The path from Mexico to the U.S. is a treacherous one for undocumented immigrants who cross the border. The potential is obviously high for injury, capture and death. Despite those dangers, one Mexican community saw so many of its inhabitants escape to the States, that it did something radical to dissuade remaining locals from doing the same.
The town of El Alberto, home to the outdoor park known as Parque EcoAlberto, runs an attraction called “La Caminata Nocturna,” a three-hour, simulated, nighttime border-crossing event.
For $20, participants are led on a seven-mile hike through rugged terrain towards a fake border. In the clutches of unscrupulous smugglers, they’re repeatedly ambushed by border patrol agents and chased down until they’re arrested.
It’s like dinner theater, except there’s no food and at times participants seem genuinely afraid for their lives.
Maribel Garcia is a park administrator who told PBS, “Our objective is to stop the immigration that exists amongst our citizens, principally from the state of Mexico to the U.S.”
At one point, El Alberto had lost about 80 percent of its residents to U.S. states like Arizona and Nevada.
Garcia said that it was the community’s returning youth who came up with the idea for La Caminata Nocturna as way of dissuading Mexicans from abandoning their communities and as a means of creating more local employment.
What happens to participants who escape the clutches of the border patrol and actually make it across the frontera? Nothing. The park is roughly 800 miles away from the actual U.S.-Mexico border.
La Caminata Nocturna is just one of many visitor activities in EcoAlberto, which is run by the indigenous HñaHñu community.
Visitors can also enjoy river rafting, hiking, ziplining and other attractions that fall into the more expected offerings of an outdoor nature park.
Would you pay to experience the dangers of a border crossing? Tell us what you think of La Caminata Nocturna in the Comments.