How do I drive to Rocky Point?
From Phoenix, take Interstate 10 West towards Los Angeles and turn off at Exit 112: Highway 85 to Gila Bend. Pass through Gila Bend and turn right at the sign towards Ajo/Mexico (still Highway 85). Continue on 85 to the border. Once in Mexico, continue straight until you reach a stop sign. Turn to the left and go over bridge, veering to the right at the "Y" shortly thereafter towards Puerto Peñasco. Continue on this road until you reach Puerto Peñasco.
From the southern part of Phoenix, take Interstate 10 East and turn off at Maricopa Rd. Exit (South). Continue on Maricopa, passing the Casinos and through the small town of Maricopa. Turn right where the road ends (next to the Burnt Bun Café) and continue on this until you reach Interstate 8 West towards Gila Bend/San Diego. Exit in Gila Bend and follow the directions as indicated above.
From Tucson, take Highway 86 West to Why, turn left unto Highway 85 and follow the directions indicated above regarding past the border.
REMEMBER TO FILL UP WHILE STILL IN THE UNITED STATES! GAS PRICES IN MEXICO ARE MUCH HIGHER!! THERE IS A GAS STATION AT THE BORDER.
How long does it take to get to Rocky Point From Phoenix?
The drive is a scenic four-hour drive through the town of Lukeville, Arizona.
What documents do I need to get into Mexico?
If you are going to Puerto Peñasco (Rocky Point) you will only need your driver's license and you don't even have to stop and get a visa since it is considered in the "free zone." You will, however need Mexican car insurance (see next question). If you plan to go to Mata Ortiz, or further south into Mexico you will need to get a tourist visa (FMT) either at the border or in the US through a Mexican Consulate before your trip. There is a tax on this of about $18. Generally, citizens from the United States are required to have either a valid passport or a certified copy of their birth certificate with an accompanying photo I.D. Keep in mind, however, that all bank transactions in Mexico (changing traveler's checks for example) usually requires a passport. If you fly into Mexico - say to Mexico City on your way to Cuernavaca - the tourist visa form will be given out on the airplane before your arrival at the airport and is also available in the airport in the immigration area. The form needs to be presented to immigration officials upon arrival; the officials will then give you a certain allotment of days to stay in Mexico (usually about 30 or so). Tourists with an FMT visa are allowed to stay in Mexico for up to 6 months though this may require going to an immigration office to add days to your visa. If you know how long you plan to be in Mexico tell the officer how many days you need (though they do not always grant you that amount). The following items are prohibited to enter into Mexico: absolutely no firearms, more than 3 liters of alcohol per adult, and any illegal substances (drugs). Laptop computers are permitted for business purposes.
How about driving into Mexico?
Car insurance from the United States is not recognized in Mexico so you will need to purchase Mexican insurance. This is available at the border and is generally available on a daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly basis. If you plan to travel further into Mexico (past the Free Zone) with your car you will also need to get a permit at the time you cross the border. In order to acquire the car permit you will need the original and a copy of: the car title, your valid visa (from immigration), a driver's license, passport, or copy of your birth certificate, and a valid credit card. If you prefer to pay in cash you will be asked to leave a $200 USD deposit at the border. After visiting Mexico, you must check in at the border so that the permit may be taken off your car by the designated officials. This will also guarantee that you will not be charged for not reentering the US. Car permits are generally valid for a period up to 6 months. Cars entering only the area known as the "free zone" do not need to get this permit, though are required to have Mexican insurance. The free zone includes the area along the border and up to approximately 60 miles.
How do I stay healthy while traveling?
Most people who are afraid they will get sick in Mexico usually do. This doesn't mean you'll get sick...plenty of people visit Mexico every year and stay perfectly healthy! However, there are ways to help prevent getting "Montezuma's Revenge." First and foremost, do not drink the tap water. Purified water is sold throughout Mexico and is available in all restaurants and hotels. Some of the more exclusive hotels in resort areas have purified tap water, but bottled water is always recommended. Food in Mexico is extremely tasty and also very fresh. Due to the freshness, as well as the variety, visitors often get sick as their stomachs are not accustomed to the new dishes. Be careful with what you eat but also be open to trying flavorful new dishes (perhaps not on your first day). If you do get sick while in Mexico, be sure to continue drinking lots of water and stay away from natural diuretics such as pineapple, papaya, as well as citrus fruits. Apples and guayabas, as well as plain rice and bread, are good to eat. If you continue to be sick after about two or three days, or if you have a temperature, see if you can visit a doctor. If you need to buy prescription medicine while in Mexico, be sure to know what the active ingredient is as the medical brand names vary. Interestingly, many prescription medicines in the US do not require a prescription in Mexico and are less expensive. However, it is not recommended to purchase unfamiliar medicine without a prescription.
Are there any shots that I need to get to travel in Mexico?
There are no particular shots that are required for travel in Mexico. You do not need any shots to travel to Rocky Point, Mata Ortiz, or Cuernavaca. In the more tropical regions of Mexico (Chiapas, Quintana Roo) visitors may want to have Malaria pills, as well as shots against Hepatitis B and Typhoid. Check with your doctor to see what he/she recommends.
What type of clothing should I take?
Appropriate packing will of course vary on your destination and time of the year. Though people tend to think of Mexico as a warm country, it is not warm all the time nor in every region! In Rocky Point the winters can be quite chilly so bring sweaters or light jackets. Likewise, since Mata Ortiz is located on the high plains of northern Chihuahua it can be very cold there in the winter - you may even see snow. In the summer, however, Northern Mexico tends to have very hot summers (May-September). In Rocky Point the high temperatures throughout from summer are accompanied by high humidity. Always remember to drink a lot of water!! If you travel further into Mexico keep in mind that central Mexico tends to be warmer year-round though the winters can be chilly especially in high-altitude areas. Southern Mexico is warm year-round with what can be extreme rainy seasons throughout the summer and into early fall. Comfortable clothing and walking shoes are recommended for all of Mexico. In the fall and winter months a good jacket or sweater is a must in most regions (and sometimes even gloves, scarves, etc.). In the summer it is recommended to pack a small umbrella. In addition, if you plan on going out dancing or to enjoy the night life be sure to bring some nice casual clothes with you. People tend to dress up for going out in the majority of cities in Mexico.
What is the best way to carry or access money?
In many resort beach towns or border towns, (such as Puerto Peñasco) they will often accept US dollars in addition to Mexican pesos. In Mata Ortiz you may also pay in both dollars and pesos. In most major cities you may exchange dollars or traveler's checks at banks or casas de cambio. Keep in mind, however, that a passport is required in order to change traveler's checks in most banks. ATMs (cajeros) are readily available in most major cities throughout Mexico. Interestingly, the exchange rate is pretty good and most banks have either no or a low service charge. If you fly to Mexico, it is recommended not to exchange your money in the US but rather wait until you arrive in Mexico for a better rate. Many banks in the US will charge you a high commission fee and not give you a very good exchange rate. Wire services, such as Western Union, are also readily available throughout the country though they tend to charge high commission fees and do not always respect the official exchange rate.
How about coming back into the US?
If you have driven further into Mexico - past the free zone - be sure to stop in at the office where you purchased the driving permit so it can be removed. If you are driving from Rocky Point you do not need to do this as a permit is not required for that distance. Declare all agriculture items or anything else you may have purchased in Mexico. The following items are prohibited to bring back into the US: sugarcane, potatoes, yams, avocados with seeds, plants and seeds, pork, cold cuts, any raw meats, eggs, and wild and domesticated birds. You are also allowed to bring back 100 cigars, 200 cigarettes, 1 liter of alcohol per person (over 21), medicine with a prescription only. In addition, some artwork purchased in Mexico must have a stamp declaring "made in Mexico" for which stickers may be bought in some paper supply stores in Mexico.
What is the weather like in Rocky Point?
The sun shines almost year round in Rocky Point. The weather is one of the main reasons people visit Rocky Point. Rocky Point experiences only 2 inches of rain a year so a dry trip with plenty of sunshine is pretty much guaranteed. For most of the year the days are sunny and warm. During the winter months the days are warm although the nights can get a bit chilly. The summer months, especially June through September, can be warm because of the 90-degree plus temperatures combine with high humidity. However, because the water temperature is above 80 degrees and there is almost always an ocean breeze to produce pleasant evenings, some people find this time of the year to be their favorite.
What permits and visas do we need to enter Mexico?
None, if you remain in the Free Zone, which includes Puerto Peñasco.
But if you are bringing ATVs, Jetskis, boats, or other recreational vehicles, be sure to have the ownership documents.
What do we need to go outside the Free Zone?
If you are planning to stay in Mexico more than a few days and might be taking trips outside of the Free Zone, e.g., to Caborca or Desemboque, get a visa before you leave home or at the border. You will need a passport, birth certificate and driver's license to get the visa. You will also need a permit for your car. To get this, have the original and 3 copies of your title and registration, a valid driver's license, and a credit card in the name of the owner of the vehicle. A leasing contract is required if the vehicle is leased or rented. This can all be done at the border in Sonoyta.
Will our vehicle be inspected at the border?
You may be pulled over for a brief inspection or you may be waved on through. Unless you have a firearm, this is nothing but routine. DO NOT BRING GUNS INTO MEXICO.
We have heard that it is illegal to bring guns into Mexico. Is this true?
YES. Do not bring any guns into the country. It will get you into BIG TROUBLE, such as landing you in a Mexican jail for a lengthy sentence.
Can we take our pets into Mexico with us?
Yes, but in order to bring them back into the U.S. you will need to have documentation showing a rabies vaccination within the last six months.
How much liquor or shrimp can we bring back to the U.S. duty-free?
Each adult over 21 may bring up to 1 liter of alcoholic beverage per month and up to 5 kilos of fish.
Is there any public transportation to Puerto Peñasco from the U.S.?
No, but there is a private bus service in Ajo that goes from both Phoenix and Tucson to Puerto Peñasco. Mota's Transportation Service makes daily trips between Phoenix and Sonoyta, Sonora. There is a public bus between Sonoyta and Puerto Peñasco
Can we drive a rental car into Mexico?
Not all rental car companies permit taking their cars across the border. Enterprise Car Rental is one we know of that does permit it.
Can we rent a car in Puerto Peñasco?
At the present time, we don't know of any such service, but there are taxis.
What if we have car trouble on the highway?
Mexico has traveling mechanics called Angeles Verdes (Green Angels) that will help motorists in distress. They drive green and white pickup trucks.
Suppose there are injuries?
The Cruz Roja (Red Cross) offers help to all at no charge. 3-22-66 A service called AirEvac will fly seriously injured persons back to the U.S. The Mexican phone number is 95-880-321-9522. From the U.S. it's 1-800-321-9522.
Do we need to exchange dollars for pesos at the border?
No. Dollars are accepted all over Puerto Peñasco, but if you prefer pesos, there are numerous places to exchange your money.
Can we use credit cards in Puerto Peñasco?
Yes. Most hotels and restaurants and many businesses accept credit cards.
Is it possible to draw money from a U.S. bank account with a credit card?
Yes. Serfin Bank has an ATM, but it will give you money only in pesos. When you have a choice, you must choose pesos, not dollars.
What is the exchange rate?
It varies, but is usually about 11 pesos to a dollar. Check Mexico Links in the pulldown menu.
Is it safe to drink the water in Puerto Peñasco?
We've been told it is safe, but all the restaurants and hotels serve bottled water because their customers prefer it.
Are dental services easy to obtain in Mexico?
Yes. Several dentists in Puerto Peñasco welcome American patients. Dr. German J. Valenzuela in Sonoyta provides full dental services, including bridges and dentures, at reasonable prices. He speaks English. 2-16-92.
How do we call Puerto Peñasco from the U.S.?
Dial the following sequence: 011-52-638, and then the 7-digit local number. 011 is the code for international telephone connection, 52 is for Mexico, and 638 is the area code for Rocky Point.
How do we call the U.S. from Puerto Peñasco?
For 800 numbers dial 95-880 and then the 7-digit number.
For 888 numbers dial 001-880 and then the 7-digit number.
For other numbers dial 001, then the area code and the number.
To call collect from Mexico to the U.S. dial 09. This will reach a bilingual operator.
To call from a cellular phone, press *, dial 800, press SEND, wait for the dial tone, then dial 1-800 and the 7-digit number.
To call an AT&T operator, dial 95-880-462-4240 with your calling card.
There are pay phones, but they are very expensive for long distance calls. Try one of the many businesses in town that feature long-distance telephone service.
You can also buy Telmex phone cards in businesses throughout Puerto Peñasco. Many public telephones accept these cards.
Can I use my American cell phone in Mexico?
Yes. Stop at a Telcel or Movitel office and have it programmed for a Mexican number. Then you can switch back and forth whever you cross the border. You can buy time by increments at Telcel--they will sell you a temporary credit card --follow the instructions on the back When you run out of time they'll let you know.Sorry it's all in Spanish.
What kinds of fish are most common?
Cabrilla, corvinas, croakers, dorado, grouper, pargo, sea bass, siera, yellowfin, yellowtail, halibut, trigger fish, rockfish, and sand sharks.
What kinds of items can we buy in Puerto Peñasco?
There are many curio shops selling such items as rugs, blankets, clothing, ceramics, artificial flowers, leather goods, dolls, knickknacks, chess sets, glassware, figurines, and jewelry. There are also shops where you can buy more expensive items. Try Casa Bonita for elegant furniture and decorative accessories. Victoria's Hormiga features hand-painted art objects.
Fish and shrimp are good buys. Go to any of the fish markets along the Malecon (sea front) in the Old Port.
Where can we buy liquor?
There is a Tecate beer outlet on Blvd. Juarez right in the center of town. Whiskey, brandy, tequila, and other liquors can be purchased at many stores throughout the city. Ultramarinos Estrada on the road to Cholla Bay has a very good selection and good service.
Can we buy medications at good prices in Mexico?
Many medications can be purchased at reasonable prices without prescriptions.
Where is a good place to stay in Puerto Peñasco?
Common...... Sonoran Sea and Sonoran Spa!
What is the best place to eat in Puerto Peñasco?
This is a hard question to answer, because it's almost impossible to get a bad meal in Puerto Peñasco. There are many excellent restaurants, almost all of them with bars. Seafood and Mexican food are standard offerings. Some restaurants feature Italian, Chinese, and American food, pizza, rotisserie chicken, and barbecued specialties. And don't overlook the taco stands on street corners. They are usually excellent also. See the penasco.com Yellow Pages for a listing of restaurants and bars.
Can Americans own real estate in Mexico?
Yes, but not in the restricted zone, which includes Puerto Peñasco. Foreigners can have all the rights of ownership through an instrument called a bank trust (fideicomiso), but the actual title is held in trust for them by a bank. The bank trust is good for 50 years, renewable for another 50. There is an annual fee.
Is a bank trust the same as a long-term lease?
No. With a lease, you have no rights except use of the property. With a bank trust you can use, improve, encumber, or transfer the property.
Is it true that Americans need to have a Mexican partner to own property in Mexico?
No. This used to be a requirement but is not any longer.
Can Americans own real estate through a Mexican corporation?
Foreigners can form a Mexican corporation, which does not need to have any Mexican shareholders. A Mexican corporation can own property for commercial, but not residential, purposes.
How is the weather in Rocky Point?
2 inches -- mostly in December and January and late summer.
Dec. to Feb. - 40-75 F°
March to May - 60-80 F°
June to Aug. - 68-98 F°
Sept. to Nov. - 62-84 F°