Food and Drink in Rocky Point (Puerto Penasco)
You can't go wrong ordering fish in a locale whose waters are teeming with shrimp, red snapper, pompano and other species. If you're a meat-eater, local Sonoran grass-fed beef is delicious, too.
For tasty shrimp tacos, try the Blue Marlin, one street up from the malecon.
For potent margaritas and tasty fried chicken, the locals' go-to spot is the Satisfied Frog, at the end of the malecon.
If you're in town for sunset, there's no better perch than atop Whale Hill at La Casa del Capitan, with views of the Old Port and beyond.
Kaffeehaus serves huge breakfasts until 2 p.m., and their apple strudel is to die for.
Beaches in Rocky Point (Puerto Penasco)
Best for exploring: Cholla Bay is its own small settlement on the westernmost point of Puerto Penasco, a few miles north of downtown. At low tide, it's possible to walk far out into the bay. Bring your clamming gear.
Best for active types: Sandy Beach, with its high-rise condo complexes, is also concession central, with banana boat rides, kayak rentals, parasailing and more.
Best for snorkeling and scuba diving: Isla San Jorge (aka Bird Island) is home to a large colony of California sea lions. It lies about 11 miles offshore and can be accessed via tour boat, or if you're energetic and skilled, by kayak.
Best for quiet relaxation: For visitors with a car, Residential Playa Encanto is about 12 miles south of Puerto Penasco. The beach is wide, the sand is soft and it's very quiet.
Don't Miss in Rocky Point (Puerto Penasco)
El Pinacate y Gran Desierto de Altar Biosphere Reserve: Its name is a mouthful and so is its scope. Covering more than 1,000 square miles, this otherworldly landscape of volcanic peaks, dunes and craters is a UNESCO World Heritage Site just north of Puerto Penasco. It's one of the driest spots on earth, but is teeming with life: 540 plant species, 40 mammal species, 20 bird species and more.
A 50-mile self-guided-loop drive leads to interpretive stops. And rangers are on hand at the Schuk Toak Visitor Center. EcoFun Rentals (ecofunrentals.com) is among operators offering escorted tours from Rocky Point.
NaturArte excursions: Another mouthful of a name, the Intercultural Center for the Study of Deserts and Oceans (CEDO) is a nonprofit that offers unusual naturalist-guided eco adventures such as an oyster-farming experience; high-tide kayaking trips; sea lion rehabilitation and tidepool explorations. Plus, you'll be contributing to local conservation efforts.
The organization also offers free natural history talks in English at 2 p.m. Tuesdays and Saturdays. (edificio Augustin Cortes S/N Fracc, Las Conchas; 52-638-382-0113; cedo.org)
People-watching along the malecon at the Old Port: Fish and shrimp fishers sell their catches fresh off the boat along the seaside promenade, which is also packed with shops and restaurants. The Governor's Plaza just above the walkway is a pleasant spot to rest amid sculptures and murals.
Seashell Museum: The owner of this private museum shares her passion for the pretty exoskeletons of dead invertebrates. Open since January 2018, the small museum also has an educational component. (Calle Ramon Figueroa 375, Jose Ram?n Portillo; 52-638-388-6559; open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays from October to mid-June, or by appointment; Seashellmuseum.com)
Scuba diving: Snorkeling and scuba diving are popular pastimes here. Operators offer outings to nearby Isla San Jorge (Bird Island), Puerto Lobos and Bahia de los Angeles.
Fishing: Numerous charter outfitters will set you up with equipment and a license for offshore fishing.