First published on Flight Network by Anita Kaltenbaugh
Have you heard of the Mexican beach town Puerto Penasco? Nicknamed Rocky Point? This hidden jewel located on the magnificent Sea of Cortez is sure to be the next hot spot in the coming years. This charming little seaport town only a three-and-half-hour destination from Phoenix, Arizona is now the future site of Mexico’s first Home Port for cruise ship departures. (Completion scheduled for 2017/2018, construction is in progress).
Whale Breeching in Puerto Penasco- photo by Marcia Brockmeyer
This little-known town has recently captured a spot in the news for whale watching. But, there are so many more reasons to check out this beach haven.
Here are 10!
Photo by Marcia Brockmeyer
1. Puerto Penasco, nicknamed “Rocky Point”
With its sandy beaches and warm climate, this beach town offers a little something most other Mexican beach towns can’t match–you can drive to it from the United States. In less than four hours from Phoenix, Arizona, even with a snack and restroom pit stop, you arrive at the seaside destination. Modern Highway 8 is the only road in from the States, and as you enter the beach town, the highway ends at the sea. It’s the desert meets the sea with abundant sunshine and very few rainy days. A picturesque, easy drive.
2. Jacques Cousteau named the Sea of Cortez “The World’s Aquarium.”
With more varieties of sea life than anywhere else in the world, getting on the water is essential. Dolphins are always jumping, and in the spring, whale watching excursions are packed full, as the Fin Whales and the Humpback Grey whales magnificently breech. Don’t forget the Sea Lions who live year round on Bird Island (Isla San Jorge) as an enjoyable day excursion.
3. Mosquito Lite!
Another secret advantage this town has over any town in the Caribbean: because of its dry climate, mosquitoes are practically non-existent. (If you attract the little buggers, this is a tremendous benefit.) Call me crazy but with little to known mosquitoes bites, the Zika virus is not an issue.
4. Home of the new UNESCO World Heritage site, the Pinacate Biosphere.
The Biosphere is where NASA Astronauts such as Neil Armstrong, the celebrated first man on the moon, walked the moonscape craters in the late 1960s for their resemblance to the moon surface. The new self-sustaining Visitors Center is less than 20 miles outside of Puerto Penasco.
Courtesy of Rocky Point 360
5. A plethora of outdoor activity
Love adventure activities? For the sand and dune enthusiast many riding options exists. Puerto Penasco has ATV’s, golf carts, bicycles and dune buggies for rent. If you like experiencing the bird’s eye view of a place, Ultra-light rides are offered along the beach.
6. It’s a water lover’s dream.
Everything from jet ski’s, banana boats, parasailing, stand-up paddle boards, snorkeling, diving, kayaks and Hobie cats are available. Day trips are offered for sailing and fishing excursions and even a pirate ship cruise can make every member of the family happy.
7. Incredibly Priced Accomodations.
Great rates can be found with 1, 2 and 3 bedroom ocean-front condominiums available from $99.00 a night. Puerto Penasco versus most beach towns offers a special feature; there are more condominiums for rent than there are hotel rooms. Beautifully decorated second homes of many Arizonians and folks from all over the world, rent out their condo so others can enjoy it. For the price of a hotel room, you can have a beautiful two-bedroom two-bathroom condominium. These home- away from home rentals usually come complete with a full kitchen, balcony, washer-dryer and a view to die for–all yours for the week. If you like to cook, fantastic, bring your food and you never even have to leave the property. But if you love the taste of the local cuisine– and the cooking is better when left up to someone else– just bring coffee for the morning, a few snacks to munch on as you watch the beach scene from your balcony and then go out and try a different restaurant for every meal. Rocky Point has plenty of cantina’s, café’s, taco trucks and fine dining establishments.
Permission by The Links at Las Palomas
8. Like to golf?
Puerto Penasco offers three golf courses for the golf enthusiast. A Nicklaus Legacy course (which means Jack Nicklaus and Jack Nicklaus ll co designed this course) located at Mayan Palace and Grand Mayan built on a gorgeous two-mile peninsula and entirely surrounded by water. ( For time share owners, Mayan Palace is the only timeshare resort in the area, located 30 miles from the city center). Las Palomas Links course located in the heart of Sandy Beach, directly beside Las Palomas resort and another Jack Nicklaus signature course, Laguna Del Mar. All three courses offer magnificent views and are open to the public and guests of the resorts.
Vidanta Golf Puerto Penasco- Photo permission by Vidanta Golf
9. Sunsets. Spectacular Sunsets.
With perfect year-round weather, and very little rain, every night is usually a show of color not to be missed.
10. Rocky Point Shrimp
You have to taste this delectable local seafood to understand it’s quality. Sweet, large and tasty! Try it and take the shrimp taste test, it's shrimp unlike anywhere else. Try it in shrimp cocktails, shrimp taco’s or just grilled.
Puerto Penasco is an exciting new destination for tourists and expats who want the benefits and affordability of traveling abroad, and the added convenience of being able to drive back to the sixth largest city in the United States. This unique benefit allows visitors to fly into the United States and rent a car. A passport or passport travel card is needed to reenter the United States.
If you’ve never heard of this unknown beach paradise in Mexico, it might be time to check it out. Fly into Phoenix or Tucson, Arizona rent a car and have an adventure. You’ll be happy you did.