Nogales, Arizona and its twin city, Nogales, Sonora,

Mexico, are on the international border separating the United States

and Mexico. The Arizona city serves as both the economic capital

and the county seat of Santa Cruz County, the smallest and southern most

of Arizona's counties. The city is in a mountainous setting

at an elevation of 3,865 feet. Nogales was established in 1880 by

Jacob and Isaac Isaacson, who built a trading post along the border.

Two years later, Nogales was the site of the first rail connection

between Mexico and the United States. Nogales incorporated in


International commerce is an important part of Nogales’ economy.

Its location makes Nogales a vital retail hub for Northern Mexico.

More than 40 percent of Nogales' sales tax comes from the 50,000

Mexican shoppers crossing the border on an average day.

Nogales, Arizona, and its sister city, Nogales, Sonora, Mexico,

are home to one of the largest cooperative manufacturing

(maquiladora) clusters along the U.S.-Mexico border. The maquiladora

concept uses American manufacturing plants located on both

sides of the border to take advantage of favorable wage and operating

costs and excellent transportation and distribution networks. All

of Santa Cruz County is a designated Enterprise Zone.

Nogales continues as the largest port of entry for winter fruit

and vegetables in the U.S. During the growing season, approximately

100 produce firms import up to 1,200 truckloads of produce

daily with an estimated wholesale value of $20 to $25 million. The

retail value per year is estimated at $5.3 billion.


Santa Cruz County and the city of Nogales have 200 properties list-ed

in the National Register of Historic Sites, two of which are of the

Spanish colonial period: Tumacacori National Monument, visited by

Father Kino in 1691; and Tubac Presidio, established on the site of

an Indian village by the Spanish in 1752. Four other sites are the

Old Tubac Schoolhouse (1885), Old Nogales City Hall (1914), Santa

Cruz County Courthouse (1902), and Patagonia Railroad Depot



The Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Sanctuary, located near

Patagonia 19 miles east of Nogales, brings visitors from throughout

the world to see its highly diverse bird life. Around 300 species of

birds have been recorded at this rare stream bottom sanctuary surrounded

by beautiful cottonwood trees.

Pimeria Alta Historical Society Museum, a museum with library

and archives on the history of Southern Arizona and Northern

Sonora, is located in the original city hall of Nogales, Arizona.

Nearby recreational areas, include Parker Canyon, Pena Blanca Lake

and Patagonia Lake State Park. Excursions can also be taken to visit

the ghost towns and mining camps in the area.

Nogales, Sonora offers excellent curio shops, first-class restaurants

and nightclubs.


The town of Nogales, Mexico is a very popular attraction.  Nogales, Mexico is just across the border from Nogales, Arizona.  These two cities share the same name yet they have different cultures.  You will find your trip over to Mexico to be full of tradition, shopping and great food.

There are many terrific restaurants to choose from, along with a selection of shops selling cheap knickknacks to high quality handicrafts.  Most of the shops and markets cater to the tourists.  If you like to go bargain shopping, you need to visit Ortega Street.  This street is one of the main streets in Nogales, Mexico.  Here you will find pottery, glassware, furniture, baskets, rugs, leather, jewelry and much more.  Prices at the shops are not fixed.  As a matter of fact, bargaining and negotiating a price is welcome.  Visitors should not worry because business is done in English.  American currency is preferred, so you won’t have to figure out how to exchange currency.  You should check the quality of the product, before you begin bargaining.  The rule of thumb is you can bring back $400 worth of duty free goods per person, plus one quart of liquor per adult.  You may go past the $400 limit and still be okay, if the item is on the list in the U.S. Customs office.  Please check with the office for current regulations before crossing the border.

You will find that most of the shopping and eating spots are close to the border and within easy walking distance.  Since walking is so popular, Nogales, Arizona has parking lots that are guarded and available for you to park and walk.  You can get to the parking lots by taking Interstate 19 south into town.  The Interstate practically dead-ends into the border.  Here you will see many parking lots to choose from.  The cost for parking ranges from $3.00 to $4.00 a day.

After you park head to Garita A, a main 24 hour walking entrance.  Once you pass through, you will see an island called the Flag Island of the Americas.  It has banners for all of the Mexican states.  Turn right at Campillo Street and walk down three blocks to Obregon Street.  At this point you are ready to browse and explore the area.

If you are planning on visiting Nogales, Mexico you will need to come prepared with identification.  U.S. citizens should bring a valid passport.  The passport is the most convenient and it serves two purposes.  Visitors can use the passport for photo identification and helps it in using cashiers checks.  A birth certificate is also acceptable, as long as it is a certified copy.  You may use a voter registration certificate or military identification.  A driver’s license or baptismal certificate is not proof of citizenship.   If you decide to spend more than 72 hours across the border, you will need to obtain a tarjeta de turista (Mexican government tourist card).

If you are planning on driving across the border, you will need to bring proof of ownership (registration slip) and get a temporary vehicle importation permit and insurance.  There can be difficulties when driving across the border, which you need to be aware of before you cross.  First of all, most U.S. auto insurance companies do not insure policyholders when driving into Mexico.  You will need to get supplemental insurance from a company specializing in it.  You can find companies in Nogales that provide this insurance.  Also, major U.S. auto rental companies do not allow their cars to cross the border, although you may find some that do.  Another difficulty is gasoline.  The unleaded gasoline supply is somewhat undependable.  However changes are being made to remedy this situation.

Whatever your plans from making a day visit, spending more time or driving, it is important you are knowledgeable about the requirements.  The Mexican and U.S. Customs offices are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions.  You may also call 520-885-0694 for more information