James and I heard on the radio that there was a spot in Big Bend National Park, Texas where you could cross the Rio Grand River in a rowboat to get to Mexico. We looked at each other and said we HAVE to do that!
The night drive to the boundary of the park was great. I saw many bunnies scurry across the road, deer and even a golden eagle sitting in the middle of the street. I carefully slowed the RV to a stop as he looked at me from over his shoulder and then decided it was best he fly off.
The next day as we drove into the park we saw a javelina rooting around on the side of the road. We hiked, explored ruins and dinosaur bones in the brand new fossil exhibit. It is a must see. One fossil is a replica of pre-historic alligators that were 20 feet long!
If you decide to take on this quick adventure like we did plan to stay overnight. The stars out there are amazing. Bring clothes for hiking in Texas and cash for spending in Mexico.
This area of the country used to have a translucent border, but when 9/11 happened in 2001 the border was closed. It was terrible for the people of Boquillas. The closest Mexican town to them is 250km away. The culture and livelihood there for many hundreds of years depended on the ability to cross over the Rio Grande River whenever. The border opened back up in 2013 and the towns people are eager to have it stay this way.
We crossed the river in a rowboat and then had two options: walk the mile into town or take a donkey. We went for the fun option.
I was so excited on the donkey that I was quoting the movie Shrek and didn’t notice for the first 1/4 of a mile that we had a guide. He walked behind the donkeys the whole way to keep them in line. Then he tide them to a tree on the outskirts of town. If the donkeys had wanted to they could have easily yanked and gotten free, but they seemed happy enough to wait for us.
We walked into town and had a choice of two restaurants. We ate at the one on the right and chatted with our guide. There was no menu. We had a few choices between tacos. We also had a few beers and sodas to choose from. All of it was delicious and inexpensive! We asked about the historical commerce of the town. He said candelilla wax producers which we had to go back and research later.
This is not locally desired now. The town is completely dependent on tourism.
Since we were travelling with our children we asked about the school. We learned that there are thirty-three children that go to the one room schoolhouse. There is only one teacher so he teaches in shifts. The younger kids attend in the morning and then the older ones swap in later. When we were allowed in to visit we saw kids playing with a ball while others were being taught inside. Our kids were fascinated and sad to see their broken playground equipment.
We finished our tour talking about their newly gifted solar panels. Our guide said that they were a big help to the town that he was proud of. They used to have a windmill, but it had been damaged from too much wind.
When we rode the donkeys back it was the end of the day and many donkeys had already been taken back home. We saw one being “walked” while the owner held his reign and drove along carefully next to him. It was a site to see. Then we got to the river and saw the rowboat loaded up with groceries from Texas. Since the town’s in Texas are closer Mexican citizens with Visas bring home groceries and gas for the town every weekend. Can you imagine and see how fragile this town is now with a closed border?
As we said our goodbyes I got a hug from a chatty local named Thomas who had also visitef with us earlier at the restaurant and he told me he loved me. I told him we had a great time and we were excited to tell others about our experience.
So, go see Thomas and have your own little adventure in Mexico too!