Last Updated on April 20, 2023

Known to most Americans by its English name “Rocky Point,” Puerto Peñasco, Sonora is where the majestic Sonoran Desert landscape meets the sparkling waters of Mexico’s Sea of Cortez.

A coastal city located in the northwestern part of the state of Sonora, Mexico, Puerto Peñasco attracts many visitors from the U.S. due to its location, a mere 3 ½ to 4 hours drive from Phoenix or Tucson, and 5 ½ hours from San Diego.

Puerto Peñasco, Sonora is known for its stunning beaches, azure waters and warm weather, ideal for swimming, boating, fishing and other water sports. There’s so much more that makes Puerto Peñasco a fun and fascinating place to vacation.

Getting to Puerto Peñasco, Sonora, Mexico

Many visitors from the U.S. choose to drive to Puerto Peñasco, Sonora, Mexico and cross the border at one of the entry points to Mexico. Those coming from Arizona use the entry point at Lukeville. Visitors coming from California enter from Calexico.

Travelers need to have a passport along with vehicle title and registration. Mexican auto insurance is necessary. Liability is required, though full coverage is highly recommended.

Both Lukeville and Calexico have companies en route to the border to purchase the insurance. It’s an easy process and affordable, and pricing is dependent on the number of days you’ll be in Mexico.

Puerto Peñasco International Airport (PPE) located about six kilometers (3.7 miles) east of the city center with flights to and from various cities in Mexico and the U.S. for those who choose this route.

Airlines currently flying here include American, Southwest, and Volaris.

Where to Stay in Puerto Peñasco

Puerto Peñasco, Sonora is home to several luxury resorts, hotels and vacation rentals, offering visitors a wide range of accommodation options depending on budget, preferences and travel needs.

Some of the most popular resorts include Las Palomas Beach and Golf Resort, Mayan Palace Puerto Peñasco and Peñasco del Sol Hotel.

Guests can also find vacation rentals which include condos, villas and apartments. For those looking to get closer to nature, there are several campgrounds and RV parks in and around the area.

Where to Play

Puerto Peñasco Harbor
Puerto Peñasco Harbor ©Noreen Kompanik

In Mexico, every beach city has a Malecon. Puerto Peñasco’s is a vibrant, easily walkable oceanfront promenade along the picturesque Sea of Cortez.

Vendors here in this Old Port area sell everything from street foods to ice cream, local drink specialties, Mexican art and handcrafted jewelry.

It’s All About the Water

Water activities reign supreme in the aquamarine Baja waters Jacques Cousteau once called “the aquarium of the world.” Miles of waterfront offers visitors a great choice of beaches to throw down a blanket with toes in the sand or splash and play in its warm, sparkling waters.

From soft and sandy beaches to rocky reefs, whether its tide pooling, crabbing, snorkeling, diving, gathering shells, jet-skiing, parasailing or all of the above, I found the area to be a rich water wonderland.

Puerto Peñasco, Sonora, Mexico is also a popular destination for sportfishing, with a variety of species including dorado, tuna and marlin found in its rich waters. Visitors can book fishing charters and head out to sea with experienced guides.

Kayaking and Paddleboarding

The Club at Laguna Del Mar not only has a Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course but also kayaking and paddle boarding. Kayaking in its 40-acre saltwater lagoon surrounded by blue skies above and breathtaking scenery around was certainly a pleasurable and relaxing experience.

ATV Tours

Several companies in Puerto Peñasco, Sonora offer ATV tours. While my friends and I have been on an ATV before, there was something unique about our high-action adventure this trip.

Puerto Peñasco ATV Rentals offers various tours that explore the beaches and dunes of the area. These are led by experienced guides and include stops at scenic spots along the trek. 

Off-roading in 4×4 vehicles accompanied by ideal weather, temperature and a mixed terrain of sand, fascinating rock formations, jagged mountain ranges and ocean in the near distance made for one laughter-inspired ‘hub-bubbin’ experience.

Take a Sunset Cruise

Puerto Penasco Sunset
Puerto Penasco Sunset ©Noreen Kompanik

Sunsets here are spectacular, and there’s no better way to experience their majestic beauty than being on the water itself.

The Señorita Rita catamaran docked in Marina Peñasco takes passengers to the open sea for the best views possible. Their welcoming, courteous staff served tropical drinks and tea sandwiches while smooth jazz played in the background.

Margaritas and stunning sunsets – what a perfect combination in Mexico.

Tequila Tasting

If you’re into tequila, this is the place to learn all about the process and do some fun tasting as well. Tequila Factory is one of the venues offering a guided tour and gift shop to take home some of its products.

Manny’s Tequila Factory provides tours of their distillery and a tasting of their tequila varieties, made from 100% blue agave.

Pinacate Biosphere Reserve

This fascinating volcanic field reserve located in the Sonoran Desert is situated 31 miles north of Puerto Peñasco and something every visitor should put on their list.

The UNESCO World Heritage Site covering 770-square-miles features one of the most significant visible landforms in North America seen from space. The geologic system includes three massive volcanic peaks, over 540 species of plants, 40 species of mammals and reptiles, 200 species of birds and threatened endemic Sonoran bighorn sheep, Gila monsters and desert tortoises.

In the 1960s, astronauts were sent to the Gran Desierto de Altar for training as NASA believed the terrain to be similar to that of Earth’s moon surface. It’s definitely an ‘out of this world’ experience.

Where to Dine

Puerto Peñasco has a wide variety of dining options, ranging from casual beachside eateries to upscale restaurants. And yes, we certainly have our in-town favorites.

La Casa Del Capitan

Reputed to have the best margaritas in Puerto Peñasco, Sonora, Mexico, this lovely colorful restaurant sits high on a hill overlooking the town and the Sea of Cortez.

We can vouch for the margaritas, but also for the piña coladas, sangrias and amazing Mexican entrees. Sunsets here are also said to be incredible.

El Oktopus on the Malecon

Lunch at thatch-roofed palm-fringed El Oktopus was nothing short of spectacular. Situated just across from the Malecon with stunning views of the water, the restaurant’s service and food are top-notch while their seafood is as fresh as it gets.

Entrees here are divine. With a creative chef and some amazing concoctions from the bartenders, this is a place visitors could easily spend an afternoon of enjoyable relaxation. 

El Tapeo Wine Bar

Paella at El Tapao Wine Bar
Paella at El Tapao Wine Bar ©Noreen Kompanik

For one fun and festive evening of wine tasting, sangria, small plates and some of the best Paella we’ve ever tasted, El Tapeo Wine Bar really delivered with great food and good times. It’s no wonder every table on their colorful outdoor wine-inspired patio was filled with happy patrons celebrating life.

Gentle breezes blowing off the ocean made for a perfect evening.

Tired as we were from a day of travel and adventure, once the jazz band started playing, it was impossible to leave. We kept telling ourselves “We’ll stay for one more song.” And then another and another.

I’ve never spoken to anyone who’d returned from Puerto Peñasco, Sonora reporting anything other than having an amazing time. And it’s of no surprise. One visit here and you’ll understand.