El Paso has a busy border with plenty of cross border commerce and tourism. Traveling back and forth is normal for residents and tourists also use the cities to crossover as well.
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Border Crossings in El Paso
Several crossing points exist between the two cities with the international bridges spanning the Rio Grande. In fact, six separate crossings connect the cities. Each has differing hours and facilities for your trip so plan ahead and know what you need to cross back and forth.
For most visitors, you will need:
- Current passport
- Mexican auto insurance
- Vehicle registration
- Copy of title
- Driver’s license
For border zone trips only, you won’t need a Temporary Import Permit but if you plan to travel south of the immediate border city, the TIP and an FMM tourist visa are required. You will need a border crossing with a Banjercito and Aduana office to obtain these for longer/farther trips.
El Paso border stations are available at the following locations:
Paso del Norte – This is a pedestrian and personal vehicle crossing that uses El Paso Street going south.
Stanton-Lerdo – Three lanes go south to Ciudad Juarez but only one goes north and it’s a SENTRI lane. Unless you are a regular crosser with SENTRI, consider this as a southbound.
Ysleta-Zaragoza – Also a good option for regular commuters who want a quick and easy passing point. It has a fast pass lane going south and the northbound only has two lanes. One is for Fast pass and the other for SENTRI.
Bridge of the Americas – Also referred to as BOTA, this is a big crossing with passenger and commercial lanes. In reality, it’s two bridges with one for passengers and the other for commercial trucks. The passenger bridge has pedestrian walkways for foot crossings. It’s also a 24/7 open crossing.
Tornillo-Guadalupe – As a newer port of entry, the infrastructure is updated and there is plenty of room for commercial, passenger and pedestrian traffic.
Santa Theresa – Open from 6 am to midnight, this entry also covers the gauntlet of commercial, passenger and pedestrian vehicles. Hours are more limited for commercial traffic and are only applicable on weekdays.
Read our full guide to Mexico border crossings with information specific to El Paso.
Places to Stay in El Paso for Travelers (and side trips)
El Paso is a wonderful city and the border culture creates interesting fusion food that is something to explore. There are museums, gardens and parks all over the city as well. Downtown is a great place to walk around and find food and entertainment.
Lastly, the hiking trails and scenic drives overlooking the city are pretty spectacular.
Border Hotels in El Paso:
- Holiday Inn Express and Suites
- La Quinta Inn by Wyndham El Paso West
- Hotel Paso de Norte (pet friendly)
- Hotel Indigo El Paso Downtown
Things to do in El Paso:
- El Paso Museum of Art
- Scenic Drive Overlooking the City
- Mount Cristo Rey Hike
- El Paso Zoo and Botanical Gardens
These are fun and easy stops to make before crossing the border. If you have more time, the city has a ton to offer and you can easily lose yourself here for a week.
Is Ciudad Juarez Safe?
If you believe the movies, Juarez is a dark and dangerous city. Those notions aren’t unwarranted and you shouldn’t take safety lightly when visiting. It’s a good idea to have some travel experience and good instincts for Mexico travel in general.
There is another side to the city however. It’s a beautiful place with plenty of interesting stops for tourists. Touring is best during daylight and while there are certain areas to avoid, there are some nice hotels and areas with rich history, museums and amazing food.
Ciudad Juarez is a large city and the safest way to visit is with a game plan. Know where you will stay, have secure parking and where you want to visit during the day. Casual walking around is also fine in many places, just avoid side streets and places that don’t feel right.
The border is especially congested and dangerous and you will find a different pace closer to the city center. As you get away from the border crowds, refugees and crisis zones, you begin finding residents who are going about daily life and work.
Staying in Ciudad Juarez (and side trips)
Some wonderful hotels and destinations are available in the city. Stick to the tourist zones and you will have no shortage of amazing things to keep you busy. It is after all, home of the margarita and we recommend
Things to do in Ciudad Juarez:
- Museum of the Revolution in the Borderland
- Cathedral of Ciudad Juarez
- Rodadora Museum
- Eat Some Street Food
Hotels to consider in Ciudad Juarez:
- Hampton Inn by the Hilton
- City Express Junior Ciudad Juarez Consulado (popular with US residents)
- Courtyard by Marriott
- Hotel Krystal Urban Juarez
There are a surprising number of very nice hotels in different areas of town. Many are near the airport but there are also many great options in the city center and near places like the Zoo and Botanical Gardens.
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