La Caminata Theme Park in Mexico Gives Visitors a Chance to "Cross" a Simulated Border
If you've ever wondered what it's like to cross the US/Mexico Border in the middle of the night with few resources and a lot of trust in a guide, the experience now yours for $20.
Caminata Nocturna (or "night hike') is a theme park in the town of El Alberto, Mexico -- just a few hours outside of Mexico City.
But unlike "The Happiest Place on Earth," a run from the haunted boogie man, or a typical visit to a rollercoaster-packed thrill site, La Caminata offers visitors the chance to experience a few hours of running around in the desert with hopes of making it to the "other side" -- without the actual chance of getting caught, risking their well-being, or losing their lives.
The park opened in 2004 and has since been host to thousands who come from around the world to take the four-hour, 7.5-mile "illegal experience" -- including climbing under fences, avoiding wildlife, and hiding from the park's employees who act as border patrol agents.
Filmmaker Jamie Meltzer interviewed the park's employees and visitors in 2009. According to the documentary, more than 100 of the tiny town's residents (population 3,000, via Huffington Post) work at the park as coyotes and border patrol agents for the hike that's put on every Saturday.
Poncho, one of the park's tour guides, explains the experience, which you can see in Meltzer's film below:
While the park's organizers have been accused of operating a training ground, the founders told Meltzer there's no way to actually train people to cross the US/Mexico border -- the experience is harsher, more stressful, and actually life threatening. We're guessing it also costs more than $20.
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Phoenix, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.