MEXICO CITY – As a nurse on the front lines of Mexico’s coronavirus battle, Gisela Hernandez has stayed away from her children for nearly two months, sleeping in a hotel and even her car to avoid infecting them because she feels inadequately protected at work.
At night, she video calls Santiago, 5, and Renata, 9, who are both asthmatic, to hear about what they’ve done during the day and remind them how much she misses them.
While Hernandez says she loves her work, and considers the National Institute of Respiratory Diseases (INER) in Mexico City her second home, she is also afraid of contracting the novel coronavirus. COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, has killed 9,415 people in Mexico.
“I don’t regret becoming a nurse, because I like to help my patients,” said Hernandez, 40, whose hospital is one of the city’s main treatment centers for COVID-19.
But she said she is “scared of getting sick … scared of never seeing my kids again.”
Health workers account for about a quarter of all of Mexico’s coronavirus infections, government data shows, one of the highest rates in the world. The risks are made worse by shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE).
COVID-19 cases are surging in Latin America, which along with the United States is now an epicenter of the global pandemic. Frontline workers in Mexico City’s hospitals, including Hernandez, have taken to the streets to complain about the conditions. A national march is planned for Monday.
INER, which has been at full capacity over the past week, said 49 of its workers have been infected at the hospital and another 54 have contracted the virus in the community, of which two have died.
In a May 8 memo seen by Reuters, INER’s Biosafety Committee said a global PPE shortage would require workers to don reusable surgical uniforms and cloth hospital gowns, instead of disposable gear. The letter also told workers to use their N95 masks for full shifts.
In response to requests for comment, the hospital shared with Reuters a statement it sent workers this week in which it said the measure regarding usage of masks was in line with World Health Organization advice. It also confirmed that workers were instructed to use non-disposable gowns and uniforms.
“To date, no sterilized N95 masks have been reused.”
However, a video seen by Reuters shows an official at INER telling staff to reuse sterilized N95 masks.
“We exploded when we were told we were going to recycle the N95s,” said Alejandro Cabrera, an INER nurse with two decades of experience.
Cabrera said workers are required to put their names on masks so the gear can be sent off for sterilization. “It’s terrible!” he said.
Mexico ranks eighth in the world in COVID-19 deaths, with Mexico City and a neighboring state accounting for some 40 percent of the country’s fatalities.
The Mexican government says it needs another 6,600 doctors and 23,000 nurses to battle the crisis, a shortage exacerbated by the high infection rate among medical staff — 11,394 health workers had contracted the virus and 149 had died as of May 17.
Medical professionals had accounted for 23 percent of all of the country’s infections as of that date. That compares to 3.7 percent in the United States, according to data released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week.
Despite the danger, Hernandez is doing her part to combat the disease.
She points to a box of chocolates and a yellow note from the family of one of her patients thanking and encouraging her to keep “working to save lives.”
“That’s one of the reasons I love my job so much, and despite the risks I still enjoy taking care of my patients,” she said.
Rosarito Coronavirus Covid-19 Outbreak – Cases Quarantine Deaths Stats to Baja California Mexico
Please listen to our Travel Guide to Rosarito
First thing, buy liability insurance. This can be purchased online or at numerous agencies at the border in San Ysidro. If you don’t buy it, have fun in jail. Even if the accident is not your fault, you will be held until that’s cleared. Even if you hit livestock on the road, you the driver are at fault. Liability ensures the cow’s owner is compensated. Also, arrive early most check=in times are around eleven and on busy holiday it will be very hard to find a room. The mexican cops prey on american plates so go early.
Rosarito Beach is easily accessed via a toll road that runs along the Pacific Ocean. The drive around Tijuana can be daunting. Follow the signs on the freeway, but be careful the signs usually appear only at the turnoffs. Don’t expect any notices before the turnoffs.
When returning there is an unmarked u-turn in Tijuana you need to take to get back to the United States. It’s at an interchange next to a Pemex station. Look for a line of cars with American plates making a u-turn.
If you don’t want to drive in, there are buses from Tijuana.
For about US$15 you can take a taxi to Rosarito. Some Taxi Drivers may charge more, though.
There are 2 main roads to Rosarito coming from Tijuana/San Diego.
The Toll Road (Mexico 1D – Cuota) is much easier and faster on getting to Rosarito. After crossing the border get into the 3rd lane (counting out from the median), in about 100 meters you’ll be on an overpass and a 4th lane will bring on merging traffic, move over to the 4th lane and an offramp to the right will take you to the Via International/Carretera Mexico 1D. This is the main highway to take you to Rosarito, Ensenada, and the western part of Tijuana (Las Playas). If you keep your eye out for signs that indicate any of these three locations it is easier to drive in Mexico, but remember that the toll (cuota) and free (libre) route often split from the same road so may careful attention to the signs to avoid taking the wrong road. The toll cost will be about M$30 (about US$2.50) each way.
The Free Road (Mexico 1 – Libre) goes through Tijuana and can be harder to follow.
One of the best ways to visit Rosarito Beach is by going on a one day tour from San Diego. You can call Five Star Tours at 619 232 5040.
The whole tourist industry lies on Benito Juarez, the main street in town. There’s plenty of taxis as well. You’re never without friends or drinking buddies as long as you have cash.
- The Rosarito-Ensenada Bike Ride twice a year in April and October, is a “fun ride” 80 km (50 miles) along the coast and a few miles inland. Up to 10,000 riders participate in the ride, which ends with cervezas (beer) in Ensenada.
- California Motorsport Adventours Off-road adventure tours for people of all riding abilities. Everyone welcome: families, couples, friends, single riders, bachelor and corporate groups. Full day excursions or longer tours available also. Ride in the dunes and then enjoy a guided adventure into the surrounding mountain trails. Contact the office for reservations.
If you go to Rosarito for food a must stop is Puerto Nuevo located just 8 minutes south of Rosarito. This small town offers more than 35 restaurants all serving Lobsters. This style of lobster can be found throughout Baja called “Puerto Nuevo Style”
La Flor de Michoacan, on the north side of town on Benito Juarez, has a well-deserved reputation with tourists and locals alike. This restaurant is known for its carnitas (simmered and fried pork) dinners served family style with rice, beans, pico de gallo, fresh guacamole, and steaming, fresh tortillas wrapped in cloth and served in a basket. The restaurant also has a full bar and serves margaritas made with real strawberries. Carnitas plates are served two different ways. Mixed pork includes tripe and other pieces many do not find appetizing. If this is you, shell out the extra couple dollars and get the solid pork. You’ll be hard-pressed to spend more than US$10 a person, even with a pitcher or two of margaritas. The building is hard to miss, an imposing brick structure on a corner with a stop sign. Look for the word “CARNITAS” on top.
- Cha Cha Cafe, Km.31 Blvd. Popotla, La Barca, Rosarito Beach. (2 miles south of the Rosarito Beach Hotel.). 7am-4pm. Rosarito’s place to enjoy Food, Coffee, Desserts, People and Music. Take out and Delivery Available. Monday -Sunday.
Fresh sea food right off the boat, head south on the old road, at the Fox studios, there is a fishing village on the south side of the complex, about twenty restaurants, lots of locals and traffic on Sundays! Park on the main road and walk in. Food is very good, but if you expect American restaurant standards be aware, you are in Mexico. Walk around, don’t go in the first one, lots of English-speaking deported Mexicans trying to get you into their restaurant.
- The Mongolian Grill, Carretera Libre Tij-Ens Km.30 (2 miles south of Rosarito Beach Hotel). 11:30AM-8:30PM. Mongolian BBQ (select your meats, fresh veggies and seasonings). Weekly specials like Korean tacos and Thai coconut curry with chicken, shrimp, and bamboo shoots. US$6.75 + tax.
- Nonnies Italian Restaurant, Km. 31.5 Blvd. Popotla, La Barca, Popotla (2.5 miles south of Rosarito Beach Hotel). 11 am – 8 pm. Delicious, reasonably priced! Spaghetti & meatballs, fettucine, pizza, salads, and a great view! Call ahead for to go orders – your food will be ready when you arrive. Open Tuesday through Sunday. Open for “Spring Break fast” Fri, Sat, Sun at 7AM economical.
The history of Puerto Nuevo – in the 1950s and early 1960s this was a little fishing village where Americans would meet local guides at the billboard off the road. That billboard was for Newport Cigaretts – Puerto Nuevo is Newport in Spanish. This is the likely derivation of the name. One day the wife of a fisherman starting cooking the fish her husband and his clients caught… and the restaurant business was born. That original restaurant is known as #2 (this has to do with the lot numbering system); #1 was the second restaurant in town. Also, there are 8 restaurants in town with the name Ortegas. They are related and the competition is not all that friendly. Puerto Nuevo is a fun stop – the lobster is good – and you have plenty of choices for food, shopping and people watching!
The Beachcomber lies in the central part of town in a resort village. The resort village is gated, so you’ll have to park in the lot outside of the gate and take a small walk. If the guard asks at the gate where you’re going, just say you’re getting drinks at the bar, you don’t have to have a house there to drink. The bar has a patio right next to the beach, making it the perfect place to drink a beer or margarita and watch the sunset. There is also access to the beach here as well. While the drinks aren’t the cheapest in town, they aren’t overpriced, and you’re not going to pay a cover.
For a big club experience, check out Papas & Beer . Papas & Beer is a large club in the heart of Rosarito. Although the drinks are overpriced for the area they are cheap compared to US prices. There’s usually a cover, and sometimes a line, but the positive side is that if you are looking to dance, meet new people and have some cervezas, you will find what you are looking for here.
Where to stay in Playas de Rosarito
Rosarito Beach is a fast-growing town. With that growth comes growing pains! For this reason, it is best to avoid all high-rises and accommodations in downtown Rosarito. Loud music coming from the clubs is a persistent problem that tourists face when they try to go to sleep every night. The best bet is for people to go to privately owned Villas or Condos or Houses. Listings of all three types are plentiful and readily found everywhere.
- Rosarito Luxury Penthouse Garden Floor Luxury 2 bedroom, 2 bath penthouse. Large balcony overlooking the beach. There is a circular bar as well as a kitchen, spa and pool nearby.
- Villa Bonita Vista 3 Bd 4.5 bath vacation rental in Bajamar. Villa Bonita Vista is located on the 7th green of the Los Lagos Course with ocean and golf course views. Bajamar is in Ensenada.
- Rosarito Beach Hotel, Blvd. Benito Juarez 31. Built in 1925, this classic establishment is perfect for younger couples looking to have a great time in Rosarito. It has multiple pools and jacuzzis, and is situated right on the beach. There are numerous restaurants and bars in the hotel, and guests are given vouchers upon check-in so that they may enjoy a certain amount of free meals and drinks. If tranquility and relaxation are what you have in mind, this is not the place for you. Due to the fact that it is centrally located amongst Rosarito’s downtown area on Benito Juarez, the music from the clubs is audible until 4 AM, and the bass will shake the hotel, making it hard for those guests who are not out partying to fall asleep. If you are looking to go clubbin, let loose, and catch some sun during the day, however, this is the place for you.
- SeaSide Reservations Rosarito Beach. A great selection of Baja California vacation rentals to fit every group size and budget, with properties in Brisas del Mar, Calafia Resort, La Elegancia, Pacifica at Ensenada Bay, Playas de Tijuana, Ricamar, Rosarito Shores, San Antonio Del Mar, Santa Barabara at Baja Mar, The Park At Malibu, and Villa Serena Condos.
- Casa El Jardin (Bed & Breakfast), Emiliano Zapata St. #600, Rosarito Beach, BC (Col. Reforma. A Few blocks down from Wal-mart Shopping Center).
- Las Rocas Resort & Spa, Toll Free Road Tijuana-Ensenada Km 38.5, 1 888 527 7622 or 1 866 445 8909, . 72 ocean front rooms and suites, 2 restaurants, 2 bars, Holistic Spa, Ballroom and Gardens.
- Bobbys Baja by the Sea – One of the nicer places to stay in Rosarito Beach is Bobbys Baja – just North of Puerto Nuevo’s lobster village. Bobbys is a condo resort – so all the units have a kitchen and they are a lot more spacious than a hotel room. There are really nice – which is something one cannot say about some of the local hotels.
Current Covid-19 Infections in Baja California
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Please listen to our Travel Guide to Rosarito
Juarez Coronavirus Covid-19 Outbreak – Cases Quarantine Deaths Stats Chihuahua Mexico
Juarez (Spanish: Ciudad Juárez) is a city in the state of Chihuahua, Mexico. It stands on the Rio Grande, across the United States of America border from El Paso. It is named for 19th century president and popular hero Benito Juarez, the first Mexican president of indigenous descent.
A passport is required to enter the United States from Juárez. Juárez is part of Mexico’s zona frontera, and no visa or passport is required to enter from the United States. Pedestrians are rarely stopped or asked for identification. Vehicles may be stopped at random: usually indicated by a red light at the border crossing. Your vehicle may be searched if stopped, and the most serious matter is to carry a firearm or ammunition without a permit to do so: even one spent shell casing may result in serious charges.
Highways exiting Juárez have checkpoints that do require foreigners to present a visa. If you do not have one, you may fill out a tourist card at the checkpoint.
- From the rest of Mexico, Juarez is accessible by Mexican Federal Highway 2 which runs along the United States of America border and Mexican Federal Highway 45 which heads south to Chihuahua.
- From the United States, US Highways 62 (Stanton Street in El Paso) and 54 (also known as the Patriot Freeway) end at the Mexican border and are the main international crossings from the United States. Interstate 10 is the major highway leading to El Paso.
Near the Stanton Street bridge in downtown El Paso, 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 traffic, lack of parking in the city center, and long waits for vehicles reentering the United States. Parking is generally US$3 near the bridges.
- Abraham González International Airport. Offers flights to several destinations in Mexico, including Chihuahua, Monterrey, and Mexico City.
- El Paso International Airport is the most convenient airport for U.S. travelers.
Long-distance buses arrive at Central de Autobuses Ciudad Juarez, located on Blvd. Oscar Flores 4010.
Travel by train to Juarez
While there has not been service to Juarez since the early 1990s, neighboring El Paso is served thrice-weekly by Amtrak trains running between Chicago, New Orleans and Los Angeles.
Juarez is a large Mexican city located in the middle of the Chihuahuan Desert. While you are 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 will be 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 travelers 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.
However, special attention must be paid to criminal activity in Juarez, as well as the city and state of Chihuahua in general; there have been recent revelations of police corruption in the area, some incidents quite violent in nature as they pertain to the border area’s prevalence in illegal drug and human trafficking. Also, visitors, especially females, should be aware of the sexual violence and murder rates amongst the female populace; since 1993, perhaps earlier, hundreds of women, most of them underpaid workers at sweatshops known as “maquildoras,” have been killed by persons unknown, their bodies found beaten, raped, tortured and murdered in and around Juarez. As most of the victims are local women, deemed by their killers and indeed quite often by those investigating their deaths to be disposable.
Foreign visitors should not have much to worry about as long as they follow common sense; if you avoid venturing out alone into suspicious areas of town, particularly after dark, making obvious your personal wealth to strangers, and staying well clear of any illegal activity, particularly involving drug purchase/smuggling, you should be fine. Just remember that Mexican police are notoriously lacking in concern for those whose activities are considered “high-risk.” The US Border Patrol can also be quite mercurial about these matters, and neither American nor Mexican prisons are very enticing places to spend one’s vacation.
Juárez experienced over 1600 murders in 2008, 2700 in 2009, and 3100 in 2010 (out of a population of 1,500,000). While many of the victims have been connected with drug trafficking, the random nature of this violence requires precaution.
There is a public bus system in Juarez; however, it is not very easy to use and is often overlooked by tourists. In general, buses have their final destination on a board in the front window. They make frequent stops, and often run in close succession to one another; if you miss a bus, another of the same route is likely to appear in a matter of minutes. Many routes continue to run overnight: exercise extreme caution on buses at night and buses that go into poorly policed barrios of the city (especially to the west and south). In recent weeks, buses have been targeted in attacks, mainly aimed to collect protection money for route operators.
Taxis are abundant and inexpensive, but always ask for the ride fee and if possible ask two different drivers to get the best fare. Taxis are not metered, and initial fares may be given based on one’s perceived ability to pay (a tourist or wealthier Mexican may be quoted a higher fare). However, most sites of touristic interest in Juarez can be reached by walking in the historic center. Upon 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 relatively short walk: after crossing the Santa Fe street bridge, walk down Avenida Juarez to 16 de Septiembre, turn left and then walk about seven blocks (street blocks are much smaller in Juarez than in neighboring El Paso).
Driving in Juárez, while less chaotic than in Mexico City, is not recommended for a casual visitor. While the lack of high-speed freeways means many accidents that happen in the central parts of the city are relatively minor, fender benders in Mexico may involve frustrating red tape. If you do drive in Juárez, make sure you have Mexican automobile insurance as not having Mexican insurance may result in criminal charges and a visit to jail.
Most larger businesses have parking lots with attendants that will ask for a nominal fee (US$0.25, or M$2-3). Watch where you park; cars that are illegally parked on streets may have their license plates removed by a transit cop. The idea is to ensure you will pay the fine before leaving the country (and your plates should be returned after doing so). If this happens to you, the ticket should indicate where to pay your fine, should you chose to do so (you should be able to re-enter the United States in any event, but you may face some added complications with a missing plate).
Revolution in the Border Museum.
- Juarez Cathedral (Catedral de Ciudad Juárez). Neoclassicist cathedral built in the 1940s.
- Guadalupe Mission (Misión de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe), Av Vicente Guerrero. The oldest standing building in Juárez, from the 17th century. Continuously used by the Catholic Church, restored in 1970s.
- Benito Juárez Monument (Monumento a Benito Juárez). Commissioned by national subscription in 1906, restored in 1930 after the revolution, with fountains and flower beds. Elegant Porfirian structure.
- Monument to the Mexicanity (Monumento a la Mexicanidad).
- Chamizal Federal Public Park.
- Revolution in the Border Museum (Museo de la Revolución en la Frontera MUREF). Showcases the history of the Mexican Revolution and the history of Juarez.
- San Agustín Regional Museum (Municipio de Ciudad Juárez Museo Regional del Valle de Juárez).
- Samalayuca Dune Fields (Los Medanos).
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 souvenirs such as blankets, pottery, and trinkets themed in Mexican culture.
Make sure to haggle as it will be expected. If you act disinterested, or begin to walk away, you should get quoted a lower price. The merchants speak English and are constantly encountering Americans so you will not seem very foreign to them if you are not Mexican yourself. Goods may range from kitschy trinkets to high quality artesan-made glassware, pottery, jewelry, leather goods, and woven cloth. Most markets also have good food and drink, and musical entertainment.
If one cannot live without US-style retail, Juarez has many shopping areas featuring familiar retailers such as Home Depot, Sears and Wal-Mart. Most US (and even some Canadian) banks have branches in Juarez as well.
- Juarez has a great selection of restaurants that specialize in authentic Mexican cuisine. The cuisine in Juarez is not very different from the food that is eaten on 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.
- Juarez also offers a very international selection including everything from great seafood at Los Arcos, incredible Chinese at Shangri-La, Brazilian at Fogueira, and the list continues. Try Maria Chuchena for a nice semi-expensive eclectic meal, afterwards walk out to La Cantera where you can find restaurant/bars to have a few drinks with the locals. Unfortunately, the recent crime wave has shut down many of these establishments.
- There are also many small stores and carts that make tacos using fresh tortillas, vegetables, and your choice of several meats such as beef, chicken, pork, and chorizo (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 inexperienced travellers comfort levels. Tacos are served “by the order” and you should not expect to pay more than M$30 or US$3 for an order of 4.
- 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 fixings can be had for around M$100, US$10.
Don’t forget the burritos.
Be aware that you can’t drink in public places or in the street, ask before.
- 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 Piña Coladas and Strawberry Daiquiris are unlikely to be 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 drunk in Mexico. If you are in a tourist place you will find Corona (Modelo is essentially the domestic version of 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. The most popular beer with locals is a dark beer called “Indio” and for locals, other brands you can try are “Sol” or “XX lager”. If you are thirsty try a “Caguama” in a 1Lt bottle. “Victoria” beer is also a special treat, as it is never exported from Mexico.
- Visit the “Kentucky” Bar, one of the oldest bars in Juarez where many famous people like John Wayne, Steve McQueen, Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, y Jack Dempsey have walked out on all fours. Kentucky bar is supposedly the birthplace of the Margarita and is across the Santa Fe bridge it is only a few blocks down on the strip.
- For non-alcoholic tastes, try “horchata,” a refreshing rice-based drink or “agua de jamaica,” a sweet punch made from dried hibiscus flowers. “Licuados” or milkshakes are also very good.
- For those wishing not to partake in alcoholic beverages, stop in at any store with the words “La Michoacana” or any reference to “Michoacan” in its name. It sells fruit flavored ice creams, popsicles, and fruit flavored drinks that come in many flavors and are very refreshing under the hot desert sun.
- Even soft drinks such as Coca-Cola have a flavor in Mexico that set them apart from their American counterparts: they use cane sugar and not corn syrup.
Where to stay in Juarez
Juarez has its fair share of local and international hotels. However, many travellers will find it easier, and much safer, to spend the night across the Rio in El Paso, as it is a large American city with all the usual American services.
- Fiesta Inn Ciudad Juárez, Paseo Triunfo de la República 3451.
- Hotel Santa Fe Juarez, Calle Tlaxcala 268. A cheaper hotel, close to the border crossing.
The situation in the state of Chihuahua, specifically Ciudad Juarez, is of special concern. Ciudad Juarez has the highest murder rate in Mexico. Mexican authorities report that more than 3,100 people were killed in Ciudad Juarez in 2010. Three persons associated with the Consulate General were murdered in March, 2010. You should defer non-essential travel to Ciudad Juarez and to the Guadalupe Bravo area southeast of Ciudad Juarez. U.S. citizens should also defer non-essential travel to the northwest quarter of the state of Chihuahua. From the United States, these areas are often reached through the Columbus, New Mexico, and Fabens and Fort Hancock, Texas, ports-of-entry. In both areas, U.S. citizens have been victims of narcotics-related violence. There have been incidents of narcotics-related violence in the vicinity of the Copper Canyon in Chihuahua. A recent series of muggings near the US Consulate General in Ciudad Juarez targeted applicants for US visas. Visa and other service seekers visiting the Consulate are encouraged to make arrangements to pay for those services using a cashless method.
Though authorities in both Juárez and El Paso have tried to curb underage drinking, the downtown districts fill with intoxicated club and bar patrons at night, many of these patrons are under 21 and sometimes under 18. A drunken fight or barroom confrontation can escalate into serious violence, so be careful. High-end clubs will very openly discriminate against anyone who looks like “trouble” (shaved heads, tattoos, gang clothing, or even a working class appearance), and despite this type of profiling, these venues cannot guarantee your safety as well.
At times, there will be suspicious activity in high-end clubs and bars. If you see this going on turn the other way. Also keep in mind, in traditional Mexican bars or cantinas, unaccompanied women may be seen as “fair game” or may even be rather unwelcome: bars known as “ladies bars” are more accepting and tolerant of female patrons.
If you happen to be at a nightclub or bar, be very cautious when other men or women approach you. They may be friendly, very good looking, and professional. They can gain your trust easily by inviting you to their table for drinks, or a smoke where you would meet their other “friends.” Do not be fooled by this: chances are they are expecting to get you intoxicated, and as a team they will attempt to discreetly steal your valuables. This is a way certain groups related to the drug cartel and/or local gangs operate. They will then sell your stolen valuables in electronics or jewelry stores where they would get a commission of the sale. Hot items are cell phones (#1), watches, and cash. They will even invite you to their place or not mind staying over with you. Do not be fooled if they are very clean and good, and/or rich looking. Once your valuables are gone, they’re gone. Always travel with a trustworthy friend.
While sampling Mexican beer and tequila is highly recommended for a tourist, it is probably wise to avoid heavy drinking in an unfamiliar border city. It is also best to keep a close watch on drinks in nightclubs, as they may be laced with date rape drugs by strangers, in order to initiate a robbery.
Juárez is patrolled by the Mexican army in an attempt to crack down on crime. Mexican military personnel are generally professional (in comparison to the police), if intimidating with their automatic weapons.
Stop at any roadblocks. Driving through a checkpoint may result in gunfire. Juarez municipal police are to be avoided, as most are tied to criminal gangs and engage in extortion, kidnapping, rape and contract murder. Federal police are perhaps just as corrupt, but are less likely to engage in “petty” crime directed at tourists. If you are in danger, actual military personnel are the best option.
Juarez is notorious for police setting up traps to pull over motorists or, sometimes, question people leaving bars and clubs. This is done so “mordidas” or bribes are offered. While bribes are widespread, a US$20 bill may not get you out of any situation (especially with military agents). Most police officers will at least go through the formality of writing a ticket, asking questions, or writing a report before any “arrangement” takes place.
If for some unfortunate reason you are eyewitness to public violence and/or shootouts (many in Juarez have been), immediately follow what everyone around you is doing. The people of Juarez have the routine down to a tee and it will behoove you to follow everyone else. If alone, look for cover under cars, in alleways, garbage cans, wherever. Do not knock on a random house or business; many of these lock their doors during fire exchanges and open for no one. Do not record or photograph any violence or any suspicious behavior. Sicarios, or hitmen, have absolutely no scruples and won’t hesitate to assassinate any person they suspect of playing for the other side.
One serious word of caution. Do not be caught with any type of weapon in Mexico. This can include a small pocket knife, or even ammunition or bullet casings. American motorists have been jailed for driving into Mexico with spent ammunition casings in their car trunk.
Recently, the situation has changed dramatically in Ciudad Juarez. According to the police, murders have been dropping alongside with crime since the police has started patrolling the streets again. In fact, a BBC reporter went on one patrol night and was mainly routine work, no drug-related murders . However, this does not mean you should feel completely safe. Continue to travel with caution, and expect the unexpected at any time.
Consulates in Juarez
- United States, Paseo de la Victoria #3650, Fracc. Partido Senecú.
- 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. (Note, the Valle de Guadalupe southeast of the city is one of the most violent drug war zones).
- You will need to have documentation in order to reenter the United States. The United States Government requires that all travelers entering the United States from all Mexican points of entry have a valid passport.
La Pesca Coronavirus Covid-19 Outbreak – Cases Quarantine Deaths Stats Tamaulipas Mexico
La Pesca is a town in Tamaulipas, Mexico, on the Gulf coast about halfway between Matamoros and Tampico, just north of the mouth of the Rio Bravo. As the name might suggest, it’s well known for it’s sport fishing, both in the Gulf and on the Rio Bravo, but there’s also a long sandy beach about 2 kilometers east of town, stretching north from the lighthouse on Punta Piedra. Each year around the Easter week, as many as 50,000 people descend on the town for Spring Break, flooding the hotels and camping on the beach. Outside of Easter week, and the Christmas season, the town and beach can be very uncrowded and sedate, especially off of the weekends.
The state of Tamaulipas has long-term plans to develop La Pesca into an upscale resort area attractive to foreign tourists (though these plans have been in the works for a long time and its hard to say when or if they will be accomplished), similar to Quintana Roo’s development of Cancún, complete with golf courses and high-end resorts. The good or bad news, depending on your viewpoint, is that those plans are still a long way off, and La Pesca is still fairly rustic, inexpensive, and little known to foreign tourists. For Americans or other tourists coming from the United States looking to try road tripping in Mexico, La Pesca is a great first step, an easy 4-hour drive south from Brownsville, Texas.
La Pesca is 50 kilometers east of Soto La Marina on Highway 70. There’s no large airport, so it has to be reached either by car or bus. If coming by car from Matamoros, follow Highway 101 south for about 180 kilometers and turn left onto Highway 180, about 20 kilometers south of the small town of Las Norias. The turn-off is well marked. Another 80 kilometers will take you to Soto La Marina, where you’ll take a left onto Highway 70, which will eventually end right on the beach at La Pesca. Highway 101 south of Matamoros is a nice four-lane highway as far as you’ll take it, but Highway 180 and Highway 70 are both part new four-lane highway and part old two-lane highway. Part of Tamaulipas state’s development plan for La Pesca is completing new four-lane road construction all the way to town, though, and it might be done as early as 2009.
If you’re coming from Texas, remember that you’ll need an importation permit from Banjercito to bring your car into Mexico, as well as temporary auto insurance (seguros de autos) that covers Mexico, both of which you can get fairly quickly and efficiently right as you cross the border into Mexico. Most border crossing will have a building immediately to your right coming into the Mexican side which will house all the offices you’d need to visit.
If you’re not used to driving in Mexico, keep a keen eye out for speed bumps (topes), which are used liberally in towns to slow down traffic and can often be unmarked and unpainted.
You can catch buses to La Pesca from the bus station in Ciudad Victoria.
The town is small enough to walk anywhere you might need to go, but the beach is about 2 kilometers east of town. A car will definitely be the easiest way to get around, but it’s possible to get everywhere you might want to go by bicycle, which you can rent or borrow from some hotels. If you do bicycle, be very careful and be prepared to yield the right of way to cars, especially on the road going out to the beach, which has no shoulders and will often have traffic in each direction, leaving little room for bicyclists. Some hotels also rent 4-wheelers or dune buggies, which can be used for basic getting around.
The main two things to do in La Pesca are to go to the beach or to go fishing. The beach is impossible to miss, just follow Highway 70, the main street, east of town and the road ends at the beach. You can park anywhere along the access roads running parallel to the beach or often just on the beach itself, but watch that you don’t get your car stuck in the sand. If you’re interested in fishing, most hotel proprietors will gladly set you up with a fishing guide or boat to charter, or you could ask in any of the stores in town and they will no doubt be able to refer you.
Aside from small convenience and souvenir stores, there’s not much shopping to be done in La Pesca. There’s sometimes a small market in the first north-south street just past the canal bridge coming into town, but it’s much smaller than what you might be used to from bigger Mexican cities and it’ll be mostly closed down by the afternoon.
Be sure to bring as much cash as you’ll need for your stay in La Pesca, because there are no ATMs in town. A handful of stores and hotels will accept credit cards, but most will not. However, there is a PeMex station just west of the canal bridge on the west end of town if you need gas.
You can find several eating options along the main street in La Pesca. Most open during the day are mid-range priced restaurants (by Mexico standards), M$30-50 (pesos) for breakfst, M$50-90 for lunch or dinner. In the evening, around 7:00 PM, several taco stands open in the town proper where you can easily get a good meal for about M$30.
There’s also several open air restaurants by the beach on the southern lighthouse end, which have pretty reasonable prices (M$50-100) considering their prime location. Also, several hotels along the western approach to town have attached restaurants.
- Costalora Restaurant, Zona Centro (downtown) , ✉ email@example.com. 8AM. Mexican food. Try camarones empanizados and huachinango enpanizado. M$60-$100.
- Villa del Mar. On main street about halfway through town, lunch/dinner for about $50-$90 MXN. Try the Camarónes Rancheros.
- Restaurante Veracruzana. An open-air restaurant halfway between town and the beach, lunch/dinner for about M$40-80. Try the tacos de camarónes.
Where to stay in La Pesca
There’s a good selection of mid-range hotels with river access on the south side of the highway on the western approach to town and a few more between town and the beach. More inexpensive hotels can be found in town. At the beach, several places rent primitive cabañas on Punta Piedra, on the southern end by the lighthouse.
- Hotel San Juan. A good midrange hotel (M$400-500 per night) about half a kilometer west of town. Family friendly, with a well-kept pool, a boat dock, air conditioning in each room, and grills and cooking equipment you can use to cook your catch at the end of day. They also sell fish and other seafood for the less lucky fishermen. Look for the peach colored buildings on your right as you arrive in La Pesca.
- Hotel Tropicana. This is a hotel known for it’s hospitality, and is actually the last hotel on your drive towards the beach, which makes it the closest. It is a great place to stay for a different experience from the rest of the hotels, because they offer clean and pretty tropical cabins painted in bright colours, with kitchenette, T.V., BBQ pit, pool, fishing pier, and a convenience store on the property, which is great for all the people that forget to bring stuff with them. In the store they offer everything from soft drinks, meat, t-shirts, all sorts of beach balls, and practically anything you should need. They also have a nice camping area, for all the people who want to stay in a tent because they either don’t want to pay that much or just for the fun of it. Another advantage is that they have cabins from 2 to 4 persons, 5-6, 7-8 or 9-10, which is great if your traveling with a big family. The price ranges are also acceptable (~M$700-1,300 per night) which if you compare to having to get 3 or 4 hotel rooms to fit a 10 person family, is actually cheap. While visiting La Pesca, look for the bright cabins on your right hand side, heading towards the beach.
- La Quinta Huachinango. Nice and private place. La Quinta Huachinango has 3 vacation apartments for rent, two 2-bedroom and one 1-bedroom, with private bathrooms, sky-tv, air-conditioning, and personal barbeque pitts. Up to 30 people. Outside there’s a nice swimming pool surrounded by stone walkways, a pier, 50 meters of waterfront, and 3 palapa-covered picnic areas with barbeque grills. It’s located at the edge of the “Estero,” to your left on highway 70 before you enter town, about 90 m after you pass the Costa Lora turtle monument in front of the public dock.
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