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Region 5: Northeast Mexico
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Surrounded by mountains and close to the US border, Monterrey is one of the more prominent Mexican cities and is a top destination for visiting business travelers.
Northeast Mexico is commonly referred to as the southern extension of the Great Plains of the United States and Canada. The Río Grande (called the Río Bravo in Mexico) divides Texas and Mexico but the two cultures blend daily with the transfer of laborers and commercial products. All along the border are cotton mills, petrochemical plants, and miles of the textile and assembly plants known as maquiladoras.
The towns Nuevo Laredo (1 mile south of Laredo), Reynosa (10 miles south of McAllen) and Matamoros (less than a mile south of Brownsville) are busy, commercial border-crossing sites, and tourist visits to these cities are usually short term. Monterrey, 145 miles south of Nuevo Laredo, and Mexico’s third largest city, is home to the region’s only international airport, only four miles north of downtown.
Northeast – Safety
While drug warfare is not new in the northern border regions, the U.S. State Department issued a warning in January 2005 on the risks of traveling by land into this part of Mexico. The warning took a significant toll on cross-border exchange. Matamoros, the most historic of the three towns, and site of the first major battle of the Mexican-American war, bore the brunt of the bad press. But Reynosa, less unattractive than Nuevo Laredo, was a favorite shopping stop and entry point into Mexico and also endured some months as a virtual ghost town.
Business has resumed, but drug-related violence is unlikely to disappear completely. Would-be visitors may want to test the waters ahead of their trip by checking out the Matamoros, Reynosa, and Nuevo Laredo news or reading an updated consular information sheet. Texan border towns’ chambers of commerce tend to be a valuable source of information.
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