Find and book unique accommodations on Airbnb
Guests agree: these stays are highly rated for location, cleanliness, and more.
Folks from across the U.S. border often refer to Puerto Peñasco as “Rocky Point” or even “Arizona’s Beach.” Whatever you’d like to call this desert enclave on the Sea of Cortez, its six beaches, rocky tide pools, and blazing Sonoran sun have made it one of northern Mexico’s fastest-growing beachfront getaways. Water adventures like kayaking, fishing, and snorkeling are particularly desirable in the gulf, which has been dubbed “the Aquarium of the World.” Meanwhile, just beside the sea the historic corridor of El Malecón beckons with seafood joints, street vendors, and lively nightlife. The perfect day here concludes with a stroll on the boardwalk, a piña colada in hand.
Located about 60 miles south of the border Mexico shares with Arizona, Puerto Peñasco is most often accessed by car. Travelers coming via Phoenix or Tucson usually take Route 85 to the border crossing in Lukeville, which is open from 6 a.m. to midnight and can take anywhere from 10 minutes to hours. After that, it’s about an hour’s drive down Highway 8. If you’re crossing the border from the United States, check with the US Department of State on current requirements for entry, and don’t forget to pick up Mexican car insurance.
If you’d rather not drive, there are shuttles operating between Arizona and Puerto Peñasco, including Transportes Express. Albatros and Autobuses de la Baja California offer bus services to and from various destinations within Mexico. There’s also an airport, Mar de Cortés International Airport (PPE), about 30 minutes east of the city. Note that there is no reliable public transport in Puerto Peñasco, but you can hire taxis or rent a car.
This is the Sonoran desert, and as you might imagine, the weather remains dry and clear for most of the year. Hot summers can be an exception to this and are sometimes muggy with occasional rain, while winters are dry and relatively cold, though the temperature rarely drops below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Visitors tend to prefer arriving in May, June, September, and October, when air and water temperatures are ideal for swimming. Be sure to pack a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, and a bathing suit.
Whether it’s sugar-fine sands or rugged seascapes you’re after, Puerto Peñasco has a beach for you. Sandy Beach (Playa Arenosa) is most popular with families, snorkelers, and divers, while nearby Playa Bonita conveniently offers umbrellas, drinks, and food. Las Conchas features six golden miles of prime shell collecting and sand dunes, while El Mirador Beach is the nightlife hub.
A UNESCO World Heritage site filled with ancient volcanoes, petrified lava flows, magnificent craters, and undulating sand dunes, this is one of the driest places on Earth. Frankly it feels more like the moon, which is probably why astronauts used it in the 1960s to prepare for landing there. Wild inhabitants include pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep, and pumas.
This conservation-focused nonprofit has a visitor center in Puerto Peñasco where you can learn about the Rocky Point’s seaside desert ecosystem and natural history. Nature tours to El Pinacate y Gran Desierto de Altar are also recommended.