Carlsbad offers holiday river tour

Compiled by Mike Jimenez: PNT Intern

For a different kind of Christmas experience, drive to Carlsbad for the 14th Annual Christmas on the Pecos tour. This is a unique experience to tour displays of holiday lights along the Pecos River aboard pontoon boats.

The annual Christmas on the Pecos tours begin on Thanksgiving night, and will run through Dec. 31. According to organizers, boatloads of tourists and locals take to the river each evening during the holiday season to view approximately 100 homes along the river. The homeowners create some elaborate Christmas decorations in their backyards that face the river’s edge, according to Justin McGeath, executive director of the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce.

According to the chamber of commerce news release, more than 5,000 reservations have already been made, ensuring that this year’s event will be a success. Along with the Christmas on the Pecos tours, there will be a Calico Christmas Arts and Crafts Show today. Also there will be an Electric Light Parade downtown at dusk today, with a Fireworks display at the beach area.

Repairs to the pontoon boats that are used for the tours as well as rising gasoline prices have created an increase in the ticket prices this year. There are 12 departures nightly Sunday through Thursday, and 16 departures nightly Friday and Saturday during the season. Currently, according to the Web site for Christmas on the Pecos, tickets are $10 for Sundays through Thursday, and $15 for Fridays and Saturdays. Children age three and younger are free as long as they don’t occupy a seat. Some trips are half length and cost $5 per person. The special George Washington paddlewheel boat runs Friday and Saturday only. Tickets can be purchased online, and by phone.

From the Portales-Clovis area, take US-70 west to Roswell. In Roswell, take US-285 south to Carlsbad. It is approximately 160 miles to Carlsbad, and normally takes about three hours for the trip there. Allow at least six hours of driving for the entire trip.

For further information contact the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce at their Web site, or call them at 505-628-0952, or 505-887-6516 for ticket information.