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How Far - San Antonio to Laredo/Border

Madison, WI
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How Far - San Antonio to Laredo/Border

Can anyone tell me how far of a drive it is from San Antonion to Laredo/the border? Is it an easy drive? Are there places to park on the US side of the border to walk across? Any info on crossing the border to eat shop or Laredo in general would be appreciated.

Thanks

Roswell, New Mexico
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1. Re: How Far - San Antonio to Laredo/Border

You must not have been reading the news recently. The State Dept. has re-issued warnings to Americans to stay away from Nuevo Laredo. 30 Americans have disappeared there in the past 6 months, and there is a major league drug war is going on. Check the news if you think I'm exagerrating.

If you feel the need to make the world's butt-ugliest 2 hr. drive, here's some tips from someone who just esacaped from Laredo after 5 long years.

The drive is about 2 hours. It is ugly and dull, and the drivers get worse the closer you get to Laredo. Most of the drivers are uninsured.

Park down by the mall at bridge #2. It'll cost a few bucks, but you'll be behind a fence. Otherwise, your car has a good chance has a good chance of disappearing to Mexico. You won't get it back.

Cross the bridge early. It'll cost less than a buck. Scurvy dudes in white shirts and gold chains will offer you prescriptions. Some will offer you cocaine. It's terribly cut, and you have a good chance of buying from a dealer in cahoots with the local cops. You don't want to go to the Nuevo jail; it's run by drug gangs and people (inclusing Americans) get killed there. The cops are corrput and in cahoots with the drig gangs.

The duty-free shops screw you on good scotch and tequila, but you can get good deals on more prosaic items (Stoli, Jim Beam, etc...)

For food or snacks, the El Dorado/Cadillac Bar(the old one) is reliable, and has great gin fizzes. Victoria 3020 has great guacamole; it's the fancy place on the border. El Rancho is a ways down Guerreo; it has decent grilled meats, mariachi bands, try the michelada (beer, tomato juice, lime juice--tasty!). The best place I found was El Rincon de Viejo. You'll need to take a cab, but the cabrito is good. Sombero's (next to Cadillac Bar) used to have good snacks and tequila specials. I once found a dime bag of good weed in one of the bathroom stalls.

If you walk, the cheapest cerveza will be at a little restaurant on the lefthand side called Tokyo, which, ironically, serves mexican food. I've never tried the food, but it's a good place to rest and get a refreshment or six on your way to El Rancho.

Do not go to Popagallo's, La Zona, or to the donkey show.

Visting Nuevo Laredo is a sketchy enterprise at best. I quit going across 3 years ago as the drug crime increased.

You may think I'm exagerrating about the scurvy character of Nuevo, but check your Lonely Planet and the news. You'll see I'm correct.

Madison, WI
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2. Re: How Far - San Antonio to Laredo/Border

Thanks for the info. I guess I am just so use to crossing the border from San Diego to TJ that I didn't think twice about the safety issue.

I did a google search and found the notice.

Mexico travel alert reissued

U.S. singles out Nuevo Laredo in border travel warning

By IOAN GRILLO

Chronicle Foreign Service

MEXICO CITY - As drug gangs continue fighting a violent turf war in northern Mexico, the U.S. State Department on Tuesday issued a new travel advisory warning Americans about the risks of crossing the Rio Grande.

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The advisory, which replaces a three-month warning issued in January, alerts Americans to dangers along the entire border. But it singles out the city of Nuevo Laredo, across the river from Laredo, as a hot spot.

"More than 30 U.S. citizens have been kidnapped and/or murdered in the past eight months (in Nuevo Laredo) and public shootouts have occurred during daylight hours near frequented shopping areas and on streets leading to the international bridges," the warning says.

"One of the shootouts spilled onto the Mexican side of the bridge itself."

The Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Mexico was working to improve border security and suggested the State Department had overreacted. "Imprecisions and generalizations that hurt the spirit of cooperation in law enforcement and the fight against organized crime should be avoided," the statement said.

The warning, which is in effect until July 29, stops short of advising Americans not to visit Mexico. However, it recommends they take extra precautions, such as visiting only during daylight hours and avoiding red-light districts and neighborhoods where street drug dealing occurs.

"We recognize that thousands of U.S. citizens cross the border each day and have no trouble," said the U.S. consul to the city of Matamoros, John Naland, who helped write the advisory.

The January travel warning hurt businesses in northern Mexico, many of which rely on U.S. customers for a sizable chunk of their income.

In the historic center of Nuevo Laredo, the number of U.S. shoppers has dropped by half in recent months, according to Higinio Ibarra, president of Nuevo Laredo's Shop Owners Association.

In an interview last week, Ibarra said he would be infuriated if the U.S. government re-issued the warning.

"Why doesn't our government warn Mexicans about visiting the United States?" Ibarra said. "There are plenty of murders there. But American businesses rely on Mexican customers."

President Vicente Fox recently vowed to fight "the mother of all battles" against Mexican drug cartels, which analysts estimate make over $40 billion per year smuggling cocaine, marijuana and heroin into the United States.

Under Fox's government, the police have arrested record numbers of high-profile gangsters. But his efforts have sometimes inadvertently helped cause more violence, as rival gangs try to take over smuggling routes controlled by mobsters who have been jailed or killed.

"A power vacuum within criminal organizations resulting from the imprisonment of several of their leaders along the Mexico-U.S. border continues to contribute to a deterioration of public safety in the region," the new advisory states.

In recent months, the government has sent hundreds of federal police and soldiers onto the streets of border cities, including Nuevo Laredo, to bolster security.

However, the extra police presence has failed to stop the bloodshed. There have been nearly 400 drug-related killings in northern Mexico since January, according to Mexico City's El Universal newspaper.

Tuesday's travel advisory warns that In some cases, assailants wore full or partial police uniforms and used vehicles that resemble police vehicles, suggesting that some elements of the police might be involved.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

San Antonio, Texas
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3. Re: How Far - San Antonio to Laredo/Border

These warnings are no surprise to me. All border towns between Texas and Mexico are the dirtiest, nastiest, scariest places that I've ever seen in my life with Nuevo Laredo being the top stinker. Last year for a weekend "getaway" my wife and I decided to go there because we had never been and heard other people say "go party in Nuevo Laredo - good food/cheap drinks - it's great!". We thought it would be better than other border towns like Matamoros. We were wrong. Just like the guy from NY said - as soon as you cross the border you are bombarded with people trying to sell you stuff - they get in your face and don't back down easily. The streets are full of potholes and trash. Everything is dirty. Seedy characters are everywhere. If you take a wrong turn, you could wind up in an alley with scary men approaching (like we did!). We quickly turned around and crossed back into Texas...back into our safe hotel room, where we stayed for the rest of the night and left first thing the next day vowing never to return to a Mexican border town for the rest of our lives. We actually feel lucky to be alive. We've been in unsafe areas in other cities in the U.S. and never feared our lives like we did in Nuevo Laredo. I feel sorry for the good, poor people that are stuck there because that town is definitely hell on earth.

South Padre Island...
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4. Re: How Far - San Antonio to Laredo/Border

Hello,

Living on the border here in Brownsville, Texas, there is no need to cross over anymore. Mexico's border towns have lost the charm they once had. If you must cross, I recommend you check out Reynosa/Progresso area near McAllen. That is the last of the true Mexican border towns you'll find. There are no beggars there. The entire town caters to the tourist and there are law enforcement that are dedicated to just making sure that the tourist is treated fair and square.

Then, make a stop over to South Padre Island, recently ranked the #2 best place in the nation for a 2nd home and #3 best beach in the nation.

www.spireviews.com

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