What About Rocky Point?
Rocky Point (Puerto Peñasco), Mexico is the closest real beach to Phoenix. Residents of Arizona drive over the border to get to Rocky Point beaches, fishing, seafood and relaxation. Keep in mind that even though Rocky Point is close enough to stop by for the weekend, it is still in another country, with its own customs and laws. Before you go, make sure you know what documentation is required for you to return to the U.S. and what kind of insurance you need for your vehicle.
The following responses were submitted over a period of eight years. I have presented the ones that appear to be the most instructive to assist you in deciding whether or not Rocky Point should be on your destination list. I have not verified any of the anecdotes submitted. I may have done some minor editing if the response wandered off topic, or where a specific business was being promoted, or for grammar/spelling. I am no longer accepting submissions on this topic.
Note: The U.S. State Department issues travel advisories for U.S. citizens traveling to other countries, and Mexico often ends up on that list. Check here for current warnings. Puerto Peñasco is located in the Mexican state of Sonora.
Not for American Comforts
Rocky Point has painted itself a tourist town. If you research you will find that most "tourist towns" in Mx. fail. The greatest revenues come from the U.S. and people are looking for safety, of course, as well as good prices and services.. These will not be found in Puerto Penasco. You can buy medical, dental, eyeware,clothing, almost all food stuffs cheaper in the U.S. than in Rocky Point. To me, it seems that this city is doing everything to drive U.S. dollars OUT of Penasco and very little to promote bargains like you find everyday in Algodones, Mx.
You cannot live cheaper in Rocky Point, Mx. unless you can totally abandon most of your routine needs and desires in way of food products as Mx. does very little in way of providing American products in Penasco. There are some dangerous beach activities that go unchecked on a daily basis. It seems to be all about getting American bucks regardless of safety and at the cost of polluting the Sea of Cortez. Sad
Do Not Get Injured
Just know if you get hurt in rocky point it will not turn out well for you! A couple had some friends riding in the back of a truck and they took off too early and the friend fell out. He broke both collar bones and at the time they had no idea he had a head injury. They thought they'd better take an x-ray and they discovered a 7 inch fracture in his skull and bleeding in the brain. Then it was living hell for these people. They would not release him from the hospital without $1000 cash. When following the ambulance to the border and they got pulled over and the police demanded money from them!
Ten hours later the friend was finally in a phoenix hospital! Happily and miraculously this man survived his head injury!
My husband and I have a fishing charter business in Rocky Point. This is a cool place to live, work and visit. Sandy beaches, great food, fun entertainment every weekend, 1st class accommodations and good friendly people. If you're looking for some great fishing on the Sea of Cortez on nice safe boats and if you're just looking to relax sunbath and have fun I highly recommend Rocky Point. Our motto is to respect that it's "their country" and we use the word "gracias" alot.
Our family drove from Yuma to Rocky Point. We had no issues with the police or other drivers. I felt safe in spite of all the propaganda on the Internet.
We stayed on Sandy Beach and had a very comfortable stay. We liked it so much we are looking at buying a condo for retirement in the future. Overall, I was very impressed and had a great time
Bad, Bad, Bad
Town is overbuilt and abandoned. On the beach there is a strip of abandoned hotels and condos. Many were never finished so there is rebar and construction that stopped midstream, leaving ugly rusted buildings everywhere. There is also a definite lack of anything to do. The few restaurants there were tourist traps with bad service, bad food, and bugs.
If you want to sit and look at the beach for your entire trip, you may like it. But if you actually want to do something other than sit and look at the beach, forget it. There is absolutely nothing to do. Save your money and go to Hawaii, or to a proven winner like Puerto Vallarta.
Great Beach Vacation
Rocky Pt. has always been and still is the best little vacation spot, week end get away, beach and ocean retreat, Spanish town, beautiful fishing village anywhere in the world. My family and friends rent a private beach home in Playa Encanto just a few miles from the main town. But, we go into town at least once. Whoever has second thoughts about travel to Puerto Penasco, please check the facts, we did. The local people are accommodating, they haven't harmed us in ten years. Relax amigos, there is an ocean of fun just over our border, bring your trust and passport.
As with any travel, caution is needed. Enjoy.
I disagree totally with the reviewer who said that the police in Rocky Point are corrupt. In fact, there is an excellent program within the city, city hall, and the police department that ensures that the local police are honest and helpful. My husband and I have traveled to Puerto Penasco (Rocky Point) for years, and we've never run into -- or heard of -- any problem with the police. I wouldn't advise traveling at night, but I wouldn't travel at night any unfamiliar place. The 60-mile road from the border to Penasco is excellent.
Follow the speed limit and other driving laws, and all will be well. When you get to Penasco, you have your choice of many, many excellent restaurants and shops. The vendors on the beach are friendly and honest. Border crossing is easy if you go and return during the week. There can be a 40- to 60-minute wait when returning to the U.S. on the weekend. Be prepared to have a great time. Enjoy the beautiful beach. Eat lots of good food, and drink lots of excellent margaritas -- just make sure you have a designated driver.
Oh -- another thing -- the 18-hole golf course is a lot of fun.
Shakedowns With Guns
Terrible, shake downs with police holding machine guns, bad weather. Mexico is not the United States which has some laws. In Mexico you are on your own. I felt horrible hearing about the drugs and the drug lords and the shootings and killings and all the illegal activity in Mexico.
Four or Five Times Per Year
I love Rocky Point. Been going a few times a year for 20 years. Only experience I had with the police was when they helped my friend get out of a potentially bad situation with a local. Went out of their way, as a matter of fact. And didn't cost us a dime!
We have been all over Rocky Point at all time of day and night and never felt unsafe or uncomfortable. Mexico has laws. It seems to me that people forget that sometimes, based on their behavior down there If you don't break the law here, don't break it there. If you don't go to certain areas here after dark, or where you feel uncomfortable, don't do it there. Most people who get in trouble there deserve it. All of these stories of being randomly stopped and forced to go to an ATM to pay a bribe just don't ring true to me.
And because Mexico differs in how they handle the law, it adds to the police corruption stories.
As for the locals, they are usually warm, friendly, helpful, and humble. Rocky Point has changed dramatically over the years, so the citizens are a little more wary now. As RP has grown, a lot of young people from other cities have come to town to work and have brought a little different attitude with them. Maybe they have finally learned to act like some of America's rowdy youth. I read a comment about some youths throwing rocks at his family from a car. That never happens here? Please!
Look, common sense, common courtesy, respect for the laws, and respecting the local citizens work wonders everywhere.
People also complained about the local citizens just caring about making money. Huh? They have a right to eke out a modest living. And most of Rocky Point is very poor. If it offends you to have beach vendor, who has walked a long way, try to sell you something while you are sitting on the beach drinking, you need a different kind of vacation. Also true for the guys who tell you they can get drugs, pot, girls, etc. Just say no and move on. Why begrudge them for trying to make a buck offering the vices many people go to Mexico for.
Let's be real.
You can stay in luxury, stay in hotels, or camp. You can feel safe and secure and never go to town or you can stay in town and enjoy the restaurants, bars, and nightlife. And of course during the day, enjoy the unbelievable weather, beaches and ocean. Amazing place.
Follow The Rules
The wife and I absolutely love Rocky Point. We have been down there about 5-6 times in the last 3 years. Having said that, there are rules to abide by if you want to keep out of trouble. It is always best to travel in groups down and back and whenever possible, have someone that can speak Spanish fluently. Also, stay around the resort areas, don't venture anywhere into town at night time. Again, travel in groups. If you ride quads, be respectful and ride slow. That brings me to the Policia, they are corrupt and there is nothing that can be done about that.
I've heard some people follow them to the jailhouse and pay them there or some people pay them on the spot. I'm not a big fan of confrontation, especially when the person confronting me is carrying a semi-automatic assault rifle so if you can, pay them...otherwise maybe make sure you don't have that much money to give.
I have never had a problem in Rocky Point with the Policia, I have had problems with the Policia in Sonoyta. There is a place just before you get out of town where they like to stand in the middle of the road and expect you to stop. It is not necessary to stop unless they motion but be prepared, they are after your money. Do not have any open beer containers or anything around that they can see without further inspection. Best advice, empty all beer containers before you cross the border and throw them away.
Rocky Point is a great place with great food and great fun, I recommend it to anyone wanting to take themselves out of the hustle-bustle of everyday life and just relax.
Always Fairly Treated
I have been going to Rocky Point 4-6 times per year for more than 15 years. In all those visits I have been pulled over 4 times and each time I was legitimately speeding or running a stop sign. I paid between 100 and 200 pesos ( 10-20 dollars) each time. I recently received a speeding ticket in Mesa and the price was $165.00. In all the many times I have been in Mexico I have never been treated unfairly. I have to believe many of these reviews are flat out lies. The only way to know is to go yourself and there aren't many people who go there more than I do.
I have two children who are eleven now and have been going since they were 3 and they have never had a problem. If you don't like Mexico or don't know how to behave yourself in a foreign country, fine don't do. But don't make up these ridiculous stories about locals stalking you, slashing your tires, etc.
I did not like Rocky Point, felt nervous, about the locals there, didn't trust anyone from there. It is soooo hot and the water is too hot to enjoy. I will never go there again, I'm from the East Coast where we have the most beautiful beaches. The food turned me off so we ate what we brought. Never so happy to leave it.
Been going down for over 30 years. I see these comments about bad experiences. I guess I have been lucky but the people are wonderful and the town is too. I'll take my chances in Rocky Point over downtown Phoenix any day. Wonderful food and accommodations.
Corrupt Police Prey on Tourists
We were pulling out of a club near the oceanfront, when a group of police officers began pulling over every car with Americans inside.
They basically searched our car, then told us that we were driving drunk. Our driver was the DD and did not drink at all that night. They said that they felt he was drunk, and would simply throw him in jail because they were suspicious.
They were both holding machine guns, and we were scared. They asked for our wallets, took about 400$ in cash, and told us they better not see us again, or we will go to jail.
We stayed at Las Palomas. No problems driving there or back. I think going in the middle of the week helps so we'll do that again. We had a great stay at the condo and in the town. We ate wonderful food at several good restaurants (The Lighthouse, what used to be The Reef, Coffeehouse and the Blue Marlin). We had absolutely no hassles with police or otherwise. We snorkeled at Bird Island with the sea lions and had great fun.
All in all I would recommend going. Either we're naive about it or things are very overstated about the problems.
Great Vacation Spot
Rocky Point is really the quintessential Mexican fishing town, and makes for a great vacation spot. The laid back culture, warm weather (a little too warm in the summer), fresh seafood and bright blue water make this one of my favorite places to visit. I have been taking long weekends to RP for over ten years. If you go in the spring or fall, expect blue skies, 75 degree air with a slight breeze and warm, clear water. The beaches (most of them are clean) have fine sand, and when the tide goes out, there are plenty of tide pools left from the reef.
There are great places to stay, from the private beach front rental homes in the Los Conches area, to the many luxury resorts along the Sandy Beach. The downtown area is right near the port and is where most of the shopping, dinning and nightlife is. This district is a little dusty on the streetside, but the restaurants for the most part are very nice and clean and have very fresh seafood. Just about every establishment feels like it is authentically Mexican.(whether or not it actually is authentic is debatable, but who cares!) There is a ton of stuff to do once you get there.
Many people just want to soak in the sun while enjoying a margarita, or shop for Mexican art and souvenirs. On past trips I have gone fishing in Cholla Bay, taken ATV's to the sand dunes, ridden the banana boat on the surf, and taken a sunset cruise. The most expensive of all of these activities was the fishing. There are a variety of bars and clubs to visit in the downtown area. Baja Cantina and Manny's beach club are popular spring break spots for the college visitors and get pretty wild, but there are other p laces to just sit back and have a beer for the older crowd as well.
At closing time, most people stumble into the streets, and before waving down a cab, they grab a Sonoran hot dog. This is a hot dog on a bun, but the hot dog is wrapped in bacon, and topped with diced peppers and what ever other condiments you want to put on it. Rocky Point is not too commercialized or Americanized yet like say Cabo San Lucas or other larger Mexican tourist cities (you won't find any McDonald's or Ruth's Chris here). But that is a large part of its appeal. If you are looking for a laid back vacation spot with beautiful beaches, Mexican beer, and plenty of fresh seafood, then you will have a blast!
Fun But Touristy
Whatever happened to good ole' Rocky Point? After 4 years of not going to the beaches, we rented a house on Playa Encanto. Thank goodness. Old RP just ain't what it used to be. Roads without potholes were nice, extra lights not bad. But the high rises, resorty, touristy. The attitude of the locals are still local if you're shopping or dining in Cholla Bay. The downtown is still rustic in some ways. We really missed the total feeling of "down Mexico way." Had fun with the family. We'll come back.
The rental worked out good, out of town a little but not too far, private owners put us through the ringer to stay, can't blame them, they had a real cute and comfortable little home. Amazing the solar houses out there can run all the appliances and lights. Back at the shrimp market, the city lights were also unreal. When you stay out of town a bit, the driving is still a hazard if there are lots of people. The streets were filled with locals, tourists, young and old folks (like us).
Leaves You Breathless
It doesn't get better then Rocky Point for a dining experience that will leave you breathless. From Maria Bonita, La Casa del Capitan (high up on a mount) to the Sr Amigo Restaurants w/ocean views. Spectacular, just spectacular, everyone needs once in their life to experience this tranquil, spiritual experience.
Locals Cheat You
I went down to Rocky Point for a weekend and stayed at the following hotels: Baja, El Mirador, and Penasco del Sol. I had one encounter with the police and it was a pretty good one. I, along with five of my friends, decided to take a banana boat ride while at the beach, and the guy told us he would watch our stuff no matter what... well we came back and my friends $100 shoes were gone. The real problem is the locals down there... constantly trying to sell bootleg movies, fake designer glasses, hitting you up for money, soliciting prostitution, trying to convince you to go to a strip club, being followed by locals, and if you don't speak Spanish it can be assured they will ask for the maximum price as well as attempt to cheat you...
a restaurant charged my friend $495 American when the meal was really 495 pesos. I was at a pool bar with my friend and a local who sat next to me kept asking what room I was staying in (I didn't tell him) and claimed if i didn't buy him a drink he would follow me to my hotel room and rob all of us, and the bartender just thought it was the funniest thing in the world. Locals treat Americans like crap. Expect to be yelled at by people in cars.. they say tings like stupid american, gringo, etc. My trip down there was filled with stress..
always looking over your back to see if someone is going to jump you, locals making fun of you by pointing directly at you and saying crude things in English and Spanish, constantly trying to be sold something which doesn't stop until you cross into America, if you don't give them at least a dollar there is a high chance you might just get jumped or your car tires slashed and or keyed... when they ask you for money they are more demanding it or your security and personal goods are at risk.
Look For the Right Area
Mexico has a well-kept secret right in our backyard in Arizona. We are winter visitors from Wisconsin. However, my children talked us into June here. They wanted to return to RP. This was a special treat with graduation so we rented a great little beach house on a sandy beach of Playa Encanto. Our family was surprised at the make-over of the town and restaurants, they were thrilled with the owner home privacy, pleasant attitude, and very thorough screening. Rocky Point, Puerto Penasco, whatever you choose, the choice of personal touch from an owner, the quiet beach, really changes the perception of the rough and rowdy, don't expect much attitude when you find the right people and the right area.
Love Rocky Point
I've been going down to Rocky Point for over 30 years and I absolutely love it! Much has changed in those past 30 years, some for the good, some not so good. The commercialization of the area is bringing more business and money to the state of Sonora but I don't really see the poverty of the locals getting any better. There are many new condo's on Sandy Beach, some very nice and even one with a Jack Nickalaus signature golf course.
I grew up in AZ but have lived in the Seattle, WA., area for the past 21 years but, I make sure that I take a minimum of 2 trips a year down to R.P. and that is during April and October. Those are the best weather months of the year to be down there.
I guess what would be better for me is if I had a way to fly direct into R.P. and rent a car at that little aeropuerto just before town. Unfortunately, I have to fly into Phoenix and then take a rental car down. Either way, it is worth it the trip!
Not Safe for Americans or Mexicans
Mexico is not safe anymore! Its not safe for Americans or Mexicans. There is no safe place to visit there either. The police and crime is just as bad in Rocky point as in the rest of the country. My family is worth too much to me for me to ever put them in danger like that again.
Our one and only trip there was pure hell. We take our chances in Phoenix now - Mexico is not worth it!
Rocky Point is a great destination for a clean and fun beach for Arizonans. I had a great time there and have been there tons of times. I had to post here because I must tell everyone about Mexican car insurance. Get it! Your AZ insurance will not be acceptable in Mexico and believe me you don't want to be without insurance there! In our group during out last trip our car and one of our friends each got into a fender bender, luckily I got insurance online before we went and had everything resolved right then and there but my friends got ripped off at the border and were given a card that was hand written and it was not valid, their Arizona insurance was not valid either, they had to have $575 wired from Phoenix to pay for the damages before they were allowed to leave the police station.
This took them 10 hours! Please make sure to get insurance!
Head To the Beach
I have been visiting Rocky Point for several years now. I love it, just like anywhere else you need to be aware of your surroundings and yes, you might run into a few problems there. But compare to what this town was several years ago, it has now become more Americanized, So come on people pack your bags and head out to the beach. May your experience be as good as mine.
Mexicans Are Friendly
The weather was perfect. Not once, while in town or shopping, at the restaurants, did we feel threatened or insecure. The Mexican people are friendly. Do not expect American service there.
Matter of Perspective
I have been going to Rocky Point for 25 years about every other year, from Michigan. My friend moved to Phoenix and discovered this wonderful getaway. Her and I and 3 little kids would go down for long weekends spent camping on the beach. We never had any problems. In fact we found help easily if we had a flat tire or needed help. We usually went Thanksgiving, Easter or long weekends. The weather is always wonderful, the people are friendly and the food is good. Now when we go down we stay at one of the condos they have built down on the beach or at a hotel in town.
We never felt intimidated or at risk. We now continue to go in our retirement years. There are quite a few large RV Parks there too.
Stay at a Resort
I took my family for a weekend getaway and loved it. The beach at Rocky Point is even better than southern CA. The beach is cleaner, there are not as many people, and it's warm enough to go in the water. The resort had a pool, lazy river and water slide which kept the kids entertained. We enjoyed the swim-up bar! We are already planning our next trip to Rocky Point.
I have been going Rocky Point for the last 30 years. I have never had a problem in RP like other people here. And just gets better every time.
Police Are Crooks
Our family was there with our kids ages 1-14 years . The police stopped our kids and hauled 3 of them to jail because supposedly they had gone thru a stop sign. We had to try and get them out. The policia wanted $90.00 per child. Luckily our friend is from Mexico and he talked them down to $30.00 per child. When my husband and our friend went to go find the Stop sign it was a rickety piece of aluminum all worn out. Rocky Point Police are crooks. I have heard other stories from friends where the Policia just take advantage.
We never again will visit that place!
Shopping and Dining Tips
The Sea of Cortez is beautiful. We were amazed at the size of the tide change. Not good snorkeling off the beach, too murky. Not much out there either. But we did see dolphins swimming about 100 yards out on 2 different nights.towards sunset. Walked down to the end of Sandy Beach and saw some really cool tide pools at low tide. Lots of simple shells to pick up on sandy beach. The condo we stayed in was fabulous. It had lots of room and a big balcony-- with the 2 bedroom sized condo. It even had a laundry room in the condo itself.
Had a dishwasher, too, but we couldn't find any dishwasher soap at the grocery store. We'll bring our own next time. Super Ley is a nice big grocery store in town. We went to the fish markets to buy fresh fish and cooked in the condo. We had Sea Bass and Grouper as well as monster shrimp. Fabulous!! No mahi mahi there in June.Take your own horseradish sauce because you can't find it there. Puerto Penasco is easier to reach by car from the far end of the beach. We went to El Capitan restaurant expecting a fine dining experience--you know a nice steak or fish dinner for $20-$30.
The view is fabulous and worth the visit especially at sunset, but don't go for the food. We loved it and can't wait to go back.
Do Not Pay Police
We own a condo there and miss the times when it was just a small, pleasant little town. Can't count the times the police collect money from you. Even tried to plant drugs once, hauled to ATM in middle of night and made to withdraw money. Went to police station next day, filed a complaint. Film from video camera at ATM was reviewed and the two policemen were identified and supposedly fired. Always demand to go to Police Station.
Interesting reading other comments...seems like people think they are visiting another AZ city! I grew up in the northeast and our proximity to Mexico and Puerto Penasco is one of the main reasons I still live in AZ. The food, the water, the beach, the ocean, gentlemanliness of every service person I've ever encountered (from the guys who set up tents on Sandy Beach to the waiters to the taco vendors) have always been the best part of the trip: Enjoying Mexicans in Mexico! What a concept. I feel safer in PP, even as a woman, than I do at home in metro Phoenix (anyone remember the Baseline Killer?) As far as vendors on the beach, how else do we think these families are going to make a living?
If they crossed to work in the US without papers, I'm sure people would scream about that! The only problems I've encountered are: 1) the city is closing off its beaches to the Mexican families of Puerto Penasco; 2) US citizens renting their uncomfortable, noisy condos at outrageous prices; 3) being embarrassed at drunk US citizens baring their body parts on holiday weekends. I would rather die than be there for spring break.
A Mini San Diego
I had been going down to Rocky Point for the past 20 years and I thought it was my own little secret. The place is starting to look like a mini San Diego. The new beachfront condos are amazing. We sat by the ocean, zipping margaritas. Although it was a bit chilly, this is a top notch destination..
My father-in-law just built a modest little house in RP and we all go down there once or twice a year. The house is not on the beach but it is close enough. We have a big family and enjoy going from Dallas, Texas, a twenty hour drive, to the clear beaches of Puerto Penasco. We really love the new store, La Ley, because we can now buy our groceries there instead of bringing them with us. Sometimes you can see us on the Playa Bonita, all 20-30 of us. We usually bring all the kids, friends and relatives with us.
Thank god we have king size floors so everyone can sleep on. No one seems to mind. We all love RP. But we would love to keep it a secret. More beach for us.
Good Budget Vacation
We go at least once every 2-3 months for the last 4 years. We take our kids and just go with friends. Everyone down there is so nice and very helpful. I have yet to have a bad experience, and it is the most relaxing place to go on a meager budget. Not to mention we can tear it up on the quads!
Traffic Cops in Rocky Point
Every time I read about how tourists are ripped off by the local traffic police it makes me crazy! If you are stopped, tell them that yes you would like the ticket. If you are given a ticket you can pay it with in the first 24 hrs. and it is half off! I think that everyone should help to avoid corruption and just tell the police that you will pay the ticket at the police station. You will see that most times they will not give you a ticket.
Rocky Point Fishing Trip
Dh and a couple of friends went to Rocky Point. They had fun, swam in the hotel pool, checked out the beach and chartered a boat to go fishing. None of them are really the fishing type but caught way too many fish LOL. They let the captain and the guy who cleaned them keep a lot of fish, and still brought home enough to feed an army. We gave fish away to anyone who would take it and still have a pack in the freezer. The guys had fun and thanks to a couple of naked older women on the beach came home with a few stories to tell.
There are nice areas and not so nice areas. Make sure to do your research before booking anything!
Ugly Americans and Rocky Point
It was absolutely great. I have only visited Puerto Penasco once, but it was an excellent experience - except for some ugly Americans. We were there in September and it was not crowded - I suspect it gets more crowded as the many RV owners whose RV's are stashed there show up in winter. We brought the family and we felt very welcomed by the community. Locals were especially friendly and polite to our young son, with the exception of one grouchy grocer downtown. We had no trouble whatsoever. The food was exceptional.
We did not visit a single place where the waiters were not unfailingly polite, even if we were only eating a $1 fish taco. The eats were inexpensive and excellent - we had a $5 plate of clams that were served on a turkey platter - massive amounts of food for a few pesos. Because it is so close to the border, Rocky Point gets a lot of tourists as opposed to travelers. Please be polite and don't propagate the image of ugly Americans. The behavior I saw at one bar (young drunken Anglos treating the bartender like a servant) was disgraceful.
Awesome place. Not too touristy at all. Super friendly people. The beaches offer horseback riding, ATV's, all kinds of neat stuff. The restaurants are fantastic and the Mariachi Bands that come and sing for you during dinner are so neat! I love the place!
Crazy Spring Break
i am 18 years old and I believe that Mexico is a safe place as long as you stay respectful. If you get drunk, which we all do, take a taxi, don't drive. Don't be belligerent and get into bar fights, pee in public, or do drugs. Don't steal and you will be fine. Don't wear pricey jewelry or bring expensive valuables. Use your head!
Do Not Go
Just got back today. If I can just keep one person from going, I will have helped one soul. First let me say, I am well educated, professional and went down for a 40th birthday with about 30 friends and family.
The reason I say don't go is because the police are corrupt as they come. We were shaken down twice, one for while driving back from dinner. The second while we were 4-wheeling, and both times we had to pay the police off. Also, several of us were walking downtown and we got stopped just for walking down the street and mostly because we were Americans. If the police had not been called away on the radio, we would have had to pay them again. I will never go back; there are too many Mexican cities to go to that you don't have to worry about getting extorted for just walking down the streets.
Drive An Old Ugly Car
We loved Rocky Point. It was beautiful there. The water was so crystal clear. It is the police that we hate. On the way home from a perfect day, we were stopped by the police one block from the border. We were warned about them when we bought Mexican insurance. The police there are crooks. We were doing the speed limit. We got pulled over. He got out and told us to follow him. We did, to this little parking lot with a small building. He told us to wait in the car. He asked us questions like what kind of jobs we have and how much money we make.
He then said we can give him $40 or go in the building and pay more. We gave him his bribe and went on our way never to return to Rocky Point again. Give me an American beach any time! We are not alone with what happened. I have heard stories of other having to give money and even the clothes on their backs. If you go, just be very careful and drive below the limit and it would help if you have an old ugly car. We had a nice new minivan.
Mileage wise, Rocky Point is closer than San Diego but it takes about the same time to get to either place because a lot of the roads in Mexico are only 25 miles per hour. It changes in places. Another way to get you.
We have been going to Rocky Point for years. Like many, we alternate between "adults only" trips and taking our teenage daughter and a friend or two. As has been started by others, Rocky Point is growing all the time with more and more upscale hotels etc.but it isn't the U.S. Mexico is a 3rd world country and for us that is a huge part of the charm and fun. If you are looking for things to be like they are at a U.S. resort area, go to a U.S. resort area.
The beach there is great. I am not sure where the idea that vendors are gov't subsidized came from, but it's certainly not true. If you learn a few Spanish phrases and recognize that bargaining is expected and part of the fun, you can get some great deals on "Mexican Junk."
In all the time we have been going to RP we have had absolutely no problem with the police, and attempted corruption is tolerated even less now. The people in RP are not dumb and they know they depend on tourist dollars. From our observation, most of the problems stem from younger people drinking too much and somehow thinking they are immune from the laws. Recently we heard one kid complaining the police arrested him for urinating on the side of a building. What does he think would happen in Scottsdale?
The food in RP is great, but use some common sense. We typically bring some food with us, but there is a great supermarket called Ley's that will have almost anything the typical Safeway or Fry's would and the setup in the store will be very familiar as well.
We love going to Rocky Point, love the people there, and if you set your expectations correctly you'll have a fantastic time.
My friends and I went to Rocky Point for Spring Break. Going during spring break is awesome...if you're a college student. The clubs and bars at night are the place to be. There's tons of stuff to do, from riding ATV's to sunset cruises. All of the people are friendly and the food is great.
Impoverished and Filthy
I was in Puerto Penasco during Spring Break, and I was very disappointed with the experience. The policia were prominent and corrupt. The town is impoverished and filthy, and the beach is covered in litter and crawling with merchants selling non-genuine merchandise clearly subsidized by the government. There was an extreme lack of facilities like working pay phones, and the bars and clubs play the same ten songs day and night which can be heard from anywhere in the town.
Rocky Point Culture
I love the people in Rocky Point. I have been going since 1996 and fell in love with the culture. I enjoy the short drive from AZ and laying on a beach, eating fresh raw fish, visiting the locals who I have become friends with. Another great place to go is the orphanage. You all pass it on the way, its on the left hand side and drive back a few miles. and you will see the most beautiful happy children, well cared for, volunteers from everywhere come and stop by, fix things, do a little painting, play with the kids, drop off supplies.
presents during the holiday. They can't really speak any English but you can get by. The only thing that is upsetting in Rocky Point is when my fellow Americans come down and trash the place, breaking bottles, screaming. The people from Rocky point, tell me they put up with it, because the need the money. Let's be a little more respectful of their beaches and homes. You can have a great time and not give Americans a bad name.
I was pulled over by the the traffic police for ridding my ATV too fast, so they said. I had a big ice cooler on the front and was doing nothing wrong.I am a 41 yo male with my family trying to relax. Two officers walked over and stated I was driving to fast and had to go with them to the police station, one took my ATV and I rode with the other. The one driving kept putting his hand on his gun to try to intimidate me. After a short drive he pulled over and asked for $20. I gave him the money and left with my ATV.
I was so mad! It's only $20 but I don't feel secure any more and don't think I will return. I have been going to rocky point for over twenty years.
Threatened at Gunpoint
My family and I have (had) been going down to Rocky Point for 20 years 2x a year. Our boys looked forward to the beach and mannys. Our last visit was to take our 18 year son and some buddys for his graduation gift. I know what your think crazy teenagers but no this happened to my husband (54). For our drive down we had to take 3 cars so my husband drove our van (filled with everyone's stuff) by himself. We got separated 3/4 of the way in to Mexico. I pulled over and waited for him....30 mins went by and I got worried.
I then decided to turn around and see if he had a flat. A short drive back (10 min) We passed each other and I turned back around and followed him. He pulled over and got out of the van, he was white as a ghost a shaking. He told me a Police Officer pulled him over when there was no one around. Pulled him out of the car hand cuffed him pushed him up against the van and stuck his gun in my husbands back. He said he was speeding and needed to $2000 on the spot. He said he was taking my husband to jail if he didn't give him the $2000.
Again waving his pistol in my husbands face. My husband told him my wife has all the money with her up ahead; he didn't believe him. He then proceeded to rifle through all our things. Thank god he got another call and took off. The whole weekend we were afraid to drive the van around think they will attack again. That night someone cut my sons jeep soft top to pieces and tried to steal it (he had a club and a boot). Crazy. It was the worst trip we ever had. I will never go back again. It's a real shame Rocky Point has gotten so bad.
Warm In Summer
Rocky Point doesn’t disappoint. Beaches a little warm in the summer and watch out for the sting rays. Thank you, however, to planners of RP, owners of our beach rental, service people. We actually saw dolphins one morning swimming in the distant. The birds are abundant. People are scattered so it was fun for all of us. The Encanto beach is a sleeper as usual, downtown fish market, gracious people in the restaurants and stores, quiet beach areas, much improved roads, safe trip.
Will Never Go Back
We will never go back to Rocky Point! We've been there 3 times before with no problems. This time we were there with our 3 children, had just left a restaurant in Rocky Point and got pulled over (at night). The officer said we were going the wrong way on a one-way street. We weren't. He told us to follow him to the police station. The guy was angry and scary, and when he realized we had 3 kids in the backseat I think he decided not to be so mean...not sure. But I asked in my VERY elementary Spanish if we could pay him then instead of "following him to the police station" which scared me!
He said yes, and took $30 from us. The second time, just the next day, we were about 1/2 mile from the U.S. border heading back to Arizona and were pulled over for speeding. We weren't. Again told to go to the police station, and I've heard you can be delayed for hours or days with paperwork, or even thrown in jail, so I wanted to avoid that if we could. I again asked if we could pay him now, and he said yes, $20. Had the guts to shake my husband's hand and said Merry Christmas. Our children were terrified and nightmares after the first incident.
We have loved going down there, but will never again. We're taking this as a wake up call that we're going to heed.
Winter at Rocky Point
We spend at least two seasons in RP, winter is one of them. The water is clear, sky blue, traffic light, and beach almost empty. We leave the retreat and head home for the city. You know the trip was worth it when silence takes over the time home. Winter and Fall are still good times to go down there.
Weekend in RP
Here's some of the somewhat negative, but expected, stuff:
* Women (especially unaccompanied by men, like we were) do get leered at and remarked to. We just ignored them.
* People will offer you drugs. Usually they ask if you smoke or pop, or a particularly unique strategy they tried on my friend, remarked on her tattoos and asked if she took anything for the pain.
* Kids hassle you to buy necklaces and to braid your hair. On the waterfront, the fishermen try and sell you shrimp and other seafood. At the Port, the guys try and get you to charter their boats. But a simple and firm "no thanks" is usually enough to get them to move on.
* We had no problem with crime, but we also made sure we were in by dark or shortly thereafter. We didn't hang out at the bars, were never loud and drunk, and we stuck to the main streets.
* We kept our money distributed, some deep in our pockets, some in my backpack, some in the room, even some in our bras. The bulk of our money was in small bills - $1s and $5s.
* We filled up the tank in Ajo, as I've heard the gas in Mexico is pretty inferior.
* It was July--hot and humid. On average it was about 90 degrees. The humidity ranged from 30% to 75%. Dress light, shower often, drink water, seek shade, stay in the A/C in the middle of the day.
* We brought a 5 gallon jug of our own water. We used it to make coffee, brush our teeth, and refill our water bottles. Most restaurants use filtered water, and bagged ice made with filtered water. At the tacos stands, we stuck to beer and canned sodas. We used lots of lime juice on most things, just in case.