Reynosa, Mexico is on the northern border of the state of Tamaulipas and just across the Rio Grande River from McAllen, Texas. Like the other major border cities of Tijuana, Ciudad Juárez, Mexicali, and Piedras Negas, it is a major manufacturing city with many major U.S. companies taking advantage of the cheap labor of the maquiladora or maquila economy. At Anjin Secure Car, we have covered general business considerations for Reynosa, here we focus in on the practical logistics that one needs to know to get in and out of McAllen and Reynosa.
At this current time, the state of Tamaulipas is under a “Level 4: Do Not Travel” warning by the U.S. State Department. This is the highest level of warning possible. Level 4 is the same level as Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria.
Unfortunately, like many of the other border cities, it is the center of major cartel violence and visitors should be advised to research the risk levels thoroughly before going.
Video: Rhetoric from local politicians at odds with actions of Mexican Federal government even back in 2017 during calmer times.
Reynosa has an airport, General Lucio Blanco International Airport, but there are no direct flights from the United States so to fly directly into Reynosa one would have to connect in Mexico City or another major Mexican city. For this reason, most visitors fly into the McAllen International Airport which has numerous direct flights from El Paso, Houston, and Dallas among other cities. Given how small the Reynosa-McAllen Metropolitan Area is, this is an easy decision.
To get into Reynosa there are several border crossings from the Los Ebanos crossing (some might consider that too far North for inclusion) as we well as the Anzauldas, Hidalgo, Pharr, Donna, and Progreso crossings. You will want to speak to whoever you are meeting in Reynosa or your security transport provider to determine the best crossing for your destination.
Visitors with a SENTRI pass or Global Entry should inform their secure transportation company as they may have vehicles with proper credentials that can use the Ready Lane or SENTRI Lane for faster access. These are all programs that are designed for people who travel extensively internationally or who just hate the hassle of prolonged inspections (who doesn’t?). Travelers can undergo a background check to get these passes and avoid security lines either at the border or at the airport. During rush hour, these express lanes make a huge difference in commute time and are essential for anyone who thinks they will be doing prolonged business in Reynosa.
We have covered the security situation in Reynosa in other posts so we won’t cover it extensively here, but Reynosa is in the midst of drug cartel violence and military operations. These factors, make ground transportation in Reynosa something that requires careful and deliverable planning.
In terms of hotels and accommodation, it is not recommended for visitors to stay in Reynosa. A quick Google search will reveal some major international chains in Reynosa such as Hampton Inn or Holiday Inn so you might be tempted. To make things more confusing, large travel sites like Expedia or Orbitz will offer up hotels (or even rental cars!) in Reynosa. Even so, the conveniences of avoiding the border crossings are not worth the massively increased risk.
There are numerous hotels across the Rio Grande, in Mission, McAllen, and Hidalgo that are frequented by business travelers. If you are visiting a maquiladora, you can ask them if they recommend a hotel in Texas as many times they have negotiated corporate rates. Plus, they will have knowledge of traffic related to the closest border crossing that will be impossible for you to ascertain on your own.
Getting in and out of Reynosa from Texas is a very regular occurrence by business travelers. You will likely get a lot of good advice from whoever you are visiting. Just remember that the maquiladora industry and business interests in McAllen are not totally objective judges of the security risk and it will be hard for them to put themselves in the shoes of a visitor.
For further information, please read our entry on Doing Business in Reynosa where we cover issues ranging from business structures, history, and security and safety considerations.