Is Rocky Point Open? One Arizonan Says Yes!
So...it looks like the border closure has been extended again. If you're unfamiliar with the Border Initiative you can read about it on our blog, but to state it shortly - land borders between Mexico, the U.S., and Canada are closed to all but "essential" travel.
What is Essential Travel?
Essential travel is defined as travel for the purposes obtaining medical care, attending business meetings, commuting cross-border to and from jobs in the U.S. or Mexico, assisting with urgent family matters, and traveling for educational purposes.
What is NON-Essential Travel?
Non-essential travel, to quote directly from the source, is "travel that is considered tourism or recreational in nature."
What is really happening?
Our sources in Mexico and the U.S. are telling us something different. Contrary to the Initiative, Mexico is NOT enforcing the restriction, and never has. They are rarely checking passports as Americans and Canadians continue to travel to Mexico.
We had the opportunity to interview a relative of one of our employees who visited Rocky Point Mexico twice in October. He had ZERO issues, loads of fun, and came back healthy. Read on to get the details on his experience.
* Please note: Rocky Point has tightened their health restrictions as of November 2, 2020, but the city is still open. Some of the restrictions include: masks are required (even in cars with more than one person - regardless of whether they are family, friends, etc.), there is a citywide curfew between 10pm and 6 am, only one person/family can go into grocery stores. Find the details of these mandates on Rocky Point 360.
What dates did you travel?October 9-12, 2020 (Friday - Monday, Columbus Day holiday weekend), October 24-26, 2020 (Saturday - Monday)
What route did you take?I was coming from Phoenix, so I took AZ Route 85 south to Lukeville, U.S./Sonoyta, Mexico, where it changes to Mexican HWY 8 to Rocky Point. It takes around four hours for me.
Did you have any trouble getting to the border? (police, slow, lines, etc.)When we went for Columbus Day we had no problems (we came in on Thursday evening). There were police cars looking for speeders between Ajo and the border, per usual. And there were more policía than usual hiding in Sonoyta, looking for reasons to make the poor town a few American bucks. My friend was pulled over there for not stopping at a stop sign.
Did you have any trouble getting through the actual border? How long did it take? What did they say to you when you were there? Did they ask for ID or reason for visiting?No. I wasn't asked anything. Border agents just wove us by, and we drove right through. I've been going to Rocky Point about five times/year for the last 10 years and have been going there since I was a kid. I have never been asked for Passport when crossing into Mexico. Sometimes there are random vehicle checks, which has happened to me a couple times over the past three years.
Did you have any trouble driving in Mexico?No, no stops, no checks, nothing.
Did you ever have to show proof of where you were staying, get your temperature checked, or prove you'd been tested?We did get our temperatures checked at a several of the restaurants we visited.
Where did you stay?The first time we stayed at a friend's condo - across from Max's in old part of town, near the public beach on Sandy Beach. The second time we stayed at a vacation rental on Las Conchas.
Did you go to restaurants? If so, where? When?Most restaurants had outside dining and took our temperature.
What restaurants did you go to?
- Mannies (dogs allowed)
- Candy Cake
- Banditos - Roger Clines' bar (dogs allowed)
- Blue Mar
Were masks being worn? We people social distancing?The restaurant workers were wearing masks. You couldn't get in without a mask. Most times there was someone working at the door to make sure people were wearing masks. Tables were far apart, but probably not as much as what we are seeing in the U.S. We went to one place where there was no social distancing at the bar.
Did you eat/drink inside or outside?We ate/drank outside at all but two restaurants. We had breakfast at Candy Cake where we they took our temperature before letting us in. We had to wipe our feet on a mat and clean our hands with sanitizer before we went inside.
Were the Rocky Point Beaches open? What were beaches like?The public beach on Sandy Beach was open during Columbus Day weekend and it was crowded. However, there was plenty of room for everyone...you had at least 20' between you and the next person. There were bands playing and all sorts of things going on.
There were not a lot of people on Las Conchas beach, but this is common.
Were you around people while there?Not really. We didn't go downtown and hang out. When we were at the restaurants we also tried to avoid folks. We did go to Sam's Club. They would only allow one person/party to go in and took your temperature before you entered.
How was it getting back across the border? What questions did U.S. border agents ask you? Did you have to do more than show your passport?The first time we came back on Columbus day, Monday, between noon - 2pm, and had about a 20 minute wait.
The second time we came back on a Tuesday and drove right through.
U.S. border agents just looked at our passports and asked where we stayed and what we were bringing back to the U.S. from Mexico. Same as always. No questions asked about essential travel.
Was there a time when you felt like maybe you'd get caught for non-essential travel?No.
Did you ever feel in danger?No.
Did you ever feel uncomfortable due to COVID-19 and the chances of you getting exposed?No.
Did you feel people were being careful about COVID-19 (i.e. staff, other tourists)?Yes, I was comfortable with it.
Was it crowded? How busy was Rocky Point?Columbus Day weekend seemed normal as far as being busy.
The second time, when we stayed in Las Conchas with the dogs, was much less crowded.
You took your dogs on your second visit? How was that?It was great. Our dogs loved playing on the beach.
Are you going back again soon?Yes, we are thinking maybe between Christmas and New Year's.
What's your advice to other people wanting to go to Rocky Point?"Just do it!"
Sounds like Mexico is open to me!
Please remember, Rocky Point has a very small medical facility and cannot accommodate a large COVID-19 outbreak. Please wear your masks and do not go to public places if you feel ill, have recently taken a COVID-19 test and have not received the results, or if you've been around someone with the virus. Protect the locals and yourself.
While visiting Mexico, please be aware that tourism has been extremely hurt due to Border Travel Initiative and COVID-19. Please give your servers and others, whose services you use, a 20% tip.
On November 2, 2020, Rocky Point/Puerto Peñasco began implementing new health restrictions to better protect tourists and their local community.
The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the text of this interview belong solely to the interviewee, and not to the author, the author's employer, or other group or individual.