4
| Travel |

La Caminata Theme Park in Mexico Gives Visitors a Chance to "Cross" a Simulated Border

^
Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

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.

Follow Jackalope Ranch on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.