Nuevo Laredo Mexico
Nuevo Laredo is one of those famous (or perhaps infamous) border towns. Just down I-35 from Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, and Laredo, for many in the U.S., and especially Texas, Nuevo Laredo is Mexico. With its readily available prescription drugs, horse-drawn carriage rides, cheap tequila, and reputation for naughtiness (can anyone say Boy's Town?) Nuevo Laredo is the classic border town - for good and bad.
From the U.S. you can enter Nuevo Laredo by bridge and there is no need to get a visa or even show an ID (unless you're continuing south because there is an immigration check on the highway south to Monterrey). You just give a few pesos to the man in the booth and you're in Mexico. The same is not true when coming back to the U.S. If driving, be aware that the wait at the bridge to reenter the U.S. during peak can take many hours.
Aside from it's reputation in the U.S., Nuevo Laredo is probably Mexico’s most important economic border town. Located on the northern tip of the state of Tamaulipas, it’s connected to its sister city, Laredo, Texas by three international bridges and a rail bridge spanning the Rio Grande (Rio Bravo). With 373,725 inhabitants, Nuevo Laredo is larger than Laredo. Even though they occupy two different countries, the two cities are so closely linked that they are considered the “Laredo-Nuevo Laredo Metropolitan Area”.
Because of Nuevo Laredo’s unique geographical position, the city has become a key economic and strategic player in the international trade business. Interstate Highway 35 runs through Nuevo Laredo giving the city access to the prime international trade route that services the United States and Canada on its northern end and Mexico on its southern end. Daily, there are around 8,500 delivery trucks crossing it’s border. Seventy percent of Mexico’s exports to the United States pass through Nuevo Laredo. Just as Laredo, Texas is the busiest inland port in the United States, Nuevo Laredo is considered the largest inland export city in Latin America. With its sophisticated logistics and transportation systems that utilize the highway, bridges, and trains, Nuevo Laredo has quick access to the vital seaports in Texas, as well as other important cities in the United States and Canada. As a tribute to the cities economic importance to Mexico, it was a chosen site for one of the “Banderas Monumentales” (Flag Monuments). These monuments, which all feature a large Mexican flag, are awarded to state capitals and cities of significance as a way of instilling pride and patriotism in the Mexican populace.
History shows that, originally, there was only one Laredo, and that was located north of the Rio Grande. However, after the Mexican-American war, the Guadalupe Hidalgo Treaty divided the town between Texas and Mexico. Nuevo Laredo, Mexico was established in 1848, when 17 families wishing to retain their Mexican citizenship, customs, and culture, moved to the south side of the Rio Grande. The new citizens of Nuevo Laredo held their Mexican heritage so dearly to them that legend has it that they also dug up the caskets of their ancestors and moved them to the south side of the Rio Grande as well.
While Nuevo Laredo is primarily an economic trade center, some worthwhile tourist attractions merit the attention of anyone spending time there.
Attractions and Things To Do in Nuevo Laredo
Parque Viveros (in English: Viveros Park) – this is a 124-acre forest park overlooking the spectacular Rio Grande. The park has a zoo, two swimming pools, walking trails, and picnic areas with barbeque pits. A nice place for a family outing.
Museo Ferrocarril – located in an old train station, this museum exhibits a few railroad relics and a small art gallery.
Centro Cultural (Cultural Center) – Nuevo Laredo's main theater seats 1,200 guests for professional plays, concerts and dance performances. The theater also features a museum, library, and a cafeteria.
Teatro de la Ciudad (City Theater) – a theater that is host to dramatic plays, musicals, dance performances, concerts, and special events.
Casa de Cultura (House of Culture) – a theater that hosts major artistic and cultural events: art exhibitions, concerts, dance performances and plays, etc. Artistic workshops of music, painting, dance and literature are also offered here.
Monumentos or Estatuas (Monuments) – Nuevo Laredo has several nice monuments honoring the city and its leaders, which are worth viewing. If you are visiting the area, check out the Estatua Hidalgo, the Monumento Fundadores Nuevo Laredo (the Banderas Monumento), and the Estatua Guerrero.
Sports – Nuevo Laredo is home to several sports venues, and sports enthusiasts can usually find a baseball, football, or soccer game to attend.
Is Nuevo Laredo safe?
Though things have calmed down considerably, Nuevo Laredo remains one of the hotly contested "plazas" for Mexico's warring cartels and the city has more than it's fair share of narcos (drug cartel members), coyotes (people smugglers), thieves, kidnappers, gang bangers, and other miscreants. While this doesn't necessarily make it unsafe for civilians who mind their own business and stick to the beaten path, be sure to take extra precautions and to stay away from bars, discos, and especially red light districts where this sort of rough trade congregates. Avoid getting drunk and always keep your wits about you. Don't even think about getting involved in anything illegal here. Avoid traveling at night and take taxis whenever possible.