Puerto Peñasco is a small city within the municipality of the same name, lying in the northwestern part of the state of Sonora, Mexico. Located on the shore of the Gulf of California (also known as the Sea of Cortés), the town is known for its fishing and tourism industries. Puerto Peñasco is alternatively known among many of its English-speaking visitors as Rocky Point, although the translation of the name is actually Rocky Port.
The municipality is quite large in geographical extent, and is very sparsely populated outside the city, with an area of 9,774.45 km² (3,773.94 sq mi). The municipality borders the other thinly-populated state municipalities of San Luis R.C., Sonora, Sonoyta, Sonora, and Caborca, Sonora, as well as Yuma County, Arizona in the United States.
The area features wide variations between high and low tides. With the shallowly sloping sea bed, this can lead to dramatic changes in the waterline twice a day. At the eastern beaches, this reveals a rocky reef with abundant sea life.
The municipality has a total population of 56,756 (2010); that is, 99.49 percent of the municipality's inhabitants live in the city of Puerto Peñasco, and almost no one lives in its Sonoran Desert hinterland
Puerto Peñasco is a popular destination for tourists, particularly those that reside in the U.S. state of Arizona since it contains the nearest beaches. It is also a popular Spring Break destination with students from Arizona, New Mexico, and California. Puerto Peñasco is located in the 'free zone' where tourists are not required currently to obtain immigration papers in order to visit. However U.S. Border Patrol agents advise that as of June 2009 a passport will be required to re-enter the United States. [As of October 2008, U.S. citizens are required to show proof of citizenship (e.g., state issued photo ID and U.S. birth certificate).]
Puerto Peñasco is also slated for upcoming marina and other boat-related developments as part of the country's 'Escalera Nautica' efforts, which call for a chain of 'tourist-class' marinas sprinkled up and down the Baja coast in an effort to promote nautical tourism.
Puerto Peñasco has two main beach areas. To the west of the Old Port area, there is a wide, flat area known as Sandy Beach. This is the home to several large hotel/resorts, and more are under construction. East of Puerto Peñasco, there is a long coast with several areas, known in parts as La Mirador, Playa del Oro, Las Conchas, and Playa Encanto, an area of beachfront and near-beach condos, homes and timeshares.
Places of Interest
1. El Pinacate y Gran Desierto de Altar Biosphere Reserve
2. Playa Bonita
3. Puerto Viejo El Malecon
4. Bahía La Choya
5. Isla San Jorge
6. Cholla Mall - Los Curios
7. Manny's Tequila Factory
8. Ecofun Rentals or Tours en Barco http://www.ecofunrentals.com/
7. Manny's Beach Club OPEN AGAIN
How to get to Rocky Point from CA, AZ, Maps in this link:
Everyone surely has their list of top things to do in Rocky Point, and we’d love to hear yours! Here are some of ours…
Rocky Point offers varied beach landscapes from soft fine sand to more rugged and rocky seascapes, often varying due to the extreme high and low tides the area is known for. Some of the most popular beach areas can be found along Sandy Beach to the North of the city, or Las Conchas beaches towards the South. Playa Bonita and the very popular Playa Hermosa stretch down from Sandy Beach towards town. On the southeastern side of Rocky Point, Mirador beach offers rockier terrain as it winds down from the base of Whale Hill toward Las Conchas. Beyond Las Conchas, Playa Encanto picks up again after the Morua Estuary and the beaches near Mayan Palace even further South are among the most beautiful in the area. So, stop number 1 is to hit the beach!
The city currently offers three challenging courses for the golf enthusiast. Both the Peninsula de Cortez Golf Course at Mayan Palace, just South of town, and the meticulously landscaped back nine at Laguna del Mar were designed by Jack Nicklaus. The Links at the Las Palomas Beach and Golf Resort were designed by Phoenix based group Forrest Richardson & Associates. for more info here Golf
CEDO and NaturArte
Located in the popular Las Conchas area, next to its newly restored whale skeleton landmark, the Intercultural Center for the Study of Deserts and Oceans (CEDO) provides educational and conservation programs about the Northern Gulf of California and its coastline. CEDO, which recently celebrated its 30th anniversary, offers a variety of eco-adventures including kayak tours through the Morua Estuary, ecotours to local oyster cooperatives, boat tours to Isla San Jorge (Bird Island), and exploration through the diverse underwater world of tidepools.
Pinacate Reserve and Schuk Toak Visitors Center
Just North of Puerto Peñasco is the Pinacate and Great Desert of Altar Biosphere Reserve, considered one of the 13 wonders of Mexico. Rich in biological diversity, the Pinacate Reserve includes astounding Maar craters and mysterious lava flow sceneries. Pinacate’s Schuk Toak Visitors Center, an ecologically friendly construction built amidst the remains of lava flows is located just off the main highway into Peñasco at KM 72.
Malecón & Old Port
The Old Port area of Rocky Point houses restaurants, popular bars, art galleries, tourist shops and stands, fish market stops, and a large plaza for events such as the Fall Cervantino cultural festivities and the annual motorcycle rally held in November. *Note* This area has been undergoing serious renovation for about a year and there may be detour signs guiding you to the finished Malecon.
Fishing and Seafood
From its early days as a fishing village, this tradition remains strong in Rocky Point. Deep sea fishing excursions, fishing tournaments, and private charters are all part of the offerings Rocky Point provides visitors.
The quaint artisan shops found along the old road to Cholla Bay offer folk-art including local iron-wood sculptures, popular Mexican ceramics, colorful glass, rustic furniture, and seashell decorations alongside more touristy t-shirts and trinkets. Lots of parking space and sidewalks!
A Spa Day
From the numerous condo resorts along Sandy Beach to the outstretched fingers of beach near Mayan Palace, health and beauty services continue to expand across the city. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing mani-pedi, a therapeutic massage, or an entire day at the Spa there are plenty of offerings around town. In the Sandy Beach area, the Sonoran Resorts are also known for their spa packages and recently opened a new spa at their latest development, Sonoran Sky. In town the numerous offerings include D’Lucy (spa and therapeutic massage) along Blvd. Fremont, the ever popular Gloria’s along Ave. Constitución, Peñasco Beauty Center near Ley supermarket, Acqua Medical Center & Medical Spa in Plaza del Sol on the way to Las Conchas, among others including spots along the Cholla Mall road where you can pop in for a massage.
Fun on land, at sea or in the air
For thrill seekers, Rocky Point provides the opportunity to bound across dunes on rental ATVS or cut across the waves on a jet-ski. If staying on the ground is not enough, there is even a chance to get a bird’s eye view of the beach as you soar above in an ultralight, or parasail over the turquoise waters of the Sea of Cortez. Banana boats can be found waiting just off shore and are always popular group and family adventures. With the serene waters of the Gulf of California enveloping the city, sea kayaking is yet another popular activity and kayak rentals are readily available. Sunset cruises departing from the city’s harbor offer a great way to wrap-up the day!