The United States and Mexican governments opened the Boquillas border crossing on Wednesday, reestablishing tourist access between the two countries in Big Bend National Park.
A rowboat will ferry visitors across the Rio Grande at the Port of Boquillas, which is in the southeastern section of the park near Rio Grande Village. The crossing had been closed since 2002, when the United States shut it down in the aftermath of 9/11.Boquillas is the only port of entry between Presidio and Del Rio, which are about 300 miles apart. For visitors entering Mexico, the crossing provides access to the village of Boquillas and the protected areas of Maderas del Carmen, Ocampo, and CaÃ±on de Santa Elena.
Big Bend National Park has pushed to re-open the crossing to foster both tourism opportunities and resource management cooperation with its Mexican counterparts.
The port is open to pedestrians onlyâ€”no vehiclesâ€”from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, according to a joint press release from the National Park Service and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
For travelers entering the United States, the National Park Service is staffing an interagency facility that houses two kiosks with a remote link to Customs & Border Protection officials in other locations. Border agents can interview crossers and examine their documents via the remote link.
The press release from the U.S. agencies did not contain details about documents required for American travelers entering Mexico. However, it said that travelers returning from Mexico to the U.S. must have a Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative approved document , such as a U.S. passport.Itâ€™s also worth noting that travelers returning from Mexico to Big Bend are only permitted to cross during the aforementioned hours of operation.
Both photos by Robert Hart