“Run! They’re on our tails!” shouted a man in a ski mask as he led 15 people down a steep ravine and into a thorn-infested thicket. Gunshots pierced the night air. Sirens wailed. Then came a voice, sounding like the Border Patrol. “Don’t cross the river!” someone yelled in a heavy accent. “Go back to Mexico where you belong!” Welcome to one of Mexico’s strangest tourist attractions: A park where visitors pay $15 to hike across fields and through treacherous ravines, a grueling experience aimed at simulating an illegal journey across the U.S.-Mexico border.
“We want this to be an exercise in awareness,” Alfonso Martinez, who acts as the chief smuggler at EcoAlberto Park in central Mexico, told the Houston Chronicle. “It’s in honor of all the people who have gone in search of the American Dream.” The park, funded in part by the Mexican government, compares crossing the border to an “extreme sport” and tells participants that they, too, can “trick the Migra,” slang for the Border Patrol. Real-life agents are not amused.