Welcome to this month’s edition of the Travel Column at the Smorgasbord. I’ve chosen a not-so-well known little gem of a place, Puerto Peñasco, for a tropical escape in Mexico that I discovered while watching a destination show on TV. This little town is a port town in the north-western part of Mexico where apparently, quite a few American desert dwellers like to flock to for a sand and sea getaway. This gem was not commonly known to world travelers, and I was quite fascinated by this quaint little place and don’t imagine it will be long before many more tourists will soon be hearing more as the popularity continues to grow.
In the Northwestern Mexican state of Sonora, a mere 62 miles south of the border between Mexico and Arizona, lies a beautiful resort town called Puerto Peñasco. Puerto Peñasco is situated on the northern shore of the Sea of Cortez, a small piece of land which links the Baja California Peninsula with the rest of Mexico. This area is considered very dry and a part of one of the hottest parts of the Sonoran Desert – also known as the Altar Desert, boasting a population of almost 65,000 inhabitants, many of them ex-pats.
It wasn’t until the late 1990s that the area was developed to bring in tourism and is now fast becoming quite a popular tourist destination in northern Mexico. Is it any wonder desert dwellers in the U.S. flock to this town to escape the hot desert sun for some sand sea respite? In fact, despite the familiar name it’s been dubbed – ‘Rocky Point’, it has also become a popularly nicknamed destination – ‘Arizona’s Beach’ for its close proximity to the U.S., making for quick holiday escapes for many Arizonians – a mere 4 hour drive from Tucson.
Puerto Peñasco also has its own privately built airport since 2009 -Mar de Cortes International. Although it’s said the airport has the capacity to host a Boeing 747, the airport currently only has private and charter flights in and out – to and from Phoenix’s smaller, Deer Valley Airport, and apparently, 2 charter airlines fly there weekly to and from Las Vegas! A larger international airport is currently a project in the works.
The resort town thrives on tourism and fishing for their economy to grow, boasting over 40 hotels/motels, over 100 restaurants and RV facilities. There is even a new cruise ship terminal currently under construction – meaning – this little gem of paradise won’t be long before the world learns about this new hot spot.
A Bit of History
Back in 1826, A British Royal Navy officer, Robert William Hale Hardy, sailed the area in search of precious metals and pearls and dubbed the area ‘Rocky Point’ on maps until it was later changed in the 1930s by President Cardenas to Puerto Punta Peñasco.
Prior to 1920 the area was a place where fishermen frequented for safe harbor, a place to stay while working the fishing seasons. As early as the 19th century, fisherman came to this area from Arizona, but there was yet to be any viable drinking water there back then which hampered any kind of settlement at the time. One of the main attractions for the fishermen in this area was to fish for a specific fish – ‘totoaba’, this particular fish wasn’t prized for its meat, but for its medicinal properties.
In the 1930s a railroad was constructed to connect Mexico to Baja California, enabling the town of Puerto Peñasco to flourish and creating new population growth as the city grew in development with a new port, and shrimp fishing became popular there by the 1940s.
By the 1950s, Puerto Peñasco became its own municipality, but it wasn’t until the 1990s that tourism took off there. Until the 90s, it was just a port for mainly fishermen and campers.
With its unspoiled beaches and crystal- clear waters stretching 100 miles both north and south, it was finally decided to grow this town into a developed destination for tourism in 1993. With intent to create a place for nearby American vacationers to boost the economy, the Mexican government invited private investors to help build the town, greatly inspired by the conversion of a once desolate Cancun into a hot spot destination for tourists. A bit of interruption by instability of the economy in the 90s put a halt to construction, but by the end of that century, it was back to business building as usual.
Puerto Peñasco currently has several elementary and high schools and 4 universities, some public as well as private. Quite a few ex-pats reside there, mostly from Canada and U.S.
Things to Do
Puerto Peñasco is a unique destination, nestled between the Sea of Cortes and the Sonoran Desert, and has wonderful geological features from unusual creatures and plants to beautiful beaches, boardwalks complete with restaurants, bars, shopping, bird watching, golf resorts, and dolphin and whale watching. The Sea of Cortes is dubbed a vast aquarium because of the variety of sea life found in it. It also features the Great Altar Desert, which happens to be the largest active dune field in North America and a fantastic volcanic shield with flowing lava, impressive craters and cinder cones.
Rocky Point (the familiar English name for Puerto Peñasco) has become one of the not -so -well known to the world, gems of Mexico for beach vacations, offering all the usual water sport activities from snorkeling to scuba diving, paddle boating and more. It also offers boat tour excursions. From the famous Sandy Beach (Playa Arenosa to the natives) to Las Conchas, La Choya, and many more, as well as the tidal pools in certain areas which can rise and fall to 26 feet with the tides, there are lots of beautiful beaches to pick and choose from.
Visit just some of the many beautiful beaches and their offerings.
Puerto Peñasco weather is a desert climate. With temperatures mostly hovering around the mid – 80s most of the year, and possibly up to the low 100s in the summer, typically this part of Mexico only sees approximately 10 days a year of rain and could get as cool as the low 60s in December/January months.
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As this destination is fairly new to me, I’ve done some scouring around the web to find some great recommendations for both lodging and best suggested restaurants, which I post links for below so you can have a look for yourselves at all this gem by the sea has to offer. Besides hotels and RV parks available for holidaying, there are many luxurious villas and condos available for rent in this resort town.
Visit some of the sights to be had by visiting the below link: https://52perfectdays.com/articles/top-things-to-do-in-puerto-penasco-mexico/
Have a look at more of what this resort town has to offer, and take advantage of the downloadable Visitor’s Guide at the bottom of this article:
And if you have a few minutes to spare, here is the official video for Puerto Penasco courtesy of OCVpenasco
I hope you enjoyed learning about this hidden gem from much of the world. And if anyone here has visited Puerto Peñasco, please share with us in the comments.
My thanks to Debby for taking me and I am sure most of you from the cold and wet chill of early winter to this sunshine gem in Mexico. You can read the other posts in the Travel Column: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/the-travel-colum
About D.G. Kaye
Debby Gies is a Canadian nonfiction/memoir author who writes under the pen name of D.G. Kaye. She was born, raised, and resides in Toronto, Canada. Kaye writes about her life experiences, matters of the heart and women’s issues.
D.G. writes to inspire others. Her writing encompasses stories taken from events she encountered in her own life, and she shares the lessons taken from them. Her sunny outlook on life developed from learning to overcome challenges in her life, and finding the upside from those situations, while practicing gratitude for all the positives.
When Kaye isn’t writing intimate memoirs, she brings her natural sense of humor into her other works. She loves to laugh and self- medicate with a daily dose of humor.
I love to tell stories that have lessons in them, and hope to empower others by sharing my own experiences. I write raw and honest about my own experiences, hoping through my writing, that others can relate and find that there is always a choice to move from a negative space, and look for the positive.
“Live Laugh Love . . . And Don’t Forget to Breathe!”
“For every kindness, there should be kindness in return. Wouldn’t that just make the world right?”
When I’m not writing, I’m reading or quite possibly looking after some mundane thing in life. It’s also possible I may be on a secret getaway trip, as that is my passion—traveling.
Books by D.G. Kaye
A recent review for Conflicted Hearts
It’s not often I get to read a book by someone who understands what it is to be tethered to a mother with NPD. So often we are asked, “why did you not just walk away?” This author did leave home at 18, but that did not prevent her mother from interfering in her life and when she eventually went no contact she was overcome with guilt. It didn’t matter that her two brothers and a sister also shared in the abuse, rarely physical, but mental – which believe me is far worse. I could resonate with the words on every page, and if you have a mother who just does not seem to love you, then this is a must-read.
Read all the reviews and buy the books: http://www.amazon.com/author/dgkaye7
and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/D.G.-Kaye/e/B00HE028FO
More reviews and follow Debby on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/dgkaye
Connect to Debby Gies
About me: http://www.wiseintro.co/dgkaye7
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/@pokercubster (yes there’s a story)
Thank you for joining us today and Debby would love to receive your feedback and your travel experiences. Also any questions please add them in the comments.