Puerto Peñasco

Puerto Peñasco is a beach city in the northwestern corner of the state of Sonora in Mexico on the shores of the Sea of Cortez (Gulf of California), about 70 miles south of the border with Arizona.


Puerto Peñasco, also known as Rocky Point, is one of the fastest growing tourist centers of northern Mexico; as of 2009 the population is 45 plus thousand people, which includes many American and Canadian ex-pats. Quite an expansion for a fishermen village that had no more than 3,000 people about 25 years ago.

The story goes that Al Capone put Puerto Penasco in the map. During prohibition he supposedly used the village as a transfer point for liquor to his USA organization. The word in the streets say that he drilled the first water well, constructed a landing strip and also build the first solid structure building, nowadays is known as "Posada La Roca" the 8 room hostel in the fish market area.

Puerto Peñasco has a few different areas

Gulf of California Sea view

Then you go one block west and find yourself in a nice sandy beach, many restaurant and hotels in this area makes it so you do not have to go anywhere for anything.

Sunset at City Beach

And there are others like Playa Diamante, Playa Encanto, Playa San Jorge, etc. all located outside of town along the shores of the Sea of Cortez and are residential only.

Puerto Penasco is in the same time zone as Phoenix/Tucson, Arizona, and observes the same rules for Daylight Saving Time as Arizona (that is to say, it is not observed).

The border crossing at Lukeville, Arizona is open from 6AM to midnight, daily.

The currency of México is the Mexican Peso. The exchange rate between the US Dollar and the Mexican Peso changes daily, the local merchants will typically accept US Dollars at the going rate for that time. ATMs are available around town that will allow you to use your US-based bank card and receive Mexican Pesos, typically at a more favorable rate.


As in the rest of the country, Spanish is the predominant language among the population. The variety of Mexican Spanish spoken in the region distinguish itself from the rest of the country for its strong intonation and contraction of words. Due to its proximity to the United States, it receives a great deal of influence from English. For example, English words such as troca (truck), lonche (lunch) and bai (bye) are of common usage.

English is spoken by most of the vendors and in almost every restaurant in Puerto Peñasco. Earnest attempts by visitors to speak Spanish are always appreciated.

Get in

If driving your own vehicle there are many ways to get to Puerto Penasco, the most direct and easy way to get there is from Arizona thru the point of entry in Lukeville, the distance from Phoenix or Tucson is the same just about 220 miles which is about 3.5 hrs of driving time.

From Phoenix you will need to take I-10 going west to Los Angeles getting off on exit 112 that connects to State Route 85 going south thru Gila Bend, Ajo, Why and Lukeville, once you go thru the border follow the road over the hill and past the bridge then about a block you will turn right into Mexico highway 8, which will take you straight into Puerto Penasco.

From Tucson you will need to connect from I-10 taking exit 260 to I-19, take exit 99, Ajo Way and go west eventually it will turn into State Route 86, it will go west thru Sells, Quijotoa and Why where it will dead end into State Route 85, turn left going south to Lukeville, once you go thru the border follow the road over the hill and past the bridge then about a block you will turn right into Mexico highway 8, which will take you straight into Puerto Penasco.

It is an easy and safe one hour drive by car from the American/Mexican border at Lukeville, Az at the south end of Organ Pipe National Monument on Arizona Highway 85. If coming from Southern California, the drive is a bit shorter by crossing south of Yuma at San Luis Rio Colorado, but this route requires more driving in Mexico, however the new highway, Mexico Highway 3, from El Golfo de Santa Clara to Puerto Penasco is now open and is a very nice drive, however due to the sand being blown into the highway be careful when coming to sand build up, they could be deadly at high speed, is not recommended to go off road unless you have four wheel drive and are familiar with driving in sand.

All drivers in México are required to have Mexican auto insurance. US policies are not acceptable. Be sure to buy Mexican insurance prior to your trip down or at one of the many places along Highway 85 before you cross the border.

Or If you would like you can use one of the few Shuttle Services available, if you do not want to drive yourself.

From Phoenix you can contact Head Out to Rocky Point at (602)971-0166, e-mail at headout@cox.net or visit their website at http://www.headouttorockypoint.com/

From Tucson contact Rocky Point Rides at (520)207-0532, e-mail at info@rockypointrides.com or visit their website at http://rockypointrides.com/

From Puerto Penasco there are 2 shuttle companies with offices in both Phoenix and Tucson

Transportes Nena's +52 638-388-7089 or (602)442-6802 or visit their website at http://transportesnenas.com/

Transportes Superior +52 638-388-3640 or (602)455-9522 no website available at the time of this posting.

There are direct bus services to Hermosillo and other points statewide (Nogales and along Mexican Highway 15 & 2, Caborca, Santa Ana, Guaymas, Empalme, Huatabampo, Navojoa) to/from Puerto Penasco with Albatros Bus Company on Benito Juarez. This bus does not pass through Sonoyta or Rio Colorado or Baja California, to do that you must board another bus company.

Get around

If you did not drive in to Puerto Peñasco (as most visitors do) you can get around town via taxi. You can either have the hotel call them for you or go to the nearest major street and flag one down, fares vary however you should not pay more than $2 or $3 per person, in the touristic area of Sandy Beach you will find the "taxi turistico" or "tourist taxi" their prices will be higher than those of regular taxis.

There are also microbuses that take people around town (mostly workers) for a minimal fee.

If you will be staying for a longer period, there are 2 places that you can rent a car:




There are many casual night clubs in town, including Manny’s Beach Club, Pink Cadillac, Baja Cantina, The Reef Club, Playa Bonita Happy Hour at Puesta Del Sol, Margarita Villa, and Bumaya (with the famous Foam Party).



Stay safe

Unlike most small communities, Rocky Point has not experienced an increase in crime. It is important wherever you are to stay alert to your surroundings. It was noted recently in an article about crime in the USA that you are 17 times more likely to have violent crime affect you in Flint, Michigan than in Rocky Point.

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Tuesday, September 15, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.