Should you travel to Rocky Point / Puerto Peñasco?
Have you ever thought of traveling to Rocky Point, Mexico? While many exotic destinations require a plane ticket, you can actually drive to this Mexico destination near Phoenix, Arizona. These tips and tricks can make your trip smooth and worry free, and ensure you and your family will want to return time and again!
Phoenix AZ to Rocky Point Mexico
So, What is this place?
If you don’t live in Arizona, you have likely never even heard of Rocky Point, Mexico. Rocky Point, or Puerto Penasco, is a charming little beach town just south of the Arizona/Mexico border, on the Sea of Cortez. The area is a popular weekend trip destination for anyone living in southern Arizona. Even though Phoenix isn’t in southern Arizona, nearly everyone in town will know Rocky Point, and many have been there themselves. Though the drive from Phoenix is definitely longer than it may be for many other Arizona residents, any trip in which you can drive rather than fly is always friendlier on the wallet.
Is it safe to visit Rocky Point, Mexico?
If the thought of slipping past the comfort of American soil into sometimes seedy Mexico has you feeling a bit trepidatious, you certainly wouldn’t be the first. The good news is, for the most part the highly touristic parts of Mexico are really quite safe.
That being said, traveling there is somewhat easier for young adult singles than it is for families. What might have once seemed like a perfectly safe place to you can look entirely different at a different stage in life. It’s crazy how a couple of kids and a mortgage suddenly turn you into a total worry wart. But your fears aren’t completely unfounded, especially as we are all adjusting to life and travel in a new, “post Covid” world. It has never been wiser to do plenty of research, and follow the tips and advice of those who have gone before you.
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Rocky Point MX Location (and getting there):
From Phoenix to Rocky Point you are looking at just under a four hour drive. Not bad at all for a true getaway, and an international trip at that! There are a few ways out of Phoenix city, depending on where you live in the valley.
If you live close to any of the entrance ramps to I10, then you will take I10 to the 85.
If you live on the eastern side of the Phoenix Metro Area, you will likely head south until you come into the somewhat small town of Maricopa. Here you can jump onto the 238 and be on your way.
There will be a few points of reference to look out for along the way, but the entire drive for the most part is nice, wide open, and easy. On your way, you will pass through a couple small Arizona towns, such as Ajo and Why (not entirely sure the reason anyone would name a town this, but it appears those who chose it didn’t know either.) Why, AZ, will be the last town you go through before reaching the Mexican Border.
You do not need your passport to go across the border, but of course you want to bring it, you never want to leave the United States without it. And you will need it upon your return. The time it takes to get across the border will depend on the traffic, and if you get stopped for a random search. If you do, don’t worry, you did nothing wrong. Just allow the officers to check in the car, look into anything they ask to see inside, and let the dogs sniff about. Once you have made it over the border, it’s pretty much a straight shot south until you hit the water!
Lodging in Rocky Point Mexico:
Most of the newer resorts in Rocky Point are located in a little bay called Sandy Beach. You will see plenty of other families here, so it’s a great place if you have little ones with you. You can find large homes to rent as well, if you are going with a few families and would like your own place to yourselves and your group.
Many people in the states own condos in these larger condo buildings, all with their own pools and restaurants. You can find them on AirBnB, or VRBO usually. One of the great perks of this is that you have unlimited access to beautiful pools, in which you can usually order drinks and food brought right to you, and you don’t have to deal with the constant heckling of peddlers on the beaches selling trinkets. If you want to buy these items, then that’s great, but if you don’t, it can get really old, really fast. Obviously you didn’t come all the way to the Sea of Cortez to NOT go down to the water, but it’s nice to have other aesthetic options.
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Dining Out Options in Puerto Peñasco:
There are so many great little places to eat in Rocky Point, you just have to get a little further from the resorts to find them. While most resorts have restaurants, you want to get a true taste of the local fare, right?! Many of the restaurants have areas on the beach, as well, where you can dine and enjoy a few drinks just feet from the beach.
Tips to Make Your Trip to Puerto Peñasco a Success:
Travel in Groups:
If at all possible, go with friends! There is strength in numbers, and everything is a little bit less scary if you aren’t doing it alone.
Travel with someone who has been to Mexico:
It is especially beneficial if someone in your group has been to Mexico before. Though you will find that in the resorts many people speak English, this isn’t the case all over Mexico, and it’s good to be around someone who has “been there, done that.”
Buy Mexican car insurance before you leave:
This won’t be something you want to deal with once you get there, and you will likely be surcharged. Take care of this before you leave the states, because you DON’T want the worst to happen and not be prepared.
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Double-triple check that you have everyone’s documents:
Passports and birth certificates are essential for returning into the United States, and the worst part is, you likely won’t have to use them getting into Mexico. So you may not even realize you don’t have them until it’s too late.
Bring your necessities with you:
Because you have the luxury of driving, you can bring a LOT more stuff! Bring food, snacks, maybe even some lunch and dinner options with you when you drive down. In doing so, you can avoid the up charged resort food, sun block, etc, and save your money for more important things, like fun dinners out or souvenirs.
Try not to carry a ton of cash:
This is just a general travel tip, but it’s just a nice little reminder. Bring small bills for buying gifts and whatnot, as they will likely not break larger bills for you if they see them. The last thing you want is to whip out a few hundred dollars to buy a soda, and end up getting pick pocketed fifteen minutes later by someone who followed you out of the store. You can use ATM machines, and almost always your credit card will buy anything you need.
Follow traffic laws:
Rolling a stop sign or speeding can almost guarantee a ticket if you don’t pay attention. This will not only delay your trip to or from the area, but it can get costly. Police know if you are from out of town, and seem to have a sixth sense for where you are and what traffic law you are violating!
Avoid busy border crossing times:
If at all possible (and this just might not be possible for you) avoid traveling at a time that will put you at the border crossing during rush hour. Friday afternoon on a holiday weekend, Sunday night, these are all times in which you will definitely have to sit in a line at the border for a bit. If you can, avoid holiday weekends at all. Not only will your drive be worse, but the resorts, pools, restaurants and beaches will all be more crowded.
This might sound like a given, but it needs to be said because the evidence is out there. People drive like Mario Andretti along the path from Phoenix to Rocky Point. Speeding, running traffic lights, merging without a turn signal, you see it all. Not only should you do your best not to be one of them, you have to be on high alert for the unsafe actions of others that could become costly to you and your family.
Stay in a secure location:
Many of the resorts in Rocky Point have secure parking, and this piece of mind is invaluable while you are traveling in Mexico. It’s a nice area, but it is still in a somewhat crime ridden part of the world. A car that is left in a parking lot that isn’t secure is far more likely to be broken into, even if there isn’t anything in it worth stealing.
Thinking Phoenix Metro will be your next home base?
If you’re looking to move to the Phoenix area, I hope this information about traveling to Rocky Point Mexico is valuable! It’s a great place to visit as a local Phoenix resident, and offers international beaches and water just a drive away! Reach out to me if you’re considering moving to Phoenix, Arizona.
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