Rocky Point, Mexico
- 1. Enjoy World Class Beaches
- 2. Tee it up! Golf Course in Rocky Point
- 3. Go Off-Road with an ATV
- 4. Go Wild with Rocky Point’s Top Animals Adventures
- 5. Relax! Spas in Rocky Point
- 6. Go Shopping
- 7. When the Sun Sets... Nightlife in Rocky Point
- Points of Interest
Insurance Laws in Rocky Point
Mexico Federal Law: Civil liability is Required.
Sonora State Law: Civil liability is Required.
At Fault Compensation: There is no minimum nor maximum compensation in the event of an accident. The cost will be determined by the courts.
What does this mean? This means that per the federal and state government you are not required to have insurance in the state of Sonora and if you get into an accident, the courts will determine how much you must pay to compensate for property damage and bodily injury.
You need to consider other places you will travel to because each state has different rules. For example Hermosillo, Sonora REQUIRES liability insurance. So if you plan to visit or even drive through Hermosillo, you must have at least liability insurance.
What Insurance is best for Rocky Point? Just because insurance is not required does not mean you do not need it. Especially in Sonora, because there is no maximum for compensation, Mexinsurance would suggest getting a higher liability limit.
Tips on Driving in Rocky Point
Getting around the City
The map will allow visitors to locate beaches as well as RV parks and other sites of the Rocky Point. The city boasts fine beaches, golf, off-roading, sport fishing, whale watching, and other area attractions that are popular with tourists. Camping, whale watching, shopping—these are just a few favorite pastimes for visitors to Rocky Point. Use the map to find major streets and thoroughfares to help you navigate the city and find all the addresses on your itinerary more easily.
We all know that cell service can be spoty in Mexico.
Download these FREE maps for offline access.
Insurance Laws in Rocky Point
Rocky Point, also known as Puerto Penasco may be a great place for kicking back and relaxing on the beach, but it is also an excellent place to visit if you are the adventurous type. There are plenty of tours that leave from the city including whale watching tours, dolphin watching tours, fishing trips, and snorkeling excursions. You can even fly over parts of the surrounding area in a small plane or helicopter for a relatively small fee.
Here’s a look at what many tourists do during their visit to the region:
1. Enjoy World Class Beaches
Rocky Point’s beaches offer enchanting views of the Sea of Cortez. These beaches are a major feature of Rocky Point and are part of the social fabric of the city. Hang out for beach volleyball or simply to catch some rays. Meet other vacationers while you experience the glorious Rocky Point climate.
If you come to Rocky Point for its exciting adventures, book some downtime for relaxing on one of the city’s beautiful beaches like Mirador Beach. Sandy Beach and Playa Hermosa Beach are two of its most popular stretches.
Snorkeling. The gorgeous Sea of Cortez beckons with marine life. Check out the dazzling scenes below the water’s surface to catch glimpses of sea lions and dolphins.
Fishing. World-class fishermen head to the waters off Rocky Point for its amazing sport fishing. Charter a boat to catch fish like red snapper, black sea bass, flounder, gulf grouper, and more! Travelers come from near and far for the region’s excellent sport fishing.
Boating. From sailboats to banana boats to sea kayaks, the boating scene in Rocky Point is what lures many to this popular resort town. The best way to enjoy this majestic sea is to get out on the water!
Try out a sunset cruise! Why simply hang out on the beach when you can head out to sea for a delightful late afternoon cruise to enjoy the views of the coast, the sea, and the sunset? Sunset cruises from Puerto Penasco include drinks and even dinner aboard.
Parasailing. Popular at many tourist towns, parasailing is a unique experience at Rocky Point because it affords such unrivaled views of the sea and coastline.
Horseback Riding. This is a great activity for riders who want to take in the natural sites of the Rocky Point scenery on horseback. There’s nothing quite like experiencing the sea breeze at a gallop!
Beach Massage. It’s a common sight to see beachgoers in line for massages. If you’re in need of some de-stressing, this is a great spa experience right on the seaside.
2. Tee it up! Golf Course in Rocky Point
Rocky Point attracts golf tourists! The golf scene in Rocky Point is incredible with courses like The Links Golf Course at Las Palomas, Peninsula de Cortes Golf Course at the Mayan Palace, and the Laguna Del Mar Golf Club.
The Links at Las Palomas is the most popular course. It pits a par 72, 18-hole championship course next to the stunning coastline of Puerto Penasco. At times, it’s hard to actually keep your attention on the game – the views of the ocean are just that beautiful.
Peninsula de Cortes Golf Course at the Mayan Palace is the most unique geographically. This course is on a gorgeous 2 mile long peninsula with breathtaking view. This challenging par 72 course features 9 oceanside holes.
Laguna Del Mar Golf Club is a Jack Nicklaus signature course. It is currently a 9 hole golf course with the second half still under construction. It is surrounded by gorgeous lagoons and wildlife
If you’re an avid golfer, Rocky Point is a must-visit northern Mexican town that offers a world-class experience. Golf is major attraction among tourists to Rocky Point. For people that want to include some sport in their vacation get-away, Rocky Point delivers when it comes to beautiful golf courses.
3. Go Off-Road with an ATV
The coastal areas and Puerto Penasco outskirts offer some great terrain for enjoying some ATV riding. A popular pastime among friends, northern Mexico, in general, is famous for its off-roading.
If you own an ATV, you can easily drive to Rocky Point and find out why it’s revered for its ATV-friendly landscape. The sun-scorched outskirts might be hot, but for people that can take the heat–the terrain is excellent for adventuresome riding. Individuals and groups can also rent bikes or ATVs and head out onto the hilly terrain or the incredible Rocky Point beaches where off-roading is permitted. Rocky Point is a popular destination among riders who want to experience its terrific off-roading terrain.
4. Go Wild with Rocky Point’s Top Animals Adventures
Get in touch with your wilder side outside of the bars! Interact and enjoy the beautiful animals that reside in Rocky Point.
Aquariums. Learn about the region’s diverse marine life and witness the astounding sea turtles on view. This is a great family-friendly venue to check out.
Bird Island. About an hour by boat from Puerto Penasco, tours to Bird Island are a popular pastime for eco-tourists who want to witness this phenomenal natural attraction—the island’s stunning array of sea birds. It has colonies of sea lions and sea birds, which makes a memorable day trip. This marine wonder is a must-see attraction.
Whale Watching. Many people visit Puerto Penasco between February and mid-May to witness the migrating Gray whales who visit to dine on the bounty of krill swelling the sea in this area.
Oyster Farms. About a half-hour’s drive south, the Oyster Farms are a great place to enjoy fresh oysters. The oysters come fresh from the sea and the area also boasts great lagoon views.
The Islands of San Jorge. Located off the coast near Puerto Penasco, this protected area is a wildlife refuge for sea lions; charter a boat to visit these waters teeming with life. This nature reserve teems with sea lions and marine birds. It’s also home to the rare and endangered Vaquita porpoise. Many eco-tourists enjoy exploring the sea while diving or snorkeling around the island.
Altar Desert. It is one of the driest deserts in the world and is largely sand dunes, but has a surprising variety of thriving desert life (including the Gila monster). In addition to hiking (take plenty of water though), many people enjoy renting off-road vehicles for a day of trekking. ATVs and motocross bikes are also okay on the sand dunes.
El Pinacate Volcanic Region. The desert around Puerto Penasco also contains the El Pinacate volcanic region. The region became a sacred biosphere by the Mexican government in 1993. Though the entrance to the park is quite a way from Puerto Penasco – about 50 kilometers – it is well worth the trip as you will see one of the least hospitable areas on the planet. Despite its grueling climate, the area has a lot of life, including the remains of ancient humans and human dwellings.
Most tourists visit the El Pinacate volcanic region to see the actual volcanic craters though. There are several that are open to public viewing. The most popular include Badillo, Molina, and McDougal.
When you can tear yourself away from the beach and want to enjoy an unforgettable eco-experience, head to El Pinacate for a look at its ancient craters and volcanic fields. An excursion to its sand dunes provides an other-worldly sight.
5. Relax! Spas in Rocky Point
Add some relaxing health and beauty treatment to your vacation time. From holistic spas to the beautiful resort spas of the city, a spa treatment is always within easy reach from wherever you’re staying in Rocky Point.
For vacationers who want to experience comfort and service at a superior level, the spas and resorts of Rocky Point are renowned. Enjoy a relaxing massage or various beauty treatments before enjoying some world-class Puerto Penasco cuisine.
6. Go Shopping
Rocky Point has many markets and shops for people who enjoy a morning or afternoon of shopping. You’ll find a wide array of Mexican handicrafts that make perfect souvenirs. Search for the perfect souvenirs or that memorable craft made by local Sonoran artisans.
7. When the Sun Sets…Nightlife in Rocky Point
Of course, many people head to Rocky Point not only for its sunny days, but also for its excitement-filled nights.
Rocky Point’s clubs deliver a sultry party experience, but there’s such a great variety of nightlife options that you’re sure to find a place that suits your style. From cozy seaside bars to clubs great for dancing, there are plenty of venues that know how to show vacationers an unforgettable time.
Additionally, there are also loads of restaurants to suit every budget range. You can try mouth-watering fusion food at an upscale hotel restaurant or enjoy fresh fish tacos from a beach stand—neither option will disappoint! If you and your friends want a place to party in the sun, Rocky Point should easily top your list.
Our Favorite Rocky Point Destinations
- Amazing fishing
Isla San Jorge
- Photo Ops
- Amazing fishing
Playa Bonita Beach
Points of Interest
Points of Interest
Sandy Beach is the “main” beach in Rocky Point. Its five-mile stretch of coastline is where the bulk of the new development is taking place. The majority of Puerto Penasco’s condos, resorts, and hotels are along the beach. It is basically the “tourist hub” of the Rocky Point area.
If you venture south from Sandy Beach, you’ll come across a large, rocky hill. The hill is “Whale Hill” and separates Sandy Beach from Playa Mirador, Puerto Penasco’s other large beach.
Playa Mirador is very different from Sandy Beach. Instead of being completely sandy, it is a mixture of white sand and large rocks. Many tourists visit Playa Mirador not to lounge and relax, but to explore the rocks at low tide. It is one of the best places for viewing tide pools on the entire Gulf of California. It is also the oldest beach in the Puerto Penasco area and part of the reason why the area is “Rocky Point.”
While Sandy Beach and Playa Mirador are Rocky Point’s two main beaches, there are a few smaller ones in the nearby area. The most well-known of these smaller beaches are located just south of Playa Mirador. It is Los Conchas and can be easily accessed from Rocky Point. There is a slightly different feel to it from the other area beaches and this is due in large part to the fact that it is largely an American enclave. It is the beach area in front of a large number of American-owned homes; most showcase the Mediterranean style of architecture. It’s a nice area but it has none of the local vibes that make Rocky Point such a special place.
Manny’s Tequila Factory
This great venue makes its own tequila and also sells various other brands. Tequila lovers flock to Manny’s to take home its drinkable souvenirs!
Old Port Fish Market
This popular seafood market is a popular venue for fresh seafood. If you are in the mood to cook supper—either in your RV or seaside villa, stop at this traditional market for the catch of the day.
Enjoy a seaside walk filled with enchanting views of the sunset and the Sea of Cortez. It’s also lined with shops and restaurants so it’s the perfect place to enjoy a Rocky Point day.
Food and Drink
Rocky Point is famous for its fresh seafood. Enjoy a lunch of fish tacos right on the beach or an authentic Mexican meal at one of the city’s fabulous restaurants.
Downtown Puerto Penasco is also home to a number of awesome restaurants. They range anywhere from taco stands to breakfast joints to the fanciest of fine dining establishments. There really is something for everyone when it comes to eating and food in Puerto Penasco.
Mary’s is a good place to start eating in Puerto Penasco. It is a little local establishment that is located in the bustling fish market area of town. They, quite fittingly, have a large variety of seafood dishes to choose from. It makes a wonderful place for either lunch or dinner and they serve a mean margarita to boot!
El Rincon de Regina
Another Puerto Penasco restaurant that you will want to try during your vacation is El Rincon de Regina. It is located at the very bottom of the steep, one-way street that leads out from the center of downtown. El Rincon de Regina is easy to find with the large neon signs on either side of the front door. The inside is small but the wait and the close quarters are worth it once you taste the food. With one of the best chefs in Rocky Point, El Rincon de Regina puts a twist on old-fashioned Mexican cuisine. They use primarily locally grown ingredients. While anything on the menu is tasty, the chicken mole and anything made with prickly pear cactus are heavenly.
The Friendly Dolphin
The Friendly Dolphin is, despite its cutesy name, a cozy place to enjoy a lunchtime meal. It’s a little on the touristy side (not a lot of locals). But, sometimes that isn’t a very big deal (as in when you’re super starving after hours of swimming). The Friendly Dolphin has a number of dishes to choose from including a ton that kids are sure to love. Plus, the antiques and knick-knacks covering the restaurant’s walls are entertaining in themselves.
You can’t just subsist on lunches and dinners and luckily Rocky Point pulls through with some great breakfast fare, chiefly in the form of the Koffee Haus’ homemade bread and pastries. In addition to their breads, they have, obviously, a variety of coffees, and a good selection of heartier breakfast meals.
If fine dining is the route that you like to take while vacationing, then Rocky Point has it: Citron.
The restaurant is in the Las Palomas Beach and Golf Resort and is 4 diamonds by the AAA. It offers mainly international cuisine and offers a little something for everyone. Sunday brunch is one of the best times to head to Citron.
Finally, a trip to Puerto Penasco – or anywhere in Mexico really – isn’t complete without a late night stop at an authentic taco stand. There are plenty of stands jumbled around on the sidewalks and streets so you won’t have any trouble at all finding one. Even better is the fact that many of them are open to the wee hours of the morning (think 4 am), so you can get something satisfying in your belly after a late night of drinking. You’ll find the usual array of tacos, burritos, enchiladas, and so on at these stands.
History of Rocky Point
One of the best parts about visiting any new place on vacation is learning about its history and its past. It helps you to better understand the locals and why the area got the way that it is now. It also can make your travel experience that much more exciting and enjoyable. Rocky Point Mexico has a fascinating history. If you’re planning on traveling there, then it is crucial that you know a thing or two about its past.
Puerto Penasco is a reasonably new settlement as far as most Mexican cities go. It is located right on the edge of the Altar Desert – a large portion of the Sonora Desert – and has historically had a significant lack of water. Even ancient peoples rarely visited the land that is now Puerto Penasco. Scientists have found a few human remains – especially in the El Pinacate volcanic region – but even these belonged to humans only briefly passing through the area. They were not permanent settlers by any means.
The first permanent settlers in Rocky Point Mexico arrived in the early 1920s. Until then, only the occasional fisherman stayed in the harbor during fishing trips through the Gulf of California. One of the primary reasons that they choose to spend time in the port at Puerto Penasco was that a relatively rare fish – the Totoaba lived in the surrounding waters and was very valuable as a source of medicine.
It wasn’t until John Stone, an Arizona native moved to the area that Puerto Penasco began kicking as a year-round settlement. Though numerous fishermen and a few other recluses already lived in the area, Stone moved down with plans to open the first hotel nearby – and open a hotel is what he did. The hotel, also functioning as a casino, was built at precisely the right time. Americans from Arizona and California started swarming over the border to visit Puerto Penasco to escape prohibition. It became a favorite spot for drinking, gambling, and fishing. Stone even drilled the first well and put a short end to the water problem.
One of the most enduring urban legends about Puerto Penasco stems from the time that Stone’s hotel was around. Al Capone, the notorious Chicago gangster, visited the hotel regularly. Whether this is true or not remains a mystery. Shortly after the United States lifted the alcohol ban, Stone and the locals began to argue. He left town in a fit of rage, burning down the hotel and blowing up his well in the process.
It took a long time for Puerto Penasco to recover from Stone’s departure. Very few travelers or tourists passed through, and the locals lived in relative peace. Then, a railroad built through town in the 1930s changed everything. The rail line served to connect the nearby Baja Peninsula to the rest of Mexico, and the stop at Puerto Penasco put the small fisherman’s village on the map once more.
Speaking of fisherman, Puerto Penasco has always survived primarily on the fishing industry. Up until the 1990s, it was the only “true” industry in town. The area around Puerto Penasco is not rich in mineral wealth and is mostly unsuitable for farming and raising livestock. Fishing was the only way that people could make a living.
It was in the early 1990s that things began to change for Puerto Penasco. The government joined forces with private investors in 1993 to promote tourism in the area. They were primarily motivated by the cities proximity to the United States, especially to Arizona and California, and its vast stretch of beautiful coastline. To further promote tourism, they declared Puerto Penasco a “free-zone,” meaning that foreigners could visit without obtaining visas. Mainly because of this, the area fast became a favorite weekend retreat for people living in Arizona, California, and also Nevada.
Resorts and hotels started springing up everywhere as the government and private investors began to develop Puerto Penasco. Condominiums erected throughout the village. The sudden influx of tourists paved the way for the plethora of restaurants, bars, shops, and tour services now offered in the area. The progress to major tourist destinations was a fast one for Puerto Penasco. By 2000, it was one of the most popular beach destinations in Mexico.
Today, Puerto Penasco is as booming as ever – which is evident by the still-strong tourist push for the area. Resorts keep going up, restaurants are popping up all over the place, and more people travel to Puerto Penasco each year than the last. In fact, with the decline of the fishing industry (due in large part to overfishing and pollution), tourism has become an essential part of Puerto Penasco’s economy. Without it, the town might not exist for very much longer.
When you visit Puerto Penasco on vacation, be sure to appreciate its history truly. Though it is a relatively new settlement, its brief history has been fascinating. Understanding the local people and what the city has gone through will significantly improve your stay.
Camp near Rocky Point, rent a villa or live it up in one of the great resorts or hotels of the city. The choice is yours. Because Rocky Point (Puerto Penasco) is such a high-profile tourist destination in Mexico, many of the resorts are of the highest quality and are very pricey. While this is great news if you have some cash to burn, it can be a bummer if you’re looking to travel to the city on a budget. Luckily, the prices at many of Puerto Penasco’s campgrounds and motels should fit into even the strictest of budgets.
Whatever you choose, check out the reviews online for any of the city’s accommodations. You can learn a lot there and choose one that is ideal for your adventure.
If You Plan to Pitch a Tent or Drive an RV…
Rocky Point is a celebrated RV destination. It receives considerable RV traffic, therefore, it’s little wonder why they have so many parks and amenities for this segment of tourists.
As RV drivers may well know, the luxury hotels and resorts are great; they’re even nice places to head out for dinner when in town, but the RV experience truly allows the traveler to be part of the setting. Imagine opening the door of your RV with a cup of fresh coffee in hand to view the majestic Sea of Cortez mere footsteps away.
Of course, your RV is your ride into town and the cozy place where you hang your hat, but the attractions of Rocky Point—water sport, sailing excursions, fishing, golf, nightlife—are entirely at your disposal.
Plan your trip to this celebrated Sonoran city so you can see for yourself why it is so popular among RV drivers. Traveling in your RV or camping is one of the most authentic ways to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of northern Mexico. Here is our list of things you should know before cruising down to Rocky Point in an RV or with a tent in hand.
- Full hookups are available for RVs on a daily, weekly, and even monthly basis.
- You can find cheap RV parking at Playa de Oro RV Park, San Rafael RV Park, Desert Oasis RV Park, and Quality Star RV Park. (This is in no way a comprehensive list – there are dozens of other RV Parks scattered around the Rocky Point area.)
- There are so many RV parks that reservations are usually not needed.
- If one of the parks is full, simply drive a few minutes down the road to the next and you’re sure to find a spot for the night before long.
- During peak periods like Spring Break, however, many parks can fill up quickly. If you are planning to visit Rocky Point during a peak period, it’s best to make reservations at the park of your choice in advance.
- Most parks also allow for tent camping and offer extra amenities like showers.
- Rocky Point boasts RV parks right on the beaches or within each access of the beach.
- It also features RV parks within the town itself.
- There are RV parks on the outskirts for people who prefer the scenic desert experience.
The main thing to keep in mind about driving your RV in Mexico is that you’ll be required to have Mexican RV insurance. Luckily, you will not need a Mexican driving permit for driving to Rocky Point.
Since many domestic providers won’t provide coverage for Mexico, you can easily procure that coverage before your proposed trip or as you cross the Mexican border with Mexinsurance.
Driving without this insurance is not an option if you wish to avoid significant legal trouble in a foreign country. Be sure to always have proof of your Mexican insurance whenever you get behind the wheel of your RV.
How to be a Happy Camper in Rocky Point
Camping beneath the Sonoran stars near the sea is an extraordinary and memorable event.
Thankfully, most RV parks in Rocky Point also allow tents, but if camping in an RV park is not your idea of camping, then head a few miles north or south of town (just make sure that you’re outside of city limits) where beach camping is legal. It’s a bit of a drive but it is worth it if you want to wake up to the ocean nearly lapping at your tent flap!
Safety. Camping in Rocky Point is relatively safe as far as camping in Mexico goes. Unlike many other Mexican cities, Puerto Penasco has not seen any increase in violent crime as of late.
Heat. Other than crime, another worry to take into consideration is the heat. Puerto Penasco is a hot place (which is part of the reason that it is so popular with tourists) and if you’re not used to “hot-weather” tent camping, you might want to look into another type of lodging. However, if you’re willing to “rough it” in the tent, then you have plenty of options to choose from.
Hotels, Motels, and AirBnB
The options for motel and hotel lodging range from the barebones and cheap (think $75 per night) to borderline resort-style (think $300 plus per night).
The Hotel Baja in Puerto Penasco is one of the best budget hotels in the area. It is located conveniently next to the airport and is just a short jaunt from the sea. It’s not fancy by any means but it is clean, comfy, and the staff is very helpful. They have air-conditioned rooms and a swimming pool with a swim-up bar. They also offer discounts on tours in the area – really, what more can you ask from a budget hotel?
The Hotel Paraiso del Desierto is another great budget hotel in Puerto Penasco. It is slightly larger than the Hotel Baja and is in a convenient location. This hotel is a little farther from the .beach but they offer complimentary shuttle service there and back.
Puerto Penasco is Las Palomas Golf and Seaside Resort. The rooms at Las Palomas Resort are terrific. In fact, they can’t really be called rooms at all. They are basically miniature condos ranging in size from one-bedrooms to five bedrooms. In addition to large rooms, they have a beautiful pool, swim-up bar, and lazy river in addition to beach access. They also have a world-class 18-hole golf course close at hand.
The Playa Bonita Resort and the Sonoran Spa Resort are two other luxury resorts that are worth checking out. They are both in a convenient location and offer all of the amenities you expect from a resort-style hotel.