You shouldn’t pass through Albuquerque, New Mexico without taking time to stop at Santuario de San Martin to marvel at Juan Sandoval’s incredibly detailed and inspirational woodcarvings.
Housed in an unassuming, circular adobe church atop a hill in suburban Westgate Heights, the carvings will leave you breathless. There is no way to describe the beauty of this humble untrained artist’s work, which has been displayed at the Smithsonian Institute.
Albuquerque is where I-25 and I-40 meet in central New Mexico, about 50 miles southwest of Santa Fe. To find the church (8321 Camino San Martin SW), take Exit 154 off I-40 (the Coronado Freeway), which puts you on Unser Drive.
Take this road south and turn west when you reach Central Avenue. At 86th Street, turn south and drive about 2 miles until the road dead-ends at Camino San Martin. Turn east; the road ends at the church parking lot.
You can make appointments to see the carvings by calling the church at 1-505/836-4676.
Interested in camping nearby? Check out KOA campgrounds in New Mexico.