Last summer, my boyfriend and I found ourselves alone without children for two weeks. This was a first for us, as we have always had at least my daughter with us since we've been together. My youngest daughter, who lives with me full time, was leaving to go to her fathers house for two weeks. Our first separation. I was pretty much beside myself and though I knew she would do fine with the separation, being with her dad and siblings, I knew I would not hold up too well. My boyfriend and I decided that we needed to take a vacation, get away from it all, and relax for a few days.
For several days we looked online for plane tickets to Florida, Hawaii, California, anywhere there would be sand and sun and water! We live in Tucson, Arizona and while we get plenty of sun and sand, the deserts of Tucson are lacking in the water area except for swimming pools.
I've lived in Tucson for six years and never even thought about the fact that a beach might be within driving distance! For some silly reason, I imagined the closest beach to Tucson would be on the Coast of California. NYEH! Wrong answer! For several days last summer I kept hearing a local radio commercial promoting a 'Big @ss Bus to Rocky Point' contest. That got me thinking...if a local radio station was promoting a bus trip to somewhere called Rocky Point, it must be close! The commercials kept referencing the beaches of
Rocky Point, Mexico, so I Googled it.
OMG...(OH MY GOSH)! A mere four hour drive, 170 miles from Tucson would lead me to the BEACH! Puerto Peñasco/Rocky Point is the northernmost port of entry on the Sea of Cortez and Baja California. I went to an official website for Puerto Peñaso/Rocky Point to get information about driving to Mexico.
Driving to Rocky Point
The drive from Tucson was fairly simple. The roads were good, mostly highway miles. The gas stations were limited, so I made sure and got gas where available and definitely at the last stop before entering into Mexico. As of to date, it is NOT required to possess a Passport to enter the 'free zone' of Mexico by GROUND transportation. However, if you go to Mexico by AIR, a passport IS required. This will change as of January 2008 and passports will be required for all entrance to Mexico. Though you don't need a passport at this time, you do need a valid ID and birth certificate. DO NOT GO TO MEXICO WITHOUT THESE ITEMS! You may not be permitted to leave and re-enter the US without them!
It is a requirement to have Mexican Auto Insurance when driving in Mexico. US insurance is not sufficient and serves no purpose in Mexico! I got my insurance through https://apache.secure.mexicaninsuranceonline.com/initial_page.mhtml?aff_id=PUE&agtdst=&lang= for around $35. This website gives you quotes from several different places. You can also pick up the insurance from a convenience store or gas station prior to entering Mexico, but you will be at the mercy of the seller as to the price you pay! I highly recommend getting insurance online or through an agent prior to your trip.
If you are involved in an accident in Mexico and do not have Mexican Auto Insurance, you may be held in custody until fault and details of the accident can be determined! Also, if you're in an accident and you need transport to the US for life-saving medical care and you do NOT possess Mexican Auto Insurance, you may not be allowed to go! DO NOT DRIVE INTO MEXICO WITHOUT MEXICAN AUTO INSURANCE!!! Plain and simple.
Crossing the border was easy enough. The wait time was only about 20 minutes to get in. Pay close attention to traffic signals when crossing the border~a green light means you can proceed, a red light means your vehicle is going to be inspected!
Traffic was steady and the roads were not over-crowded. The drive was uneventful. Road signs to the cities were in English, as well as Spanish. Finding our way to the beach was simple, following directions I printed from online.
Where We Stayed
We decided to stay at a beach front condominium on what's known as Sandy Beach. The cost of our two bedroom condo was just over $800 for four days and three nights. Prices of the different condos are pretty close in range, and all the condos we looked at are in prime location, beach-front properties. Prices for the condos vary depending on time of year you travel. Off-season of course being cheaper than peak season. The condos are very up-to-date and absolutely gorgeous! You can compare different condos and prices at http://www.puerto-penasco.com/lodging.html.
We stayed at the Princesa de Peñasco in one of the 7th floor beach front condos. The condo was fully furnished and the balcony overlooked the ocean! The website for the Princesa de Peñasco is http://www.princesacondo.com/.
There are hotels that cost a lot less than the condominium rentals, but the hotels are much more ran down, are not on the beach front, and do not have the conveniences that the condos have.
The condo had a decent restaurant with fair prices. The food selections were fairly limited, but we did not want to travel into town to find food.
How We Spent Our Time
We mainly spent our time swimming in the ocean, gathering sea shells and rocks, or at the condo beach front pool. The swimming pools of the condos all face the ocean. The ocean water was warm and the sand was clean. There were quite a few people at the beach, but it was no where near over-crowded. We were told that swimming in ocean is not recommended certain times of year, July through December, I believe, due to an abundance of jellyfish during those times.
One of our days there we spent riding ATV's. There are ATV rentals all along the streets leading to the condos. I believe we paid $80 per hour for two ATV's. There are numerous trails and sand dunes along the beach in which to ride. In the evening, ATV's and Sand Rails gather all through the dunes! Make sure you're extra careful riding ATV's in Mexico! Riding in the sand is different than riding on roads or trails. My boyfriend found this out the hard way. Luckily, he was minimally injured (more his pride than anything), and the ATV was unharmed.
We only ventured into town one night to go to a club with another group of tourists. We noticed that there were many small shops along the way, if shopping is your forte'. The club we went to was loud, busy and had a lot of people. They played mainly American Hip-Hop. The drinking age is 18, so there were many young-uns, as well as older people. The crowd was very diverse, and we had a lot of fun!
The drive back to Tucson was as uneventful as the drive to Puerto Peñasco. The wait to cross the border was around 30 minutes.
Recommend this product?
I would highly recommend Puerto Peñasco to anyone wanting to 'get away from it all' over a long weekend. The people were friendly (mostly tourists), the beaches were lovely, and the condos were exquisite!
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Best Suited For: Couples
Best Time to Travel Here: Jun - Aug