Puerto Peñasco, or Rocky Point as it is called in the southwestern United States, is a wonderful little town located about 65 miles south of the Arizona/Mexico border on the Sea of Cortez in the heart of the Sonoran Desert, where, literally, the desert meets the ocean.
A traditional fishing village for many years, with ship building and seafood processing augmenting fishing, tourism has developed into another important industry. A cruise ship port, hopefully to be finished in the not-too-distant future, will no-doubt change the face of Puerto Peñasco yet again, and will hopefully provide much-needed employment for the local population, which is about 35,000, except on holiday weekends and Easter week, when the population may quadruple!
Mexican people are charming, gracious, and welcoming, and the town is loaded with things to do and places to see. One of the favored spring break destinations for Arizona and other southwest college students, Rocky Point calls them back in later life, and they bring their families and friends, some buy vacation homes, and many end up retiring in Rocky Point. With its ideal location about 225 easy driving miles from either Phoenix or Tucson, Puerto Peñasco has attracted a significant ex-pat population of full-time residents, like me, many of whom are attracted by a slower, friendlier way of life, not to mention a lower cost of living, as compared to beach towns in the USA.
Safety always enters the conversation, so we might as well get it out of the way. “Mexico??? You are going to Mexico??? Haven’t you heard how dangerous it is there???” It is hard to change the minds of those who “know” what they are talking about, right? But here is my speech, any part of which you may use: Like the USA, Mexico is a big country, and while some areas are not on my list of places to visit, Puerto Peñasco is a small rural town with well-trained law enforcement, and the personal crime rate is quite low. Honestly, would you not visit the Grand Canyon because of the crime rate in Chicago? I am not saying there is no crime in Rocky Point, but it tends to be crime of opportunity and property crime. Leave your car unlocked, and you may find the contents gone when you return. Leave the keys in the ignition, and you might not find the car! My neighbors’ house was burgled, all the blankets on the beds, and all the food in the house was stolen. Nothing else. Really, the biggest danger in Rocky Point is the American students on spring break, drinking heavily and driving. There is no “bad” part of Puerto Peñasco – we often confuse poverty with danger, and very poor neighborhoods, of which there are some in Rocky Point, appear very dangerous as we use our own standards to judge conditions in Mexico.
Most visitors find Puerto Peñasco friendly, inviting, exciting, interesting, challenging, changing, and more, and they come back over and over. Many come for a weekend, and some stay forever.