Skip to main content
CNN.com
Search
Home World U.S. Weather Business Sports Analysis Politics Law Tech Science Health Entertainment Offbeat Travel Education Specials Autos I-Reports
U.S. News

Pay to play a border crosser in bizarre tourist attraction

Adjust font size:
Decrease fontDecrease font
Enlarge fontEnlarge font

Ixmiquilpan, MEXICO -- We heard about a strange thing when we came to Mexico: an attraction in the country's central region where tourists pay 20 bucks each to pretend they're illegal immigrants and make a run for a "make believe" border.
We couldn't believe it.

Everybody I told about the story before we went was horrified or deeply offended. We were even more surprised to see who was running this attraction -- the indigenous Nanu Indians who live near this national park and operate the mock border crossing.

They're also making a lot of money. The night we did the tour, there were more than 50 people in the group, including some 7-year-old kids in a Scout troop. So, for that night alone, they cleared about $1,000!

It's a strange attraction. We started the night with Poncho, our guide and leader. He spoke for about 45 minutes and said the program honors the treks made by immigrants. For part of the journey, he wore a mask to make him anonymous like the real-life guides, which was supposed to add to the drama.

Poncho yelled "Corre, corre, corre ..." and we were on our way. We made it down a hill, through 6 inches of mud, crawled across a ledge, across a river and through a scary tunnel to get to the other side.

For a decorative touch, fires were lit in the background. And to make the experience more bizarre, we were blindfolded when we reached the fictional border around 2 a.m. The grueling trek took about four hours, but, as Poncho reminded us, the journey across the real border is much more difficult.

Poncho's Mexican tribe has been decimated; he estimates that 90 percent of his people have left for the north.


story.bordercrossing.soleda.jpg

People pay to pretend they are illegal immigrants running for the U.S. border in a tourist activity in Mexico.

Advertisement

Advertisement

Career Builder.com
Quick Job Search
  More Options
International Edition
CNN TV CNN International Headline News Transcripts Advertise with Us About Us Contact Us
Search
© 2007 Cable News Network.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us. Site Map.
SERVICES » E-mails RSSRSS Feed PodcastsRadio News Icon CNNtoGo CNN Pipeline
Offsite Icon External sites open in new window; not endorsed by CNN.com
Pipeline Icon Pay service with live and archived video. Learn more