Things To Do In Puerto Penasco
The city of Puerto Penasco or more popularly known as the Rocky Point is a sandy desert city in the region of Sonora that constantly draws thousands of tourists yearly who aim to visit its line of exquisite beaches, water sports adventures, fishing activities and natural beauty. It is surrounded by sandy coastlines and the landmark El Pinacate Mountain can be seen anywhere around the city. Its serene, crystal clear waters are perfect for swimming, snorkeling, diving, and fishing. The beaches are characterized by remarkable tidal conditions that form into small areas of pools where you can discover a rich selection of marine animals.
When To Go:
The overall climate in Puerto Penasco (Rocky Point) is practically the same as what you will discover in different districts of the southwest part of Mexico where the normal temperature ranges between the 50 and 100 degrees and also experiences high-climate seasons and tropical storms. Being a desert city that is situated adjacent to the sea, the air is mostly humid, but temperature swings can bring about the evening atmosphere to descend amazingly, making it a bit chilly when the sun sets in exact opposite with the burning warmth that you can experience during the day.
The best time to visit Puerto Penasco is during the spring season (January to May). Spring breaks are best enjoyed in this part of Mexico by students who are on vacation from school. The refreshing breeze from the ocean is very calming making a holiday vacation truly worthwhile.
It is also ideal to visit the Rocky Point during the season of fall/winter, which occurs from September to December, but also prepare for intermittent rain showers amid the clear weather.
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If you like to spend the holiday during the peak of the summer season (May to August), prepare yourself for the extremely hot weather that ranges from 80 to 105°F. Summer can be truly uncomfortable, as the warmth and moist air consolidate to make a sizzling hot atmosphere. If you are not comfortable going around during this blazing weather, avoid planning a tour around this time.
If you wish to visit Puerto Penasco and go around the city in comfortable weather, you can either pick the spring or the winter season. However, since these are the peak season to visit this city, make sure you book everything ahead of time because the demand (and rate) for flights, hotel accommodations, and package tours also increases, so it is advisable to plan your holiday itinerary before heading off to the city of Puerto Penasco.
Here are the captivating attractions and a selection of things to do in Puerto Penasco…
El Pinacate y Gran Desierto de Altar Biosphere Reserve
The El Pinacate y Gran Desierto de Altar Biosphere Reserve is a gigantic nature reserve, an area where you can see long-extinct volcanoes, their ashes and lava is still covering the desert, the incredible beauty of the sand dunes, and where you can witness a very active and sheltered animal life. The easiest way to see birds and some long-tailed rodents is to visit the laboratory managed by the scientists studying this area; their camp is located at the entrance to the park.
The park is only accessible by car and the route is designed for 1.5 hours. At the reserve grows and lives 540 species of plants, 40 species of mammals, over 200 species of birds, 40 species of reptiles and endemic fish. The entire tour of the Biosphere Reserve takes 3 to 4 hours approximately.
El Pinacate Mountain
El Pinacate Mountain is not far from the downtown area and it has plenty of things to do and see, from sand dunes, lava flows, granite mountains, giant craters, unique wildlife and amazing scenery; it is a marvelous place where you can connect with nature and explore the rich flora and fauna of Puerto Penasco. Everything here is well maintained and signposted, it is also an ideal spot to enjoy the vastness and solitude of the desert. The admission fee here is 56 Pesos. A few walks from the entrance gates is where you can see the animal reserve center and the museum.
This site is still in excellent condition and the attention of the guides of the center is very good. It is highly recommended to bring enough water and some food because there is nowhere to buy anything in this middle of the desert attraction. El Pinacate is a majestic place where you can have contact with nature directly. Visit the museum and watch the presentation which shows the ecosystem of the Sonora Region. The landscape here is very unique because it is full of volcanic rocks. The elegant looking crater is the favorite spot of tourists to take pictures and selfies with.
The Old Port in Puerto Penasco is a clean and suitable place to spend a few hours with boat trips to enjoy in between. This place offers 20 large restaurants (mainly seafood specialty), curios, and souvenir shops. If you take a stroll, you will arrive at a square filled with statues and benches, and a small fence around the boardwalk. If you come during the holidays, there are several live bands that perform live to the delight of its visitors. Due to its great location, you can admire the sunrise and sunset on this area. The infrastructure is good and the shops, restaurants and bars give much life.
It is very pleasant to walk and enjoy the music and the beach. The port is well kept during the day and it is safe to roam around the area. The Old Port is an excellent destination to enjoy the beaches on the Sea of Cortez. There are very good hotels, restaurants, shops, banks and other services. The stores are evenly distributed so you can stroll through the boardwalk while enjoying a beautiful view and purchase a variety of crafts and souvenirs of this city.
Playa Bonita Beach
It is a rocky beach where you can watch from afar the Malecon to the east of Puerto Penasco (not near the boardwalk and if you go you must do by taxi or car), the sand as all the beaches that surround the Gulf of California or Sea of Cortez is thick, so you must take your shoes or sandals always, the sea is calm and warm, you can get into the water several meters and even swim without danger that you will get dragged by a big wave. If you plan to relax on the sand here at the Playa Bonita Beach, you must bring your own mat, umbrella, your sun block, drinks and snacks, since there are no sellers of food and drinks on the beach.
There are eyeglass/shades sellers, jewelry, tattoos, hair braiders, caps, shirts, crafts and if you like to ride horses, you can avail one. In certain areas, you can tour around and see many fishes in the sand and several debris which are brought by the strong waves. If you like watching the sunset, here you can clearly see when the sun disappears beneath the Sea of Cortez. In general everything is fine, you do not need anything all you want to go back to the port, from clubs, to churches, shopping centers, and auto parts stores, and everything are easily accessible from this beach.
Isla San Jorge
You can rent a catamaran to enjoy the island hopping adventure here at the Isla San Jorge. Aside from seeing the sea lions, you can enjoy the tour while on board the boat because of the food and festive atmosphere (drinks and foods are included in the package), there are also parlor games to keep the guests amused while sailing towards the island. You can also do kayaking and get up close to the rocky island.
Swimming in its transparent blue waters is the best option for families and taking pictures of the migratory birds is the favorite activity for lovers of photography and nature. You can take pictures of the sea lions up close or explore the underwater snorkeling adventure with their company. The entire boat tour and island hopping adventure can be enjoyed for a total of five to six hours. It is a very quiet place to enjoy nature at its maximum capacity, a very clean, easy to reach beach with warm and friendly boat crews who will assist you with everything you need.
At the Cholla Bay, everything is beautiful and you will find lots of relaxing natural attractions. Children can get into the sea area where the water is no more than a foot wave and is very safe. The "Cerro de la Choya" is one of the highlights of this place where you go and test your driving skills on board a 4x4 vehicle.
This is where the fishermen with smaller boats arrive after a day of fishing and you can buy them at a good price. It is also the perfect source of freshly caught crustaceans. Swimming is only allowed when it is low tide. This is a seaside village where the local residents are very kind and polite in answering questions about directions and other attractions of Puerto Penasco City.
The Cet-Mar Aquarium is a place for the whole family and the cost is very cheap to enter. This aquarium center has a perfect climate and gives you the opportunity to closely see all the marine species that can only be seen here in Puerto Penasco City. The aquarium is clearly marked and easily accessible. This attraction is very small but it is very interactive, as one can touch the sea turtles, seals and feed them. There you can find the dog fish, a normal-looking fish in brown color, but actually bites! You can put your finger into the tank and see it coming towards you at full speed. A variety of marine species can also be observed in this interesting aquarium. The guides provide the details of their character and explain their behavior. It is also here where you can touch animals that you never thought you could feel like; sea urchins, starfish snake, puffer fish, and sea hare. Feeding the sea turtles is also a breathtaking experience because you can touch their head, shell, grab their fins, and open their mouth.
In the background is the real star of the marine center named Arturo, a sea lion (now 14 years old) that came to the aquarium at 7 months of age and lost his mother and was initially thought may die by starvation (because the sea lions when they are not with their mother becomes depressed and eventually starve to death), however, Arturo survived. It is a very pampered seal, you can play with him and he is very sociable. His handlers’ give him much love and they always throw kisses his way and every time someone enters the aquarium Arturo goes to stand and gets thrilled. Do not miss a visit to this aquarium if you need to learn more about marine animals. Admission is $4 or 40 Pesos for adults, children pay half. Animal food costs around $ 2 or 20 pesos, but the experience of living with these exotic marine animals is priceless. If you love marine animals you'll definitely love this attraction.
Casa del Capitan
Casa del Capitan is one of the best restaurants you can find in Puerto Penasco, where you can have an exquisite dinner while watching the sunset. There is a very good atmosphere in the place and excellent food service. It certainly has the best panorama of the Rocky Point, which draws more crowds of tourists towards the afternoon. You can satisfy your appetite with the best enchiladas and freshly cooked shrimps on this side of the island.
Some guests will order a margarita; walk up to the observation deck and just marvel at the view of the magnificent sunset. There are Mexican and American cuisine specialty restaurants plus a great view of the harbor, which gets illuminated and looks more stunning at night.
Del Mar Charters
The Del Mar Charters is an outdoor water sports activity provider where you will get to enjoy a tour around the island on board their catamaran and with the guidance of Captain Oscar. If you plan on enjoying every corner of the island, Oscar will arrange and prepare everything for you and all you need to do is sit, watch the views, free in their natural habitat, but visitors can freely interact, pet, feed, swim, and take pictures with have a sip of beer or margarita while on board and appreciate the beauty of Puerto Penasco from the water. Music is provided to complete the unwinding mood as you sail and discover the important parts of the island. The itinerary includes a visit to the Bird Island all the way to the exact spot in the ocean where dolphins show off and if you are in luck, you can have the chance to witness a rare whale watching experience. A visit to the island of the sea lions called the Isla San Jorge (more than 3,000 pieces of sea lions inhabit this island) is the perfect way to end the day and your tour of the city. These animals are protected and must be allowed to roam and swim freely. It is an absolute must to see these lovely looking marine animals and contribute to their care and upkeep through human interaction.
Oscar and his Del Mar Charters staff or crew guarantee that you will have an unforgettable experience of meeting marine animals up close and personal. It is an amazing and thrilling activity and the guides are ready and knowledgeable on how to socialize and learn the importance of these animals to the rich bio –diversity of the marine life in Puerto Penasco City. The whale watching trek or the journey to discover a whale in the middle of the sea is also one of the best highlights of this catamaran island tour. If luck is on your side, you can have the opportunity to spot huge whales along with a couple of dolphins. It is certainly worth all the time and effort once you see them in your own eyes as their huge tail goes in and out of the water with matching water blows that soar up into the air. The nightfall travels are likewise stupendous as you watch the sun go down while getting a charge out of a freshly mixed cocktail. Make it a point to book ahead of time and include this charter service in your travel itinerary to have the most memorable holiday vacation in Puerto Penasco.
If you appreciate eating freshly caught fish than catching it, the nearby downtown seafront has a seafood market that sells freshly caught fish and shellfish at very affordable prices. If you desire to see rich coral formations and the colony of cute sea lions, the famous island of Isla San Jorge is the ideal place in Puerto Penasco to enjoy it. If you prefer swimming with your kids, the safest beach (with no strong current and big waves) to go is the Playa Mirador. At night, it becomes more lively and festive as the bars and discos open up until the wee hours of the morning for the ultimate beach fun and entertainment.
Puerto Penasco is a city that is situated along the Arizona border (one hour drive away) and where you can enjoy the appeal of the desert and the captivating charm of its beaches and coastal attractions. The city is constantly reinventing itself to accommodate its growing number of visitors every year. There is now a wide selection of outdoor activities that you can enjoy, whether it’s on the sand dunes or on its waters. You can also party and enjoy the nightlife scene with the background of its crystal clear waters anywhere in the island. Sun, sand, beach, and endless fun is what waits for you in this magical city. Don’t miss out on the fun and make your reservations in advance for an exciting beach holiday in Puerto Penasco.
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