Nogales, Mexico, Tucson
I read several articles on Nogales Mexico, and not having traveled there for a few years, I was unsettled about whether to go on a recent trip to Tucson. I was told not to for safety reason, by two different businesses telling me to go to Tubac instead. Years ago I noted that Tubac while pretty was considerably higher in prices although you would find much of the same and a wide variety of quality goods.
I placed my review on the warning tips portion as it is impossible to find anything **but** warnings about Nogales. I would recommend going *during the day*, and just accompanied by someone. There were police everywhere. I do mean that. I am sure in our 8 block walk I saw more than one dozen. We also saw a patrol of police driving around with two guys in the back with rifles. They slowed down when they saw us and waved. I was glad to see the strong presence of law enforcement.
I didn't see any children begging. There were a couple of women selling small trinkets and one told me in spanish that she has children and has to play for their schooling. One in our group felt sorry for her and put a dollar in her tray, but she didn't want a handout, she insisted he pick out a bracelet. We also saw a man clearly blind and our friend gave him a dollar also. One has to determine personally how they should handle such things.
I recommend heading to the small jewelry type stores. There was one South of La Roca restaurant about 2-3 blocks east of it. A middle aged lady with light hair owned the store. There is a parrot in the back of the shop. I really wish I could have bought from her as hers was the very best store. She had a plethora of leather goods, jackets, jewelry of all kinds, pottery, ceramic and copper vessels and sinks. She told me that her business was terrible now. She offered to sell me my pick of 20" 925 sterling necklaces at $15 a pc.
I knew from years ago, if you see something you like, don't leave thinking you'll come back or get it cheaper elsewhere. It never works. Just buy it. I didn't do that, and I'm sorry about it now. There are less shops open these days with the reduction in tourism.
The people of Nogales are very very friendly and welcoming and they are just starving for business in those shops so the first price mentioned is actually a really good deal these days....
I found it to be an unforgettable lovely experience. I hope more travelers will go there and enjoy the food, the culture and the hospitality of these people. I went to La Roca this time because I have always gone to El Greco's and wanted to check out La Roca. We had tacos (lettuce and tomato), lots of sour creme on our chimis and enchiladas, and guacamole. No problem for anyone, and I noticed walking by the kitchen that the waiters actaully had masks and gloves on.
Enjoy Mexico. Just plan on leaving by 3pm or so. Use normal common sense. The shop merchants are delightful. The food is excellent. Stay on the regular streets, get directions from locals when you are turned around, and just be pleasant and respectful. They welcome American tourists, and you will be glad you did.
Since Tuscon is so close to Mexico it's easy to take a day trip on down. Take Interstate 19 from the city. There is first a Nogales AZ, then you can cross the border by car or foot into Nogales, MX. Be careful if you go by car to stay within 21 km. Or you'll have to pass through immigration services. For Nogales, just go on in. It's one big flea market basically! (I do not overuse that word people!)
Always scammers afoot, so be wary. Don't ask anyone to take a picture of you and yours, cuz' they'll want to charge you for it! geesh!
65 miles south of Tucson on Interstate 19 and U.S. 89 you will find Nogales, Arizona and Nogales, Sonora, Mexico separated by the Mexican/US boarder. This is Arizonaýs principal port of entry for trade with Mexico. After crossing the border you will find Mexican shops that offer trinkets as well as fine handicrafts, artworks, pottery, jewelry, glassware, and leather goods. Walking is a popular way to cross the border and Nogales, AZ has many guarded parking lots close to the port-of-entry. The cost to park your vehicle all day is very reasonable, generally under $5.00.
Nogales, Mexico is an hour ride from Tucson. Drive to the border and then walk across. You can spend a nice afternoon walking around and have a great Mexican lunch while you are at it.