SAMALAYUCA, Mexico (Border Report) – The El Paso-Juarez region has a new tourist attraction. It’s a stunning 20-foot-tall, coiled rattlesnake made of concrete springing out of the Chihuahuan desert. The statue by Colombian sculptor Dick Rivas Rincon sits in the town of Samalayuca, Mexico, 30 miles south of El Paso.
The “Guardian of the Territory” represents animals native to the region. The peace pipe it is coiled around pays homage to Indigenous tribes that once inhabited Northern Chihuahua, including the Mogollon people.
A real-estate developer behind a planned residential and entertainment corridor in Samalayuca sponsored the 10-ton sculpture. Work on a park around the giant snake is ongoing, but visitors already are coming.
Juarez resident Viridiana Sanchez is an avid hiker. She has explored mountain trails, an old mine, and Indigenous petroglyphs just east of Samalayuca.
“This is an area that could attract many people,” Sanchez said. “I love coming here. Hiking, the fauna, the flora, everything we have here. Even though this is a desert we have animals and plants.”
Sanchez paid special attention to the replica petroglyphs being worked around the base of the statue. She likes the fact someone is trying to preserve the history and heritage of the region even as civilization encroaches on the area.
Her friend Irving Arturo Tavares also was impressed. He plans to share his excitement with his father and his brother, who live in El Paso. “They like White Sands, and this will draw their attention,” he said.
Samalayuca residents hope more people like Sanchez and Tavares come visit.
“This is very pretty, and it is going to bring a lot of new business, a lot of people, a lot of excursions, and now with the snake sculpture, it is going to be really good,” said Alma Moreno, who recently bought land in Samalayuca and is busy planting trees and putting up a fence along the property.
“Land for sale” signs abound in this town sliced in half by Mexico Highway 45 – the old PanAmerican Highway. The rough dirt road leading to the giant snake passes by a park with a pond and overlooks the site of a future water park where waterslides are already in place.
Befued’s website shows two developments in progress in Samalayuca. It marks Villas del Cielo as already sold out and promotes Country Ranch lots near the waterslides.
Samalayuca is already famous for another natural attraction. That’s the sand dunes where Hollywood productions like “Conan the Destroyer” and David Lynch’s “Dune” were filmed.