Crossing the Mexican Border: From Texas to Nuevo Progreso

Crossing the Mexican Border: A Day-Trip Spent Exploring a Border Town

While living in San Antonio, Texas during the summer of 2010, the idea of making a short trip to cross the Mexican border came up. Being fascinated with Mexico after visiting the Yucatan peninsula area a few times, my husband, Mark, and I definitely wanted to explore more of the country. Walking across a country’s border was on our bucket list, but we knew crossing over into one of the Mexican border towns was a potentially dangerous plan.

After extensive research, we decided that Nuevo Progreso would be the best/safest area for us to cross. We caution others to the dangers of crossing the America/Mexico border, which is generally unsafe because of drug cartels. Know that if you plan this trip, you are doing so at your own risk, and always do your own research and decide on a plan that is best for you.

All I could think was that it looked like a scene from a zombie movie.

Crossing the Mexican Border: From Texas to Nuevo Progreso

Crossing the Mexican Border: A Day-Trip Spent Exploring a Border Town
In two places at once!

Crossing the Mexican Border: From Texas to Nuevo Progreso

After making our decision of where to cross, we drove from San Antonio down to McAllen, Texas where we spent the night. The next morning, we drove close to the border. Parking was available nearby, so we left our vehicle behind and then walked across the Nuevo Progreso International Bridge (over the Rio Grande) where we paid our 25-cent fee to enter Mexico. The rates change based on length of stay and how far into the country you are traveling, but for pedestrians going no further than a few blocks into town, 25 cents is all it took! Always be sure to check current rates so you are prepared.

Halfway across the bridge, a large plaque marked the actual border between America and Mexico. Of course, we had to stop for photos. Taking shots on either side, we then straddled the line to be in two countries at once.

As we neared the shore on the Mexican side of the bridge, I was very startled when arms began reaching through the sides of the bridge towards us. People were stretching out their hands or holding out hats asking for money. My heart always goes out to the less fortunate, but I was more frightened than anything. All I could think was that it looked like a scene from a zombie movie.

Crossing the Mexican Border: From Texas to Nuevo Progreso

Crossing the Mexican Border: A Day-Trip Spent Exploring a Border Town
Nuevo Progreso

Once we went in the town itself, we noticed the military officers positioned on the streets and on top of buildings. It was an odd feeling having so many uniformed people with large guns watching our every move. As we started to think of them more like security guards, we felt more at ease, though we continued to be cautious and aware of our surroundings.

We knew beforehand that many Americans cross into Mexico to buy medication and/or medical care at cheaper rates. Nuevo Progreso, being on the border, was full of pharmacies, clinics, and tons of dental offices.

I refused to buy dried frogs, no matter how whimsical they were.

As we wandered in and out of shops, the locals were very friendly. A few children approached us trying to sell chewing gum. Booths and tables were set up along the sidewalks and storefronts and locals were selling their wares, including a few bootleg and knock-off items. We saw everything from purses to sunglasses, but the one display we remember best was of bootleg DVDs. The vender approached us and attempted to sell us Iron Man 2 (which was still in theaters at the time) “almost in English.” We declined, of course, and walked away quickly before we burst out laughing! Now, anytime we find a good deal on a movie, we ask each other if the movie is “almost in English.”

Crossing the Mexican Border: From Texas to Nuevo Progreso

Crossing the Mexican Border: A Day-Trip Spent Exploring a Border Town
Our Mexican meal

Crossing the Mexican Border: From Texas to Nuevo Progreso

Eating an authentic meal in Mexico was definitely on our to-do list. Previously, our trips to Mexico had been day trips from cruise ships, so we never had more than a snack or a sack lunch. We wanted real Mexican tortillas this time!

We stopped at a restaurant that had an awesome menu board that drew us inside. We were shown to a beautiful dining room on the second floor and were seated next to a large window overlooking the town. Because we were eating a late lunch, we had the entire restaurant to ourselves.

The strangest items I saw were dried frogs positioned and decorated to seem as though they were playing tiny instruments or tiny games of pool.

After we were brought tortilla chips, multiple types of salsa, and our entrees of tacos, tamales, rice, and beans, we felt eyes watching us. On the other side of the window was a fat pigeon that proceeded to sit and watch us through our entire meal.

When lunch was over, we spent the afternoon wandering back through the shops, making our final selections on crafts to bring back home. My favorite purchase from that day is a hand-painted, wooden mirror that now has a permanent home in our guest bathroom. The strangest items I saw were dried frogs positioned and decorated to seem as though they were playing tiny instruments or tiny games of pool. I refused to buy dried frogs, no matter how whimsical they were.

With our shopping complete, we made our way back across the Rio Grande and through US Customs to America. The day ended with a feeling of accomplishment: an item crossed off a bucket list and having had a successful little trip venturing out of our comfort zones.

Crossing the Mexican Border: From Texas to Nuevo Progreso

Crossing the Mexican Border: A Day-Trip Spent Exploring a Border Town
‘Whimsical’ dried frogs?

!

Crossing the Mexican Border: From Texas to Nuevo Progreso

About Jennifer Campbell

Jennifer CampbellJennifer is the founder of the travel blog Just Chasing Rabbits. She lives in Mississippi, USA with her husband/travel companion, Mark, and their doggie-daughter, Gizmo. After obtaining her BA degree in studio art and working in the field of photography for years, Jenni has now combined her love of travel and photography to form a travel blog. Mark and Jenni share their experiences on Just Chasing Rabbits in hopes of inspiring others to have wonderful adventures and see the world.

30 thoughts on “Crossing the Mexican Border: From Texas to Nuevo Progreso

  1. Sandra Lopez
    March 3, 2017
    Reply

    I have gone every year and I go see Dr. Ollivelas, great cosmetic surgeon, I go to have my botox done and it lasts for a year… Friendly atmosphere and people are friendly…

  2. Linda bilant
    January 22, 2017
    Reply

    Need name of good dentist in Progresso Mexico. Thanks. Linda

    • Lisa S.
      February 27, 2017
      Reply

      My husband an I go to Dr. Baez. Need to get the name of his dentistry. I live in Progreso, TX and he is a great dentist and crossing to Mexico for a dentist is more convenient since it is close to us and affordable.

  3. RAH
    January 21, 2017
    Reply

    My wife and I will be crossing into Nuevo Progresso in Feb 17, 2017 on a motorcycle run with various other riders. We were told the run is escorted in, and out. I used to live in McAllen, TX and used to cross back and forth every weekend with no problems. I worry about taking my wife into Mexico. I feel better now reading the comments I have read. I just want to be as sure as I can be before we go in.

    • KAO
      January 31, 2017
      Reply

      RAH, i’m on SPI rally ride as well with 3 friends. we stopped going into Mexico about 18 years ago because the crime was just too horrible. I’m very concerned about this ride. Wonder if our guides are well known and offer protection…

  4. matt
    January 13, 2017
    Reply

    is there a dermatologist in Nuevo progreso?

  5. Babbsbunny
    September 4, 2016
    Reply

    we are wanting to cross over NP from larado tx, and possibly make the mexico town of NP our home….Do need a passport to cross over or can we just drive over.

    • Karen
      September 25, 2016
      Reply

      Hi, I us d to cross in Larado, but it’s not safe anymore. It was a two lane road, now it’s like 6 lanes+ It’s a bad place for businessmen to get grabbed/ kidnapped.
      I want to go back to Progresso SO badly. Not su e if I can get my husband to go or not. But without him I’d never go alone of with girlfriends. And I’m 60! I hope people keep posting on this link. I love to read their stories!

    • Diane Glasgow
      November 6, 2016
      Reply

      You must have a U.S. passport to cross into Mexico. I was there in August 2016 for dental work. As always there is a huge military presence and I have been going there for 15 years. I would not go there after dark and I certainly would not move there. Nuevo Progreso Mexico is not the United States. There has been drug related violence and kidnappings . Suggest you do a lot more research before deciding to move there.

      • Karen
        November 7, 2016
        Reply

        Diane,

        I will be in NP the week of Thanksgiving and want to get some dental work done. Since you have been going for many years, may I ask what dentist would you refer to so I can contact for pricing and availability.

        Thx in advance

      • Linda bilant
        January 22, 2017
        Reply

        Diane we will be NP last week of march 2017. I need dental referral. Do I need appointments. If so can you give me number?? Linda

  6. Turkey
    August 4, 2016
    Reply

    You can always do an Internet search for border crossing requirements.
    Nowadays, you either need a passport or a card that is only for travel to Mexico and less expensive. Don’t wait until the last minute to get either one.

    Progresso is a great place to visit and I wish I could go again. I live in Houston, so it’s not very far. Stick to the main road and just use common sense. No flashy jewelry, expensive clothes and watch out for pickpockets.

  7. JJ Reyes
    July 26, 2016
    Reply

    I didn’t go to Progreso as the young lady did here, but I did enter Reynosa instead. I recently visited mexico around the second week of July (2016); If I guess what day it was, I think it was a Monday so that would be on the 11th of July that passed. I went with my mother to take her to see the dentist since it was the cheapest and fastest option available; her fake tooth chipped in the front from eating corn. She didn’t want to go in with a missing tooth to work so we went scouting out our options.

    If one plans to visit a border town, Progreso is a good choice and a safer choice by far. I haven’t personally heard of too much violence happening across the border in Progreso throughout the years. The common saying around here when crossing is stick to the main areas, naturally, and stays in groups if you don’t know the area and are still fairly new/unfamiliar. It’s definitely the top choice versus the border towns that resides in the ‘Rio Grande Valley’ area. I live in Edinburg Texas so I don’t reside to far from the border. Its about a hour drive at most for me. Ask me any question and I’ll answer best I can from what I know. I kind of left a text wall so I hope that isn’t distracting.

    • Karen
      September 5, 2016
      Reply

      Do you know of a restaurant by the name of Aurturo’s ( close to that spelling) it was great. A menu from A to Z! Waiters in black coats, white table clothes, etc.! Always great food, always great margaritas!
      My husband and I use to go to Pregresso a couple of times a year starting about 2002 …. But as crime got bad we were afraid to go.
      After reading this I really want to go back. I live in Houston so it’s not to far. We always spent the night in Weslaco and cross the border during the day and cross back to hotel before dark! I so want to go back. We had such a fun time in the markets and little shops. Very festive!

    • Karen
      November 7, 2016
      Reply

      JJ,

      What info can you give me as a single lady traveling to Nuevo Progreso to get quality dental work and also get an X-ray on my finger?

      Can this be done in a day without appointments or will I need to call ahead?

      Should I bring cash or are credit cards ok?

      Only going to be in area for a few days so trying to get input from people in the know.

      I plan on parking my vehicle on US side and walking across border at Weslaco, get above work done and then head back across before dark. Any input you can give would be appreciated. :). (I will have a passport with me).

    • Karen
      November 7, 2016
      Reply

      JJ,

      What info can you give me as a single lady traveling to Nuevo Progreso to get quality dental work and also get an X-ray on my finger?

      Can this be done in a day without appointments or will I need to call ahead?

      Should I bring cash or are credit cards ok?

      Only going to be in area for a few days so trying to get input from people in the know.

      I plan on parking my vehicle on US side and walking across border at Weslaco, get above work done and then head back across before dark. Any input you can give would be appreciated. :). (I will have a passport with me).

    • Karen
      November 7, 2016
      Reply

      Posted to wrong person initially…

      JJ,

      What info can you give me as a single lady traveling to Nuevo Progreso to get quality dental work and also get an X-ray on my finger?

      Can this be done in a day without appointments or will I need to call ahead?

      Should I bring cash or are credit cards ok?

      Only going to be in area for a few days so trying to get input from people in the know.

      I plan on parking my vehicle on US side and walking across border at Weslaco, get above work done and then head back across before dark. Any input you can give would be appreciated. :). (I will have a passport with me).

      Thanks in advance.

  8. Janie
    July 19, 2016
    Reply

    Can I cross back with Texas DL or Texas ID ?

    • Candi
      July 20, 2016
      Reply

      No, you need either a birth certificate, or a passport.

  9. dan
    June 29, 2016
    Reply

    Unlike the old days you must have a US Passport when you return to the United States, or the new passport ID card. I am planning on going to Nuevo Progreso in July for dental bridges. I was thinking of going to the Artell Dental Center. If any one has any info. it would be appreciated, please post thanks

    • Candi
      July 20, 2016
      Reply

      Can highly recommend Dr. Alejandro Benitez , both my cousin and my boyfriend have had implants there. Excellent customer service, very clean inside, and they even call you a during the week to check up on you and ask how you are feeling and if your mouth is hurting? OMG, you don’t get that here in Texas!!! check out his website.

    • Taylor
      July 30, 2016
      Reply

      I have been to Dr. xavier aguirre several times and he is very good and speakes perfect english

  10. Joey Delbosque
    March 7, 2016
    Reply

    Thanks for posting this. I frequently go to Nuevo Progreso from Houston. For fun and because I’ve had a lot of dental work done I could not otherwise afford in the U.S. being a freshly out of college 24 year old with massive bills. I never feel uneasy. I was there just two days ago and it was packed full of people (mainly senior citizens day drinking and shopping) from the US and I even saw a couple Canadian passports on my walk back into TX. NP is very safe.

  11. Connie
    February 26, 2016
    Reply

    When is tourists day this year ?

  12. Jc
    February 9, 2016
    Reply

    As someone who has lived near the border in Texas most of their life, I can tell you that I and mostly everyone I know who also grew up here took trips along the border to Mexico for granted. Since the violence started to get bad and things started to changed around 2008, requiring a passport, or passport card people stopped going as much. I had not been to Nuevo Progreso since 2007 and then finally went back in 2013 and had a great time. My nervousness to go back was finally put at ease. I became nostalgic for the carefree days where we would go and get crafts, foods, and good cheap drinks. I started going more frequently and have a good time each time. It is interesting to hear a different perspective on traveling there 🙂

    • February 9, 2016
      Reply

      JC, thanks for your response! So glad you enjoyed my post on Nuevo Progreso! We really had an amazing time, and I would love to go back given the chance. You are so right about the crafts and food! I’m happy to know that locals are crossing the border more frequently and more safely. I hate that there are drug cartels and people that make the area questionable for tourists because Mexico is an amazing, amazing place! Thanks again for your comment!

      • Mary
        April 8, 2016
        Reply

        Can I cross the border with US ID only? Daily/weekly cert’s use to be available virh US i.d

        Please advise / thx. Mary

        • Luz
          June 17, 2016
          Reply

          I wish someone could post something more recent, like a June 2016 visit. I would love to visit for dental work and Botox but hesitating cause of the violence. I need a good Cosmetic Clinic reference, close to border in Nuevo Progreso MX.

          • Candi
            July 20, 2016

            see my July response to Dan – recommend Dr. Benitez! Just got back last week – excellent work. Tell them Gary B. from Lampasas, TX referred you!!!

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