Mexico: Mexico Expo - Matamoros, Mexico

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Matamoros is located in the extreme upper northeast corner of Mexico, across the Rio Grande from the US state of Texas. The origins of the area started in the 1700's near the coast where the Rio Grande spills into the Gulf of Mexico, but a series of Gulf storms destroyed the original town named Bagdad, and Matamoros evolved several miles inland.

The tourism in Matamoros is generally limited to residents of the lower Rio Grande Valley in the United States and the residents of Brownsville, Texas.

Matamoros lies at the intersection of two main Mexican highways. Highway 2 begins at Matamoros and then snakes along the southern edge of the Mexico / US border, connecting the cities of Reynosa, Nuevo Laredo and Piedras Negras.

Heading south from Matamoros is Highway 101, which hooks up with San Luis Potosi via a connection at Highway 80. The coastal village of Playa Lauro Villar is about a half hour drive east of Matamoros and a good place to escape for a pleasant lunch.

Although Matamoros is located next to the Gulf of Mexico, there are no spectacular beaches to draw in the tourists. Much of the coastal strip here is swampy and unattractive.

What the city lacks in beaches it makes up in shopping. The shopping centers include the large enclosed shopping mall of Mercado Juarez, the many streetside shops along Avenida Obregon, as well as the government run crafts center at Centro Artesanal.

Shoppers will find good deals on leather goods, silver jewelry, housewears, baskets, and a variety of clothing options. And if you want to buy a Rolex knock-off you can probably find one at one of the local shops as well.

Commerce in the area surrounding Matamoros consists of growing cotton and raising livestock. The town center is a bustling place for local business and shopping, with many of the shoppers coming from the US side of the border just for the day.

Casamata Museum near the center of town is a relaxing place to reflect on the colorful history of the area on both sides of the Rio Grande.

There are three border crossings that connect Matamoros to Brownsville, Texas. The B & M and Gateway bridges are open 24 hours a day. The Veterans bridge is open from 6:00 a.m. until midnight each day.

The best source of information about Matamoros is the Brownsville Chamber of Commerce, located one block from the international bridge crossing at 1600 East Elizabeth Road in Brownsville. The office is open daily from 9:00 a.m to 5:00 p.m. and can be reached by telephone at (956) 542-4341.

For further information on Matamoros, as well as the current weather and a calendar of events, drop by the MATAMOROS web site.