Developers constructed the first housing in Cortez in 1886. These homes housed the men working on tunnels and irrigation ditches diverting water from the Dolores River to Montezuma Valley. They named the new community Cortez, after the Spanish explorer Hernán Cortés.
While it's known as the City of Cortez, Cortez isn't really a city at all. Instead, it's classified as a home rule municipality because it's self-governing. It's one of 61 cities and 35 towns classed as home rule municipalities in the state of Colorado.
Cortez makes a convenient base for exploring the nearby Mesa Verde National Park, Monument Valley, and Four Corners. But stay a while and you'll discover prehistoric and historic sites, first-class recreational facilities, top restaurants, and much more within the city limits.
When to Visit Cortez, CO
Cortez's semi-arid climate brings hot summer days and mild winter ones. It doesn't experience the high humidity during summer that coastal locations do, making its typical summer highs in the low to high 80s perfectly pleasant. However, heat waves have seen the daily temperatures push past 100. Summer is the peak tourist season too, so if you're flexible with your travel dates you'll get a better deal in spring or fall.
Traveling outside summer isn't just more affordable. Spring and fall's average daily highs from the low 50s to low 70s are much more comfortable for hiking. These seasons are also some of the most beautiful in Cortez. Wildflowers bloom along the trails in spring and the leaves turn from green to red, brown, and gold in fall. Affordable travel, pleasant temperatures, and natural beauty make fall and spring the best seasons for visiting Cortez.
Winter days are relatively mild with temperatures in the low to mid-40s common. However, Cortez's high elevation makes winter nights icy. Cortez usually gets around 73 inches of snow each year, with most falling in winter.
Below is a chart of the current pricing seasonality of hotels and motels in Cortez, CO:
Cortez, CO: Prices by Star Rating Class
Below are 3 charts illustrating avg. price trends by star rating class in Cortez, CO. Browse these line graphs to calculate the most cost effective time to stay in Cortez for your upcoming travels.
Best Hotels in Cortez, CO
4 Star Average Prices: $70.00
Cortez also has several hotels for travelers wanting a little extra luxury. You'll always feel like a VIP at the following Cortez hotels.
Hampton Inn Mesa Verde/Cortez has all the facilities you want from an upscale hotel, like sophisticated rooms, an immaculate indoor pool, a hot tub, and a 24-hour business center for catching up on the office. Local restaurants like Nero's Mediterranean Grill and Ocean Pearl Chinese aren't far from the hotel's doors, but why not eat in? The hotel's communal barbecue grills, in its beautiful outdoor patio area, make self-catering easy. The Hampton Inn does all the hard work in the mornings, offering a hot buffet breakfast every morning and On the Run bags for busy travelers on weekdays.
Kelly Place Bed & Breakfast – Cortez is a boutique alternative for luxury seekers. The majestic property sits on a 38-acre estate with 25 documented prehistoric Anasazi Indian sites. Explore the grounds and you never know what you might find. The lodge rooms and cabins have a rustic charm balanced with modern creature comforts like evaporative coolers and in many cases, small fridges and microwave ovens. Your hosts offer many unique experiences to enhance your stay, like primitive pottery workshops and horseback riding adventures.
Affordable Hotels in Cortez, CO
3 Star Average Prices: $124.39
Cortez has several affordable hotels for tourists on a budget, from hotels with national profiles to independent boutique offerings. If you're watching your money, you'll appreciate the low rates at the following hotels.
Travelodge by Wyndham Cortez is a friendly two-star hotel in the heart of the city. Its rooms are clean and comfortable, if a little dated. But while the boxy TV isn't the most modern, it still shows all your favorite cable channels. The Wi-Fi is fast too, and using it won't add anything to your bill. Travelodge by Wyndham also offers free parking and a complimentary Bear Bites continental breakfast each morning. With cereals, toast, and muffins, there are plenty of options to keep you satisfied until lunchtime.
American Holiday Mesa Verde Inn is a pet-friendly boutique hotel on busy South Broadway, close to the Sonic Drive-In and Mesa Park and Environmental Lab. Its spacious rooms are decorated with a southwestern style. Most have fridges and microwaves. Their air-conditioning units were recently replaced for your comfort. Its outdoor pool is heated by solar power and open seasonally for your enjoyment. In the off-season, you can still burn calories in the on-site fitness room. The American Holiday Mesa Verde Inn also has its own dog walk path, horseshoes game, barbecue charcoal pit, and guest laundry.
2 Star Average Prices: $89.37
Where are the real discounts in Cortez
Selected travelers can save plenty at Cortez hotels. If you qualify for a discount, remember to bring your valid identification to the check-in desk.
Econo Lodge – Cortez has special rates for AAA and CAA auto club members, seniors and AARP members, government and military personnel, and members of large traveling groups needing at least 10 rooms. There are pet-friendly and accessible rooms, each with 32-inch flat-screen TVs, massage shower heads, power outlets by the nightstands, and safes for your peace of mind. This hotel suits business travelers and vacationing visitors with its seasonal outdoor pool with sundeck, fitness center, and copy, print, and fax machines. There's free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel, free coffee in the lobby, and a free Easy Starts breakfast available each morning.
Far View Lodge, is the only accommodation within Mesa Verde National Park. Seniors aged 55 and older and AAA auto club members receive a 10 percent discount on the standard room rate. Book early for the 15 percent advance purchase rate. All its rooms are beautiful, with custom-made furniture and high-tech appliances. But for something special, book a Kiva Deluxe room. They have the best views, perfect for wildlife watching and stargazing on clear Colorado nights. Far View Lounge is the perfect place to relax with friends, watch big sporting matches, or enjoy specialty cocktails and the tasty pub grub.
Best Value Options in Cortez, CO
The following Cortez hotels pride themselves on offering value for money. The right combination of comfortable rooms, top amenities, friendly service, and relatively low prices always satisfies.
Days Inn by Wyndham Cortez is a comfortable pet-friendly hotel at the juncture of I-160 and I-145. Its location isn't the only drawcard for road trippers, who'll enjoy free parking whether they're a driving a car, truck, or RV. Further freebies like the complimentary Wi-Fi and piping hot Daybreak breakfast add further value. After a busy day sightseeing, retreat to your inviting room, soak in the Jacuzzi tub, or during warm weather, cool down in the seasonal outdoor pool.
After comprehensive renovations in 2016, Best Western Turquoise Inn & Suites – Cortez looks like an even better option for guests. It has a wide variety of rooms to suit all needs and budgets, including accessible rooms, suites, and rooms with fireplaces and hot tubs. There's also another hot tub downstairs, with a unique waterfall adding romance. For a cool dip, hit the seasonal outdoor pool during warm weather months. Guests enjoy plenty of perks, including free internet access, free parking, and a generous buffet breakfast each morning.
Explore History in Cortez, CO
Cortez is a haven for history buffs, with key prehistoric and historic sites dotted throughout the city and its surroundings. Learn more about the area's past at the following local attractions.
Mesa Verde National Park has some of the best-preserved Anasazi archeological sites in the country. See their cliff dwellings and mesa-top villages which date back to between 450 and 1300. You can take a bus tour or drive through the park, but you'll probably see more on foot. There are thousands of archeological sites here, so experts suggest reserving at least two days to make the most of your visit.
Crow Canyon Archaeological Center is a living classroom offering immersive educational experiences for children and adults alike. The center researches and preserves the history of the Anasazi people who lived in the Mesa Verde more than 700 years ago. Visit on Wednesdays and Thursdays from June to September, when Crow Canyon runs one-day tours. See a working excavation site, curation room, and lab, touch ancient Pueblo artifacts, and learn more about the Anasazi culture on this unique tour.
A historic building constructed in 1909 now houses the Cortez Culture Center. It's a fascinating place for anyone interested in archeology and Native American culture. Admire historic artifacts and works from local artists in the gallery. The center opens all year round but is best visited during summer, when you can see Native American dancing and hear stories about native culture in the plaza every Monday to Saturday evening. The Cortez Culture Center is closed on Sundays.
Cortez is a vibrant location with a rich history and top tourist facilities. Enjoy its close proximity to leading national tourist attractions, but don't forget to experience all Cortez offers within its city limits.
What did travelers think of the city of Cortez?
Below are reviews of the city of Cortez, CO from an actual visitor's perspective.
"Quiet and friendly"
Score 5.0 / 5
The city is nice, quiet, friendy
The average traveler rating of the city of Cortez, CO shown above is 5.0 out of 5 based on 1 reviews