Puerto Penasco, also known as Rocky Point Mexico, is located on the Sea of Cortez in the state of
Sonora. Its close proximity to Arizona (about a 4-hour drive from Phoenix and Tucson) makes
it a favorite playground for US citizens who want fun in the sun and a great beach vacation.
The town was originally founded in the 1920's when huge schools of shrimp were located off its
coast. During the prohibition era, wealthy Americans came here to gamble, drink and fish. One
of these visitors was Al Capone who came to enjoy the atmosphere and the freedom the town
afforded. During WWII, the Mexican government allowed the US to build a paved road (Mexican Hwy.
8) from Arizona to Puerto Penasco. This road's purpose was to enable shipping access to the Gulf
of Mexico due to the threat that the Japanese then poised. This very same road ultimately served another purpose, providing travelers a direct corridor from the deserts of Arizona to the Puerto Penasco beaches.
The town has long served as a Spring-Break destination for thousands of teenagers who flock to its shores to enjoy festivities. Should you be planning your Rocky Point rental anytime around Easter, book your reservations as early as possible. Other holidays such as Christmas, Memorial Day, 4th of July and Labor Day also attract huge crowds to Puerto Penasco.
Mexico is gaining enormous popularity as a retirement choice for US and Canadian residents who are seeking a lower cost of living in a warm and sunny environment. Retirees and RVers flock here year-round to vacation, to camp and to check out Rocky Point houses in the area.
The swimming conditions in Puerto Penasco are considered safe and are similar to swimming in a lake. There are no riptides and the water is calm. Another bonus for the ocean-lover is the unique and extreme tidal variations of more than 20 feet. At low tide one can witness a treasure-trove of marine life and seashells.
The Sonoran Desert lies to the east of Puerto Penasco, a land known for its ruggedness. Due to the cities geographic location, the temperatures can reach the upper 90's/lower 100's during the summer months. Approximately 20 miles northeast of Puerto Penasco is the Pinacate Biosphere Reserve, a startlingly dramatic landscape of extinct volcanoes, dunes, craters and diverse wildlife. Interestingly, NASA utilized the rugged terrain found here as a training ground for the lunar astronauts as the landscape closely resembles that of the moon. If you plan on visiting the reserve, it is necessary to first register with the information center. As well, archaeologically speaking, the area is ripe for studying the San Dieguito culture, which inhabited the area some 12 thousand years ago.
At the eastern edge of town is The intercultural Center for the Study of Oceans and Deserts (CEDO). This biological field station is dedicated to studying and preserving the local marine and desert environments. They also offer tide-pool excursions and coastal desert walks. West of this center is the Cet-Mar Aquarium that features fish from the local waters along with turtles and sea lions.
The resort is growing rapidly. There is a Puerto Penasco hotel or accommodation to fit almost any pocketbook. You will find a couple beach hotels, more and more beach condominiums and even beachfront RV parks. In town (and close to the beach) hotels are many and of good quality. You will also find some "budget" accommodations in Old Port, on Calle 13 and in Playa Mirador areas.
Rocky Point vacation rentals are available up and down the coast.
During Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's, Spring Break, Easter and 4th of July, it is wise to make reservations a minimum of a month in advance. Note: Spring Break ins Puerto penasco can last weeks as different schools have their break at different times. If you are not ready for the rowdy behavior of college students letting loose, it might be smart to book Puerto Penasco another time.