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Puerto Peñasco is a small city within the municipality of the same name, lying in the northwestern part of the state of Sonora, Mexico. Located on the shore of the Gulf of California (also known as the Sea of Cortés), the town is known for its fishing and tourism industries. Puerto Peñasco is alternatively known among many of its English-speaking visitors as Rocky Point. Rocky Point actually refers to the area in which Americans first built homes, just outside of town and close to a mountain in the area known as Cholla Bay.
The city has a population of 44,000 inhabitants. The municipality is quite large in geographical extent, and is very sparsely populated outside the city, with an area of 9,774.45 km² (3,773.94 sq mi). The municipality borders the other thinly-populated state municipalities of San Luis R.C., Sonora, Sonoyta, Sonora, and Caborca, Sonora, as well as Yuma County, Arizona in the United States.
The area features wide variations between high and low tides. With the shallowly sloping sea bed, this can lead to dramatic changes in the waterline twice a day. At the eastern beaches, this reveals a rocky reef with abundant sea life.
The municipality has a total population of 44,000; that is, 99.49 percent of the municipality's inhabitants live in the city of Puerto Peñasco.
Puerto Peñasco is a popular destination for tourists, particularly those that reside in the U.S. state of Arizona since it contains the nearest beaches. It is also a popular Spring Break destination with students from Arizona, New Mexico, and California. Puerto Peñasco is located in the 'free zone' where tourists are not required currently to obtain immigration papers in order to visit. However U.S. Border Patrol agents advise that as of June 2009 a passport will be required to re-enter the United States. [As of October 2008, U.S. citizens are required to show proof of citizenship (e.g., state issued photo ID and U.S. birth certificate).]
Puerto Peñasco is also slated for upcoming marina and other boat-related developments as part of the country's 'Escalera Nautica' efforts, which call for a chain of 'tourist-class' marinas sprinkled up and down the Baja coast in an effort to promote nautical tourism.
Puerto Peñasco has two main beach areas. To the west of the Old Port area, there is a wide, flat area known as Sandy Beach. This is the home to several large hotel/resorts. East of Puerto Peñasco, there is a long coast with several areas, known in parts as La Mirador, Playa del Oro, Las Conchas, and Playa Encanto, an area of beachfront and near-beach condos, homes, and timeshares.
Places of Interest
- Two SCUBA diving operations in Puerto Peñasco, although the waters near to shore tend to be quite shallow.
- The Malecon in old Puerto Penasco
- Cholla Bay
- The CEDO Nature Center in Las Conchas
- The Playa Bonita
- The CET MAR aquarium.
- Several golf courses
- The Pinacate Reserve
- Fabulous Beaches on Sandy Beach
- Bird Island
- Morua Estuary
Puerto Peñasco has an international airport 15 miles east of town. It was served by Aeroméxico Connect and it is mainly used for small aircraft. The closest commercial airports are several hours away by car. They exist in Hermosillo, Sonora; Phoenix, Arizona; Tucson, Arizona; or Mexicali, Baja California. A recently constructed highway connects Puerto Penasco with San Luis Rio Colorado and Yuma, Arizona, offering a faster route from Tijuana/San Diego and Los Angeles.
There are a few charter airlines in Phoenix, Arizona that offer flights to Puerto Peñasco.
Puerto Peñasco can be reached from the United States via Mexican Federal Highway 8. From the center of Sonora the main route of access is Sonora State Highway 37
Puerto Peñasco's fishing zone lies in the Gulf of California. Popular exports are shrimp and asparagus.