Exploring and Enjoying Juarez, Mexico in 5 Photos

Just before flying to El Paso, Texas  I was told – we’d spend a night in Juarez too.

Where? ….. Donde?

Ciudad Juarez.

Yes, that Juarez; the Juarez from the news.

I joked about the fact it was clearly staying adventurous with the trip organizers, but admittedly, I wondered if it was also staying safe. I believe Mexico is relatively safe, but Juarez would test me, how could it not it was once labeled the most dangerous city in the world.

Here is a look at what I discovered in five photos.  Take a look at my twenty-four hours in Juarez.

The Border Town of Juarez

One of the Border Signs near the Juarez, Mexico and Texas El Paso, USA border

those distant train tracks are very busy with shipping too.

Actually, it is hardly a town. Juarez, a city of 2 million people (I was told) borders the US city of El Paso, Texas (800,000) creating the largest populated border crossing (city-to-city) in the world.

And there is a spot, a place where you can walk across the official border without much interaction or a fence (there are also 4-5 official crossings) A marker in Madero Park highlights a place where Texas, New Mexico and Chihuahua (the state name in Mexico) meet.

Also, besides the marker you’ll find a adobe small house now a makeshift  museum.  It is famous because of the leaders who spent time here including the President of Mexico and Pancho Villa. Pancho was also apparently a party to  “secret” meetings with the US regarding the military invasion of Mexico during its Revolution too. I’d learn more about that at our next destination.

 Museo de la Revolucion en la Frontera

Julian Alvarez, a professor of Tourism at Juàrez University and a part-time tour guide with Chihuahua Tours explains the Mexican Revolution at its museum en Juarez, Mexico.

the US played a role in the 11 year Mexican Revolution

A new museum dedicated to the revolution has recently opened in Juarez. It’s a very modern building, almost out of place in an old part of town, plans to be a major attraction for the many Mexicans that come to Juarez to obtain legal access to the States when processing paperwork.

Our official guide and historian, Julian Alvarez a professor of Tourism at Juàrez University and a part-time tour guide with Chihuahua Tours explained his take on the revolution as we viewed the many paintings, photos, and artifacts. He believes the revolution was not the romantic movement as taught in school, but that many of the labeled “heroes” didn’t truly act as such.

Juarez Cathedral

Juarez Cathedral in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico

A main plaza in Mexico always includes a church or cathedral.  The catholic church, still at the center of much in Mexico (and in Juarez), impresses with its grandeur in Juarez.  As we walked by, we heard a choir signing outside and watched some child mime performers. Something was being celebrated, maybe it was they spotted a few American visitors?

 The Classic City Streets of Juarez

the city streets of Juarez with a bus by the main indoor market

classic downtown Juarez

Strolling is the best way to discover any city. We didn’t walk too far from the church and main plaza, just a few blocks en route to the market, but it’s on the street that I felt like this was Juarez. I saw the city and its people.

The streets tell the story of the city. In fact, my guide through Chihuahua, Dave Hensleigh of Authentic Copper Canyon would run the streets the following morning in a half marathon. The race was a success, although I missed cheering him on since I went out in Juarez.

 Border Drinks at Club Kentucky in Juarez

having drinks at Club Kentucky in Juarez Mexico

yes, we had a good time indeed.

Club Kentucky is famous with its legendary story about the creation of the Margarita. Whether the story that the US prohibition caused is true or not, the border bar was packed this evening and served up some fine Margaritas. People were out having a good time on a Saturday night.

And that’s what I realized about Ciudad Juarez, people were out and living life. They were running errands, selling pastries, riding buses, and walking the city streets. The city had a pulse and a life, it was good to see it and be a part of it. Ah Chihuahua!

 So Is Ciudad Juarez Safe?

I am not sure that twenty-four hours in any city allows you to make a declaration on anything about the destination. But what did I learn? Well, if Juarez is the most dangerous city in the world (once labeled such) – well, then the world is in a good place.  A very good place.

And the next morning  on the bus through the vast landscape of Chihuahua en route to Chihuahua City, I felt educated through travel. I left as a different person; I had changed.  Juarez wasn’t wonderful. I am not recommending travelers flock to the city for weekend getaways when visiting Chihuahua (I will recommend the El Chepe Pacifico Train through Copper Canyon), But it was special. Very special. Yes, special because of the people I interacted with, special because of what I learned about the city, and special because of what I discovered about myself  – and that is the essence of stay adventurous travel.

Stay adventurous, Craig

Special thanks to the Mexican Tourism Board and Authentic Copper Canyon for the invite and opportunity opening my eyes to this part of Mexico. Ah Chihuahua! 

This post is part of the Adventure Mindset Special Series.

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  • http://davidpaulkrug.com/ David Krug

    Juarez has calmed almost entirely in the last few years…. Tijuana is on the rise again as far as violence is concerned and in general mexico is a safe place.

    • http://www.stayadventurous.com/ craig zabransky

      David, good to hear from you amigo. Still have yet to go to Tijuana… but definitely agree – Mexico is generally a safe place.

      stay safe, Craig

      • http://davidpaulkrug.com/ David Krug

        Still that doesn´t mean I´d go out of my way to visit Juarez… but i dont mind passing through it. I´m just diligent about safety.

      • http://www.stayadventurous.com/ craig zabransky

        Dave, I am not advocating tourists travel to Juarez… but I do think my passing through did change my perception of the place as travel often does… stay adventurous, Craig

      • http://bajabybus.com/ Ian Wright

        Glad to hear you stayed safe as well as adventurous in Juarez, Craig.

        I’d be keen to know what David has heard or experienced relating to Tijuana. I just spent an excellent (and peaceful) weekend there with my wife, at the Xolos game on Friday, Baja Culinary Fest in the city centre on Saturday (many people crossed “la linea” for this) and Popotla on Sunday. What’s been happening?

  • Bill Kaliher

    Thanks for this–about 15 years since I visited Juarez—I always liked that city–but it looks much cleaner these days–

    • http://www.stayadventurous.com/ craig zabransky

      Bill, I really enjoyed my 24 hours in the city. I learned a ton too. Most people although they have been through a lot in recent years, were very optimistic and proud of their hometown…. Plus, you really get the real story about places and people when you travel (one of the reasons I love travel so much – an educator)

      stay adventurous, Craig

  • @mrsoaroundworld

    I must be honest and say that I never heard about this place. The most dangerous in the world? Seriously? Glad you had a bit of fun

    • http://www.stayadventurous.com/ craig zabransky

      Mrs O, consider yourself lucky much of the US Media doesn’t find its way across the pond. And yes, a bit of fun can be had everywhere… it’s always a choice that must be made… Stay adventurous, Craig

  • Raul (@ilivetotravel)

    Wow, you are brave. Quite brave. Hopefully Juarez is beginning to calm down in terms of crime. Good to read about someone going as a visitor.

    • http://www.stayadventurous.com/ craig zabransky

      I have no comparisons, but from my conversations, yes it has calmed much…it was good to visit and glad I can share my findings. stay brave, Craig

  • CaptainandClark

    Well done, sir. We really enjoyed your insight into your brief introduction to Juarez. It’s a place that isn’t on our list but does strike our curiosity. We love that you always #stayadventuruos

    • http://www.stayadventurous.com/ craig zabransky

      Not sure it is on many lists, but it did strike my curiosity too… Now I am glad to know about a place and its people as supposed just hearing the “news” stay adventurous indeed, thanks, Craig

  • The World Wanderer

    Quite adventurous indeed! I love the photos you have and learning a bit more about Juarez. You probably couldn’t tell in only 24 hours, but I’m sure it was an interesting experience regardless.

    • http://www.stayadventurous.com/ craig zabransky

      Very interesting actually, especially given it’s place as one of the world’s most dangerous cities.. I am just glad to have learned through experience… it reminded how important that type of learning truly is and how/why travel is SO important. stay adventurous, Craig

  • Maryanne Been

    I have a friend from near there.. the stories are crazy. I am glad you are safe and thanks for sharing YOUR story. #STAYAWESOME

    • http://www.stayadventurous.com/ craig zabransky

      I guess it is good to know some people can have a GOOD story from Juarez… that is why we stopped there. I am glad we did. Stay sharing YOUR story, Craig

  • http://travelingted.com/ Traveling Ted

    You know you are TBHoF bound when you travel with a guide and a historian who is also official. I have never checked on the officialness of my guide and I have always been my own historian (very unofficial). Jaurez looks interesting. Places that are often most feared can often times surprise. Kind of like taking that college professor that everyone said was horrible who turned out to be great.

    • http://www.stayadventurous.com/ craig zabransky

      Ted, I am glad you can learn from posts… things can get very official south of the border… I was first surprised I was going to spend the night there, then surprised how much I appreciated my time there…

      stay official, Craig

  • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

    Whoa ho ho.. quite the adventurous, Craig. I’ll admit, this is not on my list of visits any time soon, but I know more about it now than before and that’s a plus in my books! :)

    • http://www.stayadventurous.com/ craig zabransky

      Kieu, yes definitely don’t expect it to be on many or truly any lists… but for someone who loves Mexico as I do, I appreciated seeing and experience the people of Juarez… It changed my perception and that is what travel does… stay adventurous, Craig

  • Leah Travels

    I used to go to Jaurez when I was much younger, long before the drug cartels were at war. I remember it being a neat place. Now, you couldn’t pay me to cross. Ironically, El Paso is one of the safest cities in the US, while Juarez is one of the most dangerous in the world. Interesting fact.

    • http://www.stayadventurous.com/ craig zabransky

      Ironically, our car was “damaged” in El Paso and then fixed in Juarez on my visit… but I just hope the peaceful existence from El Paso find more of its way to Juarez… as you said it is a neat town. stay adventurous, Craig

  • Lola DiMarco

    Aside from honoring the dear Club
    Kentucky, who I will remember to thank next round of margaritas,
    I can’t say I would ever think twice about visiting Juarez nowadays. Despite my
    love of margaritas, your post is about as close as I’ll be getting! I’m
    sure it was a cool experience though! Way to live on the edge 😉

    • http://www.stayadventurous.com/ craig zabransky

      Please honor the club in proper fashion, stay honorable, Craig

  • http://www.jettingaround.com/ Pola

    Wait a second, I thought Margarita was invented in Ensenada… I need to research that again.

    As far as danger, I can only assume that the label wasn’t placed on the city for nothing, but I also believe that the media blow things out of proportion (like with Tijuana, which I visited for its not-so-border-town attractions and enjoyed a lot). Glad you got to check out Juarez and tell us about it.

    Great cathedral pic with the flying bird!

    • http://www.stayadventurous.com/ craig zabransky

      Gracias Pola, yes… I did learn of the past issues over those margaritas… but it was great to see the city in a positive resurgence… and apparently, plenty of places claim the birthplace of the margarita… stay making claims, Craig

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  • http://www.stayadventurous.com/ craig zabransky

    Gracias Spanien, I appreciate your comment very much… stay sharing the positive, Craig