Geography of Matamoros
Although not a particularly large town, Matamoros does receive a continuous stream of visitors, mainly from the US, who come here for short vacation breaks or are simply passing through this Mexican border town on their way down south. Matamoros is located directly opposite the town of Brownsville Texas in the US and is the two are only separated by the natural barrier of the Rio Grande that forms much of the border between the US and Mexico.
People & History of Matamoros
Matamoros has a modest population of approximately 400,000 people, most of whom are local people who work predominantly in agriculture or in one of the many local factories set up by US companies to capitalize on the lower labor wages demanded by Mexican workers. The history of the town dates back to the 1686 when it first became settled by Spanish colonizers. Despite it’s relative youth, Matamoros occupies a place of significance in Mexico because This was the first city to be attacked by the US army in the Mexican American war. Despite a heroic defense which actually earned the town the title of “Heroica Matamoros” or Heroic Matamoros, This was the first city in Mexico to be taken by the US forces during the war. It was from here that 12th US President Zachary Taylor launched subsequent attacks into other larger Mexican towns such as Monterrey. During the US Civil War Matamoras was instrumental in providing supplies to the South and also as a conduit for taking Southern Cotton out of the country as a way of bypassing the northern sea blockade on southern trade routes.
Industry in Matamoros
Today Matamoros is something of a regional commercial centre for the large agriculture industry that exists in the surrounding areas the northeastern Mexican state of Tamaulipas. In addition to agriculture there are some distilleries, cotton mills as well as several tanneries that form the backbone of economic life in this Mexican border town.
Things to do in Matamoros
Although not a major tourist destination, there are still a few interesting things to see and do in Matamoros. Firstly there is the casa Mata Museum which is housed in what used to be a military fort dating back to 1845. The fort was originally built t odefend the city and saw fighting during the Mexican American War. Today the museum houses a whole host or memorabilia related to both the Mexican American War as well as the Mexican revolution. The museum is open from 8am to 8pm moday to Saturday and entrance is free.
Despite its name Bagdad beach is a lot more peaceful than you might otherwise think. The beach, located only 37km east of Matamoras on highway 2 is wide, clean and relatively quiet and boasts a number of charming little restaurants and hotels.
In late June Matamoros holds an annual fiesta in the local amusement park. Among the attractions are a wide variety of stalls selling handicrafts as well as local theatrical, dance and music performances.
Matamoros Also plays host to an autumn festival in October. Highlights of this festival include chamber music concerts as well as traditional dance displays.
Shopping in Matamoros is always a good way to while away a couple of hours and the best place to do this is in the new market where you can buy a whole host of different fashions as well as various fun little trinkets. Prices here are marginally higher than you might pay for the same things in other markets a little further south, but for atmosphere and convenience the Mercado Juarez is top choice.
Public Transport in Matamoros
The most common form of public transport in Matamoros are maxi taxis, which are minibuses that serve routes inside town. These can be flagged down on any street corner and it costs only 50 Cents to go anywhere in town. If you can pay a little more for comfort and convenience then there are also regular private taxis. The cheapest way to see the city however is on a free city bus tour that leaves every 30 minutes daily from 9am until 6pm. The bus leaves from in front of the Garcia crafts shop near the bridge.