A Beach With A Foreign Accent

TRAVEL TALK

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Rocky Point, the American name for Mexico's Puerto Penasco, has become a major vacation spot for Arizonans. Located some 300 miles from Payson, the drive takes about five-and-a-half-hours.

From Phoenix, take Interstate 10 west to Highway 85, go south through Ajo to the border town of Sonoita, cross the border and continue south 60 miles to Puerto Penasco on the Sea of Cortez.

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Rocky Point has become a major vacation spot for Arizonans. Located some 300 miles from Payson, the drive takes about five-and-a-half-hours.

The population of Puerto Penasco is approximately 70,000, which includes the Mexicans, as well as Americans, in residency. There is the Mexican portion and then there are the American sections, the best-known are Sandy Beach and Los Conchos. Here, there are fine homes, mostly built on or near the ocean, as well as 15 resort condominium complexes which are American-owned and where many units are available for rent.

What's to do? Relax, swim, stroll the beach, get some sun, fish and generally take it easy. The weather is warm and a little humid in the summer and cool in winter.

You'll find many of the same type of stores and services that are available at home. Markets, pharmacies, gas stations, hair salons, veterinarians, dentists, medical doctors, plenty of real estate offices and so on. There are many fine restaurants featuring Mexican specialties, as well as Italian and American menus. If you like seafood, drive down to the fishing dock and purchase some fresh fish, take it to your condo and prepare it in your own quarters. Bars and clubs are there, as well as cybercafes.

Most U.S. cell phone services are not available in Rocky Point, with the exception of Cingular; with which I am told you can receive and send messages.

Rocky Point began as a fishing village in the 1930s and grew to become one of the largest shrimp producing areas on the Sea of Cortez. It slowly began to attract American tourists and today it is becoming a focus for Arizonans who seek closer, easy access to the sea. The climate is sunny year-round, with little rainfall.

You can take an evening dinner cruise on the Fiesta Cruiser featuring margaritas, beer, and live music with dancing nightly. Scuba diving is available as well as parasailing.

Shopping is good and when you arrive, you'll get plenty of suggestions on where the best bargains are. Many people speak useable English and there is a great willingness to please. Is it safe? Perhaps even more so than Phoenix.

If you are renting a condo unit you will need to bring your own beach towels, as you are not allowed to take those in your condo outside without a charge. And, don't forget a sunscreen. If you wish to sit on the beach, bring your own chairs, as you are not allowed to remove those furnished around the pool. Golf is available at Las Palomas at Sandy Beach and Laguna del Mar, which is located four miles away.

Drinking water is safe at your condo complex, but bottled water should be consumed elsewhere.

You will need Mexican car insurance and this can be obtained online before departure. Passports are not required for the balance of this year, but will be necessary effective Jan. 1, 2008.

Much information is available in detail by typing in Rocky Point on the Web. Booking information can be obtained by calling 1-800-480-4425 or contact Payson's own Dave Lyons, who is part of Rocky Point Condos, Inc. by dialing 1-877-474-5095. Dave will be happy to give you all the information you will need to plan and reserve your vacation condo. He says one of the best developments is Las Palomas.

As an example, he can offer a one bedroom, 1300-square foot condo facing the water at $1,200 per week. It would be possible to sleep as many as six in the apartment the way it is arranged and furnished.

There are also RV parks and locations and information can be found on the Web.

The border is usually not too busy, except on weekends and holidays.

Have a great time, don't forget your camera and get some sun for me.

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