Puerto Peñasco, translated as Rocky Point in English, is also nicknamed Arizona’s beach, as it is the closest beach to Phoenix and Tucson.
Initially, it was the fish that drew visitors there. There was no drinking water so it was not inviting for any other reason. However, that changed in the 1920s (from Wikipedia):
John Stone from Ajo, Arizona came here to build a hotel/casino to take advantage of people coming over the border to escape Prohibition. He drilled a water well, and set up flight service from Phoenix and Tucson to bring in tourists to drink, gamble and fish. They say that Al Capone was a regular. The business did well until Stone and the locals began to quarrel. Stone burned down the hotel and blew up the water well before he left.
Rocky Point History
In the 1930s, under President Lázaro Cárdenas, a railroad was built to connect Baja California to the rest of Mexico, passing by Puerto Peñasco. The town began to grow again. The railroad line created new population centers and the initial layout of the city and port of Puerto Peñasco began in the 1940s.
Until the 1990s, there had been little tourism here except for campers, fishermen and young alcoholics. The drinking age in Mexico is 18. The municipality’s pristine beaches with clear waters stretched for a hundred miles north or south with almost no development.
The push to make Puerto Peñasco or Rocky Point a major tourism center was initiated in 1993. Then, the government and private investors built condominiums and other facilities. The goal has been to provide a beach to the Arizonans.
To promote tourism here, the city was declared to be part of the border “free zone” although it is about 100 km from the U.S. This means that foreigners can drive from the U.S. to Puerto Peñasco without obtaining visas.
Rocky Points Documents
Since March 1, 2010, all U.S. citizens – including children – are required to present a passport beyond the border zone. The “border zone” is an area within 20 to 30 kilometers of the U.S., depending on the location. However, all U.S. citizens age 16 or older must present a valid U.S. passport re-enter the U.S. by land. Get your passport online here
Beaches here include El Mirador, La Cholla, Estero Morúa, Las Conchas, Playa de Oro and Playa Bonita.
Many residents here are American, most restaurants offer menus in English and most business accept dollars. Puerto Peñasco is popular with retirees, especially those from the United States who have trailers and RVs. However, there are retirees here from all over the world. The town has an English language newspaper as well.
When you go, don’t forget your Mexican Car Insurance!
I would also suggest: a few water guns, a cooler, a cell phone, some good friends, and a fun-seeking spirit! Oh, and sun block!