Puerto Penasco Travel Guide

Puerto Peñasco, Sonora, Mexico

Puerto Peñasco (Pwehr-toh peh-Nyahs-coh) is called "Rocky Point" in English. This town has been nicknamed "Arizona's beach" as the cities of Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona are just 4 hours way and many Arizonans spend weekends here. There are "airport to resort" shuttle services to Puerto Peñasco available from both of these U.S. cities.

This short sixty miles drive also makes Puerto Peñasco an ideal drive-to destination from the U.S. states of Arizona, New Mexico, California and southern Nevada. From the International airport in Phoenix, Arizona it is just a 4 hour drive and several car rental companies allow vehicles to be driven into Sonora, Mexico. Puerto Peñasco also has the Mar de Cortez International airport, which opened in 2009. AeroCalafia offers flights into Puerto Peñasco from the Mexican cities of Hermosillo and Mexicali.

Puerto Peñasco is located in the northwestern area of the state of Sonora, Mexico. Sonora is Mexico's second largest state and it is the most northern state in Mexico. Sonora is bordered by Arizona to the north and the Mexican states of Chihuahua and Sinaloa to the east and south. Sonora also boasts some 700 miles of coastline along the Sea of Cortez! This diverse and rich sea has been called "the world's aquarium" and is virtually unmatched in its abundant sea life. Along this coastline is where you will find Puerto Peñasco.

The romance of Old Mexico's seashores has long been the subject of stories and song. This seaside town of Puerto Peñasco is where the Sonoran Desert meets the Sea of Cortez. Here desert dunes are scattered with ocotillo, cacti and desert grasses which merge with the sand on this seashore of Mexico. This is a land of diversity where warm summer afternoons seem incongruent with the winter's clear, cold desert nights. And, the spectacular desert landscape where cacti and rocky cliffs are contrasted against the deep aqua blue of the sea.

There are several beach towns along Sonora's coastline; however, Puerto Peñasco is called the 'mejor destino' (or, the best destination) and is often considered to be the gem of Sonora. Due to its proximity to the United States (just a one hour's drive across the international border) this is where a recent trend has been towards beachfront, high-rise condominium projects. Puerto Peñasco is still very dependent on its fishing industry; however, it has many modern conveniences, a broad choice in lodging, dozens of restaurants and bars with a local night-life and three local golf courses, each with its own magnificent view of the Sea of Cortez.

Puerto Peñasco was founded in 1930 as a fisherman's village. Today, rusty shrimp trawlers continue to anchor in the shallows, drying their nets in the sun while children play in the tide pools, beachcombers meander on the shore and vendors scour the beach for customers. From under the shade of a palapa, you may gaze at pelicans skimming across the water or sight dolphins in the distant water. The aquamarine water in hues of blues and green invite swimmers, boaters, sailors and all water lovers to frolic in the warm waters. These waters are home to one of the richest marine environments on the planet! Therefore, Puerto Peñasco is also a popular destination for fishing enthusiasts.

Puerto Peñasco has the perfect combination of natural beauty, excellent tourism facilities and well-developed ecological programs. CETMAR is a local Center of Education with a focus on ocean studies and a local aquarium open to the public is located on their campus. Another entity is CEDO (Center of Education of Deserts and Oceans) which is a 30+ year old non-profit organization which promotes nature conservancy and environmental sustainability issues as the core of its research.

Puerto Peñasco offers accommodations for every budget from camping on the beach to high-rise condo resorts. This is a safe and friendly beach town. It is a great place for summer vacations or the snowbird's sun-drenched winter retreat. Temperatures can be extreme in the late summer, particularly from July 1st through mid-September, when they may reach into the high 90's with added high humidity. In contrast, February can be cold with daytime temperatures in the low 50's, and the desert can get very chilly at night. Favorite times to visit are from October through May.

There are Mexican handcrafts for sale, a small aquarium, lots of restaurants and fun bars overlooking the Sea of Cortez. Dozens of local vendors offer ATV and jet-ski rentals, parasailing, kayaking, ultra light rides, sunset cruises, fishing trips and fantastic eco-tours.

Just north of the town is the incredible El Pinacate Biosphere Reserve which includes the Elegante Crater and the state of-the-art Shuck Toak Visitor's Center. The Elegante Crater is the most massive of the volcanic formations in the area and one of the most strikingly visible landforms in North America when viewed from space. This national park offers tours of the volcanic hills, huge craters and lava fields. This area is very similar to the lunar surface of the moon.

Another one of nature's attractions is the Island of San Jorge. Since 1978, this has come under federal protection as the island is environmentally important and is a shelter for migratory birds along with its herd of sea lions, one of the biggest colonies of sea Lions in the Gulf of California. A boat trip to the island is a popular tourist attraction.

Explore the numerous beaches Puerto Peñasco! From the Laguna Shores estuary to Cholla Bay, from Pelican Point, Sandy Beach and Playa Bonita to the Old Port's busy Malecon area, and onto the Mirador beaches, Las Conchas, Playa Encanto and as far as the Mayan Palace and Playa San Jorge, you will find miles of beaches! From sandy to rocky beaches, Puerto Peñasco has the perfect, sunny seashore for every whim!

If you'd like to explore the surrounding areas, from Puerto Peñasco you can head north to the tiny town of El Golfo Santa Clara and get a feel for what Puerto Peñasco may have been like back in the 1940's! Or, head southeast out to the Caborca, Atil and Pitiquito. Here you will see much agriculture as there are numerous grape vineyards, olive and orange groves and fields of asparagus. These towns are along the "Ruta de Missiones" which is a trail of missions founded by the legendary Jesuit friar Eusebio Kino.

Puerto Peñasco is a great destination with many diverse activities. Plan a visit!

Where to Go in Puerto Penasco


Playa de Oro RV Park

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60 Matamoros Ave.

A beachfront RV Park located along the Mirador strip of Puerto Penasco. The Playa de Oro RV Park is on the beach in the Mirador section of town. It is a great location for beachcombers! Here you will enjoy a sandy beach at high tide and a rocky beach at low tide with its spectacular tide pool discoveries!
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Visit las Conchas Beach & Community

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Las Conchas

Las Conchas is a 6 mile stretch of beautiful, pristine beaches. Las Conchas community includes some of the most exclusive beachfront homes in town and at its far southern point is the exclusive Tessoro condominium complex. The CETMAR aquarium and CEDO are both located along the Las Conchas Beach area. Las Conchas beaches are for the most part shallow sandy beaches extending far into the water at high tide
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La Cocina de Ramon

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La Cocina de Ramon is a favorite restaurant for many foreigners who now live in Puerto Penasco. The restaurant is clean, bright and cheery. The food is great and the owner is truly hospitable.
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Boobar Cantina

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Malecon / Old Port

Sitting on the second floor above the fish markets with unbelievable views of the Sea of Cortez and sunset, Boobar Cantina is a fun bar on the Malecon in Old Port.
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