Mike Davidson’s journey to Big Bend began as a fleeting visit before leaving Texas, drawn by his love for mountains and the outdoors. Little did he know that this visit would lead to a permanent stay, culminating in his ownership of the commercial permits for the international ferry. Last year alone, his ferry transported over 11,000 tourists into Mexico, highlighting the park’s growing popularity.

Big Bend encompasses both a national park on the US side and protected areas on the Mexican side. The opening of a port of entry in 2013 allows park visitors to cross into Mexico, often to their surprise finding that the “international ferry” is a modest rowboat.

The ferry’s crossings are closely monitored, with high-flying drones along the border ensuring safety. Upon reaching the Mexican side, visitors have the opportunity to explore the nearby village, either on foot or by hiring a donkey ride, and have their passports stamped for the experience.

Travelers relish the chance to immerse themselves in the authentic rural life of the Mexican village, enjoying the cultural offerings and purchasing souvenirs crafted from locally sourced materials. This sustainable tourism helps support the village residents and their families.

Big Bend’s unique binational park status facilitates movement between both countries, reminiscent of other international parks like Glacier National Park, which joins with Waterton National Park in Canada. These parks serve as symbols of international cooperation and peace.

Despite recent discussions about building a fortified border wall, many visitors are surprised to find that much of the surrounding land is privately owned, with openings in the wall allowing access for farmers and workers. Border patrol officers emphasize feeling safe in the area, highlighting the peaceful coexistence between neighboring communities.

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