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Last-minute getaways not too far from home

Michaela Román
Former UTEP Student Jessica Mendez sits on a rock near Truth Or Consequences, New Mexico. T or C is best known for its hot springs and only two hours outside of El Paso.

Instead of staying at home this spring break, here are some last-minute places to escape to and reset in to continue the semester fresh. These destinations are based on the opportunity to learn about the environment and culture of our surrounding states: Chihuahua, New Mexico and lesser-known parts of Texas. These trips are cheap and less than five hours away from El Paso.

Marfa, Texas–3 hours–96 miles

On the way to Marfa,  one of the best places to take a photo for your Instagram account, is the famous Prada Marfa. The building is an allusion of a Prada store created by art duo Elmgreen & Dragset in 2005. This sculpture is the best introduction on the way into Marfa is known for: a must-go place for people who love minimalist art.

Chinati Foundation

The internationally-known contemporary museum, created by artist Donald Judd, consists of sculptures, large-scale installations, paintings, drawings, poems and more. The museum is open from Wednesday to Sunday, but online reservations are encouraged. Admission for a full guided tour is $10 for students and $25 for adults.

El Cosmico

This Marfa camping area includes tepees, trailers, safari tents and yurts to spend the night in, but are unfortunately sold out for spring break. Luckily, there is the option to self-camp for $20 and groups may have access to communal space and bath house on a first-come, first-served basis.

Marfa Lights

These lights have been witnessed on U.S. Route 67 every night since 1883. They are mysterious random colored lights roaming in the desert sky, and there is still no clear explanation of their origin. Explorers do not necessarily have to spend the night to see them since there is a viewing area on Highway 90 toward Alpine.

Truth or Consequences, New Mexico–2 hours–117 miles.

Also known as T or C, this small town used to be named Hot Springs due to its large amount of odorless hot thermal water around 100 degrees that contains 38 minerals. There are 10 hot springs available to relax in.

Riverbend Hot Springs

This is the only place close to the Rio Grande and it includes five common pools and seven private rooms. There are still a lot of 50-minute private sessions available for spring break to book online, which cost $15 per person. Walk-ins are $12, which provide one hour access to common pools, saunas and grounds.

Whitewater Weekends

Travelers can find the Whitewater Weekends office in a white school bus roaming on West Riverside Drive on the weekends. They provide rafts ($40 for two to three people), kayaks ($20 for two people) and tubes ($10 for one person) to flow within six miles of the Rio Grande. Availability depends on the weather and the river’s flow, which can be checked on their official Facebook page for daily updates.

Paquimé, Nuevo Casas Grandes, Chihuahua–3.5 hours– 189 miles

This is the best option on the list if you love archeology. Casas Grandes is one of Mexico’s magical towns (pueblos mágicos) close to the prehistoric land of Paquimé. The archeological region of Paquimé is unique from the whole country of Mexico, since it is made up of interconnected labyrinth of adobe homes from 1,200 years ago.

Museo de las Culturas del Norte

After visiting the area, visitors can continue learning at this museum, where one can see the artifacts, textiles, art, music instruments, ceramics and offerings from the people of Paquimé. The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., admission is 65 pesos (around $3) and free on Sundays. The easiest route is by taking the Santa Teresa bridge and continue to Cd Juarez-Janos/Mexico 2 road, then to Nuevo Casas Grandes-Janos/Mexico 10 road.

Chihuahua, Chihuahua–4 hours – 237 miles

The city is filled with history and surrounded by beautiful natural areas, such as forests, mountains and waterfalls, where the indigenous group of Tarahumaras live. Chihuahua’s main tourist attractions are in the historical area, a full pedestrian zone with parks, cathedrals, museums and restaurants.

Cumbres de Majalca National Park

While on the road to the capital city, make a detour on the CHIH 50 road to visit the forest for 80 pesos ($4). It has unique rocky formations and is one of the few places in the country where black bears live. Visitors can go hiking, repelling, or even camping for 80 pesos ($4) per night at the Cañon de las Hadas, which includes tables and sanitary services. The weather conditions are predicted to be partly cloudy.

Museo de la Revolución Mexicana

If you want to learn about the Mexican Revolution, visit Pancho Villa’s home, which has artifacts, weapons, furniture, documents and even the car where he was assassinated. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and closed on Mondays. Admission is only 10 pesos (less than a dollar.)

La Popular – La Casa de Pascualita

While walking through downtown, you must visit the urban legend of the haunted manikin “La Pascualita,” placed at bridal shop’s window since the 1930s. The legend says a bride died on her wedding day due to a scorpion’s sting and was embalmed by her mother (the original owner of the store) to make her into the detailed mannequin. One can see her for free anytime at Guadalupe Victoria St. No. 803.

Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua-2 hours or less (due to traffic on weekends. 8 miles.

Juarez is making an effort to reclaim their reputation as the best side of the border to party. Many students on campus already spend their weekends there without any fear, here’s the chance to break the stereotype yourself. Also, take advantage of the dollar’s value, which is around 19 pesos, making it cheaper to have drinks and delicious food.

Blvd. Manuel Gómez Morín.

“Gomez Morin” or also known as “La Gomez,” is the most popular boulevard to go bar hopping at in Juarez. There are around 20 bars and restaurants of different styles to choose from. All bars close at 2 a.m.

The easiest route is by taking the Zaragoza bridge, going straight in Waterfill Avenue and go right at boulevard Gómez Morín. Continue at Gómez Morín and drink-lovers find all the bars after A.J. Bermudez avenue.

El Parque Borunda.

This is the perfect place to eat a variety of snacks, such as corn in a cup, slushies, cotton candy and more Mexican food. The park consists of food kiosks and a small amusement park at night for children, which is a nostalgic place for many people on the border. The park is open from 9 a.m. to midnight every day.

Travelers get there by taking the Americas Bridge and going all the way straight to De las Ámericas avenue, past the fountain in an intersection and by going to 16 de Septiembre Street, and the park will be at on the left.

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About the Contributor
Michaela Román
Michaela Román, Editor-in-Chief
Michaela is a Senior Digital Media Production major at The University of Texas at El Paso. As the Editor-in-Chief, and former Photo Editor of The Prospector, she has learned to stay organized, manage a staff of writers and photographers, meet deadlines, cover events and network with others. She also has freelance experience and a personal photography business. Michaela aspires to work as an editor for a large media outlet and one day go to graduate school to teach photojournalism.
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Last-minute getaways not too far from home