EDITOR NOTE: Also known as the Rocky Point, Puerto Peñasco started as a little fishing village and turned into a little resort town on the gulf coast in Baja. Tide can recede up to a mile in places so plan your low tide beach walks accordingly. Great place to gather seashells or go kayaking.
The spot that gave rise to a fishing community in the middle of the desert, and which is now one of the most important tourist destinations in northwestern Mexico, will celebrate its 94th anniversary on July 9th.
Nestled between the Sonoran desert and a corner of the Sea of Cortés, in 1926 and 1927 a group of fishermen discovered what is now Puerto Peñasco, venturing to live under tents and caves when they came across this virgin coast rich in marine life.
In 1929, this young coastal municipality was known as “Punta Peñasco” (Rocky Cliff Point) given its volcanic forms that plummet into the Sea of Cortez. In 1932, when the settlements expanded, the first police station was created under the jurisdiction of the neighboring municipality of Sonoyta.
History details the name of Rocky Point, as it is known in the United States, was given by retired English Lieutenant William Hale Hardy who came across the site when on an expedition searching for pearls and precious metals. It was actually called this until 1936 when then Mexican President General Lázaro Cárdenas asked for it to be named in Spanish, “Punta Puerto Peñasco”.
In its short life, Puerto Peñasco has become one of the most populated cities in Sonora, and one of the most important tourist destinations in northwestern Mexico. The city’s rapid growth in hotel infrastructure, and favorable geographical location, attracts visitors from the American southwest as well as residents from Baja California, Chihuahua and Sonora who seek to enjoy its warm beaches.
Located near the Altar desert and Pinacate Biosphere Reserve, Puerto Peñasco now has more than 70 thousand residents and a strong economy based on tourism, offering an infrastructure of thousands of rooms in large luxurious condominium complexes and hotels. Puerto Peñasco’s natural beauty is also on display along its public and certified beaches, which includes the longest certified coastline in the country.
In its 94 years, this colorful coastline has made great progress as a tourist city, attracting not only Americans and national visitors but also many from Canada and Europe. Visitors enjoy the city’s iconic spots, its people, and the prevailing fiesta atmosphere.
Puerto Peñasco is a city that has strengthened tremendously. Despite facing difficult times in its past, such as financial crises and the recent pandemic, the hotel and service community, along with the local administration and the community itself, have been able to innovate in areas of care, protocols, and security to help take care of residents and visitors alike. This is why Puerto Peñasco remains a popular tourist destination, keeping its doors open to all looking to relax and enjoy a spectacular sunset on one of its beautiful beaches.
For all these reasons, and more, Puerto Peñasco is dressing up to celebrate another anniversary since its founding. What better way to celebrate than by visiting and enjoying all this paradise on the Sea of Cortez has to offer?
Fireworks, beach, plus friends and family. What better way to celebrate 4th of July in Rocky Point? U.S. Independence Day is one of the most important holidays for our neighbors to the north, and one that many take advantage of to travel and celebrate in Rocky Point.
While 4th of July celebrations took place mostly at homes across the U.S. last year, in 2021 families now have more options to mark the festivities. One of these of course is to visit Rocky Point and enjoy the holiday weekend!
Various resorts, hotels, restaurants, and bars plan special 4th of July events in Rocky Point to treat our U.S. neighbors, making sure they feel right at home in celebrating Independence Day with special dinners, live music, and fireworks.
The weather in early July is warm and welcoming, so it’s perfect for outdoor activities such as cruising on a local tour boat, visiting Bird Island, heading out in a group to a local restaurant or bar, enjoying the beach, sunning along the coast, or simply watching the fireworks from a resort terrace or from the beach.
It’s important to keep in mind when planning your travels for this 4th of July that Rocky Point has lifted curfew restrictions due to the low incidence of Covid-19, though health and safety measures are still needed as required by international health protocols to help ensure your trip is safe and enjoyable.
There’s still time to make a reservation and celebrate U.S. Independence Day in this corner of the Sea of Cortez!
If you’ve already planned your trip to Rocky Point, there are endless activities that await. From the simple joy offered by sitting in the sand and contemplating the quiet peace of the sea to the thrill of adrenaline filled moments, there’s a lot to do and for all tastes.
From the moment you arrive as a welcome visitor, simply going through the city streets and seeing the beach, plazas, and businesses in the distance, along with people looking to have a good time, is enough to shift your mindset because you know it’s time to just enjoy.
The simple act of sitting in the sand on the beach while gazing at the blue of the Sea of Cortez is already a breath of fresh air for those looking to relax, whether traveling with friends or family.
Out at sea you can further indulge yourself by renting a jetski, hop on one of the classic banana boats, or simply swim in Rocky Point’s warm waters.
Reserving a spot and boarding one of the local tour boats is certainly an adventure you can’t miss out on this Summer. From the vantage point of a boat tour, you’ll be able to take in the immensity of the coastline and possibly even spot dolphins frolicking alongside. Trips are enhanced with music, drinks, and snacks offered throughout day or sunset tours. You’ll definitely want to capture plenty of images as keepsakes.
If speed is more your style, don’t hesitate to rent a four-wheeler or ATV for a trip through the dunes and other permitted spots. Feel the air against your face, and the rush of adrenalin when bouncing over streets and the sand. Be sure to wear your helmet and follow safety guidelines.
The zipline along the road to Cholla Bay is also ready to receive brave souls who like heights. You don’t have to go hundreds of miles to seek out this adventure, but rather gather up your courage, hop into the harness, and start the journey from the moment you board the all-terrain vehicle to get you to the platform. From there, you’ll soar over the lines stretched hundreds of meters high. This unforgettable experience is worth boasting about!
If you’re really interested in sailing through the air, how about a trip on an ultralight? Break through the wind from this colorful contraption, which offers one of the best views from several meters up. Ultralights, which can be rented from along Sandy Beach, will take you along the coastline so you can feel the wind in your face and the thrill of flying for a few yet intense minutes.
Another way to have fun in the sky is parasailing! Flying through the air, while pulled at full speed behind a boat, you’ll feel like you’re parachuting free fall toward the sea. Plus, you can go tandem and watch each other’s expressions filled with adrenalin and excitement. Check local companies that offer parasailing in Puerto Peñasco.
Visit the oyster farms and enjoy the offerings directly from the sea to your palate. In the estuaries you can see how the oysters are pulled out and prepared fresh so you can sample. The oyster farms are about 7 kilometers east of Puerto Peñasco, along the highway towards Caborca. Dirt roads lead the way to these spots, which are surrounded by dunes and walls of sand.
Another activity you can explore this summer, though only really early in the morning, is a trip to the dunes for sandboarding. Ask about guides dedicated to sandboarding, where the only thing you need is guts and to hop on a board so you can glide down a dune at full speed.
The Schuk Toak Museum built in the middle of the desert is also a spot you should visit. The sustainable building, located just kilometers outside Puerto Peñasco, runs off solar panels and offers interactive content about the Pinacate Reserve, its history, craters, as well as its flora and fauna. In addition, interactive trails provide a front row to the desert lava.
These are just some of the recommendations for things to do in this port destination. Your fun can be found in the peace and calm of your own hotel room or resort, spending an afternoon in a pool, or catching live music at a restaurant or bar.
What’s important for your stay in Rocky Point is that you enjoy every morning, every afternoon, and every evening in safety and comfort. Make your way to this beach destination and the city will be sure to captivate you with all it has to offer.
Nestled in the middle of the Pinacate Reserve and Sonoran Desert is the Schuk Toak Museum and Visitors Center, just kilometers outside Puerto Peñasco.
A trip to this completely sustainable building is a great option if you’d like to learn more about the biodiversity of the Pinacate Reserve and Greater Desert of Altar, even if you haven’t yet had the opportunity to enter the Pinacate Biosphere Reserve.
The eco-friendly building works off solar panels and houses a museum with interactive screens so that visitors can learn about the volcanic shield of the Pinacate and the tremendous biodiversity in the Greater Desert of Altar, considered one of the largest deserts in the world.
At the site, located at kilometer 72 along the Puerto Peñasco-Sonoyta highway, you’ll also find interpretive walks. Or rather, along the trails you will come across basic brief information concerning the biology and geology found within this majestic area, as well as see some of the desert fauna.
The Schuk Toak Visitors Center also has an audiovisual hall, which projects videos focused on topics encompassing the desert, history, and the Tohono O’odham culture, among others. There are also several rooms and a souvenir shop so you can take home a memory from your visit.
Looking out from the patio of the Visitors Center, you’ll be able to take in the grandeur of the shifting desert dunes, as well as the peak of the Pinacate range surrounding part of the building. The building itself is built upon one of the most extensive lava flows in the area, dating at least 12,000 years back.
The Schuk Toak Museum is open Thursday-Sunday during Summer, from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
There is a symbolic entry of 30 pesos for local visitors, and 60 pesos for national or international guests.
The Schuk Toak Museum and Visitors Center is a must when planning to come to Puerto Peñasco. Add this to your travel itinerary as one of the interesting.
To speak of Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers is to speak of many concerts full of love and benefit for Puerto Peñasco. In addition to attracting thousands of followers from the United States and beyond, the band has always sought a way to support those in need in the city with funds raised at their shows.
Roger Clyne, Arizona singer and guitarist from Tempe, continues to return to Puerto Peñasco with ever growing strength, new accompanying bands, and even more followers.
In 2021 – after a year break due to health protocols – Clyne took the stage on April 23 and 24 with a series of concerts as part of the SOB (South of the Border) Composers Festival. The festival also included national touring songwriters Wes Loper, Erica Sunshine Lee, Mark Mulligan, and Mike Nash playing across several Puerto Peñasco bars.
This was just the beginning, because “Circus Mexicus” is right around the corner! With 21 years of history in Puerto Peñasco, Circus Mexicus 2021 will take place June 10th – 14th. The five days of music and fun will include several experienced bands and enhanced organization, guaranteeing the return of Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers is top notch.
For this Circus Mexicus, Roger Clyne and The Peacemakers will headline both Friday and Saturday nights, with different set lists on the “Tequila Main Stage” at Banditos. On Friday, they’ll be joined by “RCPM Authority Zero”, which has brought intense reggae beats to stages around the world for 20 years, along with Arizona based “Black Bottom Lighters” opening the show. Cody Canada and The Departed from New Braunfels, TX, plus Jeff Crosby and The Refugees from Northern Idaho fill out Saturday night along with RCPM.
Other Circus Mexicus shows over the same weekend across Puerto Peñasco include: Tuk Smith & The Restless Hearts (made up of members from Motley Crue, Poison, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts), Jason DeVore (Authority Zero), Jesse Valenzuela (Gin Blossoms), The Cole Trains, Jim Dalton, The Jons, Las Calakas, Dalton Domino, Mark Zubia, Sara Robinson Band, Darci Carlson, Drew Cooper, and many more.
Shows will take place at several bar stages in town, including Capone’s, JJ’s Cantina, Chango’s, Wrecked at The Reef, Manny’s Beach Club, Tekila Bar, Boo Bar, Moo Steakhouse and Grill, and Xochitl’s.
Purchase a bracelet for entrance to all the events, or individual tickets for your favorite shows.
Not only is Circus Mexicus one of the events that attracts the most people to Puerto Peñasco, and therefore an important boost for the tourism sector, Roger Clyne has been a charity ambassador for those in need across the city. Part of the funds raised during concerts goes to support local organizations, particularly to help children in vulnerable situations.
You can always see the support these events bring to this city that Roger Clyne and his people love dearly for having welcomed them and setting the stage for their concerts.
Their shows have included winter golf tournaments, beach soccer, and raffles for autographed articles, instruments and other objects to help raise funds to support organizations such as “Esperanza” children’s home, Puerto Peñasco Athletic Youth Foundation, as well as support for the wheelchair basketball team, the Tourism Auxiliary Unit, and the local DIF Municipal scholarship program, among other associations and causes.
For this edition of Circus Mexicus, fans are asked to bring down home and personal hygiene items to drop off at Banditos, and participate in raffles for objects signed by the band, as well as art and jewelry.