Exploring Tucson, Arizona and its Journey to the Mexican Border
Tucson, Arizona is a city that offers a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. Situated just 70 miles from the Mexican border, exploring the route there not only offers a scenic experience but also provides insight into the complexity of border issues in the United States. This article will guide visitors through the journey from Tucson to the Mexican border on Interstate 19, highlighting the attractions on the way as well as the challenges faced by travelers.
Discovering Tucson’s Natural Beauty
The journey from Tucson to the Mexican border begins by traveling south on Interstate 19. This highway connects Tucson and Nogales, the last major city in Arizona before the Mexican border. As visitors travel, they will be struck by the towering cactus plants on the sides of the road. The Saguaro National Park, which lies on the outskirts of Tucson, is home to the United States’ largest cacti, the Saguaro. From I-19, visitors can enjoy an incredible view of the cacti as they tower above the surrounding Sonoran Desert.
Heading further south, visitors will encounter Rio Rico in Santa Cruz County, where they can enjoy an incredible view of the rugged mountains that define the region. It is not uncommon to see wildlife such as deer, roadrunners, and coyotes in this area. Additionally, the road passes through Patagonia Lake State Park, which offers recreation such as swimming, boating, and fishing in its scenic lake.
Arriving at the Mexican Border
The City of Nogales marks the end of the road, but not the end of the journey. Visitors can see the Mexican border from the end of the highway, leading down to the line between the United States and Mexico. The divide is highlighted by a wall, separating the two countries. The wall has become a contentious issue in the United States, with strong debate ongoing regarding its efficacy as a barrier to illegal immigration and drug trafficking.
Beyond the wall lies Nogales, Mexico, home to over 300,000 people. The city serves as a significant stop for travelers crossing the border, as well as Mexican nationals who work in the city. They cross the border daily in increasing numbers, leading to congestion and lengthy wait lines for border control. To cross the border, visitors must go through the Mariposa port of entry, where they must present their passports and answer questions from US Customs and Border Protection officials.
Exploring Nogales, Mexico
Nogales, Sonora has a vibrant and authentic atmosphere, with lots of street art, colorful buildings, markets, and crowded streets. The city offers a unique glimpse into Mexican culture, from street food vendors selling fresh tortillas and stuffed empanadas to lively music and friendly people. Visitors can stroll through the historic downtown area of Nogales, which features shops selling locally crafted pottery, jewelry, and other souvenirs. They can also visit the Museo de Arte de Nogales, which showcases regional art and photography.
However, despite the town’s charms, many visitors are hesitant to explore beyond the border towns. Drug-related violence has been prevalent in recent years, leading to advisories from both US and Mexican governments for travelers to show awareness of their surroundings at all times.
Appreciating the Complex Relationship between the US and Mexico
The journey from Tucson to the Mexican border may only be a short one, but it offers a glimpse into the complex relationship between the United States and Mexico. The border towns offer culture and diversity, but also serve as a reminder of the continuing issues surrounding border control. The recent political climate has led to increased tension, with debates over the construction of the border wall, illegal immigration, and drug trafficking.
In light of these events, the journey from Tucson to the Mexican border has taken on more relevance than ever, offering a unique opportunity to understand and appreciate the complex relationship between two nations that share not just a border but also history, culture, and economies. It is a journey that offers natural beauty, cultural experiences, and an insight into the challenges faced by those living and working along the border. Regardless of political opinions or personal beliefs, the journey to the Mexican border from Tucson, Arizona is one that cannot be missed.