Famed for its hedonistic nightlife and proliferation of public universities, one might be inclined to think that nouveau border city Reynosa was rebuilt purely for the future of its student populace. Located at the far North-East point of Mexico, upon the boundary of Tamaulipas State shared by Texas, Reynosa has long been an important commercial crossing into the U.S. But it wasn't always so. Before foundation of the city at its present scenic location on the banks of the Rio Grande river, Reynosa existed as a colonial “villa”, some 20 km South -West of the new settlement. The low lying plateau was prone to flooding, devastating the old city for Centuries until José de Escandón y Helguera, Count of Sierra Gorda, set in motion the move of the entire town to the present spot.
Geared up for cross border tourism since the move of 1748, Reynosa is extremely culturally diverse. Overflowing with plenty of authentic restaurante economicos at the city's heart, you'll also find an equal sprinkling of big name fast food chains such as Burger King and Chili's. Welcoming tacquerias (informal taco vendors or open-air restaurants) can be found in abundance from Mercado Zaragoza (Market) to Plaza Principal; the aromas of carne asada (grilled, marinated steak strips) and pescado frito (fried tilapia fish) are nigh on impossible to resist. Traditional cuisine takes inspiration from staple foods both sides of the Mexico-American border, pairing the spice and citrus grown in Mexico's sunny agricultural region, with the prime beef cultivated by ranch owners in the state of Texas.
Packed to the rafters with vendor carts, Mercado Zaragoza is a cultural experience in itself. Rich cotton sarapes, loom-woven coverings and huge sombreros pervade the main forum, partially concealing the maze of narrow aisles created by vendor stalls and taco stands. The Antiguo Mercado Hidalgo is significantly smaller, yet features a wealth of handcrafted souvenirs, gifts and antiques for the discerning shopper. An effortless art gallery of religious depictions, indigenous symbolism and bajo sexto guitars, its truly a great way of discovering the centuries old artisanal crafts of the region. Museo de Histórico on the Avenida Hidalgo displays some early examples of Meso-American pottery craft from old Reynosa, along with samples of cotton murals from the 18th Century.
Colonial delights are few and far between within Nuevo Reynosa – the Catedral Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe de Reynosa possibly being the best preserved example of 18th Century neo-Classical architecture. Similar to the Catedral de Nuestra Senora del Refugio at Matamoros, it features little by way of external opulence save for ornate cupolas and an antique clock. Thought to have been built in 1789, it was the home of a Franciscan monastery for over 150 years. The towers of the Church of Christ, planted beside the Cathedral loom far above the clock-tower. Comparable in aesthetics to that of a European church constructed in the 1970's, the flagstone clad twin towers and distinctive linear symmetry strike a bold contrast to the old Franciscan building.
Reynosa's modest offerings may not be quantitative, however the surrounding rural landscapes represent some of the most beautiful undulating areas of North Eastern Mexico. Due South East, the topography is distinctly more hilly at Pedragoso Sierra, influencing its location as ideal for hiking and nature trails. Cougars and ocelots are two of the most thriving mammal species of the region, yet so elusive, its a magical moment if you ever have the fortune to snap one.
Attractions & Things To Do in Reynosa
Museo de Histórico – filled with the relics of its ancient Meso-American past, the diminutive museo offers a brief glimpse into the short history of Neuvo Reynosa. Exhibits include ancient pottery, 17th Century loom woven tapestries and photographs illustrating the city during the “Cotton Boom.” Open: 9: 30 am – 5: 30 pm.