Rocky Point or Puerto Penasco was once a sleepy little fishing village with a few gringos sprinkled in for good measure. And while the beaches have become crowded with condos and beach homes, the ocean is still much the same as it has always been. This is mostly because Rocky Point does not have much in the way of new harbors or marinas, nor is there many organized boating events. But Rocky Point does have one thing going for it, and that is one big gorgeous ocean right in its backyard. Welcome to the Sea of Cortez.
The harbor caters mostly to the local shrimping fleet. The marina as approximately 30 slips and nightly charges run approximately $20. The extreme tide of more than 20 feet makes anchorage difficult in the upper reach of the Sea of Cortez.
Most often, boats are trailored down from these states. The harbor has a boat ramp and there is a few others around town. In the El Mirador area, two RV parks have ramps, Playa Elegante has a launch and storage. Playa de Oro offers a launch as well. On the other side of town, at Cholla Bay, there is a boat launch as well. It is next to infamous JJ’s Cantina.
Often the difference between high tide at low tide can be 100 yards, and because the water is shallow for quite a distance, improvised launch vehicles have been developed for the area. These funny contraptions will tow your trailer out in to the water for a fairly fee.
Perhaps the most popular boating excursion in or around Rocky Point is a trip to The Islands of San Jorge, or more commonly known as Bird Island. Located 27 miles south of town, and 11 miles from the shore, the cluster of rocks provides migrating birds, animals and fish with a rest stop as they cross the Sea of Cortez.
Visitors to the island will experience a small biological sanctuary or eco-system. On a typical day there is many types of birds, herds of sea lions, and underwater predators lurking around for a meal. Local dive shops host scuba and snorkeling trips, and there are many charters that have big and small boating trips to the island. Not surprisingly, the fishing is excellent (fishing in Puerto Penasco).
Another popular boating trip takes place every evening. Sunset cruises, ranging from mild to wild offer groups a great chance to see our memorable sunsets. Some cruises offer strictly an open bar atmosphere with all you can drink margaritas, while others offer a dinner cruise. The cruises typically celebrate the sunset with a volley of fireworks.
There are many charter boat companies in town. And there are a few boat rental companies that offer fishing boats and jet skis. Take a look at our activities page. Below is information on permits and pricing on boating and fishing for your reference only. Please know that prices may change without notice and we will probably not be informed timely.
Available in Rocky Point and San Diego, CA. Rocky Point. They can be purchased for 1 month or up to 1 year. Prices range from $312 to $2,011 pesos and depend upon the size of your craft. You’ll need certificate of title.
In San Diego, boat licenses can be obtained from the Oficina de Pesca at (619) 233-4324. They will mail or fax you an application. Fill out the form and provide your certificate of documentation for vessel or registration, SASE and cashiers check or money order. You can also mail your request to:
Oficina De Pesca, 2550 5th Ave., Suite 15, San Diego, CA 92103. They will process it immediately and return mail your boat license which is good for one year.
Rates (approx.) in USD
Small Boat (less than 20’) – $32.50
Medium Boat (23’ to 30’) – $65.10
Large Boat (30’ and larger) – $97.69
You MUST have a fishing license for everyone onboard a boat, even if they are not fishing, permits are checked. You do not need a permit if you are fishing from the shore.
Permits can be obtained M-F, 8AM to 3PM, in Rocky Point or at the Mexican Consulate in Phoenix.
Rates (approx.) in Pesos
Daily – $106.00; Weekly – $220.00 (MXN)
Monthly – $315.00; Yearly – $410.00 (MXN)
*All Pricing is approximate and might be subject to change according to the institution providing permits or services, please make sure that you contact them before planning any of this activities. *Contact information above.
By: Maria Isabel Hernandez