It‘s a journey that costs families between $6000 and $12000 and sometimes costs lives – but a theme park in Mexico is charging 350 pesos ($25) per person to simulate the experience.
Mexico‘s Parque Eco Albertois offers visitors a simulated border crossing to the US, with four-hour night walk over difficult terrain, hounded by imaginary border guards.
The family adventure park situated in El Alberto, two hours north of Mexico City, has been running the attraction since 2004.
Caminata: ‘Experience the crossing of an illegal‘ reads the park‘s promotional material. Photo / Supplied facebook twitter email linkedin google-plus whatsapp pinterest reddit
The park‘s “Caminata” night walk invites visitors to or “Experience the crossing of an illegal [immigrant]”.
The park‘s website says the walk was started as a way to convince Mexicans that “they need not risk their lives looking for ‘a better life in another country‘”.
In spite of the park‘s central location – more than 600km away from the border – the walk claims that emigration has been a big concern for El Alberto, where “more than 70 per cent” of the population have left for the US.
Starting from the El Alberto Catholic church on a Saturday night, the walk is organised for groups of up to 30. Those who feel four hours of simulated border crossing is not tough enough can opt for an “extreme” six-hour version, for an extra 150 pesos.
The Mexican – US border: The aims to convince Mexicans they ‘need not risk their lives‘. Photo / Sandy Huffaker, Getty Images facebook twitter email linkedin google-plus whatsapp pinterest reddit
Those braving the mock exodus are advised to be in “good physical condition”, to dress warmly but carry little, and take tough shoes for “difficult terrain”.
The end of the hike promises a “great surprise” for the walkers, in honour of those in the community who have passed on “in search of the American dream”.
While the night walk is a simulation of a border crossing, the Eco Parque is adamant its purpose is not to prepare hikers for the real thing.
“It is not a training activity, and that it has the internal purpose of creating awareness and a source of employment for our residents,” claims the park.
Less controversial attractions at the park include kayaking and zipline courses. The night walk is included in the admission price of the Eco Parque, along with access to swimming pools and hot spring spa.
Carretera Cantinela Km 8, El Alberto, 42323 Ixmiquilpan, Hgo