Fun Facts About Rocky Point, Mexico
Updated June 28, 2021
Nestled on the coast of the sea of Cortés with the Sonoran desert as a backdrop, Rocky Point, Mexico (whose real name is Puerto Peñasco) has become a sought-after destination for many travelers. A beautiful seaside town, Rocky Point is known as a cosmopolitan destination that holds on to its roots as an old fishing port.
Just hours from Phoenix, Rocky Point offers beaches, outdoor activities, fine dining, and upscale accommodations. Plus, Rocky Point history gives visitors plenty to explore.
Some fun facts about Rocky Point:
- Founded in 1928, Rocky Point got its name when an English Navy officer visiting the town in 1926 dubbed the hill in the old town "Rocky Point." Soon after, Spanish maps had added the Punta Peñasco name, which means "rock point." The name was later changed to Puerto Peñasco or "Rocky Cliff Port".
- The area is part of the Altar Desert, a sub-ecoregion of the Sonoran Desert.
- Outside of town, the El Pinacate and Gran Desierto de Altar Biosphere Reserve has the highest concentration of maar volcanic craters (9) in the world (shallow volcanic craters with steep sides), and the largest active dune field in North America. The area is over 600 square miles, and has mile-wide craters, lava tubes, black pumice soil, and sleeping volcanos. Thought to be the closest landscape to the moon, Apollo 14 astronauts, including Neil Armstrong, trained for their mission at El Picante. The site was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2013.
- Al Capone was a frequent visitor to Rocky Point during Prohibition. He would visit the area with friends to enjoy the climate, the liquor, the gambling, and deep-sea fishing. He and a partner operated a still in the local hotel, producing moonshine that was smuggled to San Francisco. Get more Capone history by visiting Capone’s pizza place or La Roca hotel in Old Port.
- In the 1920’s, along with Capone, many Americans visited Rocky Point to get lit during prohibition.
- Just 28 miles off the coast, Bird Island (Isla San Jorge) is home to a variety of dolphin species and a large colony of sea lions. There are numerous species of birds, and snorkelers can see plenty of fish and marine life on the rocky reef. There are over 237 species of birds to be seen in the area, along with 49 species of reptile and 41 native mammal species.
- The area was visited by Arizona fishermen as early as the 19th century, though the town was not settled at that time due to a lack of drinking water. The Mexican government undertook a large-scall development of the area, and by 1975, water lines to the city were completed.
- Before the year 2000, there were no high-rises on the beach – I remember this!
- Rocky Point averages 10 days of rain per year, yet despite being a dry climate, boasts 554 species of flora. The desert climate has average high temperatures of 81.5 degrees Fahrenheit, though temperatures around 104 degrees Fahrenheit are common in summer.
- With calm waters and no rip tides, swimming in the ocean at Rocky Point is considered quite safe. Swimming, kayaking, paddle boarding and fishing at Rocky Point’s beach or at any of the many neighboring beaches.
- Because of its proximity to Arizona, Rocky Point beach has been nicknamed "Arizona’s Beach".
- When the price of shrimp skyrocketed in 1965, hundreds of fishermen and fishing boats came to the area, making Rocky Point the center of Mexico’s fishing trade.
Rocky Point, Mexico is a cosmopolitan town. While the city still honors its roots in fishing (some streets are still preserved from that era), visitors have access to high-end hotels and shopping, nightlife, and golf courses. The city’s urban walkway connects visitors to bars and craft shops.
Want to learn more? Visit any of the links in this article and find out what a great destination Rocky Point is.