Photo Essay from Coahuila, Mexico: Piedras Negras, Villa Union, and More

To wrap up this month of Mexican-themed posts, here are a bunch more sights from the state of Coahuila. I spent a day in Piedras Negras, Villa Union, and some other small towns in this Mexican state that borders Eagle Pass, Texas.

Is it safe to travel to Piedras Negras and the rest of Coahuila? What was it like crossing the border, and visiting a small-town Mexican cemetery? Keep scrolling to see pics and read about the trip.


Deciding to visit Coahuila – is it safe?

The question of whether to travel around Coahuila was a bit dicey. At first, I wasn’t sure I even wanted to make the trip. Some towns in Mexico have seen a lot of violence over the past few years as the drug cartels have taken over.

Coahuila hasn’t been affected as much as some other parts of Mexico, but there has been enough sporadic violence for the U.S. government to issue an official warning stating, “You should defer non-essential travel to the state of Coahuila. The State of Coahuila continues to experience high rates of violent crimes and narcotics-related murders.”

Ultimately, I realized most of the drug-related violence in Coahuila was happening further south than where I would be. I was traveling during the daytime with a friend and his Mexican mother, so I was about as safe as an American could realistically be.

Plus, I live in Chicago, which is setting all kinds of records for murders, and I don’t feel unsafe here. So it wouldn’t make sense to avoid Coahuila on the off-chance that something horrible could happen. You just have to minimize risk as much as possible, and go ahead living your life.

Even though I only saw a small portion of Coahuila, it was a great trip and I look forward to sharing the photos. Like this statue outside a school in Villa Union, a town of around 6,000 people:

juarez school

Photos From Coahuila

Don’t forget to leave those weapons on the U.S. side.


My first glimpse of the streets of Piedras Negras.


Get your cheap drugs here!


Sombreros de caballeros! Buy yours now.


And then stop for a Tecate.


This statue in Piedras Negras points the way. To what, I’m not exactly sure.


One thing I discovered about Coahuila residents is that they’re not shy about loading way too many passengers into vehicles. Here’s an entire family of four out for a joyride on the moped!


And the entire soccer team in the back of a pickup.


The understated Coahuila license plate. Apparently, it’s the “Land of the Dinosaurs.” Who knew?

The Coahuila license plate up close.

It was fun walking around the small town of Villa Union. Most of the businesses were closed since it was Sunday, but luckily, the one store that was open sold frozen ice cream treats.


My favorite house in town. Bright blue.


And my favorite piece of porch decor. Bienvenidos!


Here’s the coolest business in town. Viva Pinatas!


Some of the other storefronts and buildings in town.

villa union storefronts

Stop in to the internet cafe.


Or grab some tacos.


Stop in to this store to buy some gringas. Don’t ask me what “gringas” are when it comes to food. I have no idea.


Or get some fried chicken from Lili’s! This place looked amazing.


Another shot from one of the Villa Union cemeteries.


Apparently there was an election this summer.


The service at the town church was loud.


A statue outside the local school.


More small-town character with the whole family’s jeans on the clothesline.


There were lots of chickens running around in people’s yards, along with the occasional cow or horse. And a few dwellings still had outhouses.

cows horses outhouse

Watch out for the ants!


There’s a Coke factory not far from the border. Real Coke, with actual sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup!


For those who prefer adult beverages, it’s the Corona factory.


More sights from the Plaza de las Culturas in Piedras Negras.




While driving through the town of Allende, we got stuck behind some sort of community benefit walk.


One day in Coahuila was not enough. Hopefully I’ll be able to return for a sequel sometime soon.