Juarez (Spanish:Ciudad Juárez) is a city in the state of Chihuahua, Mexico. It stands on the Rio Grande, across the United States border from El Paso.
- Juarez is accessible by Mexican Federal Highway 2 which runs along the United States border and Mexican Federal Highway 45 which heads south to Chihuahua.
- From the United states, US Highways 62 and 54 end at the Mexican border and are the main international crosings from the United States. Most visitors that come for a single day choose to park on the US side of the border and walk across the bridges as to avoid dealing with the chaotic Juarez traffic and long waits for vehicles reentering the United States.
- NOTE: No documentation is required to enter Juarez since it is located in the Mexican Zona Frontera. However, reentry to the United States will require documentation as usual.
Juarez is a large Mexican city located in the middle of the Chihuahuan Desert. While you are undoubtedly in Mexico, you are nowhere near the tropical Mexico with beautiful beaches and Aztec and Mayan culture many people expect. Juarez is home to the Mexican Vaquero (Cowboy) culture and you should be much more likely to encounter people resembling cowboys than any other vision of a Mexican one might have. However, Juarez is rich in the northern culture of Mexico, and most travellers will find this more charming and realistic than the culture they experience at many other locales that are not off the beaten path in Mexico.
There is a public bus system in Juarez; however, it is not very easy to use and is often looked over by tourists. Taxis are abundant; however, most sites of touristic interest in Juarez can be reached by walking. Upoin arrival in Juarez it is likely that most foreigners will received by a plethora of taxi drivers offering to drive them to the market. While the market cannot be seen from the border crossing it is a relitively short walk and a taxi ride would result in an unfairly high fair that is not really necessary to pay.
- The Guadalupe Mission
- The Cathedral
- El Chamizal
- San Jose Church
- Juarez History Museum
- Samalayuca Dunes
- Art and History Museum
- Monument to Benito Juárez
- San Agustin Regional Museum
Juarez is unlike many border towns in that it is a major city with over a million inhabitants. However, most foreign tourists will still enjoy the same elements of stereotypical Mexican culture that they do in other border towns such as Nogales, Tijuana, and Nuevo Laredo.
- Enjoy a drink at a patio cafe with some chips and salsa at reasonable prices.
- Shop the markets for typical Mexican wares.
- Attend a bullfight at the Plaza de Toros when in season.
Typical Mexican souviners such as blankets, pottery, and trinkets themed in Mexican culture.
Make sure to haggle as it will be expected. The merchants speak English and are constantly encountering Americans so you will not seem very foreign to them if you are not Mexican yourself.
- Juarez has a great selection of restaurants that specialize in authentic Mexican cuisine. The cuisine in Juarez is much different from the Tex Mex that is eaten on the the other side of the Rio Grande in El Paso. A great dish to try for those not experienced in Mexican cuisine would be Steak Ranchero, a favorite of the author.
- There are also many vendors is small stores and carts that make tacos using fresh tortillas, vegetables, and your choice of several meats such as beef, chicken, pork, and chorrizo (a spicy mexican sausage). As long as you can see the meat being cooked you should feel fine eating this food, although it may be outside of some inexperinced travellers comfort levels. Tacos are served "by the order" and you should not expect to pay more than 20 pesos or $2 for a order of 5.
- As Juarez is a major city there are some very nice steakhouses where you will be pampered by an exceptional waitstaff in a luxurious setting. However, expect to pay about half of what you would stateside. A delicious steak dinner with all the fixins can be had for around 100 pesos, $10.
- Basically Beer and Tequila will be the alcoholic drinks of choice. Remember, although you are in Mexico, you are in the middle of the desert and not a beach resort so dont expect to have Piña Coladas and Strawberry Daiquiris at your disposal. However due to the large amount of Texans crossing the border some places will have margaritas ready.
- Most people arrive in Mexico expecting Corona to be free flowing, but this beer is not really drank in Mexico. If you are in a touristic place you will find Corona, but outside of touristy Juarez, the local beer Carta Blanca is the beer of choice. This beer is definitely worth a try as it is a favorite of the locals.
- For those wishing not to partake in alcoholic beverages stop in at any store with the words "La Michoacana" in its name. It sells fruit flavored ice creams, popcisles, and fruit flavored drinks that come in many flavors and are very refreshing under the hot desert sun.
Juarez has its fair share of local and international hotels; however, many travellers will find it easier to spend the night across the Rio in El Paso, as it is a large American city will all the usual American services.
- Taking a drive eastboud along Mexican Federal Highway 2 is a fun drive that stops in many idyllic Mexican towns along the Rio Grande. You can escape the hustle and bustle of Juarez and slow down a little, as people expect to do in Mexico.
- You will need to have documentation in order to reenter the United States. While a drivers License is usually acceptable for United States and Canadian citizens, beginning December 31, 2006 the United States Federal Government will require that all travellers entereing the United States from all Mexican points of Entry have a valid passport. While this law has been met with a fair amount of dissent from American travellers it is expected to be strongly enforced. So even if you only plan to spend a few hours in Juarez, make sure you have your passport with you if you plan to cross the Rio Grande.