Ahh, Spring Break 2007. March is when Puerto Penasco becomes home to approximately 60,000+ students from Arizona, California and New Mexico who pour into town to celebrate Spring Break. It’s a huge party, and gets bigger every year, and 2007 is no exception.
Quick links, for those of you in a hurry:
The peak ‘Spring Break’ time this year is March 10th to the 18th. Most schools ‘official’ break runs the 12th to the 16th, but because this week is bracketed by weekends I’m just calling it the 10th-18th.
You can see below that the UofA, ASU, UNM, and UNLV all have roughly the same Spring Break schedule:
|Here is this year’s Spring Break schedule for the major universities:|
|University of Arizona||March 10-18|
|Arizona State University||March 10-18|
|University of Nevada, Las Vegas||March 10-18|
|University of New Mexico||March 10-18|
|Northern Arizona University||March 17-25|
|New Mexico State||March 17-25|
|San Diego State University||March 24-31|
During Spring Break a whole cottage industry of travel agents, hoteliers, and transport services spring into action to accommodate the thousands of Spring Breakers. The vast majority of these businesses are honest people. Some of them, however, are 100% ripoff artists, like the people that run fake hotel booking scams, or book nonexistent flights and hotels. (more)
For all Spring Break students, we provide the following advice:
- Always book your rooms by credit card – ALWAYS. Never deal in cash or check only.
- Always call and confirm your reservations ahead of time.
- Travel in groups, and always have a second line of communication. If you’d like to see if your cellphone works in Puerto Penasco, click here.
- Always do business with reputable, established businesses – beware of ‘fly by night’ operations.
As in previous years, the local police really step up their enforcement over Spring Break, and 2007 is no exception – so have a good time, but be on your best behavior, folks. Spring Break tends to suck if you spend it in the drunk tank of a Mexican jail.
Also – if you’re using your credit card while in Mexico, be prepared that your issuing credit card company may add on a nice little ‘Currency conversion‘ fee of about 3 to 4%. Check this Currency conversion costs chart out to see if your bank does, and consider just using cash when you are buying food, drinks, etc. It’ll save you in the long run.
Fortunately, we’re in a position to help.
Just like last year, we partnered with Phoenix-based Grupo Alianza and Reservations At The Point to offer you over 11 hotels and condos in Puerto Penasco you can book right now, online, from reputable, verified businesses. Just like last year, however, the sooner you make your reservations, the better, because 2007 is filling up fast. Click here to book a room!
There has been a lot of confusion as to the new entry laws and passports, and a lot of people have emailed me asking me if they need to have passports to re-enter the U.S. after visiting Rocky Point.
Beginning January 23, 2007, ALL persons, including U.S. citizens, traveling by air between the United States and Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Bermuda will be required to present a valid passport, Air NEXUS card, or U.S. Coast Guard Merchant Mariner Document, or an Alien Registration Card, Form I-551, if applicable.
As early as January 1, 2008, ALL persons, including U.S. citizens, traveling between the U.S. and Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Bermuda by land or sea (including ferries), may be required to present a valid passport or other documents as determined by the Department of Homeland Security. While recent legislative changes permit a later deadline, the Departments of State and Homeland Security are working to meet all requirements as soon as possible. Ample advance notice will be provided to enable the public to obtain passports or passport cards for land/sea entries.
So, just to recap – if you are a U.S. Citizen going to Rocky Point – unless you are FLYING there, you do NOT need a passport to do so until Jan 1, 2008 – but you will need other forms of ID: a birth certificate, or a voter’s registration card, social security card, etc.
As a rule of thumb – if you have a passport, just bring it and save yourself the trouble. It’s always good to have on hand.
If you’re taking a vehicle in to Mexico, you’ll also need Mexican Car insurance. Mexican law says that only companies licensed in Mexico can provide “civil liability” coverage for vehicles, so your existing US auto insurance will not suffice. You must get a temporary policy issued from a company licensed to issue Mexican car insurance.
Just like last year, we have partnered with Mexpro.com to provide Mexican car insurance online – by filling out their form, Mexpro can provide you with seven different quotes in order to find the lowest one, and issue you a policy. You can get started by clicking here.
A few companies have sprung up to help ferry Spring Breakers to and from Penasco from places like Phoenix, Flagstaff, and Tucson. You may wish to read about them on our transport page. I personally have not used any of these services, but I thought I would point them out.
RIDE BOARD: I thought I’d try something new and start a ride board to let people list their ‘rides needed’ or ‘spare seats available’ offers for Spring 2007. If you’ve ever been a student travelling on a budget – (or just filled up your gas tank lately) – you can appreciate the idea of ridesharing.
Things to remember before entering Mexico
For those of you who have never been to Mexico, here’s a quick rundown:
Crossing the US Border can take up to several hours during peak times as thousands of travelers all pass through the same checkpoints. During Spring Break, Memorial day weekend, and 3-day weekends it is not uncommon for border traffic to back up for several hours.
A general rule of thumb is to cross very early or very late – checkpoints typically open at 6 am and close at midnight, so often you can save yourself hours of waiting by adjusting your crossing time.
We’ve tied into the US Customs And Border Protection web pages, which provide border crossing time estimates for the major crossing points. You can see LIVE estimated crossing times for Nogales and Lukeville by clicking here.
SPRING BREAK IN MEXICO – “Know Before You Go!” @ www.travel.state.gov
Travel Tips for Students @ www.travel.state.gov
‘Help For American Victims Of Crime Overseas’ @ www.travel.state.gov
UAPD: GOING TO MEXICO Brochure (PDF)
The University of Arizona’s Police Department and student health services put out a helpful PDF in 2006 that includes emergency phone numbers, health tips, and legal advice for the Spring Breaker headed into Mexico. It also contains some helpful hints pertaining to Mexican law, alcohol consumption, and foreign travel in general. It’s worth checking out.
More from 2006: Police, consular officials step up presence for spring break hordes
More from 2006: Spring break message for students
Students tricked by Rocky Point Web site
Student travel agency faces fraud lawsuit
UA, FTC lawyers warn against possible travel company fraud
Several articles regarding previous Spring Break vacation scams. They detail the experiences of students swindled by phony Rocky Point/Spring Break booking sites, and are provided here as a warning to students. DO NOT FALL VICTIM TO THIS SORT OF SCAM! Instead, book your hotel with reputable businesses!
Open beer in Mexico could lead to fine, jail
This article explains a new effort by police in Mexico to enforce a no-drinking-in-public law. You may be thinking this sort of thing is absurd, but the authorities have taken this very seriously and were enforcing on-the-spot fines and enforcement for public consumption throughout Spring of 2004. It’s worth a read.
University of Arizona: Stay Safe for Spring Break
Basic Mexican travel and health tips, again from the University of Arizona, this time from the Dean Of Students.