Located just a few hours’ driving distance from Phoenix, Puerto Penasco (or “Rocky Point”, as it is known in the US) is seen by many Americans as Arizona’s unofficial state beach. With so many American visitors, the area caters especially to its visitors from the North and you would be forgiven for thinking of Sonora as an extention of Arizona; at the border crossing in Lukeville, you will see fleets of cars with Arizona plates heading in both directions all year round. Up until a couple of years ago, you didn’t even need a passport to get across the border.
What was once just a tiny fishing village has in recent years grown into a popular destination for young and old alike. While the spring break crowd can usually be found downtown, Sandy Beach usually hosts families hoping for a quiet, pleasant beach resort vacation. Many hotels and providers of rental apartments pride themselves on their family atmosphere. My family and I stayed used Rocky Point Ventures Rentals last Spring specifically to avoid the party-goers and didn’t see any evidence of the spring break crowd.
Puerto Penasco is alive with activities for the whole family; the food is fantastic, with huge fresh shrimp caught from the Sea of Cortes cheap and plentiful. Watersports are the main attraction, with most resorts having a secure, gated community and private beaches with snorkelling, deep-sea fishing and scuba diving. Venture into town in the daytime and check out the unique daytime street markets, then dine in the evening at one of the many acclaimed restaurants in the resorts.
With northern Mexico gaining somewhat of a reputation for violence in recent years, you could be forgiven for being a little cautious of bringing your family to Mexico. However, the crime rate has not changed in line with other border regions and Puerto Penasco remains unaffected by the rise in Cartel violence. A warning issued by the US Consulate in 2012 which claimed tourists were being robbed at gunpoint by thieves at unauthorised checkpoints turned out to be erroneous and was soon retracted.
Of course, the same precautions need to be taken in Puerto Penasco as are needed elsewhere, but as with most holiday destinations common sense prevails. Resorts are as safe and secure as anywhere else in the world so be safe, be sensible, relax and enjoy the beauty of Arizona’s unofficial seaport.