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The best way to see downtown Santa Fe is on foot. Free walking-tour maps are available at the tourist information center, 201 W. Marcy St. (tel. 800/777-CITY [2489] or 505/955-6200).

By Bus

In 1993, Santa Fe opened Santa Fe Trails (tel. 505/955-2001; www.santafenm.gov), its first public bus system. There are seven routes, and visitors can pick up a map from the Convention and Visitors Bureau. Most buses operate Monday to Friday 6am to 11pm and Saturday 8am to 8pm. There is some service on Sunday, and there is some service on holidays. Call for a current schedule and fare information.

By Car

Cars can be rented from any of the following firms in Santa Fe: Avis, Santa Fe Airport (tel. 505/471-5892); Budget, 1946 Cerrillos Rd. (tel. 505/984-1596); Enterprise, 2641A Cerrillos Rd., and 4450 Cerrillos Rd. [at the Auto Park]; tel. 505/473-3600); and Hertz, Santa Fe Airport (tel. 505/471-7189).

If Santa Fe is merely your base for an extended driving exploration of New Mexico, be sure to give the vehicle you rent a thorough road check before starting out. There are a lot of wide-open desert and wilderness spaces here, so if you break down, you could be stranded for hours before someone passes by, and cellphones don't tend to work in these remote areas.

Make sure your driver's license and auto club membership (if you have one) are valid before you leave home. Check with your auto-insurance company to make sure you're covered when out of state and/or when driving a rental car.

Note: In 2002, the Santa Fe City Council imposed a law prohibiting use of cellphones while driving within the city limits, with strict fines imposed. If you need to make a call, be sure to pull off the road.

Street parking is difficult to find during summer months. There's a metered parking lot near the federal courthouse, 2 blocks north of the plaza; a city lot behind Santa Fe Village, a block south of the plaza; and another city lot at Water and Sandoval streets. If you stop by the Santa Fe Convention and Visitors Bureau, at 201 W. Marcy St., you can pick up a wallet-size guide to Santa Fe parking areas. The map shows both street and lot parking.

Unless otherwise posted, the speed limit on freeways is 75 mph; on most other two-lane open roads it's 60 to 65 mph. The minimum age for drivers is 16. Seat belts are required for drivers and all passengers ages 5 and over; children under 5 must use approved child seats.

Since Native American reservations enjoy a measure of self-rule, they can legally enforce certain designated laws. For instance, on the Navajo reservation, it is forbidden to transport alcoholic beverages, leave established roadways, or go without a seat belt. Motorcyclists must wear helmets. If you are caught breaking reservation laws, you are subject to reservation punishment -- often stiff fines and, in some instances, detainment.

The State Highway and Transportation Department has a toll-free hot line (tel. 800/432-4269) that provides up-to-the-hour information on road closures and conditions.

Driving Warning -- New Mexico has one of the highest per-capita rates of traffic deaths in the nation; although the number has actually been dropping in recent years, it's still a good idea to drive extra carefully!

By Taxi

Cabs are difficult to flag from the street, but you can call for one. Expect to pay a standard fee of $4 for the service and an average of about $2.75 per mile. Capital City Cab (tel. 505/438-0000) is the main company in Santa Fe.

By Bicycle

Riding a bicycle is a good way to get around town, though you'll have to ride cautiously because there are few designated bike paths. Check with Mellow Velo, 638 Old Santa Fe Trail (tel. 505/982-8986; www.mellowvelo.com); Bike-N-Sport, 524 Cordova Rd. (tel. 505/820-0809; www.nmbikensport.com), or Santa Fe Mountain Sports, 607 Cerrillos Rd. (tel. 505/988-3337; www.santafemountainsports.com), for rentals.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.