First, Happy International Women's Day! I highlighted a number of beautiful black women travelers on my IG story - so definitely go and check that out!!
Today's blog post won't be super long. I'll be honest with y'all, the year has really ramped up quick af! Balancing work, the non-profits I volunteer for, my podcast, andddd this blog is becoming quite the challenge. Ima work it out though. & I'm still on track to reach my goal of blog posts for the year, which is bomb. In the beginning I was releasing blog posts once a week; and now... we'll shoot for twice a month lol.
But back to the story: today I'll share how I walked right into Mexico!
So my boyfriend and I were doing a road trip from LA to Atlanta, GA in August 2020. We split the trip into five days and were able to make some cool stops along the way. One of the stops we made was Ciudad, Juarez, MX - where we spent a couple hours walking around and exploring.
Ciudad Juarez is just across the border from El Paso, TX. We were driving with a full car (all of his stuff from his grad school room), so it might have been a bit longer of an ordeal to cross the border in the car. Instead, we decided to park in a lot about two blocks away from the bridge. Parking was only $4 for a few hours, which I thought was a good deal!
Note: there are multiple bridges to cross into Mexico, we chose the Stanton Street Bridge (Good Neighbor Bridge).
When I say crossing the border by foot was THE. EASIEST. THING. EVER! I literally mean it. It only cost $0.50 per person (yes, you read that correctly, f i f t y c e n t s !) to cross the border. There were a couple windows, but only one was open. At around 2pm, there was no line at all. I handed the lady one US dollar, and she just waived the two of us along. No passport check, no questionnaires, no customs forms, nothing. Just 50 cents per person, LOL.
From there, we just walked across the bridge and right into Mexico. I won't lie.. that joint was definitely long. And it was mad hot (like 90 degrees and barely any clouds). But, it was literally that simple. Once we made it across, it was a little confusing about whether we needed to show a passport or anything. We walked up to a window and tried to show it, but the guy just waved us through. Someone else asked if we had anything to declare, we said no, and then we were free to go!
Once we got into Ciudad Juarez, our first stop was going to be Bar Kentucky, the world famous bar. Rumor has it, the first margarita ever was concocted at that bar. I was so excited to try one... but it was closed :( So I was kinda disappointed, but it was okay - still got a couple photos. After the bar stop, we really just walked around and explored. We went into a few souvenir shops, and then walked around some more. We passed by many tiendas (stores) that sold everything from electronics to fabric to SIM cards. They even had some cute large letters for photos (which I am obsessed with so I was beyond happy to see).
I was also happy to see that everyone was wearing masks and very conscious about social distancing. Even outside in the 90+ degree weather. No masks under the noses either, they were all being worn correctly. :)
Before heading back to the states, we stopped for a quick local meal: tacos, of course! And y'all... let me tell you... they were pretty good. And what puts the icing on the cake, we got 8 tacos (3 al pastor and 5 lengua), and a Mexican Sprite for just FIVE US DOLLARS!!! Idk if the man just liked us because I spoke to him in Spanish & helped him with his English or what, but the total according to the sign should have been at least $15 USD. Instead, he only charged us $5. (and y'all know I love a deal!).
We also stopped by one of the street vendors and grabbed a cloth mask - sealed, for only $1 USD. And then, back across the border we went. It cost about $0.85 per person, but you did have to pay in coins. Across the street there was a change maker, which was convenient. But beware: there were at least 20 people asking for change so they could cross as well. We just politely said no and kept moving.
Before crossing the bridge again, there were workers giving hand sanitizer to all (which we love to see). Upon arriving back to the US side, we did have to go through customs. I showed my Global Entry card and was waived right through. My boyfriend showed his US passport, was asked a few questions (why he came to MX, how long he was there, etc). And then just like that, we were back!
The whole excursion was about 3.5 hours and was super fun and cheap. After more research, we found out that the city itself is considered pretty dangerous. But, we felt completely safe the entire time there, and people were very friendly. I was impressed with the covid precautions that were being taken everywhere (including Wendy's that had a temp check before entering!). Would definitely do it again, especially if I get to actually make it to Bar Kentucky!
Let me know if you guys have any questions about the trip! And if you need any help planning a trip, you know TGSOTravel has you covered (mention this article for a $5 discount off any package)!.
Ciao for now,