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Visiting Santa Fe


While the Pueblo people are traditionally generous and welcoming, there are etiquette guidelines that should be followed to avoid violations of their customs or misunderstandings. Here are suggestions for ensuring that your visit to a pueblo is enjoyable for everyone involved:
  • Use the visitor center or tribal office as the first point of contact. (Remember that both are closed on feast days.)
  • Observe all rules and regulations of the individual pueblos. Obey all signs and do not enter off-limit areas.
  • Obey all traffic, parking and speed limit signs.
  • Homes are private. Do not enter without an invitation.
  • Do not climb walls or other structures as they may be hundreds of years old and easily damaged.
  • Kivas and graveyards are not to be entered by non-Pueblo people.
  • Please control children and make sure that they are respectful.
  • Stay in the immediate village area, do not wander.
  • Do not pick up, remove or disturb any artifact or objects such as pieces of broken pottery, plants, rocks or animals.
  • Do not bring alcohol, weapons, drugs or pets into Pueblo communities.

taos etiquetteThere are also some rules for courteous behavior when attending ceremonial dances and feast days. The first is to realize that the dances are religious in nature and not staged performances. As such, they should be observed with respect and quiet attention. Talking or asking questions of dancers or non-dance participants should be avoided. Applause after dances is not appropriate. On feast days, when many families open their homes, it is courteous to accept an invitation to eat but not to linger or offer more than heartfelt thanks for the hospitality.

The pueblos have rules about taking pictures and making sketches and recordings while visiting their communities. It's best to find out in advance about the permits, fees and restrictions at each pueblo you plan to visit and whether photography, sketching or recording is prohibited. Even after you've obtained a permit, you should always ask permission before taking an individual's picture, make sure that your photography doesn't interrupt or interfere with dances and remember that pictures are for private use only and may not be reproduced or sold without written permission.

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