September 16 is the day Mexico celebrates it independence from Spain in 1810. It was officially made the National holiday in 1821. The celebration begins on the night of the 15th at 11:00 pm when the President of Mexico rings the 200 year old bell and gives the cry to Dolores known as El Grito de Dolores battle cry. In Puerto Peñasco, the Mayor of the city steps out on the balcony of the City Municipal building and waves the Mexican Flag as the crowds chant “Viva Mexico” and he usually gives a short speech, followed by singing of the National Anthem.
The battle cry was made by Father Miguel Hildago Costillain the town of Doloreswhich is located in the State of Guanajuato in 1810. Father Hildago was captured and killed in 1811 after calling the military and residents of Mexico to go to battle for their freedom from the Spaniards and Spain. Spain ruled Mexico for over 300 years until Father Hildago wanted to see his country free and not under Spanish rule any more.
This is a national holiday where banks, schools, government offices and many businesses are closed. In many cities, main streets are closed for parades and celebrations. The Mexican flags fly everywhere and there will be fireworks, lots of music and dancing everywhere. You will find many regional foods available in restaurants and on the streets, as well as private parties in homes being served. You can choose from fruit punch, candies, Posole and Menudo, roast lamb, Queso Fundito with chips, salsa and guacamole, Chili En Nogado (poblano chilis stuffed with meat and covered in the colors of the Mexican flag of cream and pomegranate seeds and walnuts, hence the red, white and green colors in the flag, as well as beer, sangria and Tequila.
It is a great celebration so if you are thinking about coming to Rocky Point during the 15th and 16th, be prepared to spend some time getting caught up in the celebrations throughout the city and learning more about the history of Mexico.
Rocky Point has long been known as Arizona’s beach and this summer it has proved to be true. Every weekend there are several mile backups coming into Mexico as well as those departing. With travel restrictions having been lifted, it seems like everyone in California and Texas have decided to vacation in Puerto Peñasco this summer. We are also experiencing a high volume of tourists from several states in Mexico coming by vehicle as well as tourist busses.
Our condo, private home and hotel occupancy has been very full all summer long. Despite the heat and humidity we have in the months of June, July, August and September it has not stopped people from enjoying the waters of the beautiful Sea of Cortez. Puerto Peñasco has so much to offer such as golfing on 1 of our 3 championship golf courses. There are several fishing charters that go out everyday, so you can catch a ride on one. These charters will take you out all day if you want and out to the 50 mile reef, where you will catch the big fish. There are also 1/2 day trips where you will catch plenty of smaller fish that will put up quite a fight.
If you have children with you, take a trip to CEDO in Las Conchas to see the full size Whale skeleton that was reconstructed many years ago and learn more about the Sea of Cortez. Speaking of whales, one large adult washed up a few weeks ago and it was trucked to CEDO where it was buried. Years from now they will construct another whale. CEDO has a large selection of books for sale and I highly recommend “THE EDGE of the SEA of CORTEZ and “LAND OF BLACK VOLCANOES AND WHITE SAND”. Both of these books will teach you a lot about the area. They also sell apparel, coffee mugs and so much more. CEDO also offers tide pool excursions as well as kayaking in the Estuary Morua. Check their schedule of events to see what is available while you are enjoying the area.
If you want adventure you can rent jet skis as well as Razors, Rhinos, Quads and CanAms from several vendors. If you do this please use the designated dunes for your experience. Horseback riding on the beach is a great way to enjoy the beach. These can be rented on Plutarco Ellias Calle across from the car wash. They have horses of all sizes for your enjoyment.
Perhaps you like concerts and wine or beer festivals. Rocky Point does not disappoint on any of these things. Check out Banditos for the Roger Clyne concert line ups. You will find Baja Wines at wine festivals or wine maker dinners at El Tapeo and craft beers at the Annual Craft Beer Festival at La Arena 3C. The Baja of California between Ensenada and Tecate has nearly 100 wineries in the region and are doing some award winning wines. The State of Sonora and Baja have some great craft beer producers that will have you wanting to buy some to take home. Manny’s puts on a great Country Bash once a year so check put their schedules as well.
Several new restaurants have popped up such as Toscows, MTZ or Mi Urban Barrio Kitchern. Rocky Point has some great places to dine in or on their patios. Looking for authentic Mexican food, try Regina’s in the Old Port, you won’t be disappointed. Want to have pizza, you have several places to choose from, with several offering delivery service. Sonora is know for it’s beef, so check out Garufa’s, Chef Mickey’s or Pan y Vino for your favorite cut of beef.
Although Semana Santa (Easter Holy Week) had a large crowd, it was not as large as previous years, judging from the photos. The bars and restaurants that were open open were pleased with the business they had. By Sunday most of our visitors had left until next year. There were food vendors on every corner selling tacos, churros and hot dogs. A great time was had by all.
At the same time the OAXACA Exhibit has come to town for a month. They bring with them apparel, leather goods and so many crafts, cosmetics and perfumes, artwork as well as regional food from the area and many flavors of home made ice cream. They open at 10 am and are located in Shrimp Park across from the Municipal Building on the corner of Benito Juarez and Blvd. Freemont. Look for the brightly colored tents.
The last Mermaid Market has been delayed from April 17th to May 29th. So if you are here for the Memorial Day weekend, please plan to stop by and spend some time visiting with the local artists. The last show is always a fun event with vendors dressed like Pirates and always some great music. Here will also find the best BBQ in town and tamales wrapped in Banana leaves that are to die for. You can also buy fresh baked breads and some of the best Marmalades anywhere. They have them all to sample so please do, you won’t be disappointed. If you want a great hamburger while you are in the park, check out the little white building next to the bandstand. Here you can get a cheeseburger, grilled onions and great french fries for $75 to $80 pesos or around $4 USD. They have a nice little seating area to enjoy your lunch and some fresh air. Stop by and visit Russ Black and enjoy one of his special Mermaid Margaritas.
Puerto Peñasco is rapidly becoming a year around wedding destination. There are several wedding planners in town to help you make you special day one to be remembered. You have several caterers to choose from and you can find some great bands for your reception. If you want a beach wedding, that can be arranged complete with canopy and chairs. Check with Olympia Watson or Shayna Sargent who are wedding planners and they can make all the arrangements. If you want to have your wedding at a hotel, check out Playa Bonita Hotel or Penasco del Sol Hotel.
There are some events coming up in April, May, June and July that you might want to mark you calendars for and get your reservations made. April 23-24 at Banditos Roger Clyne Solo Songwriters Show, May 1 at Las Palomas is the Annual Golf Tournament, June 10th Roger Clyne Circus Mexicus and July 16-18 at Manny’s Beach Club is the Manny’s Country Bash. Follow Puerto-Peñasco.com for more info on these events.
Our readers are always asking about what there is to do in Rocky Point. From Sandy:
We will be coming mid December and staying for a couple of months. What is there to do and see while we are there? The first week we will have family with little children, so need to entertain them. We are staying in Las Conchas on the beach and wonder how far it is from the town.
Mid December will provide you with nice sunny warm days but the evenings do cool off, so bring light jackets. During the time when you have the little ones here, you can take them to the tide pools when the tide is out and let them explore. They will enjoy getting sea shells as well as maybe finding a baby octopus in those tide pools. You can also take them to the aquarium which is located behind Capone’s on Sinaloa Blvd. They will also have a learning experience if you take them to CEDO which is located in Las Conchas. Here they will be able to see a full size skeleton of a whale. There is also a gift shop with some great books on the area. Another thing you can do with the children as well as adults is go back north of town to visit the Pinacate Volcano Visit Center. Here you can watch a movie about the area and they are interactive things to view inside the center.
Now for the adults. Rocky Point has 3 golf courses for those golfers. One at Las Palomas, one at the Isla Del Mar and one at the Mayan Palace. All of these will provide a challenge. The course at the Mayan has several holes that parallel the Sea of Cortez. If you have people that love to fish, there is no better place than in the Sea of Cortez. There are several fishing charters that will take them out and everything is included in the charge. One of pour favorites is the Pancho Villa,which is a family owned cabin cruiser. This time of year, depending on how far you go out or for how long you want to go, they will catch Grouper, Red Snapper, Trigger fish (which are not huge) but do put up a fight, just to name few. The crew will clean and fillet them for you to have at your beach front home.
For the ladies, there is great shopping on Rodeo Drive. here you will find Fabiloa’s Beach Appareland accessories, Su Casa (gifts for the home) as well as many shops caring items made in Mexico such as Talavera pottery. A must place to shop is Mercedes Rusticos located on the hill as you are coming out of the Malecon and across from the Friendly Dolphin. Here you can purchase complete sets of dishes made in Mexico as well as other glasses and other things for the home. Check out the Blue Marlin for the best coconut shrimp around. They can also hang out at the Boo Bar, which is located above the shrimp market. Sit out under the big palapa and take in the sunsets. You will find plenty to keep you occupied.
Now is the time to plan to go to Puerto Peñasco for late fall and the Christmas season. Fall brings Mermaid Markets, Art in the Park in Las Conchas over Thanksgiving, stunning sunset cruises and the traditions of the Christmas season in Mexico.
Stop by Latitude 31 to see the Christmas Village and train and it is free. While you are there have a great breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Take time to do a Sunset Cruise on the Pancho Villa or the Eco Fun or any of the other boats here that will not disappoint you. Just getting out on the water is such a great way to unwind. You can view the Dolphins that will entertain your boat and you can sit back and have a Margarita or cold beer. There is something about fall and winter sunsets that are so amazing.
If you are lucky enough to be here in December, you can watch all the Posada’s or go over to City Hall and see the decorations that are set up. Plaza de Madre is where you will find the animals from the Nativity setting. Children love to see all the animals.
The Posadas start on December 16 and end on the 24th or as it is called “Noche Buena” Christmas Eve. In many parts of the world they celebrate the 12 days of Christmas but in Mexico it is 9 days. Las Posada translated means in English as “the inn or the lodging”
Neighbors and family meet and go from house to house every night reenacting the travels of Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem. When they arrive at the last house, they are given passage and it is here where the party starts. Before entering the home they recite something like this. This song is called “Canto Para Pedir Posada” which means to ask for shelter. This is a shortened version.
Pilgrims, outside) “Mi nombre es José,
Mi esposa es María.
y madre va ser,
del Divino Verbo.” “My name is Joseph,
My wife is Mary.
and mother to be
of the Divine Word.” (Inn keepers, inside) “Posada os brindo,
y disculpa os pido,
no os reconocía.” “The inn I give you,
and offer an apology,
for not recognizing you.”
The people arrive carrying a statue of the Virgin Mary and little candles as they walk from place to place. Once admitted, they are treated to food and a drink called Ponche con Piquete, which is made fruits, cinnamon and Brandy or Rum or a beer called Noche Buena. This beer is only found in the Christmas season. After everyone has finished, the Pinata is hung and the children start to break it open. The families spend a lot of time talking and enjoying the sounds of glee of the children. On Christmas Eve, most families go to midnight mass.
The Christmas season extends until January 6th which is known as “Kings Day”and in traditional fashion, this is when the children receive their Christmas gifts.
If you are in Puerto Peñasco on January 6th, you may want to join in the parade to one of the poorer areas of the city and see the gifts that the American community and motorcycle riders have collected for these children.
We continue to receive questions on Puerto Peñascoso here is another one from one of our readers.
QUESTION: Kim Bock asks:
My husband grew up going to Choya Bay and his parents owned a home there when we were young. They sold their home about 18 years ago and we hadn’t gone back in many years. About a year ago my cousin got married there and we’ve been going back ever since. So much has changed it’s unbelievable, so each time we go back its a little adventure to see all that’s new, as well as what has become unrecognizable. I started going down there with my husband in 1989. What a shock it was to see what Sandy Beach had become! Since so much has changed I’d like to ask you a few questions. I am excited to say we will be in Puerto Penasco November 1-4 and again over Thanksgiving. I have been reading about Rodeo Drive and I was wondering if you could confirm if that is the same as what everyone calls Malecon now, or if there is a different shopping strip that we are unaware of. Also is there a particular restaurant that you would recommend eating at and a Pharmacy that you trust and have had good luck with. We plan to visit the cemetery on the 1st and go downtown (to Malecon) in the evening for dinner and to see the festival. (We will be preparing our own little ofrenda for my dad who has passed.) Could you tell me how to get to cemetery. We cannot check into our hotel until 4 pm and might go straight to cemetery upon arrival into Peñasco or may be coming from Sandy Beach. Any tidbits or suggestions you have would be much appreciated. This trip I would like to explore a little farther out and am thinking of taking a drive to Encanto Beach. I always see homes for rent there and would like to see what it’s like and how far it actually is from Rocky Point.
Thanks for reading my email and for any information you might have for us.
ANSWER:Yes Kimberly, things have really changed since 1989. In response to you first question, Rodeo Drive is a different area from the Malecon. Some people have also called it Shacks 5th Avenue. Years ago it was a dirt road and on Thanksgiving weekends if it rained everyone got stuck in the soft sand and that was part of the charm. A few years ago, it was remolded with a cement street and lighting. There are a lot of very nice store there as well as you touristy brick a brack stores. There is wonderful ladies store called Fabiola’s and she carries mainly gauze apparel as well as jewelry and hand bags. She also has some great men’s shirts. Right next door is the upscale Su Casa which is filled with great home décor and gifts from the south of Mexico. Getting tired and thirsty, there is a nice Mexican Restaurant across the street called Mariachis and Tequila. Eddy Wharez is located to the east of these stores and has a lot of home décor and gift ideas. There is also a lot of Talavera dishes and Silver jewelry available in this area. Depending on where you are staying while here I will give you this direction. If coming from town you will pass the Sonoran SKY, Puerta Privada and Las Palomas. The road will end and you will make a right heading north and then make your 1st right turn (it will say to Convention Center). That road will take you right to the mall. You can also find many of the same things on the Malecon but you won’t have issues with finding a place to park.
If you would like to have a very nice dinner, recommend GARUFA and Argentinian Steak House. They are located on the Sandy Beach Road. You will turn of the main road and you will see it as you get close. The steaks are to die for and done to perfection. They have a 14 oz Prime Filet and although it doesn’t come with a sauce, it is a piece of meat that you can enjoy the taste of the meat. They also have another 7 oz. filet that is finished in a red whine reduction. Both are under $400 pesos. Great wines from the Valle de Guadalupe over near Ensenada. I would recommend the Balero blend.
So happy that you will be here for Dia de Muertos. Do you know which cemetery your dad is buried at as we now have 3. Let me know and I can get you directions. Do you have the schedule of events for that holiday? They also have a lot of things going on at Rodeo Drive. One night is the night of the Catrina’s, which people dress up like skeletons called Catrina’s.
If you are in the Malecon for dinner, I would recommend the Blue Marlin for seafood. He has a fantastic coconut shrimp served in a coconut shell. He has been in business since I believe 1995, we were some of his first customers. For breakfast, Boulevard 301, which is located on Benito Juarez (the main street through town) next to Pollo Lucas, Kaffee Haus is as you are heading into the Old Port and Latitude 31 offers a nice breakfast as well. We are getting more new places seems like every month. Latitude also does a great Thanksgiving dinner but you will need reservations. Boo Bar is a fun place to go and also serves food and is right on the water. Manny’s Beach Clubhas been completely gutted and rebuilt complete with a pool and is in the same location in the Mirador area.
You will find pharmacies on every corner now days. We use Santiago’s which is located on Benito Juarez about 3 blocks south of Burger King and right across from San Jose Clinic in the same side as Burger King. Rudy speak English and they have very good prices and if they don’t have it, they generally can get it with in few hours.
Much of Cholla Bay received a lot of road damage as a result of remnants Hurricane Sergio. As of this writing the road to Playa Encanto is not opern as a result of the rains we had from the 2 hurricane remnants, so count that one out. it is a mess out there. The turn off to Playa Encanto is about 10 miles from town and when the road is good another 8 miles to the beach and homes.
If you are dog lovers, you may want to check out Barb’s Dog Rescue on the outskirts of town. She has some cuties that are up for adoption and there is no charge, all she asks is dog food or a donation to buy food.
This holiday that began in the south of Mexico will begin on October 31, 2018 and end on November 3rd here in Puerto Peñasco. There are events held allover the city. Dia de Los Muertos is celebrated throughout Mexico with much tradition. The holiday dates back centuries, but it wasn’t until recent years was not celebrated in the Northern part of Mexico.
During these times, the families go to the cemeteries to clean and paint the grave sites. It is here that the families of the deceased gather to spend the night at the grave decorating and celebrating with the food and drink of their loved one. In the grocery stores you find the cute little sugar skulls and Pan Muerto ( a sweet bread) that is shared with family. You will also find Marigold Flowers and Plants at the local nurseries, that decorate the graves. At the cemetery you also find trucks full of the colorful flowers. This is a joyful way to celebrate the death of a family member.
The celebrations start on October 31st and is known as All Hallows Day, which is a day to celebrate the children who have crossed over. It culminates on November 4th at the Cholla Mall Road with the judging of the altars and the Catrinas. Catrinas are the skelton figurines that are made of paper mache or porcelain and come in all sizes and painted in bright colors. There a couple of places in Rocky Point that carry a nice selection the Catrinas and they are Latitude 31 Gift Shop and Mercedes Rusticos in the Old Port.
Here is partial schedule of the events going on. November 1: All Saints Day November 2 & 3: Set up of the Altars on the Cholla Bay Mall or “Shack’s 5th Avenue) November 3: Festival Dia De Muertos offering at the Sea of Cortez. Here decorated floats will parade in the harbor. November 4: Judging of the Altars and Catrinas
Fall is the time of festivals in Puerto Peñasco. October 18th – 21st, Rocky Point will host the 1st class XLVI Cervantino Festival. The event is held on the Malecon area of the city. Here you can enjoy music, art, food and more while over looking the Sea of Cortez. The festival is family friendly so bring everyone.
This festival features musicians from all over Mexico along with local dancers and musicians. Below is a list of when each group will be performing and the times. Come and enjoy the culture of the music and dance that is so well known all over Mexico and we are so lucky to have them entertain us.
XLVI FESTIVAL INTERNACIONAL CERVANTINO EXTENSIÓN PUERTO PEÑASCO 18 AL 21 DE OCTUBRE 2018
Get there early to the Plaza de Governors in the Old Port Thursday, October 18th
7:00 Blessing by Etnia Madre Tohono O’odham
7:10 Áfrika Duste big show
8:00 Inaguration: Entrega de reconocimientos al Escritor Guillermo Munro Palacio, Universidad de Sonora Unidad Regional Norte-Caborca por su 40 Aniversario, Hermanamiento de Ciudad Cultural con Tecuala Nayarit. Palabras de autoridades.
8:30 Presentation by Ballet Folklórico Mextil de Tecuala
9:30 Concert with María Inés Ochoa “La Rumorosa”
Friday October 19
6:00 Danza Alerta Amber by the Academy Causa y Efecto
6:10 Singer song writer Lian Fertin in concert (Argentina)
6:40 Danza de los concheros por el Ballet Folklórico Magisterial-Casa de la Cultura bajo la dirección de Adan Bautista
7:00 Concierto del Tenor Francisco J Rodríguez (Estados Unidos)
8:00 Samandar Khan Manganiar Rajashtani Folk Music & Dance Group (India)
9:15 Danzas Polinesias by Angélica Sotomayor Martínez
9:35 Banda de Marcha Municipal bajo la dirección del Maestro Rubén Barrera
10:05 Flor Amargo in concert
Callejoneadas con la Estudiantina Dr. Alfonso Ortiz Tirado (Álamos)
Saturday October 20
6:00 Orquesta de Cámara & Orfeón in concert “Unidos por la paz” (200 members)
7:00 Concert by the group 34 Puñaladas (Argentina)
8:40 Grupo Danza Folklórica “Sones de mi Tierra de Evangelina Magaña” (San Luis, R.C.)
9:00 Grupo Luceros Danza Toninho Ferragutti (Brasil)
10:00 Grupo Danza Folklórica “Sones de mi Tierra de Evangelina Magaña” (San Luis, R.C.)
10:20 Big Band Jazz de México Callejoneadas with la Estudiantina Dr. Alfonso Ortiz Tirado (Álamos)
Sunday October 21
5:00 Ensamble y Coro Musical bajo la dirección de Germán Esquer Delgado
5:50 Intérprete Rosael Hernández Hernández (Islas Canarias, España)
6:00 Coral Luis María Valencia bajo la dirección de Aracely Lozano Herrera y Martín Ramírez Domínguez
7:00 Make a Wish de Elite Dance bajo la dirección de Pablo Fabián Jáuregui
8:00 María Cristina Plata (Colombia)
9:00 Programa especial de cierre con grupos artísticos de la Universidad de Sonora URN: Grupo Contraste y Búhos Cantores bajo la dirección de Marcela Denogean Torres; Danza bajo la dirección de Marisol Ivette Izaguirre Montaño. Sunday October 21
The long awaited opening of the newest restaurant in Puerto Peñasco is nearly here. Be prepared to have your taste buds get really happy. GARUFA will formally open their doors in PUERTOPENASCO on October 5th. This upscale chain restaurant is one of 19 GARAFU restaurants thro0ught Mexico. However, this is the 1st one to be built in northern Mexico and the 1st one in a tourist/beach town.
Their menu is fantastic and includes some of the best cuts of steak around, fresh seafood and the ever popular Argentinian Empanada. There is something for everyone! They will feature wines from the Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico as well as from other areas including California. Besides being known for outstanding beef, their deserts are to die for.
GARUFA will be open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner. Their hours are Sunday – Thursday, 1:00 pm to 10:00 pm and Friday and Saturday from 1:00 pm to 11:pm. The bar will be open until midnight.
We are continuing our Q & A forum from our readers. If you have any questions, please send them to us. Question:Hi there!!!!
It’s me again! How are you? I hope all is well! I’m just writing to ask you if you would recommend Puerto Peñasco in the month of October? My family and I are thinking of visiting this year again in the month of October. What do you think? Also, how has Puerto Peñasco been lately (safety and security wise)? Thanks so much for all of your help! Looking forward to your response soon! Take care and have a great day!!!!
Answer: Hi Susana,
October is a great month especially mid October. The humidity should be almost gone. There aren’t any major holidays as far as traffic goes. There have been no safety issues or security from the time you enter Mexico until the time you head back. The water will still be nice and morning walks on the beach are a must. How long are you planning on being here? Are you coming with small children? If so, they can enjoy the tide pools looking for little creatures. A visit to CEDO in Las Conchas is a must as they will get to see a full size skeleton of a whale and it is a great learning center for them. They have a gift shop with books about the area and it is really nice. Most restaurants will be open everyday if you want to eat out.
Any more questions, don’t hesitate to ask.
Question: This will be the first time visit to Puerto Peñasco and we are wondering what there is to do and is it safe. Answer: Thanks for asking. Not sure what time of the year you are planning to be here, but pretty soon, the weather will be changing, so you can enjoy walking or running on the beach. If you are a golfer, we offer 3 golf courses for your enjoyment. Fishing your thing, there are several fishing charters to choose from. After a relaxing day on the beach, take a sunset cruise on one or our many sunset cruises. You can also to ride horse back on the beach which is really fun. We have several really great restaurants to choose from and a few with Sea of Cortez view. This places also offer a great sunset view.
I have lived here full time since 2008 and have never had a safety issue. My children and grandchildren have also been coming here for many years with no issues. I tell people, if you are looking for trou0ble I am sure you can find it, but otherwise you will have a wonderful stay. Don’t forget to get Mexican auto insurance full coverage. It may be a little more expensive for full coverage, but it will protect your vehicle. Let me know when you plan to come and I will try to update you with events. The main thing we have upcoming will be the Rocky Point Rally, Veteran’s Day weekend. The town is probably already sold out.
If you are planning to buy or adopt a dog, check out Barb’s Dog Rescue. Choose from puppies or senior dogs, you won’t be disappointed.