"LIVING HISTORY" Second Mesa by madamx

Second Mesa Travel Guide: 13 reviews and 19 photos


We decided to visit the Hopi Mesas after hearing about my friend's interesting trip there. We are not fans of booked tours, but decided to do so in this case, as we wanted to get the best experience we could.

The Hopi are a native people who live on a reservation surrounded by the Navajo Nation in northern Arizona. Many of them reside in ancient stone villages on geological features called Mesas. A mesa basically looks like a mountain with the top cut off. From a mesa, they could have a good overlook of their land, plus it was good for defence purposes. If you are interested in archeology or anthropology and have time, I urge you to visit the mesas.

I mainly did my research on the internet for a tour; take your time and choose a tour operator that you would feel comfortable with. I tried to book a native-owned tour business, but it was pretty frustrating, as I was e-mailing one guide, and for some reason, he stopped, and I could not get in touch with him. Another company did not get back to me until two days before we were leaving (I had requested a booking 3 weeks before) and so I had to turn him down as I had booked with another company.

It turned out we were the only ones on the tour, and we got to know our guides very, very well, becoming good friends by the end of the trip. Try to get a native tour guide as they can give you a good perspective on Hopiland and it's people. Our guides are part Cherokee and were very well versed in Hopi culture and geography and natural sciences. We had so much information thrown at us we were overwhelmed, but we learned a lot from our guides.


The Hopi are pretty strict about not allowing photography, writing, or sketching or any type of recording in the villages. This was due to their past eperience of being exploited, plus having people invade their privacy, which is understandable. However, it was my experience that they will allow pictures of themselves or their homes if you give them money. I decided not to do this. Don't be afraid to bring your camera as there are opportunities to take indirect pictures, all you have to do is ask.

I really didn't know what to expect in my interaction with the Hopi, as the culture is quite insular. Hopi means "peaceful people", and I later found in my interactions with a majority of them that they are a pleasant, shy, friendly people.

True, in the villages they will approach you mainly to sell some crafts, but I found they were happy to invite you into their homes, have a conversation about the art, how they made it, about their life in general. They are not offended if you don't buy anything. Treat them with politeness and respect, as with anyone else, and you will get the same in return.

All the pictures taken on the Hopi reservation were taken with permission

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  • In a nutshell:An Eye Opening Experience
  • Last visit to Second Mesa: Apr 2005
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (13)

Comments (18)

  • KimberlyAnn's Profile Photo
    Jun 29, 2010 at 1:28 PM

    Interesting page! I never even thought about taking a tour on a reservation. I'll have to keep this in mind if we make our way down to Arizona again. Thanks!

  • SteveOSF's Profile Photo
    Oct 8, 2009 at 11:20 AM

    Excellent and informative page on the Hopi reservation and culture.

  • LoriPori's Profile Photo
    Aug 10, 2009 at 6:19 AM

    Interesting page on Second Mesa, esp. fascinating is the info on the Hopi and the Kachina dolls.

  • KiKitC's Profile Photo
    Nov 18, 2008 at 8:58 AM

    Really enjoyed your tour and tips. Sounds like my kind of trip.

  • Fullmoonfever's Profile Photo
    Feb 26, 2008 at 9:58 AM

    Ok, you are being quiet...I'm starting to worry.

  • mvtouring's Profile Photo
    Sep 4, 2007 at 3:06 AM

    Lovely and very very interesting page ;-)

  • Wendy67's Profile Photo
    Feb 15, 2007 at 4:23 PM

    Enjoyed your page, Helen. I've always found the Hopi fascinating.

  • Stephen-KarenConn's Profile Photo
    Feb 14, 2007 at 1:08 PM

    A fascinating tour! Thanks for a very informative page.

  • BorderHopper's Profile Photo
    Nov 7, 2006 at 9:26 PM

    Your pages on the Hopi are fascinating! I was in Window Rock on Navajo Nation land & was in awe of the life there. I'd like to see the Hopi Mesas someday soon. I like that your grandchildren love to travel,you've planted the seed. Greetings from Thailand!

  • jungles's Profile Photo
    Sep 22, 2006 at 11:51 PM

    Great page, thanks for telling me about this place. I'll be sure to put it on my ever-growing list of places to visit.



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