Originally intended as the primary entry point for the concept of an International Peace Park between Big Bend National Park to the north and the Seirra Del Carmens to the south, which as of yet has come to fruition, Boquillas, as it is generally referred to, has remained a remote and sleepy village on the southern bank of the Rio Grande in the Rio Grande Village area of Big Bend Nat’l Park.
Prior to the border closings following 9/11, visitors would simply walk down to the banks of the Rio Grande to be ferried to the other side where you would have the choice of walking, riding a horse or donkey, or be driven the 3/4 mile into town. Visitors would then be greeted by children selling bracelets in the streets, along with various vendors, restaurants and bars. A full-on, Mexican or Wild West experience!
We are happy to say, aside from the new 2 million dollar station on the U.S side of the border, the experience is exactly the same! Reopened April of 2013, families who were forced to leave to find work in other areas during the 12 year closing are slowly returning. Businesses are open; the locals are warm, welcoming and happy to be of service!
Upon your arrival, visitors simply walk through the facility down to the river's edge to be greeted by a boatman and Victor, official greeter, guide, and coordinator serenading visitors as they arrive. (Don't forget to drop a tip in his tip jar as you walk by.) Of course, to get the full experience, there's nothing like the donkey ride into town; however, drivers can be secured for a nominal fee. Once in town, one must check-in at the customs trailer where your passport will be stamped and you'll be handed a 'Permiso' which you keep with you during your stay and surrendered upon your departure. Then take the short walk to the Visitor’s Center on the end of town to pay the $5.00 boat fee. Once you are settled, there's vendors stands selling everything from handmade bracelets, wire scorpions and rocks, to clothing and hats. Restaurants, bars, but, the trip wouldn't be complete without a stop at Falcon's for a plate of 3 tacos or 3 burritos for 3 dollars (Flavor’s all in the grease) and a cold beer. Be sure and say hi to Ophelia, truly an experience that won’t soon be forgotten.
Upon your return, you'll be required to scan your passport in one of the available kiosks in the border station. When prompted, pick up the handset located on the side; answer a few simple questions, that's it!
As most Americans are aware, various parts of Mexico along its border as well as interior should be treated with a certain degree of caution.
Boquillas and surrounding areas on the other hand, largely due to its remoteness and demographic is safe, friendly and the residents are eager to please and be of service. No trip to Big Bend would be complete without a stop in Boquillas!
Passports, or passport cards are required. No other form of ID will work.
Don't forget to surrender your 'Permiso' at the customs trailer when leaving.
Visitors are not allowed to bring back alcohol, tobacco, fruits, vegetables, rocks, minerals etc.
The U.S Border station is open Wednesday through Sunday 8:00 am, closing promptly at 6:00 pm! We suggest you arrive at the border station by 5:30 pm to ensure your entry prior to closing. If you do miss out, accommodations for the night can be arranged in Boquillas.
Check out the news story, The Border Crossing Inside Big Bend, by San Antonio News.