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.

piedras-negras-border

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.

no-firearms-mexico

My first glimpse of the streets of Piedras Negras.

avenida-allende

Get your cheap drugs here!

farmacias-del-pueblo

Sombreros de caballeros! Buy yours now.

sombreros-de-caballeros

And then stop for a Tecate.

tecate-mexican-street

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

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Sights from a Hawaiian helicopter ride over active lava flows

statue-piedras-negras

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!

moped-family-of-four

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

soccer-team-pickup

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

coahuila-license-plate

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.

neveria-y-paleteria

My favorite house in town. Bright blue.

blue-house

And my favorite piece of porch decor. Bienvenidos!

bienvenidos-frog

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

viva-pinatas

Some of the other storefronts and buildings in town.

villa union storefronts

Stop in to the internet cafe.

cyber-plaza-villa-union

Or grab some tacos.

lalos-tacos-y-carneceria

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.

gringas-for-sale

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

lilis-fried-chicken

Another shot from one of the Villa Union cemeteries.

cemetery-mexico

Apparently there was an election this summer.

vote-pri

The service at the town church was loud.

iglesia-metodista-mexico

A statue outside the local school.

juarez-school

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

jeans-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!

ants-mexico

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

coke-factory-mexico

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

corona-factory

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

plaza-de-las-culturas

stone-statue

plaza-culturas

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

benefit-walk-mexico

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

About Quirky Travel Guy

Scott Shetler is a Seattle-based freelance writer & fan of indie rock, road trips, ice cream, squirrels on power lines, runaway shopping carts, and six-way intersections. Some posts on this site contain affiliate links, which may earn me a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you make a purchase.

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