We took this trip to Albuquerque for our 9th Anniversary to see and do some things that we normally would not have. To start our Anniversary day celebration we scheduled a balloon ride through the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort with Rainbow Riders. It cost about $400.00 for the two of us, but the experience was well worth the money. Rainbow Riders comes to the hotel and picks you up at 6:30AM to take you out to a field in the middle of a suburb of Albuquerque. There were 2 or 3 companies and a number of private ballooners out there, all getting ready for balloon flights. This was one of the best moments of the experience in my opinion because you are out there with 8 to 10 balloons being filled and readied, with all the colorful balloons, the noise, the excitement, and the new morning sun.
They instruct you up front on what to expect, and after you sign your liability waivers, they tell you that there are two types of landings. One is like an elevator ride down to the ground - when there's no wind, the other is a bumpy, bouncy, touchdown that is a little rougher - when the wind blows. They fit about 6 to 8 people in the gondola, which is quite sturdy and roomy. The flight lift off is just like an elevator, smooth and airy. They actually kind of "fly" you around the city and over the Rio Grande for about a little over an hour at different altitudes using the wind to navigate. As you can imagine - they really don't have alot of control on where your going. It is really a quiet and smooth ride and the views are stupendous!
The landing was exciting. Remember, if there's wind - you get the bumpy, bouncy landing! This actually was not as bad as you might think. You crouch down and hold on to the ropes in the gondola as the basket hits and bounces until you come to a stop. No one gets hurt (at least none of us did) and the adenaline kick was a lot of fun.
After helping to load the balloon, we all headed back to the landing zone for pastries, Mimosas and souvenier hats. After breakfast at the launch site, they take you back to your hotel. Rainbow Riders was great! Their people were friendly and knowledgable. We highly recommend the ride and the Rainbow Riders!