Nuevo Laredo is a city of about 375,000 people (2010) in Tamaulipas, Mexico, across the border from the smaller Laredo, Texas. The twin cities are collectively referred to as "Los Dos Laredos". As the busiest land port in North America, many pass through it. It is the point where the PanAmerican Highway crosses into the United States via Mexico and, as such, you might find yourself in Nuevo Laredo merely passing through en route to points further north or south. You might also be visiting San Antonio, Laredo, or some other South Texas town and be lured to the border to see what’s on the other side... or just to say you’ve been to Mexico.
Nuevo Laredo (along with Laredo, Texas) is the most important trade border crossing of Latin America (approximately 8500 trucks cross the border each day). Its geographical position has enabled this city to grow and specialize in the international trade business. Nuevo Laredo has a very developed logistics and transportation industry, complemented with a variety of hotel chains, restaurants and a cultural center where events such as the Tamaulipas International Festival take place.
Nuevo Laredo's weather ranges from long periods of heat to sudden violent storms in a short period of time. Nuevo Laredo is cold for Tamaulipas standards during winter, the average daytime highs are around 66 °F (18.9 °C) and overnight lows around 43 °F (6.1 °C).
Nuevo Laredo experiences an average high temperature of about 99 °F (37.2 °C), and an average low of about 75 °F (23.9 °C) during summer, and 20 inches (508 mm) of rain per year.
- Mexican Federal Highway 2 (Mex Dos) starts at the international dam at Lake Amistad near Ciudad Acuña, Coahuila and runs through Piedras Negras, Colombia (Nuevo Leon), Nuevo Laredo Reynosa, and ends near Matamoros, Tamaulipas.
- Mexican Federal Highway 85 starts in Nuevo Laredo and runs through Monterrey, Nuevo León, Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas, Ciudad Valles, San Luis Potosí, and Pachuca, Hidalgo. It ends in Mexico City.
- Tamaulipas / Nuevo Leon State Highway 1 starts in Colombia, NL at Bridge 4 and ends in Monterrey.
From the United States:
There are three bridges that connect Nuevo Laredo to Laredo, Texas for private vehicles: if you are driving, you will have the option of crossing Bridges 1, 2, or 4. If you are on foot, you will have to use Bridge 1.
- Bridge 1 is accessed from Downtown Laredo and will connect you directly to Downtown Nuevo Laredo.
- Bridge 2 is at the end of I-35 and connects with Blvd. Colosio in Mexico. If you are not stopping in Nuevo Laredo, or are simply not heading downtown, Bridge 2 is often the most seamless option.
- Bridge 3 is the "International Commerce Bridge" and used only by trucks.
- Bridge 4 is about 20 km out of Laredo and crosses at Colombia, Nuevo Leon, a different state from Nuevo Laredo. While Colombia is an interesting small village, that particular bridge is a rather out of the way option if you are bound for Nuevo Laredo.
Getting into Mexico is generally pretty quick regardless of the bridge you use. Each of the three bridges costs US$3 to cross going into Mexico, payable in US dollars or Mexican pesos (M$). You will notice a different road surface when you pass the border plaque on the bridge.
- 1 Quetzalcóatl International Airport (IPA: [ketsalˈkoː.aːtɬ] NLD IATA). An international airport near the U.S.-Mexico border that handles national and international air traffic. Four daily direct flights from Mexico City are available.
- Laredo International Airport (LRD IATA) is a public airport 3 mi (4.8 km) northeast of Nuevo Laredo in Laredo, Texas. The airport has scheduled direct flights to Dallas/Fort Worth (80 minutes) and Houston (80 minutes) and Las Vegas (165 minutes) via American Eagle, United Express, Allegiant.
- US and Canada. Buses go to Laredo frequently, connecting Nuevo Laredo with the Greyhound Network and all points further north. Bookings can be made online. Passengers heading north by bus might consider purchasing a travel pass for unlimited travel on Greyhound within a 7-, 15-, or 30-day period. There are also a number of other lines that travel to points in Texas, Florida, and Illinois.
- Mexico City. Buses leave for Mexico City frequently with Grupo Senda. Bookings can be made online.
- Monterrey. Direct buses to Monterrey run as low as M$200 and take about 3 hours.
- By car, taxi, city buses, or on foot.
Transporte Urbano de Nuevo Laredo (TUNL) is the mass transit system that operates in Nuevo Laredo with fixed routes. TUNL hub is located in downtown Nuevo Laredo.
There are plazas and monuments can be found throughout the city. Most visitors focus on shopping and strolling the streets of Vicente Guerrero and Ignacio Zaragoza. You may also see Los Tecolotes de Nuevo Laredo (Mexican Professional Baseball League) game. You may also see a play or a Broadway-style show in the Centro Cultural.
- Theaters: Nuevo Laredo has three main theaters the "Centro Cultural", "Teatro de la Ciudad", and "Casa de Cultura". The Centro Cultural, is Nuevo Laredo's main theater with a sitting capacity of 1,200 guests. The theater has presented high level shows high level, plays, concerts and dance recitals and one independent Art Gallery "Casa Black" that opens 2 times a year for a single weekend. The theater has a museum, library, and a cafeteria. The Teatro de la Ciudad is a theater which presents plays, dance recitals, concerts and musical shows and special events. The Casa de Cultura houses music, painting, dance and literature workshops and also presents major artistic and cultural events such as art exhibitions, concerts, film samples, dance recitals and plays, among others.
- Natural history museum. Its permanent museum exhibits human skeletons, dinosaur bones and fossils in general that allows to make a chronological history travel of the region, fauna, flora and geography, from the jurassic to our era.
- Jose Reyes Meza Museum. It has the name of a remarkable painter, designer and muralist from Tamaulipas, the museum displays various plastic works.
- Tecolotes de los Dos Laredos bring AAA-level Mexican League Baseball to Nuevo Laredo from March through the end of July. Games are held at Parque La Junta. The schedule is online.
- Enjoy a show at the Centro Cultural Nuevo Laredo. Here there is a permanent history museum that walks you through the age of dinosaurs up to modern day Nuevo Laredo. There are also two rooms that host temporary art exhibitions and a sculpture walk outside. The Centro Cultural also hosts some really decent events, including an annual international music festival.
- The Plaza de Toros "Lauro Luis Longoria" in Nuevo Laredo attracts international bullfighting talent., Address: Ave. Monterrey No. 411, +52-867-712-7192
- Doctor, dentist, pharmacy. Healthcare is far cheaper, and generally a higher quality (according to international rankings), than that in the United States. Are you due for a dental cleaning and check up? In Mexico, you can pay anywhere between US$10 and US$40 for a checkup and cleaning. Try to avoid the clinics closest to Bridge 1, where one will be approached by clinic promoters as soon as you clear customs. Many of the clinics accept US insurance (if you have it), Mastercard and Visa. If you have a prescription for medicine, you can have it filled in Mexico for less than it would be in the United States. Do not buy a prescription drug unless you have a prescription for it as crossing back into the United States with it will be a problem.
- La Zona de Tolerencia (Boys’ Town). La Zona is the infamous red light district on south Calle Monterrey near the corner of Calle Anáhuac.  Largely in ruins today, it used to be a "Little Vegas" with bars, brothels, casinos, restaurants, hotels, and just about anything else one could want for a care-free night out complete with infrastructure for its residents and visitors, including a fully functioning police station and clinic. While some bars and recreational activities continue to operate, the walled town within a town is now largely in ruins.
- Parque Viveros is a 124-acre (0.50 km²) forest park that overlooks the Rio Grande on the eastern side of Nuevo Laredo. The park features a zoo, two large swimming pools, walking trails, and picnic areas with barbecue pits and playgrounds.
- Mexican handmade arts, crafts, and pottery in Vicente Guerrero Ave located in downtown Nuevo Laredo.
- Markets. There are several markets in Nuevo Laredo. One of the best is open only a few days a week; it is close to Calle Los Dos Laredos (what Anahuac turns into after Calle Monterrey). If it is a market day, the roads will be packed and you will likely need to park several blocks away. If you GPS the address Sonora 6102, you will be led into the midst of it. Another really nice market is along Héroe de Nacataz close to the junction with Tamaulipas [State Road] 1. This market flanks the railway tracks and offers hours of stalls to browse. If you GPS Calle Héroe de Nacataz 7553, it should take you to the thick of it. Market Maclovio Herrera in the historic city center, here you can find many kinds of Mexican crafts from all the country, e.g. costumes, jewelry, traditional Mexican candies and piñatas.
- When you cross on Bridge 1 and go straight, you will be on Av. Guerrero, which is a main artery of the city. Several blocks over to the left, there is a hospital called IMSS. In front of this hospital, there are several hawkers set up in front of the hospital. All of them are pretty good (as of 2013).
- At Guerrero and Heroe de Nacataz, at night, there is a popular and established taco stand set up. Known by locals as Tacos de Caballo. Regardless of the name, they do not serve horse meat.
- If you are on Blvd Colosio, there is a humble little restaurant very close to Parque Viveros. Take the exit for Parque Viveros, head up to the roundabout and take the 4th exit (Calle Carranza). A few blocks down you will see Tacos el Venado on the left just before the baseball fields. Parking is on the street wherever you can find it.
- A small and humble taco stand close to La Zona is a local favourite for barbacoa. From the entrance of La Zona, travel north along Calle Monterrey to Calle Guanajuato. There is another well established hawker at this corner across from Mariscos Los 7 Mares. This guy makes some awesome barbacoa on the weekends.
- If you are not into hole-in-the-wall restaurants or street food, you might consider El Rancho which is a well established restaurant serving a variety of Mexican favourites.
- El Nuevo Sol (Vegetarians): While meat is pretty hard to escape in Norteña Cuisine, El Nuevo Sol is an excellent chain of vegetarian restaurants. The main restaurant is on Peru, but there are several others scattered around the city. The daily plated lunch special is always an excellent value or you can sample the menu for vegetarian takes on other Mexican classics.
- Cadillac Bar, Matamoros 304, ☏ . Casual party bar, since 1926. Great place for a casual family meal. Excellent chicken and seafood, but they do a mean cabrito as well. US$20-30.
- El Taco Tote, Ave. Campeche 2804, ☏ . 07:00-03:00.
- 1 [dead link] El Rancho Su Majestad el Taco, Vicente Guerrero 2134, ☏ . Su-Th 07:00-02:00, F 07:00-03:00, Sa 07:00-04:00; Buffet of Breakfasts: 07:00-11:30.
Day and nightlife is abundant in downtown Nuevo Laredo in Vicente Guerrero Ave. It is filled with bars, clubs and restaurants.
- 1 Crowne Plaza Hotel, Paseo Colón 3333, ☏ , fax: .
- 2 Real Inn Nuevo Laredo, Av Reforma 5430, ☏ , fax: , email@example.com.
- 3 Fiesta Inn, Carretera Federal 85 5102, ☏ .
Like many other Mexican border cities, Nuevo Laredo has a high crime rate. Most crime in Nuevo Laredo is related to the drug trade across the American-Mexican border. Nuevo Laredo is the base of Los Zetas, who began as the armed wing of the Gulf Cartel; the two organizations separated in early 2010 and have been fighting for the control of the smuggling routes to the United States.
If you go to La Zona (Boy's Town), whether just to see it or for its various recreational activities: do not go there after dark, be extra cautious and alert to your surroundings, and be wary of those seeking to “help” you find anything. It might be prudent to bring a friend with you.
- United States, 3330 Allende St, Col Jardin, ☏ .
To the United States
Getting (back) to the United States is generally a pain. If you are crossing on foot, once again you only have the option of Bridge 1. If you went with your car, take the time to check the bridge cams in order to pick the best option before you set out. Remember when you look at the cameras, that Bridge 3 is not for private vehicles.
If you are comfortable driving a little bit further away from the border for a bit, sometimes it is worth it to drive to Colombia to cross there. It takes about 40 minutes to get to Colombia from Nuevo Laredo, and about 50% of the time that is faster than waiting in the queues of Bridges 1 or 2. The easiest way to get there is to head south (towards Monterrey) and then take a right on Blvd Aeropuerto and then continue on towards Mexico 2 towards Colombia.
On Bridges 1 and 2, you will know which side of the border you are on based on the presence of street vendors capitalizing on the queue. Before you cross the magic line, you will have no shortage of people selling food, water, candy, trinkets, music, and offering to wash your windshield for a few pesos.
Further into Mexico
If you feel adventurous: travel down Carretera Federal 2 and visit Colombia, Nuevo Leon and Hidalgo, Coahuilla. Both are small and charming towns that are off the typical tourist path and, as such do not have hotels, cash machines, or the typical tourist infrastructure. Travelers on Carretera Federal 2 are subject to a checkpoint. At this checkpoint, Marines will randomly direct cars to pull over for inspection. If selected, they will take everyone out of the car as they search it and will expect to see passports. You can also travel to Monterrey.
|Routes through Nuevo Laredo|
|Piedras Negras ← Hidalgo ←||NW SE||→ Nueva Ciudad Guerrero → Reynosa|
|Monterrey ← Sabinas Hidalgo ←||S N||→ → becomes → Laredo|