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City of Española

The Town

Española is the largest city in north-central New Mexico, with just under 10,000 residents. The Spanish conquistadors, who journeyed here from what is now Mexico, settled here in 1598 and made it their capital before moving it to Santa Fe in 1610. Española is situated at the confluence of two rivers and their valleys: Rio Grande and Rio Chama. Many folks pass through Española on their way to points north—there is no other route. It is the shopping hub for the tiny rural towns north of us that have only a general store and post office. Oddly, it is situated in two counties: Rio Arriba (one of the nation’s poorest) and Santa Fe. Hacienda de Guru Ram Das Ashram is in an area called “Sombrillo,” in Santa Fe County, and is an unincorporated part of Española. Indian Pueblos adjacent to or near Española are Santa Clara, San Juan, Nambé, and Pojoaque. The City of Española now has a website that provides information on the local city officials, businesses, etc.


Española is not quite the sleepy town it was even five years ago. It appears to be on the verge of a development boom, but the local economy still dominates with construction, services, family agriculture, and Indian gaming. Santa Clara Indian Pueblo owns much of the land in Española and has built a casino and hotel (the Santa Claran) on Riverside Drive. Española is part of a tri-city economic area that includes Santa Fe and Los Alamos. Click here for the Chamber of Commerce >



Española and Northern New Mexico is semi-arid high desert; the altitude is 5600 feet, give or take. Winters can be cold and snowy or mild and dry. Summers are hot (high 90s) but dry, and often cooled by afternoon thundershowers locally known as monsoons. Spring is windy and fall is Indian summer, typified! With our dry, high desert climate, it is important to remember to drink lots of water. This is true any season and especially so in summer. It is a good idea to always keep a bottle of water with you.