When we speak of cities in Mexico and how old they are, we don’t realize that a city like Puerto Peñasco is still a baby. It officially became a city in 1952. In the late 1800’s – early 1900’s the largest city close to Rocky Point was Altar and that was the capital of the State of Sonora. It was here where the trains came from and it was the capital due to being at the confluence of the Conception and Altar Rivers. In 1929 the closest city with a doctor was Sonoyta.
Over the next few blogs, I will try to give you some insight on the back ground of some of these families who helped to make Rocky Point what is today. Let’s start with the name Palacio. What comes to your mind of course is Playa Bonita Hotel and Playa Bonita RV Park. It was in 1942-1943 that Melguizdes Palacio Valenzuela, the grand father of Oscar, Miguel and Laura arrived in town from Sonoyta. He came from a large family that consisted of 4 boys and 3 girls. It was in 1946-1947 that Oscar Palacio, Sr got into the fishing concession business along with another entrepreneur named Abraham Robles. In those years the fish in the Sea Of Cortez were plentiful. Mainly they were catching White Sea Bass, Grouper, Tutwaba, Shark, Shrimp, Tuna and Sardines. The sardine industry was a huge business with high inflation. It was in these years the Cooperativas were formed which gave these families the concession for shrimping in Mexico. In 1981 the private fishing industry became controlled by the feds and it is then when they got out of the shrimping business.
Fortunately at the urging of his son’s Oscar and Miguel, they realized the Puerto Peñasco could become a tourist destination. The only other RV Parks in Rocky Point were Playa Mirador and Playa Del Oro. So in 1982-1983 they started to build Playa Bonita RV Park. Quickly the little park as it started out would soon have all the folks staying at the other parks coming to check it out. The park grew quickly. During these years there were not a lot for restaurants other than LaCita, Costa Brava and Viña Del Mar, none of which was close to Playa Bonita. So in 1985-1986 they built the Puesta del Sol restaurant. Soon people wanted to dine outside under the stars and it started with one outside table in the sand. More and more people wanted to sit outside, so in 1987 they added the patio as by now 80% of the guests wanted to sit outside. Puesta Del Sol was the first restaurant in Rocky Point to use cloth table cloths and napkins and have professional waiters. It was a high end restaurant that served lobster and had a fancy menu.
In 1988 the first phase of the Playa Bonita Hotel which consisted of 48 rooms and 3 floors. Then in 1992 the second building was erected. By law in Mexico if you went over 3 floors you had to have an elevator so they contracted with Thyssen Elevator out of Tijuana to install the elevators as none of the large elevator companies like Ottis, etc. were interested. In 1994 they added the 4th floor. Imagine in those days you had no cement pumpers nor concrete plants, so everything was done with little cement mixers. On a side note, it wasn’t that many years ago that you would still see construction with men mixing the cement on the ground and then putting in buckets where it would be pulled up by hand to the construction site. Much of the material was brought in from San Diego and the floor tiles came from the South of Mexico. Some of the current waiters that started at the hotel are still there.
The Palacio’s have also been involved in politics here in Puerto Peñasco with Oscar Sr. having held the office of Mayor of Puerto Peñasco as well as holding a congressional seat. Oscar Palacio that we all know is the founder of the soon to be 17th Anniversary of the Bike festival also held the office of Mayor.
Some of the other names we want to explore in the future are Pino, Pivac, Estrella( owners of the oldest gas station in town, which is still working),Borboa, Uriarte, Munro, Bitin, Martinez, Sandoval and Valencia.
The next time you visit, go over to Puesta Del Sol and sit on the patio.. close your eyes and picture how it was so many years ago.
If you any questions Contact Us at Blog@Puerto-Penasco.com