Saturday, March 3, 2012

My experience going to: Mexico Ciudad Acuna, last week

My passport was getting ready to expire in April. I had a new passport picture taken, then I filled out the form and sent it in to have it renewed. I got a new passport in just two weeks. I was really surprised how quickly it got to me.

About a week ago I went across the border into the border town of Ciudad Acuna, Mexico from Del Rio TX.

It was a surreal experience. It's amazing how Mexico has changed since I used to go down all the time.
I saw only one other non hispanic in the 5 hours I spent there. The boy looked in his early 20s walking around by himself. I was with a friend. We first bought a shell necklace for $1.50. Then to a bakery to sit down and taste their treats.
We watched a high school girls drill team practice in the square.
Had an extraordinary dinner -- The bill was $18 for both of us which included 4 beers total. In the US this bill would have been at least twice that much.

I went to a grocery store and bought carmel candy, vanilla and Mexico Coke.

We had the fruit from the street vendor with chili and lime on it--delicious!

Bought two bottles of antibiotics at the pharmacy.

All the time we were followed and watched over by security. They were very discreet. But anytime we looked lost or were trying to find something or trying to get someone to understand us (rarely did anyone speak any English) a security officer would step in and give us directions or translate for us.
They were all very nice. We questioned one officer and he said that the people who owned the businesses have hired them to keep the tourists safe, so we will come back.

When we went to go back across the border that evening we were pulled over for secondary inspection--first time that has ever happened to me. They went through my truck under and over, went through everything---took an hour. There were four men and two women US border patrol that did the inspection. It was incredible.


  1. Hi Kathleen, Thanks so much for sharing with us. I have not been to Rocky Point now for over a year. I cannot find anyone willing to go with me. Some say they would g, but they don't have a passport and dont want to get one. They are expensive if you don't plan to us it but once !
    I am expecting to find things very much changed when I do go. Mostly I am expecting much more (many) confrontations with the Border Patrol. I see their presence everywhere on Highway 86 as I drive into Tucson. I do so miss eating fresh seafood and watching the beautiful sea. Adios con sonrisas, Merna

    1. Hopefully, we can get over to Rocky Point or San Felipe caravanning some day, Merna--would be fun!

  2. Sounds like a pleasant visit! I do have a question about the secondary inspection.
    I've heard stories about it taking hours to put the vehicle back together after customs dissembles it, what condition did they leave your truck in?


    1. Rob,
      They didn't really take the vehicle apart, so that was a blessing. They used curved mirrored devices to look into things. They did leave things a bit disheaveled but much better than I expected. I did meet someone who said he went over to buy diesel and they took his truck apart but he said they put it back together just find--took 2 1/2 hours.
      Next time, I won't take so much "stuff" in my truck. That was part of the problem.

  3. I flew to Mazatlan last December. Last vist was in'09. Talking to business people I've known they say tourismis off 85%. No cruise ships call.
    Flights were full but not near as many flights.
    No long lines at the airport leaving.
    Great experience.
    Local expatriot community was doing meet and greet and escorting tourists when they seemed lost.
    There are some good camping blogs on Mexico. All stress that there are no more problems than one might expect NOB or SOB.

    1. I agree--you actually get a much safer visit. And this is the time for the bargains.
      Though the main thing is not to hang out at bars or anything like that IMO

  4. Hi Kathleen,

    I just discovered your blog and have enjoyed perusing it. This article about Mexico is interesting since on some of my travels I'm hoping to see a bit of Mexico. I was in Nuevo Laredo in 2003 with a buddy visiting the U.S. from New Zealand, before much of the escalation in border violence. It's hard to know what to believe these days, but I guess defaulting to the side of safety seems to be the general rule.

    At any rate, since I'm a, as I term myself, professional nomad and tech-nomad (and about a decade older then you) I have been doing some wandering around the country over the past three years. I started Living Free, the title of my blog, a little over three years ago and haven't had a fixed residence since that time. It's a fantastic lifestyle - never felt freer or happier. I'm going to add your blog to my blog roll since it fits in with a lot of my philosophies and hopefully provide useful input to my readers. Happy travels.


    1. Thank you, Ed, I appreciate that. This is my 2nd year full time on the road since I settled down to let my son go to high school and college.

      I haven't traveled much in Mexico for the last six years. But I did live in San Jose del Cabo for six months with my son who was six at the time--15 years ago. I usually like to travel on the baja pennisula.
      Happy Travels to you too!

  5. I'm figuring you drove across the border?

    We're thinking about an Algodones trip soon, but we'll take our bikes across.

    The Good Luck Duck

    1. Hi Roxanne. Bikes would have been a good idea. We were going to walk but... that bridge looked so darn long. lol
      So ended up driving over in the pickup--yes. I haven't been over at Algodones, let me know how that works out.

  6. Hi Everyone,
    I just took my dog/daughter across the border to have some tumors removed from her mammary glands in San Luis Colorado just south of Yuma, AZ.
    The vet spoke perfect English and his clinic was spotless and he even sent an ambulance to the border to pick us up and delivered us back to the border when she was done.
    I loved the city of San Luis and the people and the life of the city. I love the Mexican people and their food and their music and mostly their women!
    The vet saved my dog's life and she is recovering nicely.
    When I reach 62 and qualify for my Social Security I'm heading directly for Mexico.
    It's a sad commentary on America to see the thousands of Americans crossing the border at Algadones to get affordable dental care and medications.
    I'll just say it again, I LOVE Mexico!

    1. Thank you so much for your input GMC. That's an amazing story.
      I LOVE Mexico too and I am so very sorry they are having these problems. But I'm glad there are those of us that are still willing to go and find that most of Mexico still has an awesome heart and is trying to protect us when visiting.