Sunday, December 16, 2012

Day trip to Nuevo Progreso, Mexico

Progresso Mexico 023

We knew when we decided to stay in the Rio Grande Valley that we would end up in one of the border towns of Mexico.. Even with all the hype surrounding the drug cartel’s heinous activities in Mexico we really felt that there wouldn't be a great deal of difference in traveling in most of Mexico vs. the USA.

Progresso Mexico 025Some places in both countries have unsafe areas that we plan to avoid and here as anywhere we knew a little research was a really good idea. Many of the border crossings in the Rio Grand Valley are generally considered unsafe. The only exception is the town of Nuevo Progreso, Mexico. Nearly everyone we spoke to including the border patrol said a day trip to Nuevo Progreso, Mexico was fine but the advice was to simply stay on the main drag, have a good time and come back before dark.

We met a nice couple at an activity here in the park that said they were going to go to Mexico. We asked if they would mind having some tagalongs since as newbies we could learn from them where to go and what to do in Progreso. They said they'd love company so the next morning a short 33 mile drive east from our park put us at the international bridge that crosses into Nuevo Progreso, Mexico. Just before the bridge there was ample parking for $2.00 per car. Once parked we walked toward the bridge and paid 50 cents per person into the turnstile for entrance onto the bridge entering into Mexico. Once across the bridge you are in Mexico.. it really is that simple. We were forewarned of the need to bring our passports for reentry into the USA.

Progresso Mexico 024Now if you have ever been into a border town in Mexico before then you know that they are all very similar in appearance since they are primarily set up for the tourists in the area closest to the bridge. Nuevo Progreso, Mexico is not any different. All along the bridge walkway we saw several hands holding baseball caps asking for any spare change. Also many other Mexican men and women were just below the bridge also asking for change to be dropped down to them. Upon entering the actual town there weren’t any others begging from the tourists. There were however plenty of niña's, little girls, trying hard to get us to buy whatever they were selling and we also saw occasional elder women selling Chiclet (gum) for a donation. And yes those appear to be sausage links being sold out of the trunk of a car in the above photo.

The town itself was colorful and lively with a great representation of the colorful Mexican heritage and culture we enjoy. The streets were lined with venders selling everything from jewelry to cowboy boots. The stores were predominantly composed of shops selling trinkets and pottery. Yet there were dozens of Photo: Winter Texas flea market hahapharmacies selling cheap pharmaceuticals. Some of the pharmacies were free standing whereas others were within the trinket shops.  There was also an abundance of dental offices and inexpensive optical shops.

We were primarily there to just look around and price a few dermatological prescriptions for Sharon. We didn’t have much success but after comparing prices on one of her prescriptions for Retin-A we found a pharmacist that had a great value for the product. The price was about 50 percent less than in the USA and the tube contained twice as much product making it 75 percent cheaper overall. A five dollar Z-pack (for future sickness insurance), a couple bottles of rum and we were good to go. While waiting for the scripts we were told we could go into the bar (with live music) next door for a free margarita and so we did…

Progresso Mexico 026Exiting Mexico took a lot longer than entering did. Each visitor must go through customs one at a time and declare any purchases made. Since we bought some booze before heading back we also had to pay a liquor tax which was quite steep at $3.75 per bottle nearly negating the value of buying in Mexico. So make sure you account for the taxes on booze when pricing it while visiting Mexico.

We enjoyed our day in Mexico with a good Mexican lunch, a few margaritas, and a few laughs with our new friends from Rochester, NY. Will we go back? You bet we will…


  1. Everyone is always so gloom and doom about visiting Mexico these days, I'm glad to hear we can still venture over the border safely. Thanks for the info.

  2. Well, that tax must be new. We never had to pay bringing liquor back from Algondones. You didn't go over the bottle per person limit, did you? If you get to Yuma, AZ, the quick trip to Algodones is worth it. The drug prices are even better than Nuevo Progesso.

  3. Of course you know from our blog that Mexico is not quite as dangerous as the media presents it to be. In fact, given the recent current events in the U.S., it's not a stretch to actually suggest that the U.S. is actually more dangerous than Mexico! In reality, the odds of you having a "safety" problem in either country are really quite slim.

    Really hoping that you venture further into Mexico whenever you're ready to!

  4. Wish I would've known you were going to Mexico. I would've referred you to Wish I would've known you were going to Mexico. I would've referred you to our website and pharmacy we use. They have everything in there and are extremely inexpensive.

    Since we've been to Mexico so many times, we are very selective of the liquor we buy there. You are right, some bottles aren't worth buying there because of the tax.

  5. Your pictures bring back some fond memories of our visit there last year.

    Next time, make sure you go to Rene's Bakery, with the Mariachi band ... lots of fun.

    Then for lunch, you have to go upstairs to The Red Snapper. It is always happy hour there, with two-for-one margarittas. Their shrimp meals are a fan favorite.

    Just before you leave, we hit the liquor store right on the corner.
    Here, Teresa and I both buy a bottle of Amarulla !! It is about $18 bucks a bottle, but even with the $3.75 fees, that is still half of what it costs here in Canada. It is very good !!

    It looks like we are heading to the RGV next winter, because we are planning a cruise out of Galveston, so I guess we will have to wait until then to get back to Mexico !!

  6. I grew up going to Mexico all the time. We always went over for a good steak dinner, some music and dancing. I have really missed it in recent years. I am glad you went. Things seem to be improving in Mexico and I hope someday soon we can visit when in NM.

  7. Good to read a post that balances out the scary stories about going to Mexico; danger lurks everywhere ... using common safe no matter the country is key.

  8. We lived in the interior of Mexico for a year. Although not in the border towns, we found the people to be lovely and the food amazing.

  9. For any American or Canadian in need of high quality dental and cosmetic care Mexico is the best choice. The cost of dental care in Nuevo Progreso is about 1/3 of what the cost is in the United States,yet the quality and experience of Mexico dentists and cosmetic surgeons is far better than 98% of all US dental clinics & hospital. Nuevo Progreso Cosmteic Solutions Services is the most experienced and reputable cosmetic and dental facilitators in Mexico. We have created the best and most extensive dental and cosmetic tourism network in Nuevo Progreso,Tamaulipas MX.

  10. Free dental Consultations
    (956) 375 1411

  11. We've been going there several yrs; definitely worth the trip for the 50% or less discount on pharmaceuticals & the necessary Retina A! After trying many restaurants, we still return to Angels; the food is really quite good; the service is excellent & it's a lot of fun to be recognized by the maître d'! And Stetic on Orleans St is excellent for dental services.