schedules and times. At the posting of this article, I see four pick-up times – 9:35 AM, 4:26 PM 5:34 PM, 6:48 PM.  These four times arrive at the Rail Runner station about ten minutes prior to the Rail Runner departure for Santa Fe. Take the train all the way to the end -the Santa Fe Depot.

Rail Runner Train.  It’s an easy and fun scenic hour long ride from ABQ to state capital Santa Fe across the desert and through some Pueblo (Native American) land. If you are not in a hurry, once in SF you can walk or shuttle to the plaza where the museums, shops and restaurants are. There is plenty to see and do.  If you are in town, you can call the Buffalo Thunder shuttle for a pick-up from one of these hotels:  Lodge of Santa Fe, Inn of Governors, Hotel Santa Fe, Santa Few Sage Inn.  Call the transportation office at least thirty minutes prior to the shuttle’s departure time. 505-819-2292.   Otherwise,  if you want to come directly to the institute, you can catch the Buffalo Thunder shuttle around the corner, on Montezuma shuttle stop as explained below in the next paragraph…

Buffalo Thunder Shuttle. Once you arrive at the Santa Fe Depot, you exit the train and turn left to Montezuma Avenue, then right to the corner of Montezuma and Guadalupe. If you are in the right place there is a huge right wall mural right behind you.

Mural at the Buffalo Thunder Shuttle pick-up

The Buffalo Thunder Shuttle will pick you there. Check the schedule of the Buffalo Thunder Shuttle. More times available on weekdays. More limited on Saturday and no service on Sundays.

Once you are at the Buffalo Thunder resort, take time to enjoy the facility. Buffalo Thunder is also a Hilton hotel and is a beautiful new complex full of contemporary art by Native artists, including that of George Rivera, Governor of the Pojoaque Pueblo.

Call us for pick-up once you are ready. We will do our best to be there within thirty minute. We find the Hilton entrance the most convenient to do pick-ups. We will pick you up there, so we will meet you there. I had no one to pick me up, so to complete my own experience, I checked my luggage in with the Hilton concierge and walked to the Institute. I had a car there so I knew I would drive back for my luggage.

Like I mentioned, it does take patience, more schedule planning, and a sense of humor, but, hey, for around tens dollars you cannot beat it.