My husband and I will be driving to Puerto Peñasco with friends and want to bring our 14-foot sailboat. The regulations say that if the boat is 4.5 meters long or longer, then we must follow guidelines regarding temporary importation of the vessel (register it and pay a fee). Fourteen feet converts to 4.27 meters. Would you recommend we follow the guidelines, or trust that it will be obvious that the sail boat does not trigger the guidelines? Thank you for your advice,
Good question Carla. We have Hobie Cat races here often and I think they are about the same length, so you shouldn’t have any problems. I would make sure you bring along the boat registration with you. I will ask around and if I find out anything else, I will let you know.
Question: This one is from Sue.
Many of us are confused as to how much we can bring across the border per person? Can you please give us your opinion?
Answer: Duty free allowance: I was checking out the duty free allowance amount to verify it is $300 for each person per vehicle on the sat.gob.mx. However during holiday periods-Easter, Summer, Christmas and New Years, you may import up to $500 per person.
We have always brought our turkey down for Thanksgiving and done them in a pit on the beach in front of Playa Bonita for our group. However now I hear that you can’t have any fires on the beach and is that true? If so, are there any places that serve a nice Thanksgiving dinner or that would cater it for us at Playa Bonita?
You are correct, fires are no longer allowed on the beaches. For a change you can either go to Latitude 31 for a sit down Thanksgiving Dinner (only $13.50 pp) or ask Playa Bonita to cater it for your group. This way you can sit back and enjoy and have no clean up and you will be supporting the local economy. If you choose Latitude 31, you need to get your reservation in ASAP as they sell out every year. See the above flyer.
Come out and join the fun while enjoying the beautiful weather in Puerto Peñasco and the stunning Sea of Cortez views. Remember Rocky Point is only a 4 hour drive from Phoenix or Tucson.
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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.
We will try to answer all of your questions in a timely manner and will give you the most accurate information that we can. When you send us a question, would you please let me know if we can use your first name and where you are from.
We have come down to Puerto Penasco a handful of times and fell in love with it so much we just bought a home in Las Conchas. I really appreciate your blog, it gives us a lot of information about our new home away from home.Keep up the good work, and we will bring a bag of dog food for Barb the next time we come down.Thanks again!
Lanny and Pamela
A: I will always answer your questions no matter how many time the question is asked, unlike many in the FB groups. I know Barb will appreciate the donation as well. Summers are always difficult as so many people that help have gone to cooler weather, the puppies, however, are always coming.
Q: Hello, I am interested in information on travel from Phoenix to Rocky Point, Sonora. I am unable to find this on your website. Do you have transportation between the two destinations? Thank you.
A: Thanks Susan for your inquiry. There are a couple of shuttle services here. One is Head Out To Rocky Point and the other is Nina’s Shuttle. Head Out To Rocky Point has a very good track record and will pick you up and drop you off where ever you need them to. You can also rent a car from Enterprise Car Rentals at the airport. Make sure you purchase their Mexican Insurance policy, even though it might be expensive as it is the LAW. The nice thing about this is that once you are here, you have transportation to go out and see the town.
Q: Dear Sirs/Madams, I’d like to take a trip to Puerto Penasco (Rocky Point) but my wife is concerned about the whole drug cartel, safety thing. Can you tell me what the safety brief is like in that area? Thanks, John from San Tan Valley
A: Hi John, It is not to say there are no drug issues here as there are. With that being said, if you do what you would do in the USA, you will not have issues. Drug cartels do not want to draw attention to themselves so rarely is a tourist hurt. The highway coming down is patrolled and also is monitored by what is called the Green Angels, whose job it is to help you in the event of a break down.
A couple of things are do not travel at night and make sure you are staying in a condo area or Las Conchas which has many rental homes. The safety brief that the US Consulate puts out of Mexico City general is not intended for us although it does include the State of Sonora.
Do you have children? There are a lot of things for them to do in the tide pools looking for little creatures. I hope you will come down and see for yourself and not listen to most of the AZ media.More on Is it Safe to go to Rocky Point?
Q: Hi there! I came across your webpage (thanks for keeping it up by the way), and I had a few questions about Puerto Peñasco. This will be our very first time traveling to visit (my husband planned the trip), and I must admit, I am really terrified of visiting, given how dangerous Mexico is and, given that the US government has deemed Sonora as one of the most dangerous states to visit. My family will be driving down from Lukeville Arizona to Puerto Peñasco, along with our 3 small children (2 under the age of 5) and my elderly parents. My question is, how safe is Puerto Peñasco? How safe is it to drive from Lukeville to Rocky Point? Does it get packed during spring break? Are the Catholic churches we can visit during this time? Do you have any info that will help me feel better about visiting? Thanks so much for all of your help! I am really looking forward to a response. Have a great day! Susana
A: Susana, I can only tell you that my children and grand children have been coming here for years with no issues. It is a short 1 hour across the border and it is patrolled by 2 groups to help you in case of a breakdown. Spring Break and Semana Santa (Easter Holy week) are 2 times you want to avoid if at all possible. Yes there are 2 Catholic churches here, one in the Old Port and one in town. You and your family will have a wonderful relaxing time. You can come into the Old Port area and grab a Thrift Ice Cream and sit and watch the shrimp boats come and go as well as the sunset boats. Speaking of the a sunset cruise is really fun and there is one that looks like a Pirate ship and is great for families.. You will have fun so come down, sit and relax.
We at Puerto-Peñasco.comare striving to make our blogs more useful in answering your questions that have been sent in. I welcome your questions and will do a posting a couple of times a month to answer them. When you send me a question please tell me if it is OK to use it along with just your first name and city you are from. These are frequently asked questions on other forums but I will not bother you with sarcastic answers but rather try to help make your stay in Rocky Point enjoyable.
Q: First from Cherilyn
My family and I visited Puerto Peñasco at the end of June. We enjoyed ourselves.We are thinking of coming back soon. I wanted to see if you knew of the best months to come and visit Puerto Peñasco. Please do explain some down times so that I would have a better understanding on which months would be best. 🙂 I am aware that there various opinions on when it’s a good time to go and when it’s not. Since you’re a resident of Puerto Peñasco, I thought I’d ask you! 🙂 Many thanks for responding.
A: The weather here in summer is very much like Phoenix. Our humidity right now is higher than June and will remain this way until usually near the 21st of September. That is when the weather seems to change.
If you don’t mind the humidity you can enjoy the summer months. In June and July there are some Jellyfish so that is a concern, but they should be gone pretty soon. From October through June are great months with warm days and cool nights. The Sea of Cortez starts to get cold in November and warms back up again in March/April.
Thanksgiving is a great time to be here as there are so many things going on like art festivals, Mermaid Market, etc. Between Christmas and New Year it usually slow. You should avoid Spring Break weeks and Semana Santa (Easter Holy Week), Memorial Day, July 4th and Labor Day as the town is packed. Also the weekend of Veterans Day November 8th – 12th is packed as we have our 18th annual Bike Fest and the city is packed with motorcycles. We don’t mind the bikers as they do contribute a lot to the economy and help support our 7 charities.
Glad you enjoyed your selves. One other thing, there is no longer a off season and if you come you may want to consider arriving on Thursday and leaving on Mondays as even with out a holiday weekend, there have been long lines crossing back to the US.
Q: Do I need a passport to get back in to Mexico?
A: You do not need a passport to get into Mexico but you should have one to get back into the United States. It is the LAW. Also by law if you are a United States citizen, you have to be admitted back into your own country, however, immigration can make your life miserable and your wait time a little longer by putting you through the secondary check point. Not only that, while everyone in your vehicle is fumbling around for a birth certificate, you are holding the law biding folks up behind you. Please read our blog “PASSPORT or PASSPORT CARD.. it is the LAW“
Q: Do I need a car permit to go to Rocky Point?
A:Currently we are part of the FREE ZONE as is the Baja Peninsula, meaning no permit needed. However if you are planning on traveling south of Empalme you will need one. These can be gotten about 15 miles south of Sonoyta or can be gotten at the Mexican Consulate in Arizona or California. The cost for this is about $44.00 USD. You must have a valid US credit card to pay with and there are also some refundable temporary import fees that are refunded when you turn our permit in. This permit is called TIP or Temporary Vehicle Permit. Banjercito is a Military Bank that helps tourists traveling beyond the FREE ZONE to obtain a TIP. Make 3 copies of everything as many times their printers don’t work or you have to pay to have them done at the bank there. You will also need a credit card from the United States or cash.
You will need your Passport or passport card plus these additional items.
Driver’s License issued outside of Mexico
If you are not a Mexican citizen, a Mexican immigration permit-such as a tourist (FMM), business or immigrant permit/visa.
Original and photocopy of Bill of Sale, Deed to Property and Vehicle Registration issued by a foreign authority in the applicant’s name. If the title of the vehicle is in the name of a spouse, child, or parent – a birth certificate or marriage license must be presented.
Proof of temporary or annual Mexican auto insurance policy for your vehicle.
Certificate of cancelled import permit for any prior temporary import permits.
In addition, if you have a leased, financed or company car you will also need the following:
Leased Vehicles: Lease contract and notarized letter of permission from the leasing company.
Financed Vehicles: Credit contract and notarized letter of permission from the lienholder or lending institution.
Company Car: A notarized letter of permission confirming the employment relationship and authorizing the employee to import the vehicle into Mexico.
Above information from MexPro.
Q: Am I required to get a visa to go to Puerto Peñasco?
A: Only if you are planning on going farther south or staying longer that 7 days, then you need to get a 180 day temporary tourist VISA at the INM office to the right of where you get the red light/green light.
Easily obtained at an INM office at the border or online (online still requires a stop at INM at the border for the official stamp).
Requires a valid passport or passport card
The stamped FMM is valid for land travel throughout Mexico
Cost as of January 2017, $533 Pesos (appx U.S. $24) per person; FREE if the trip is 7 days or less and you cross by land
May be issued for up to 180 days. This price varies due the floating peso.