I might have an opportunity to go on an afternoon group tour from El Paso, Texas to Juarez, Mexico this spring. I have heard all kinds of horror stories about Juarez. On the other hand, I have also heard a lot of good news out of Juarez as well (ie, violence is down, tourist areas are safe now, group tours are safe now, etc).
Have you been to Juarez lately? Did you feel safe in the tourist areas? Would you go again?
@BelfryBat, it has been a number of years since I have been to Ciudad Juarez but if you stick to the main tourist area downtown you should be fine. Don’t wander off the beaten path that could lead to big problems. If you are going with a group stick together. As always watch you wallet and other belongings. For travels where there is high pickpocket probabilities I wear my “Pickpocket Proof Pants.” They are a little pricy but I think they are worth it. The web site is, clothingarts.com.
Make the the best of it, you can get some good food.
Thanks, Gefe. I appreciate these responses. I will probably have a choice between going to Juarez and going on a special private tour of the Hueco Tanks State Park. The tours run at the same time so I have to choose one or the other.
I have been researching Juarez online and I have been driving around the city on Google Maps. You would be surprised how almost all of the city is covered by Google Maps now, even the really bad areas. Overall, the downtown area looks like it's been cleaned up quite a bit. I have noticed a lot of a families taking their children to the parks downtown which would have never happened seven or eight years ago during the height of the drug wars.
I have been in Mexico once before and I felt very safe but I was in a tourist area.
I’m sure it’s better now than even five years ago. I was there around 2003 or 2004. Things then got really bad. When we were there there was the guy that was kidnapping and murderin women. They even made a movie about that (forget the name). That movie showed some of the real seedy areas you don’t want to even get close to. I will say the food was good. We ate at the better stands along the street. Don’t eat the lettuce. Lettuce is full of water and that can give you the runs and more. Cabbage is ok. Only sealed bottled water. I used to spend a lot of time in Mexico but haven’t recently. My buddy keeps inviting me to his place in Rosario, I’ll have to take him up on that soon.
I talked with some friends who have been. They say that as long as you stay in the tourist areas and stay with your group you are generally going to be very safe. That was my suspicions but I'm glad yet confirmation from people on here as well.
Good tip on the lettuce. Last time I was in Mexico I got sick but it was totally worth it.
I figured that this might be my one and only chance to see the historic sites and museums in Juarez because I would not walk over that bridge by myself. At least with a group we get to go with someone who knows where they're going and we will have safety in numbers.
One of the representatives told me that if Juarez suddenly becomes unsafe even for a group tour then we will not go.
Overall, I'm really looking forward to the opportunity to go to Juarez. If we are able to go then I will certainly write my 5 stories about Juarez on here.
Looking forward to it. When I was there I didn’t even take a camera. We actually went there a few days before my buddy’s daughter played in a basketball game at UTEP. She played for the Univ of Nevada Reno. We took the bus over from El Paso and then found a hotel. After a couple nights we headed back over the bridge to El Paso for the game and one more night before heading home. I’m glad we went. At least with a tour group you will see more sights. We were on foot.
That is great that she played college basketball. I was in the Women's Basketball Band at the University of Kansas. (you pretty much had to be a Music Major to be good enough to get into the Men's Basketball Band). Thus, I got to play Trombone at a lot of basketball games including a few tournament games.
I plan to leave my big DSLR camera back at the hotel in El Paso. I will take my cell phone camera over to Juarez if I'm able to go. The image quality is not as good obviously but I would rather not be carrying a big fancy camera around in Juarez even if we are with a group. It is just an afternoon trip so I plan to pack lightly.
Well, guess what? I went ahead and I signed up for the tour. We are planning to spend about 5 hours in Juarez. We will be visiting the Museum of the Reformation, and we will be doing a walking tour of some historic and cultural sites within the tourist area.
As a side note, if you go online and research Juarez, you will read all kinds of opinions ranging from, "don't even think about it you will get beheaded within 5 minutes" to "the tourist areas are perfectly safe during the day if you stay with your group and take normal precautions". I am going with the second opinion and I am planning on enjoying an afternoon in Juarez. Of course, I will take the same precautions I would take in any other place. One thing I really like about the Barclays Travel Community is the fact that I can get good opinions from people who have actually been to places where I want to travel.
When I get back, I will share my experiences on the Barclays Travel Community. Of course, I will also have plenty of stories from El Paso and the USA side of the Border. The trip is still several weeks away.
Sounds great. Looking forward to reading and seeing pics about you trip. I hardly ever believe some of those sites online because a lot of the people that write about the different places are very paranoid to begin with even before they travel. I hear about problems almost everywhere but with common sense and if you are with a group, in general, you are safe. Sure I gat pick pocketed once in Mexico, it was two bucks and I knew it happened, it wasn't worth my safety to confront the person. I saw pick pocketers in Paris and one approached me, I just told her to back off. I always say common sense goes a long way.
Have a great trip and travel safe.