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El Paso or Las Cruces?

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El Paso or Las Cruces?

We hope to be travelling south (in early March)from a stay in Albuquerque to see all the usual (White Sands, Mexico, Carlsburg Caverns)and any other places recommended. Should we stay in El Paso, Las Cruces or somewhere else entirely!? Thanks all.

Uden, The...
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
posts: 55,451
reviews: 42
1. Re: El Paso or Las Cruces?

Hi Lincee.

I would not want to go into Mexico with the drugwars and all. Too dangerous. For White Sands stay Las Cruces or Alamogordo. For Carlsbad Caverns stay Carlsbad. El Paso is a big city (800.000 inh) and not my favorite places to locate myself for a longer stay. I'd prefer Las Cruces for that. Another nice area's are around Ruidoso and Silver City. But I would relocate myself for the visits and not stay in one place.

Tet

Colorado
posts: 2,456
reviews: 3
2. Re: El Paso or Las Cruces?

I totally agree about staying in Las Cruces for the White Sands National Monument portion of your visit. The old Mexican town of Mesilla is just adjacent to Las Cruces and fun for a half day visit.

El Paso is definitely a border town. Although the actual violence from Ciudad Juarez has not spilled over into the U.S., there have been innocent victims that have been from El Paso that have been killed in their drug violence. If you are totally intent on visiting Mexico, I would go to El Paso and take the trolley over into Ciudad Juarez.

To visit Carlsbad Caverns, you need to stay in that area. It is a long drive from Carlsbad to Las Cruces, and in order to devote correct time to visiting the Caverns you need to be located in that area.

Without wanting to offend, I stand by my warning--Think long and hard about visiting a border city in Mexico, and be careful about the border cities on the U. S. side.

New York City, New...
Destination Expert
for Santa Fe, Heidelberg
posts: 6,471
reviews: 32
3. Re: El Paso or Las Cruces?

I found Las Cruces and El Paso to be quite different, with Las Cruces more to my liking. Las Cruces has New Mexico State University which has a strong influence on the town, giving it a slight upscale edge. Mesilla ( a few miles south) is a wonderful old town with nice plaza, restaurants, etc. I thought El Paso was OK but a bit old and sprawling with less "charm."

Uden, The...
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
posts: 55,451
reviews: 42
4. Re: El Paso or Las Cruces?

We went into Mexico several times but not recently. Last time was from Las Cruces to Columbus. Parked the car at the USA side and walked into Palomas. Not much there. Actually a bit scary. You can make a nice loop from Las Cruces though by visiting Rockhound SP near Deming, short sidetrip to City of Rocks in the Silver City direction, drive to Columbus for Pancho Villa, drive the borderroute (nm9, all paved now) to El Paso and back to Las Cruces. Count on several stops by the border patrols. West of Las Cruces is a permanent station. La Mesilla makes a nice visit.

You are not allowed to bring a rental car into Mexico unless you have an insurance for the whole duration of you rentalperiode, so not only for your Mexico stay and some cies just restrict to drive into Mexico at all.

Tet

Colorado
posts: 2,456
reviews: 3
5. Re: El Paso or Las Cruces?

There is border violence in Columbus also.

Forgot that rental cars can't be taken into Mexico, which is another good reason not to go. Only way to go would be trolley from downtown El Paso, and then ONLY in the DAYTIME!

Uden, The...
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
posts: 55,451
reviews: 42
6. Re: El Paso or Las Cruces?

Some rentalcarcies allow to bring the car into Mexico but you'll need extra insurances.

Albuquerque, New...
posts: 12
reviews: 80
7. Re: El Paso or Las Cruces?

I grew up in Las Cruces and would recommend it over El Paso. El Paso tends to get the pollution from Mexico and is a large city. I would not go to Mexico with the drug wars. The shopping mercado has closed down and there isn't much to see in the border town.

The caves in Carlsbad will take a full day. If you really want a caving experience make reservations for Slaughter Canyon. They take a limited number of people per day and you bring your own light source. It's not dangerous, it's just less populated and more of a cave experience. If you only have time to do one cave, however, do the big cave.

White Sands. Take a picnic lunch and I would recommend going in the evening if you are going to be there in the summer. It can easily get over 100 degrees. One of the fun activities is to 'sled' down the dunes. I would recommend finding a large piece of cardboard and buying some wax (that you would use for canning, you can find it in the grocery store). The cardboard becomes slick when you rub the wax on it and it's easier to slide down the dunes.

I would recommend going to Cloudcroft on the way over to Carlsbad. It's a quaint, sleepy community in the mountains. Alamogordo has the space museum. It's been a while since I've been there, but it was nice.

It will take about 45 mins to an hour to drive from Las Cruces to White Sands. Alamogordo is another 15-20 minutes further. From Las Cruces to Carlsbad is about 4 hours, you can go through Alamogordo or through El Paso. The Alamogordo route is prettier.

Enjoy your trip!!

Albuquerque, New...
posts: 2,168
reviews: 36
8. Re: El Paso or Las Cruces?

The drug wars have to some extent been much reduced by the Mexican Army doing patrols in the border cities such as Ciudad Juarez, across from El Paso. If you are intent on visiting Juarez, cross on the main bridge into downtown from downtown El Paso. Personally, I would avoid the trolly. There is parking on the American side, and you can walk across the bridge. I would not venture more than 2 blocks in, and above all, do not waunder off onto any side streets. On the Main Street, you should be OK.

I too have previously lived in both Las Cruces, and El Paso. And would recommend you stay in Las Cruces between the two. Much smaller, less hassle. If you are traveling between Las Cruces, White Sands, and Carlsbad Caverns...definitely go east from WS through Alamogordo, 9,000ft. Cloudcroft in the pines, and Artesia to Carlsbad. You can travel from Carlsbad Caverns to El Paso to Las Cruces on your return. (Or return to Albuquerque via Roswell if you are going to skip El Paso/Juarez.

In early March, it will be cool at White Sands, so the afternoon is the definite time to visit. Still, bring sunglasses, and water, as there is none inside the park.

If it wouldn't cost you much more for airfare...you might consider flying into Albuquerque, and out of El Paso. That would save some miles driving. Get back to us as your vacation nears for more details.

Marina, California
Destination Expert
for Tucson
posts: 5,376
reviews: 99
9. Re: El Paso or Las Cruces?

Las Cruces simply because you'll get a better deal on the hotel, it's safer and the food is better. Also, El Paso is in Texas...

10. Re: El Paso or Las Cruces?

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