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LOS EBANOS, TEXAS

Home of the last hand-operated ferry on the Rio Grande

Hildago County, South Texas

2 miles S of Hwy 83 (Old Mililtary Road)
24 miles W of McAllen
24 miles E of Rio Grande City
Population: 336 (2010) 403 (2000)

Los Ebanos Area Hotels > McAllen Hotels | Rio Grande City

The Rio Grande
View of the Rio Grande

2000 photo courtesy of Joe Cerulli

This is a must see, must do for people who have been there, done that. It's the last hand-operated ferry operating on either border.

A large Texas ebony tree anchors the 3-car barge on the U.S. side. The village is tree shaded and we'd move there in a minute, but we're not sure of what goes on when the sun goes down. Even at mid-day the place is kind of spooky. Charming, but spooky.

If you don't cross with your car, be warned: (we weren't) when you get to the other side, it's like G. Stein's Oakland; "when you get there, there's no there there".

Los Ebanos ferry with cars
Ferry at maximum capacity

2000 photo courtesy of Joe Cerulli
The hand pulled ferry with cable and pulley
Approaching shore.
(Note cable and pulley)

2000 photo courtesy of Joe Cerulli
Los Ebanos ferry with passengers
Passengers but no cars

2000 photo courtesy of Joe Cerulli
Los Ebanos ferry in the Rio Grande
Los Ebanos hand-operated ferry

2000 photo courtesy of Joe Cerulli
More on Los Ebanos, Texas
  • A Modern-Day Ferry Tale by Maggie Van Ostand
    They call when it rains because they need to find out if they'll be able to get to work that day; the Los Ebanos Ferry Mark Alvarez operates doesn't run in heavy winds and rain.
  • "Los Ebanos" by Lydia Solis & Benjamin Cardenas
  • Book Review - "Last Ride on the Ferry" by Angelica Reyna
    (A Novel set in Los Ebanos)
  • men pulling ferry Los Ebanos Texas

    Men pulling ferry
    Photo Courtesy of Lydia Solis

    Ciudad Diaz Ordaz, Mexico

    Diaz Ordaz is a good four miles south. What is there is a Customs checkpoint with guards who are usually playing cards. We asked about a taxi and three of the four guards had seen them (not here, but they had seen taxis before). We asked how we were to get to Ciudad Diaz Ordaz and the one who had never seen a taxi showed us his thumb (at least we think it was his thumb).

    We got a ride with a Mexican woman who insisted that her children relinquish their seats to us and ride in the back of the pickup. After a brief visit in town we hailed a taxi back to the river and showed it to our friends in the guardshack. One who had seen a taxi before stated that it was bigger than he remembered.


    John Troesser

    Old Military Hwy & RR tracks, to Los Ebanos, Texas
    Crossing the Old Military Hwy & RR on the way to Los Ebanos
    Photo courtesy Ken Rudine, February 2009
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    Related Topics:
    Texas
    Texas Towns
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    Last Ride on the Ferry

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