Fun Things To Do In Juarez: The Unexpected Revelation

Flying to Juarez
Flying to Juarez

One of my favorite parts of my travels around the world is discovering unappreciated cities or destinations, places people would normally overlook, and discovering the fun and beauty they have to offer.

Juarez, Mexico, is a place most people leave off their itineraries, but with so much to offer in terms of adventure, dining, and natural beauty they’re making a mistake.

After only one full-day in Juarez I can appreciate how much I do not know about the destination. In this case the sky is, literally, the limit.

Trepachanga Adventure Park
Trepachanga Adventure Park

Morning: Trepachanga Eco-Adventure Park

I started my day of discovery with one of the most fun things to do in Juarez, flying hundreds of feet above the ground on a zipline at Trepachanga Ec0-Adveture park many miles outside of Juarez proper.

(Where to find it: Galerias Tec., Av. Technologico 1770 52D, Ext. Col. Las Fuentes / (656) 286-8365 / Trepachanga@gmail.com)

Wrapped only in a safety harness, you get to enjoy the view  at what feels like a reasonable speed for a few seconds immediately before gravity does its thing and you drop into high-speed forward motion.

Ziplining
Ziplining

This is the closest we will ever get to careening through the air Superman-style, and the wind is a great distraction from the Juarez heat and overwhelming flies.

As soon as I hit the ground after a series of different ziplines, it was time to take to the air again on the high ropes course, scrambling on loose bridges and across tightropes while looking across the Juarez landscape.

The view of Juarez
The view of Juarez

Afterwards, it was time to relax and grab a bite to eat from the best place in the city to get burritos, Burrito Crisostomo delivered straight to us at the adventure park.

I chose a chicken mole burrito that was tasty and juicy with tortillas so warm and soft.

Mexican burritos
Mexican burritos

Most of the cities I’ve been to in Mexico don’t actually serve burritos, so I always imagined it to be an American invention.

Turns out, all of Mexico just doesn’t want to have to compete with Burrito Crisostomo.

Sand dunes
Sand dunes

Part 2: Samalayuca Dunes

Next I headed to the Samalayuca Dunes with Lourdes from Conexion a La Aventura and a bunch of new friends.

I had originally read about from Stay Adventurous, which lies fifty or so kilometers outside of Ciudad de Juarez.

Hanging out at the sand dunes is one of the most least popular but most unique thing to do in Juarez.

It’s just a tight community of adventurers, mostly local Mexicans, who are able to find a way to the dunes in their jeeps.

Other locals I spoke with have often never had the opportunity or desire to go because they don’t know anyone with a jeep.

Juarez jeeps
Juarez jeeps

The dunes are a community event, where dozens of locals park their jeeps and tailgate with their Coronas or Bud Light, and other cheap and terrible American beers, before pulling out their ATVs, souped up jeeps, and motocross gear to use out on the sands to do some jumps.

Jeep hangouts
Jeep hangouts

Another common sight is watching people sandboarding, which is exactly what it sounds like.

Strapping boards to their feet, these adventurers plow down the side of smooth tan sand dunes, like a snowboarder hurtling down a snow capped mountain.

Falling Sand Dunes
Falling Sand Dunes

I myself tossed on a board, after a little convincing from my fellow travelers, and launched myself down the biggest dune I could find.

Ordinarily I would be scared of something like this, but less than two hours ago, I was literally suspended in mid-air.

This seemed like the easy part. For the second time in a day, the hot desert wind blew past my face and I felt an appreciation for all Juarez has to offer rising in me – along with my adrenaline levels.

Sandboarding
Sandboarding
Samalayuca Dunes ATVS
Samalayuca Dunes ATVS

The Dunes are a local tradition, held deep in the local culture for all ages, and that makes them one of the best places outside Juarez to chill out and have a relaxing day.

5TragosSotol
5TragosSotol

Part 3: Drinking The Best Liquor You Would Have Never Heard About

Tired and covered in sand, my crew and opted to carry-on with sand in our pants, inside our ears, and in places you don’t want to know about, and finished the evening with one of my favorite fun things to do in Juarez (or in any other city) — Drinking!

Traveling seemingly in the middle of nowhere but close enough to the dunes, we found ourselves at The Sotolera distillery, home of Cinco Tragos sotol.

Although Mexico is best known for tequila and mescal, there are a few lesser known regional specialties that are distilled from completely different plants, and sotol is the signature of Chihuahua.

Cinco Tragos is the smoothest, highest-quality sotol on the market, and I found myself prendido a private party hosted by Ariana Apraez Leon, the distillery’s founder.

Showing off the versatility of her drink, Ariana treated us to a full meal, where everything on the menu had been treated with sotol.

From the guacamole to the marinade on the arrachera (skirt steak) , the distinct flavor of Cinco Tragos was everywhere.

Sotol Dinner

I also found myself becoming educated in the proper appreciation of this rare drink when Ariana brought out several styles of sotol and led us in tasting lessons.

The flavor of sotol is complex like wine or whiskey, and I was glad to have an expert teaching me what I was supposed to be detect.

Ariana is clearly proud of her product, and she should be. She built a school project into an emerging international business, and it’s one of the best success stories in the city.

Sotol

Reflecting on the day with a bit of a sotol buzz, I looked out at my friends around the party and thought about Juarez.

Much like the sotol, Juarez is a well-kept secret, but for those of us daring or lucky enough visit, there’s an incredible experience to be had.

I’m certainly glad I got to gain this even just a small understanding of what the city and surrounding area has to offer. And that’s not just the Cinco Tragos talking.

________

My trip to Juarez in the Mexican state of Chihuahua was provided in collaboration with Ah-Chihuaha,Conexion a La Aventura, and ATMEX. All opinions expressed above are my own.

Comments

    • says

      I visited as a tourist and do not have a complex understanding of how crime works specifically in Juarez. Many recent articles related to tourism in Juarez start off with a paragraph explaining how Juarez is shedding its reputation as a dangerous place, much like every story you will hear about Colombia. This has become a cliche and I encourage you to do their own research. But I am not qualified to speak about whether Juarez is or is not a dangerous place to visit as a tourist. The purpose of this article is to instead offer insight for what a tourist can experience when visiting Juarez.

      I encourage you or anyone else to review recent statistics about the crime in Juarez. Articles I read before choosing whether to visit or not include the U.S. State Department Travel Advisory, http://www.cnn.com/2013/01/05/world/americas/mexico-juarez-killings-drop, http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/news/2013/08/01/mexico-murder-rate-dips-for-first-time-in-six-years-but-some-violent-cities-get/, and others. Whether you want to trust those statistics is your own choice.

      Overall, I personally experienced no danger and my experience was 100% positive.

    • SRS Jones says

      I live in southern New Mexico and travel to Ciudad Juarez all the time. The city is terrific and worth a visit. I have never had a problem there. It’s a friendly and welcoming place, and most of the wave of violence that plagued the city is now past. Also agree that Cinco Tragos Sotol is, by far, the best example of this regional spirit. While some other products are available in the U.S., Cinco Tragos Sotol is only available in Mexico.

    • Jon says

      Firstly, thank you for a great blog. I hope many more travel blogs of north mexico become available.

      Ciudad Juarez is fast becoming an exciting party town with an interesting atmosphere and culture all of it’s own. Right on the border it has a lot of personality and is rich in culture with a fascinating border town/port atmosphere.

      Today I took the bus into town from Hostel 697 (Nicia runs the hostel and is a great host!),

      I hopped off the bus at the market, had a little look. Went into a store that sold all types of spirits where they guy gave me a free sample of Angel Tequila. I ate at El Mexicanito.

      Went into an unnamed traditional bar painted pink, on the corner of Ave 16 and Calle Fransisco I Madero. It doesn’t look much from outside but the interior is great. I tried Xoxos, a very typical traditional drink made only in cuidad juarez.

      From there I did a whole circuit in town stopping at the famous kentucky bar for their signature Margarita. I went around the back of the cathedral and found a road with a local street market on it.Then down to Plaza Juarez with the monumento where I got the bus back to walmart and the hostel.

      Tomorrow I might try and go to one of the local towns that is supposed to be dangerous.

      About “the danger:
      “Be careful” “It’s dangerous” “Don’t stay long” “Don’t go there”

      I have heard these words many times and my advice is don’t believe the hype.

      When you get to the town ask a local or the hostel/hotel if there is anything you should be aware of.

      Every time I have asked I get the same shrugging shoulders response “it’s the same as anywhere”

      If a blogger didn’t have a good feeling or the media has sensationalised something ask a local.

      North Mexico is certainly a lot safer than the hype would have us believe.

      One blogger said Chihuahua was the rougher end and that he only stayed in Chihuahua a day before heading south again. Such a shame. I stayed in Chihuahua city for nearly two weeks, walking around most parts of the city at all hours of day and night, and had a great time.

  1. Luis says

    I live in Juarez and reading this article made me so happy, is nice to know that a tourist had such a great time in Juarez and wrote such positive things about our city. Few years ago Juarez was categorized as one of the most dangerous cities of the world, I should say that it was dangerous but mostly if you were involved in something you weren’t supposed to. I’ve live in Juarez all my life and I love my hometown, plus, danger has decreased significantly. Don’t be afraid visit Juarez or any other place in mexico. Don’t let Mexico’s tourism die on, i must quote Jason, “Cliches.” Thanks a lot for writing about our city and I hope you can visit again, nightlife in the city is great!

    • says

      Hi Luis, so glad you enjoyed Jason’s article, and took the time to share your thoughts.

      While I didn’t make it as far north as Juarez, I had an amazing time traveling through central Mexico earlier this year.

  2. tinica says

    I’m in New England. My family owns property just north of the border in New Mexico. The town has an official US border crossing, as an alternative to the one in El Paso. I’ve always been curious about Juarez, but have never crossed over. Next time I’m in NM, I’ll be sure to visit Cuidad Juarez, this sounds great.

    Thanks Jason and Dave, and hola Luis!

  3. says

    That sand dune shot is awesome! It looks so steep! I did sandboarding in Huacachina in Peru and was amazed they let amateurs go down such massive dunes on such dodgy boards! I’ll add this to the ever-growing list of things I have to do when I make it to Mexico!

  4. Rocio Gomez says

    We are not so bad as they said!
    You should have had burritos at the Crisistomo stand, they have SO much variety and you get so see the people making the tortillas.

  5. claudia says

    Hi, I’m from Juarez and I love how you talk about my city.
    I just want you to know that not all the cities in Mexico serve burritos because burritos are from Juarez. even in mexico exist bad versions about how burritos are. And if you want to try a real burrito, you have to go to Juarez.

  6. Idalia says

    Loved that you enjoyed my city, and yes, it has a lot more things to offer.
    Also, the BURRITOS are not an American invention, actually they were invented here! In Cd. Juarez that’s why you tasted the best ones in Mexico!
    Hope you can travel more in this country, we have more hidden cities to know about.
    Can’t wait to read your next blog,
    Cuídate, abrazos .

  7. Sebastian Pinto says

    Gracias por tus buenos comentarios sobre esta gran ciudad Juárez, realmente “juaritos” nos necesita!.

    SPinto.

  8. Ana Cota says

    Burrito was invented on chihuahua, mex no E.U.A.!!!!!
    and it’s a food that only know people ofthe north of mexico!

  9. says

    Hey Jason!
    I just want to thank you about writing this information. I have been raised in Juarez and I’m positive this article means a lot to every “Juarense”. I have been very actively going couch surfers for the last 6 or 7 years and the experience they’ve had in the border has been tremendously surprising and pleasant. Thanks again for your shared experience and keep up the adventures!

  10. says

    Thanks for coming!

    I´m glad to people who are not of Mexican nationality appreciate more the beauty and nobleness of this city.

    I feel happy that you’ve had so much fun in this border, and I appreciate that you were written positively of my city.

    Thanks so much!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *