By Far, the most popular across the border destination for winter visitors to the Rio Grande Valley of Texas is Nuevo Progreso, Mexico.
Exploring Nuevo Progreso is a fun experience. You will find a wide variety of curio shops with everything from Mexican candies and cookies to colorful ceramics and chimineas.
You can expect street vendors to beckon you to enter their kiosks to get that special "almost FREE" bargain. Be ready to haggle a bit, it is expected, but don't insult them by trying to get something for almost nothing. This is how they make their living after all.
Explore the side hallways to find more variety. Perhaps you will find a special gift for your grandchildren.
Be prepared for the youngest of the street vendors plying their wares. Just remember that giving a quarter to one, pretty much guarantees that a flock will be following you everywhere you go from then on.
So enjoy Nuevo Progreso, Mexico. Just use common sense and everything will be fine. Go with friends, stick to the main drag and leave before dusk.
Winter Texans have been visiting this small border town, south of Weslaco, Texas, for more than 50 years. It is a safe area for tourists to enjoy shopping for souvenirs and pharmaceuticals, taking advantage of low priced dental services, and enjoying the local cuisine and beverages.
Finding a dentist in Nuevo Progreso is easy. There are dental clinics up and down both sides of the main street as well as in the nooks and crannies of the side streets. Most dental clinics are clean and modern and most of their personnel speak English.
You will find the cost of dental work, pharmaceuticals and other services in Nuevo Progreso to be a fraction of what it would be in the United States.
Many Winter Texans visit Nuevo Progreso on a regular basis while they are wintering here in Texas. You can read what people have to say about visiting Mexico's border towns in the RGV. Be sure to post comments about your experiences as well, at the link above.
Every year on the first Friday in December, Nuevo Progreso hosts a celebration to welcome visitors from across the border to their small town. In the US we call this Winter Texan Appreciation Day while in Mexico it is Dia de la Turista.
No matter what you call it, it is a day of Fun, Food, Music and Dancing. There is a similar day in the Spring, on March 21, when the Winter Texan population starts to plan their departure to the North.
A valid US passport is required to re-enter the United States. Whether you walk across or drive across the border, you will be required to present your passport at the US Customs Border Protection checkpoint. For more info see travel.state.gov
There is a Toll charge when entering Mexico at Nuevo Progreso. If you are walking across, have a couple of quarters ready. If you are driving across, the toll is currently $3 (as of July 2017). The return trip will cost you around 35¢ if walking and currently $1.60 if driving (as of July 2017).
Be prepared with US paper currency and coinage.
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If you are a bit adventurous and really want to "discover" Mexico ...
The comments below are submitted by viewers and have not been verified by The Winter Texan Connection
I am a single older female and I've been going to Nuevo Progreo for years now. I'm not scared at all, even in the evening hours.
Many of the vendors know me, so they watch out for me. Not all dentists are as honest as can be - most want to give you an implant,
tho it isn't necessary. I eat from the street vendors, and their street hotdogs are stupendous! I've never gotten sick, no one has spiked my drinks.
I do suggest your first stop is Jessica's Pharmacy, across the street from Benevidas Pharmacy. Jessica's will give you a free drink whether you buy
from them or not. They also have live music most of the time, catering to the Winter and Summer Texans. There is room to dance there, too, along
with meals to eat.
Anonymous ... Posted May 6, 2012
Mary Keiser says, We went to Progreso last week, Nov 9th. We saw no Mexican Army anywhere. Texas tax on each liter bottle has been raised from
$1.25 to $3.25 a bottle. That was a shocker! - posted 11-15-11
Nvo. Progresso remains the SAFEST tourist town on the border. A unit of Mexican marines patrols the town and even simple incidents are rare.
The town is hurting as visitors avoid all Mexican border towns, even the safe ones. We continue to go there for lunch, the dentist,and to see one of
the best "asthetic" (skin) doctors anywhere. When traveling into these border towns just act the same as you would when in any big US city.
Remember that you are MUCH safer in Progresso than you would be in, say, Detriot!
A warning to those coming into Monterrey from Matehuala: They'll stop you, ask for drivers licence, insurance info and entry visa.
They'll proceed to ask you if you have family in area and that you've been detained for speeding. You'll be threatened with
speeding fine of 1200 pesos! Actually what they want is a "mordida", a bite. I suggest you take the toll road.
Good Luck, Larry
I normally go to Progreso every week and feel as safe there as I would on this side of the river, in fact it probably is safer there now.
I was at Arrebas in Progreso on the day of the shooting. The place was locked down and all the patrons were escorted upstairs to a storage
area until it was safe to return downstairs. I would definitely not go to Reynosa or Matamoros but will continue my weekly trips to Progreso.
Anonymous (posted 1-30-11)
Progreso does remain quiet following the unfortunate experience of Oct. 2009. We still travel there once or twice a month for our
medications and dental appointments. The town is tiny and only one or two streets are safe for tourist travel. Remain in site of other tourists,
don't get too brave and venture off on your own. The citizens of Progreso remain alert and in tune with the dangers.
No one ventures out after dark and the merchants do close early. Progreso has much to offer, but must be balanced with the reality of possible attacks.
Always keep your wits about you and be alert to your surroundings at all times. Remember that you ARE in a foreign country.
Any criminal offenses or stupid behavior on your part could result in harsh consequences.
Anonymous (posted 4-5-11)
Read more comments and/or post your own experiences regarding traveling to Mexico in our Talk About It section
Information regarding crossing the US border into Mexico along the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas. Safety issues, shopping in Nuevo Progreso, festivals and more.