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Visiting Mexico For The Day - Please Help!!

Plainview, Arkansas
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Visiting Mexico For The Day - Please Help!!

My husband and I are planning to drive down to Texas in a few months and we would like to go over into Mexico for a day to shop - whether it be drive or walk across the border. I have a few questions...where is the best & worst place to enter Mexico? Best place to shop - when I say shop I mean like the little side markets? Do you need a passport to enter? This is our first trip to drive down there - have visited by cruise in different ports before. Any and all information would be grateful.

Thank you!

Texas
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1. Re: Visiting Mexico For The Day - Please Help!!

I am from the Rio Grande Valley which is the Southern most tip of Texas, only a few minutes from the border. I will tell you what I know of this area, if you are willing to travel this far into Texas (it is about 4 hours south of San Antonio; the other border town of Laredo is not as far, but I am unfamiliar with it).

If you will be in this area, Nuevo Progreso, Mexico is the place to shop. You can access this border town through the Texas city of Weslaco, nestled between McAllen and Harlingen Texas. The easiest way is to drive to Progreso International Bridge from Weslaco, and then park your car at the parking lot on your right side, just before the state line/bridge ( most tourists, travelers do this). You pay a few dollars to park and a few quarters at the toll booth when you walk across. The shops will be right in front of you. If you are an American citizen, you will not need a passport (that law will change in 2008), but always good to have i.d. on you. You will want to have cash with you in order to shop and bargain hunt. Garcias Canada is a great restaurant to eat. Places/Cities to stay in Texas: South Padre Island, Harlingen, Mcallen.

There are two other border towns: Reynosa (accessed through McAllen, TX) and Matamores (accessed through Brownsville, TX) in the Rio Grande Valley, but Progresso is the best.

Plainview, Arkansas
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2. Re: Visiting Mexico For The Day - Please Help!!

Thank you so much peachy715 for all the information. That's exactly what I've been looking for. I've tried searching the web for info. but can't seem to find the right thing (not sure if I'm typing in the right stuff).

A couple more questions if you don't mind......

Which border town do you NOT recommend entering through?

What type of stuff can I be expected to buy?

I've been to like Coz. & Progresso Yucatan before - will I see items that I found in those places?

Thanks a million!

Texas
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3. Re: Visiting Mexico For The Day - Please Help!!

I have only been through the border towns of Reynosa and Progreso, only because we have always stayed away from Matamores (not safe) and I have heard that Laredo is more dangerous. Reynosa is a place to go out at night and buy medicine, not a place for market shopping. Prorgreso is the place to go all the way around because of the market shops and the fact that they really take of their tourists (safe). So, don't bother with Reynosa, avoid Matamores, not too sure about Laredo.

What to expect to see: silver, jewlrey, gorgeous pottery, little clay churches and staues, hammocks, dishes, mirrors,mosaic pieces, tiles, stuff for the home, mexican toys and lot's of other stuff you probably saw at the other mexican towns. A lot of people will buy their medications across the border because it is so much cheaper, as well as liquor etc. I typically make a trip for planters, pottery, glassware, home decor, etc.

I hope this helps!

San Antonio, TX
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4. Re: Visiting Mexico For The Day - Please Help!!

We talked about this last summer (search the past forums) and the general consensus was not to go. I haven't been about ten years, except two summers ago when we were in Arizona. Here's how I look at it:

1. Border towns are about the worst of Mexico, preying on the quasi-illegal trades of alcohol, prescription drugs, dentists, prostitutes and exploiting cheap labor to create a bunch of stuff no one really needs.

2. It's at least 2 and 1/2 hours one way and with the price of gas, I'm not willing to spend the money or the time. You can get nearly all of the souvenirs you want here in SA.

3. With all of the lawlessness i.e. shooting going on it's just too dangerous.

If you're dead set on going, I definitely would not cross in Laredo, Del Rio is probably much safer.

San Antonio, Texas
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5. Re: Visiting Mexico For The Day - Please Help!!

well said, o'boy. going to a mexican border town makes as much sense as taking a vacation to the Middle East or swimming in hot lava. but, if you decide to cross.....then just go for it and head to Neuvo Laredo, the armpit of North America.

Roswell, New Mexico
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6. Re: Visiting Mexico For The Day - Please Help!!

I'd choose another body part to describe Laredo. Really, unless you just have to say you went to Mexico, or want to buy quasi-legal pharmaceuticals, skip it. It's the world's ugliest drive. Yiou could hit the Pig Stand in Dilley, though.

Evn the duty-free stores are a scam. I want across to find good tequila, and noticed Herradura Anejo was $35/bottle. I skipped that purchase, and on the drive to Stephenville, I found the same thing in Blanco for $32.

As I've said before, if you want to experience Laredo w/o spending money on gas, go stand in a port-a-pottty on a 100 degree day and listen to Tejano radio. You'll need to fire a few rounds into the wall and swill some warm Tecate to get the full effect.

Texas
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7. Re: Visiting Mexico For The Day - Please Help!!

I go to Progreso about three times a year to shop. It's safe and you will see plenty other tourists and Americans doing the same thing. If you are willing to make the drive, it's fine. Would reccomend staying at South Padre while you are in the Valley, it'll make the drive worth it :)

Broken Bow, Oklahoma
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8. Re: Visiting Mexico For The Day - Please Help!!

great analysis trev

Uden, The...
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9. Re: Visiting Mexico For The Day - Please Help!!

Hi Swooten

Here is some tourist-from-far-away stuff.

My wife is a small markets-large markets- small shops-large shopsbuff and she wants to shop in Mexico when we are around. So we crossed from Douglas(Az), Columbia (NM) and last year we drove all the way from El Paso to SPI, stayed in Big Bend NP, Del Rio, Weslaco and SPI . El Paso?(is there a war?), Laredo (scary) so no bordercrossing this year. We prepare our trips thouroughly and my Moon Handbook for Texas said Del Rio/Acuna was the best for a Mexico visit. At all places, you are entering 3rd world in a few steps. We did not need a passport (we were not even stopped!) to enter Mexico, but it took some time to get back!!

Tet{:o)-

San Antonio, TX
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10. Re: Visiting Mexico For The Day - Please Help!!

THam - you're back! We missed you.