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Ciudad Juárez

Nickname(s): Gateway of Mexico, Paso del Norte, Juaritos
Ciudad Juárez is located in Mexico
Ciudad Juárez
Coordinates: 31°44′22″N 106°29′13″W / 31.73944°N 106.48694°W / 31.73944; -106.48694Coordinates: 31°44′22″N 106°29′13″W / 31.73944°N 106.48694°W / 31.73944; -106.48694
Country  Mexico
State Chihuahua
Municipality Juárez
Foundation 1659
 - Municipal president José Reyes Ferriz
(PRI Party (Mexico).svg PRI)
 - Total 188 km2 (72.6 sq mi)
Elevation 1,120 m (3,675 ft)
Population (2005)
 - Total 1,400,891
 Density 7,452/km2 (19,290/sq mi)
 - Demonym Juarense
Time zone Mountain Standard Time (UTC-7)
 - Summer (DST) Mountain Daylight Time (UTC-6)
Area code(s) +52 656

Ciudad Juárez, also known as Juárez and formerly known as Paso del Norte, is a city and seat of the municipality of Juárez in the Mexican state of Chihuahua. Juárez has an estimated population of 1.5 million people.[1] It stands on the Rio Grande (Río Bravo del Norte), across from El Paso, Texas. El Paso and Ciudad Juárez comprise one of the largest binational metropolitan areas in the world with a combined population of 2.4 million people. In fact, Ciudad Juárez is one of the fastest growing cities in the world, in spite of the fact that it is "the most violent zone in the world outside of declared war zones."[2] For instance, a few years ago, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas published that in Ciudad Juárez “the average annual growth over the 10-year period 1990-2000 was 5.3 percent. Juárez experienced much higher population growth than the state of Chihuahua and than Mexico as a whole.”[3]

More than 60,000 people[citation needed] cross the Juárez-El Paso border every day, which makes it a major point of entry and transportation for all of central northern Mexico. The city has a growing industrial center which is made up in large part by the more than 300 maquiladoras (assembly plants) located in and around the city. According to a 2007 The New York Times article, Ciudad Juárez "is now absorbing more new industrial real estate space than any other North American city."[1] In 2008, FDi Magazine designated Ciudad Juárez "The City of the Future".[4] However, the city is also a site of widespread poverty and violence, including an infamous series of unsolved murders of female factory workers. The violence generated by the narco-insurgency translated into some 6,000 killings in 2008. More than 1,600 of them occurred in Juárez, three times more than the most murderous city in the United States.[5] In response, business groups in Juárez have called for UN intervention.[6]



Juárez mission and cathedral.

Ciudad Juárez was founded as El Paso del Norte ("North Pass") in 1659 by Spanish explorers, seeking a route through the southern Rocky Mountains. The Mission of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe was the first permanent Spanish development in the area; Native America population was already located there. The Jesuit friars established a community that grew in importance as commerce between Santa Fe and Chihuahua passed through it. The wood for the bridge across the Rio Grande first came from Santa Fe, New Mexico, in the 1700s. The original population of suma, jumano and immigrants brought by the Spanish as slaves from Central New Spain grew around the mission. In 1648 during the Pueblo Revolt, some Tigua branch of the Pueblo established as refugees and a Mission was established for them in Ysleta del Paso del Norte. The population grew until around 1750, when the Apache attacked the other native towns around the missions. The 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo established the Rio Grande as the border between Mexico and the United States, separating the settlements on the north bank of the river from the rest of the town. Such settlements were in fact not adjoined to the town in that time, and as the military set its buildings the town grew around it. That would later become El Paso, Texas. From that time until around 1930 populations on both sides of the border could move freely across it. Ciudad Juárez and El Paso are one of the 14 pairs of Cross-border town naming along the U.S.–Mexico border. During the French intervention in Mexico (1862–1867), El Paso del Norte served as a temporary stop for Benito Juárez's republican forces until he established his government-in-exile in Chihuahua. In 1888, El Paso del Norte was renamed in honor of Juárez.

Juárez has grown substantially in recent decades due to a large influx of people rapidly moving into the city in search of jobs with the maquiladoras. Now, more technological firms have been attracted like the largest Delphi Corporation Technical Center in the Western Hemisphere, which is located in Ciudad Juárez and employs more than 2,000 engineers. Large slum housing communities called colonias have become extensive.

Juárez has gained further notoriety because of violence[7] and as a major center of narcotics trafficking linked to the powerful Juárez Cartel, and for more than 1000 unsolved murders of young women since 1993. Unfortunately, because of widely alleged police complicity (and perhaps even participation on the part of police and government officials and local elites), the serial murders continue and most of them remain "unsolved" despite the years that have gone by, though the number of homicides has fallen slightly since 2004 despite the increase of population. As a result of the murders, Juárez (along with the capital of the state, Chihuahua, Chih.) has become a center for protest against sexual violence throughout Mexico.[8] Meanwhile, many continue working to maintain a positive image of Ciudad Juárez. Songs 'Juarez' by the music artist Tori Amos and 'Invalid Litter Dept.' by At the Drive-In refer to Ciudad Juárez and the murders of women therein. A giant Mexican flag, bandera monumentale, was erected in Chamizal Park on June 26, 1997.


Ciudad Juárez has an arid climate because it is located in the Chihuahuan desert. Seasons are extremely well defined, hot summers, cold winters and cool springs and fall. Summer average high is 34 °C (93 °F) with lows of 22 °C (72 °F), on the other hand winter high is 14 °C (57 °F) with lows of 1 °C (34 °F). Because of the high altitude Ciudad Juárez is cooler than other desert cities in Mexico. Rainfall is very scarce but it is more prominent in the summer months. Snowfall is not a rare event—it normally snows once or twice every winter. The record high is 46 °C (115 °F) and the record low is −22 °C (−7.6 °F).

Ciudad Juárez
Climate chart (explanation)
average max. and min. temperatures in °C
precipitation totals in mm
source: Juárez%2c+MEX+forecast:averagesm MSN Weather UK (2009-01-07),INEGI, 2006 report


The average annual growth in population over the 10-year period [1990–2000] was 5.3%.[9] According to the 2005 population census, the city had 1,301,452 inhabitants, while the municipality had 1,313,338 inhabitants. According to the 2009 census Ciudad Juárez is now larger than Tijuana, BC.[10] During the last decades the city has received immigrants from interior Mexico, some figures state that 32% of the city's population originated outside the state of Chihuahua, mainly from the states of Durango (9.9%), Coahuila (6.3%), Veracruz (3.7%) and Zacatecas (3.5%), as well as from Mexico City (1.7%).[9] Though most immigrants are Mexican, some immigrants also come from Central American countries, such as Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.[citation needed]


Neighborhoods of Ciudad Juárez include:


The city is governed by a municipal president and an eighteen seat council. The current president is José Reyes Ferriz, an affiliate of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). Three national parties are represented on the council: the PRI, the National Action Party and the New Alliance Party.[11] On February 6, 2010, the governor of Chihuahua, José Reyes Baeza announced that he wished to move Chihuahua's state seat of government to the city, as a temporary measure to reduce crime.[12]

Crime and safety

Criminal activity in the domestic metropolitan area of Juárez has increased dramatically since the rise of maquiladoras, and especially following the establishment of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994, two factors which attracted both international commerce and many younger women and their families to Juárez in search of better economic opportunities. Violence towards women in the municipality has increased dramatically in the past twenty years;[13] since the early nineties there have been approximately 600 femicides[14] and at least 3000 missing women.[13] Escalating turf wars between the rival Juárez and Sinaloa Cartels have led to increasingly brutal violence in the city since the mid-2000s.

The Juárez police department had a force of approximately 800 officers in September 2008, following the removal of a third of its human resources for various reasons. Recruitment goals set by the department called for the force to more than double.[15] Juárez Citizens Command threatened to take action to attempt to put a stop to all the perpetrators of violence while government officials expressed concern that such vigilantism would contribute to further instability and violence.[16] In response to the increasing violence in the city the military and Federal Police's presence had been increased almost twofold. As of March 2009 at least 4500 soldiers and federal police were in the city attempting to curtail mostly drug cartel related violence.[17] By August 2009 there were more than 7500 federal troops augmented by an expanded and highly restaffed municipal force.[18] In the year leading up to August 2009 Juárez's murder rate was the highest reported in the world, exceeding the holders of the second and third highest rates, Caracas and New Orleans respectively, by more than 25%. The rate of 130 murders per 100,000 inhabitants is the same as Caracas' 2008 statistic for same period.[19] Journalist Charles Bowden, in an August 2008 GQ article, wrote that multiple factors, including drug violence, government corruption, and poverty have led to a dispirited and disorderly atmosphere that now permeates the city.[7][20]

Drug cartel violence

The body count in Mexico stood at 5,400 slayings in 2008, more than double the 2,477 reported in 2007, officials said, with over 1400 in Ciudad Juárez alone.[21][22] The population of Ciudad Juárez had to change their daily routine and many try to stay home in the evening hours. Public life is almost paralyzed out of fear of being kidnapped or hit by a stray bullet. On 20 February 2009, the U.S. State Department announced in an updated travel alert that "Mexican authorities report that more than 1,800 people have been killed in the city since January 2008." [23] On 12 March 2009, police found "at least seven" partially buried bodies in the outskirts of the city, close to the US-Mexican border. Five severed heads were discovered in ice boxes, along with notes to rivals in the drug-wars. Beheadings, attacks on the police and shootings are common in some regions.[24] In September 2009, 18 patients at a drug rehabilitation clinic called El Aliviane were massacred in a turf battle.[25] Patients were lined up in the corridor and gunned down in the early evening. On September 3, 2009 the Associated Press reported that the day before gunmen broke down the door of the El Aliviane drug rehabilitation center and lined their victims up to a wall shooting 17 dead. The authorities had no immediate suspects or information on the victims. Plagued by corruption and the assassination of many of its officers, the government is struggling to maintain Ciudad Juárez's police force. Other police have quit the force out of fear of being targeted.[26] In late 2008, one murder victim was found near a school hanging from a fence with a pig's mask on his face, and another one was found beheaded hanging from a bridge in one of the busier streets of the city.[27]

Female sexual homicides

Crosses erected as a monument to victims of the Juárez homicides.

Over the past 10 years Juárez has seen over 400 women fall victims to sexual homicides, their bodies often dumped in ditches or vacant lots. In addition, grassroots organizations in the region report that 40 remain missing. Despite pressure to catch the killers and a roundup of some suspects, few believe the true culprits have been found. A 2007 book called The Daughters of Juárez, by Teresa Rodriguez,[28] implicates high-level police and prominent Juárez citizens in the crimes. This topic is also discussed in the 2006 book "The Harvest of Women" by journalist Diana Washington Valdez,[29] and in the novel 2666 by Roberto Bolaño, in which Ciudad Juárez is fictionalized as "Santa Teresa", a border city in Sonora.


The El Paso Regional Economic Development Corporation indicated that Ciudad Juárez is the metropolis absorbing “more new industrial real estate space than any other North American city.”[30] The Financial Times Group through its publication The Foreign Direct Investment Magazine ranked Ciudad Juárez as the “City of the Future” for 2007–2008.[31] The Ciudad Juárez-El Paso area is a major manufacturing center. Electrolux, Bosch, Foxconn, Flextronics, Lexmark, Delphi, Visteon, Johnson Controls, Lear, Boeing, Cardinal Health, Yazaki, Sumitomo, and Siemens are some of the foreign companies that have chosen Ciudad Juárez for their business operation.[32] The Mexican state of Chihuahua is frequently among the top five states in Mexico with the most foreign investment.[33]


According to the latest estimates, literacy rate in the city is among the highest of the country: 97.3% of people above 15 years old are able to read and write.[9] Juárez has three public and two private universities. The Instituto Tecnológico de Ciudad Juárez (ITCJ), founded in 1964, became the first public institution of higher education in the city. The Autonomous University of Ciudad Juárez (UACJ), founded in 1968, is the largest university in the city and has been ranked among the best universities of the country. It has several locations inside of the city like the Faculty of Biomedicine, the Social Sciences Center, the Arts and Engineering Center and spaces for Fine Arts and Sports. This latter service is considered among the best because it recluses nearly 30,000 practicipants in sports like swimming, racquetball, basketball and gymnastics and arts like Classical Ballet, Drama, Modern Dance, Hawaiian and Polynesian Dances, Folkloric Dances, Music and Flamenco. The Faculty of Political and Social Sciences of the Autonomous University of Chihuahua (Universidad Autónoma de Chihuahua, UACH) which has delivered 70% of the city's media and news crew, is located in the city. The local campuses of the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (ITESM) and the Autonomous University of Durango (UAD) are private universities. The Monterrey Institute of Technology opened its campus in 1983 and it is preferred among the upper and middle classes of the city. It is ranked as "third best" among other campuses of the institution, after the Garza Sada campus in Monterrey and the Santa Fe campus in Mexico City.

Overall, the city offers a wide range of schools for every type of income and need. The city is widely recognized for its excellence in education, especially the one offered by the private sector. The main institutions in Ciudad Juárez are the Instituto Latinoamericano, a Catholic school directed from Spain, one of the colleges managed by the company founded by Spanish mystic Teresa de Avila, by direct order of the Pope to revert the effects of Protestantism in Spain; The Colegio Iberoamericano, The Middle School and High School of the ITESM, the Teresa de Avila, the Instituto Mexico. Despite this, many people choose to study in the neighbor city of El Paso, some for convenience.



Juárez has five local newspapers: El Diario, El Norte, El Mexicano, El PM and Hoy.


There are 16 over the air TV channel signals in the city: [2]

Channel Name Affiliate Country Language Local National
2 Tu Canal XHJUB  Mexico Spanish YesY YesY
4 CBS KDBC  United States English YesY YesY
5 Canal 5 XEJTV  Mexico Spanish YesY YesY
7 ABC KVIA  United States English YesY YesY
9 NBC KTSM  United States English YesY YesY
11 Azteca 13 XHCJE  Mexico Spanish YesY YesY
13 PBS KCOS  United States English YesY YesY
14 Fox KFOX-TV  United States English YesY YesY
20 Azteca 7 XHCJH  Mexico Spanish NoN YesY
26 Univision KINT-TV  United States Spanish YesY YesY
32 Canal de las Estrellas XEW-TV  Mexico Spanish NoN YesY
40 Multimedios K40FW  Mexico Spanish YesY YesY
44 Canal 44 XHIJ  Mexico Spanish YesY YesY
48 Telemundo KTDO  United States Spanish YesY YesY
56 Canal 5 XHGC  Mexico Spanish NoN YesY
65 TeleFutura KTFN  United States Spanish NoN YesY

There are three paid television signals available, and 24 radio station signals in AM and 21 in FM.



Like in most of Mexico, soccer is the most popular sport in Juárez. The local soccer team is Indios de Ciudad Juárez. Baseball, basketball, tennis and American football are also popular, most of which are played at the high schools and university level. A soccer team named Los Indios resides in this city and was just recently promoted to the Primera Division (Main division) for the 2008 season. The Indios rent the stadium Estadio Olímpico Benito Juárez. Juárez has 2 large stadiums: Estadio Olímpico Benito Juárez and Estadio 20 de Noviembre, and smaller ones for Baseball and different activities. Mountain biking is also popular, with the Chupacabras 100 km race held annually in Juárez.

Very near the Cordova International Bridge is a large combination bmx and skatepark, Parque Extremo. This park features a 20,000-square-foot (1,900 m2) concrete area with multiple ramps, rails, boxes, etc, and a 7,000-square-foot (650 m2) dirt area with ramps and tracks for bmx riding. It is much larger than the skate parks in nearby cities El Paso, Texas, and Las Cruces, New Mexico.

Ciudad Juárez served as the host of the CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualifying Tournament in 2008.

In film and other media

  • Brokeback Mountain (2005) shows Jake Gyllenhaal's character Jack Twist going down to Mexico to see a male prostitute. The sign on the road reads "Juarez"
  • The Day After Tomorrow (2004)
  • Man on Fire (2004)
  • Two novels by Chilean-born author Roberto Bolaño, The Savage Detectives and 2666, take place in Juárez, named "Santa Teresa" in the novels.
  • The Virgin of Juarez (2006)
  • Bordertown (2007) (The film was not actually filmed in Juárez).
  • Juárez was where the first divorce for Marilyn Monroe occurred.
  • Many Hollywood stars went there during prohibition and afterward.
  • In the 2000 film Amores Perros, Octavio plans to run away to Ciudad Juárez with Susana.
  • The At the Drive-In music video for "Invalid Litter Dept." features articles and captions about the hundreds of unsolved homicides and rapes in Juárez.
  • In the movie Glory Road (2005) the members of the basketball team sneak out of their dorms in University of Texas El Paso and go to Bar/Restaurant in Juárez.
  • In Cocaine Blues performed by Johnny Cash: "...Made a good run but i ran too slow, they overtook me down to Juarez, Mexico"
  • Cormac McCarthy's novel Cities of the Plain.
  • Juárez was featured as the setting of a Mexican rebellion in the video game Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2.
  • The final portion of the video game Call of Juarez takes place in the desert outside of the city sometime between the American Old West era of 1865 through 1890.
  • Senorita Extraviada – Lourdes Portillo, 2001
  • In George Strait's song "The Seashores Of Old Mexico": "My first night in Juarez, lost all the money i had, one bad señorita made use of innocent lad."
  • In the television show Mad Men one of the characters brings weed from there in the episode "The Hobo Code." Episode 8.
  • In the film Napoleon Dynamite, Napoleon's friend Pedro is from Juárez.
  • In the four series book, I Live Here, the authors, Mia Kirshner, J.B. MacKinnin, Paul Shoebridge, and Michael Simons talk about the women homicides in Ciudad Juarez.
  • In The Simpsons episode Marge and Homer Turn a Couple Play the isotopes player, Freddy Alvarado, pressumably is brother of the wolfboy from Juarez, Mexico.
  • The local soccer team appeared for the first time in the videogame FIFA 09.
  • In "Dr. Bernice" performed by Cracker (band): "Baby don't you drive around with Dr. Bernice, that ain't a real cadillac. It's a delta '88, spray-painted black, with fake leather seats from Juarez"
  • The burrito was invented in Juárez.
  • The Margarita drink was invented in Juárez.
  • The video game H.A.W.X features Juárez prominently in its first level.

Songs about Ciudad Juarez

Places of interest

Rio Bravo at night.
  • Antigua Presidencia Municipal: (Old City Hall) Built in the 19th century, using volcanic materials and adobe, with originally fine woods. Site to many historic events.
  • Mission de Guadalupe: The oldest standing building in Juárez, from the 17th century. Continuously used by the Catholic Church.
  • Auditorio Civico Benito Juárez: The local theater for the arts.
  • Auditorio Municipal: The new state of the art theater built behind the UACJ Med School.
  • Zona Pronaf: Bars, museums, shops, restaurants, entertainment. In the Zona Pronaf, one can find bars such as La Mulata, Cafe Dali, Don Quintin, San Martin, The News, Ole Bar Chamucos, among others.
  • Estadio Olímpico Benito Juárez: Home of the local soccer team Los Indios (The Indians).
  • Avenida Juárez: Bars and shops.
  • Parque Chamizal: Green area of the city, that consist of a park of over 40 acres (16 ha) with jogging trails, swings and recreational areas, which was once shared by El Paso and Juárez, was given back to Mexico by J.F.K in the early 1960s.
  • Museo del Concorde: A place to see original parts of the airliner.
  • Centro Cívico Paso del Norte (Opened on December 2006 and has been home of the Festival Internacional Chihuahua since).
  • Misiones, Galerias Tec, Plaza Juárez and Rio Grande shopping malls.
  • Parque Central: (Central Park) A family-oriented recreational area located 10 miles (20 km) south of the US-Mexico border.
  • Parque Xtremo: The largest extreme park in Latin America.
  • Cibeles: Convention Center

Notable Juarenses

Notable Residents and Ex-Residents


  1. ^ a b Chamberlain, Lisa. 2 Cities and 4 Bridges Where Commerce Flows, The New York Times, March 28, 2007. Accessed March 5, 2009.
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ Neighboring El Paso, Texas, with a population of 600,000, reported 10 homicides in 2009.
  6. ^
  7. ^ a b Human heads sent to Mexico police, BBC News, October 21, 2008. Accessed March 5, 2009.
  8. ^ Wright, Melissa. "Paradoxes, Protests, and the Mujeres de Negro of Northern Mexico." Gender, Place, and Culture, 12.3 (2005): 177–192.
  9. ^ a b c Coronado, Roberto; Lucinda Vargas (2001). "Economic Update on El Paso del Norte". Business Frontier (2). Retrieved 2008-09-15. 
  10. ^ II Conteo de población y vivienda 2005. Principales resultados por localidad, 2005. Chihuahua, Instituto Nacional de Estadística Geografía e Informática, 2000.
  11. ^ "Index of councilors" (in Spanish). Gobierno Municipal de Juárez. Retrieved 22 November 2009. 
  12. ^ "Trasladan Poderes de Chihuahua a Juárez" (in Spanish). Chihuahua, Chihuahua: El Universal. Retrieved 10 February 2010. 
  13. ^ a b Sarriya, Nidya (August 3, 2009). Femicides of Juárez: Violence Against Women in Mexico. Council on Hemispheric Affairs. Retrieved 28 November 2009. 
  14. ^ Althaus, Dudley (January 25, 2009). "Ciudad Juárez violence surges forth unabated". Ciudad Juárez: Express-News. Retrieved 28 November 2009. 
  15. ^ Balderrama, Monica (September 10, 2008). "Juárez Police Department To Dismiss Third Of Force". Retrieved 28 November 2009. 
  16. ^ Borunda, Daniel. "Vigilante group sets deadline for Juárez" (in January 22, 2009). El Paso Times. Retrieved 28 November 2009. 
  17. ^ Malone, Andrew. Thousands of Mexican soldiers pour into the country's most violent city in crackdown on drug gangs, Daily Mail, March 4, 2009. Accessed March 5, 2009.
  18. ^ "Mayor of violence-torn Juarez: 'We're at turning point'". (Cable News Network). August 31, 2009. Retrieved 28 November 2009. 
  19. ^ "Mexican city world's murder capital". Press TV. August 27, 2009. Retrieved 28 November 2009. 
  20. ^ Bowden, Chris (July 2008). "Mexico's Red Days". GQ (, Conde Nast Digital): 1–6. Retrieved November 27, 2009.  p.2, p.3, p.4, p.5, p.6
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^ "Travel Alert". U.S. Department of State. 2009-02-20. Retrieved 2009-02-23. 
  24. ^ "Bodies exhumed near Mexican city". BBC News. London. 2009-03-15. Retrieved 2009-03-15. 
  25. ^ Ellingwood, Ken (2009-09-04). "Juárez massacre chillingly routine". Los Angeles Times: pp. A1, A34.,0,5425770.story. Retrieved 2009-09-06. 
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^árez-Serial-Murder-Border/dp/0743292030
  29. ^
  30. ^ 2 Cities and 4 Bridges Where Commerce Flows, The New York Times, March 28, 2007.[1]
  31. ^
  32. ^
  33. ^ Mexico's Maquila Online Directory 2008, Fifth edition, page 7, Servicio Internacional de Información.

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Juarez article)

From Wikitravel

Travel Warning

WARNING: Due to gang violence in Ciudad Juárez, extreme caution should be taken while traveling within the city. Over 2,500 people, including some foreigners, have been killed since the beginning of 2009. Though most murders are related to the drug trade, the city remains unsafe for anyone caught in wrong place at the wrong time. Criminal gangs that engage in extortion and kidnapping operate with near impunity. See 'Stay Safe' for more information.

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.

  • NOTE:

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 if you 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 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 teh city center, and long waits for vehicles reentering the United States. Parking is generally $3.00 U.S. near the bridges.

By plane

Abraham González Airport (IATA|CJS) (ICAO|MMCS) offers flights to several destinations in Mexico, including Chihuahua, Monterrey, and Mexico City. El Paso International Airport (IATA|ELP) is the most convenient airport for U.S. travelers [1].


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 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/or human trafficking. Also, visitors, especially females, should be aware of the sexual violence/murder rate 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 shouldn't have much to worry about as long as they follow common sense; if you don't venture out alone into suspicious areas of town, particularly after dark, don't make obvious your personal wealth to strangers, and if you stay well clear of any illegal activity, particularly involving drug purchase/smuggling, you should be fine. Just remember before you think about potentially getting in over your head regarding these matters: the Mexican police are notoriously lacking in concern for those whose activities are considered "high-risk,". The U.S. 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 1,600 murders in 2008 and 2,500 in 2009 (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.

Get around

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 do 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. 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 ($0.25 US, or two to three pesos). 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, though you may face some added complications with a missing plate).

  • 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 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.

  • 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.
  • 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 30 pesos or $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 100 pesos, $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 don't 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 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.
  • Don't miss out on visiting the "Kentucky" Bar, it is one of the oldest bars in Juarez where many famous people have walked out on all fours. Kentucky bar is supposedly the birthplace of the Margarita. Located 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" of 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 United States' counterparts - as they use cane sugar and not corn syrup.


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.

  • 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.

Stay Safe

Mexican authorities report that more than 4,000 people have been killed in the city since January 2008. Additionally, this city of 1.6 million people experienced more than 17,000 car thefts and 1,650 carjackings in 2008. U.S. citizens should pay close attention to their surroundings while traveling in Ciudad Juarez, avoid isolated locations during late night and early morning hours, and remain alert to news reports. A recent series of muggings near the U.S. Consulate General in Ciudad Juarez targeted applicants for U.S. visas. Visa and other service seekers visiting the Consulate are encouraged to make arrangements to pay for those services using a non-cash method.

Though authorities in both Juárez and El Paso have tried to curb underage drinking, the downtown districts do fill with intoxicated club and bar patrons at night, many of these patrons are under 21 and over 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), but they should be safer to visit. 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.

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 spiked by strangers.

Currently, Juárez is being 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 checkpoints. 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, 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, don't immediately assume a $20 dollar bill will 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.

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.

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