Is Rocky Point Safe?
Are you thinking about going to Rocky Point because it's close to where you live? You may be asking yourself 'is Rocky Point safe right now?' I'm not going to insult you with a yes or no answer. I'm going to ask you to decide for yourself based on my personal experience.
I constantly brag about the fact that I've been going to Rocky Point since the 1980's. But really that means nothing for my experience today. Today Rocky Point boasts high rise hotels, a multitude of great restaurants, fishing and touring boats and trips, paved streets and a lot more people.
My trip started on a lovely clear morning, the temps in Flagstaff were well below normal, at 9 degrees Fahrenheit. My husband and I started driving in the morning, giving ourselves plenty of time to get to Rocky Point, since it is never wise to travel in Mexico after dark.
Getting to Rocky Point
We shredded layers of clothing as we moved down the hill, heading south. In Phoenix we took Loop 303 (AZ State Route 303) West in Phoenix, which cut about a half hour off our trip. We got gas only once, in Gila Bend, where we almost missed the turn onto AZ State Route 85 South (AKA Highway 86). We only saw signs for 86 East; now I know they are the same. It's easier for me to remember to turn West (right) just before the McDonalds. We saw one police car—and we knew to expect it between Ajo and the border.
At the border we flashed our Passports, which are required to get through by land, air or sea, and were waved through with no wait and no troubles. That put us in the Mexican town of Sonoyta.
There are many turns in Sonoyta, and I can't begin to tell you all of them. Just drive the speed limit (15 mph or 25 km/h) and carefully watch for the the signs to Puerto Peñasco (Rocky Point). We did not miss even one. While in Rocky Point a local warned us of the strict speed limit enforcement in Sonoyta, especially for foreigners. I have no idea what speed we entered at, but I assure you we drove back toward the U.S. at 15 mph or less. You will likely be passed, but don't let your ego get the best of you.
If you do have a lead foot or forget to pay attention and get pulled over, avoid the mordida (bribe). Ask the police officer to take you to the judge. You will fare better and pay less.
The road to Rocky Point is surrounded by jagged mountains, in a desolate desert of sand dunes. Not to worry, there are two emergency numbers displayed many times during the short 40 minutes it takes to get you there.
I encourage you to go the speed limit in all of Mexico, despite the fact that everyone (who doesn't read this article) is passing you.
Mexico Insurance for Your Vehicle
It's not well communicated in the U.S. or Mexico, but Mexico car insurance is required when driving in Mexico. If you are found responsible for an accident, you can be held—whether it be in a holding cell or a lobby—until you can prove you can pay for damages. U.S. liability insurance coverage is not recognized by Mexican authorities, so no matter how far inside the border you are, you are liable. That and the fact that 73% of the drivers in Mexico do not have car insurance makes this a no brainer.
Emergency Roadside Assistance
Mexico Federal Highways are patrolled by the Green Angels, who will help stranded motorists. They will likely be the ones who help you if you have car troubles. Also, if you have a Mexico insurance policy with Mexpro, it comes with roadside assistance. Look for the MexVisit® on your policy.
In the event of an emergency call: 066 on your cell, or 1-800-841-1801.
Using Your Mobile Phone in Mexico
As far as using your phone in Mexico, I set up cell service with my carrier in Mexico for $2/day. It was a steal. I had no problem calling local Rocky Point numbers directly, nor the U.S. numbers that are saved in my contacts. Today many carriers will not charge you to use your phone when traveling in Rocky Point. Check with your carrier before you go.
While You're In Rocky Point
When you get to Rocky Point, things get easier. The residents of Rocky Point need your business and they want you to come back. They are gracious and helpful. Back in the day, when I went there, people would badger you to wash your windows and get paid to do so. There were various other services you may not have wanted, that were mostly done before you realized it and you felt obligated to pay. Things have changed. This last week, I could easily say no before a service was performed and was respected and left alone.
While there, I drove all over downtown, out to the Mayan Palace (30 miles of desolate roadway), down long sand paths to Oyster farms, Las Conchas beach, Mirador Beach, Sandy Beach, and Cholla Bay. Every road I drove was safe during the day. I only drove on main roads at night, and did activities where there were other people present, with no troubles. I did not do things alone in the early morning or at night. I did not try to purchase drugs or get overly intoxicated. And, I did not try to pick up anyone to take home (I was with my husband, so I didn't need to). I think this is good advice for anyone to follow in Mexico.
The drive back home is essentially the same. You aren't allowed to bring food from Mexico back into the U.S. and although beer is food, alcoholic beverages don't count.
The U.S. Customs agent will ask if there's anyone in your car who they can't see. They may ask if you have any fruit or veggies from Mexico. Worst case scenario, they could search your car. As long as you don't have anything to hide, you should be good.
I didn't have any trouble getting to the border, crossing the border, driving in Mexico, didn't meet up with any difficulties with anyone. The way I see it, I was safe, but you decide for yourself. If you do drive to Rocky Point, ENJOY! I sure did.
Tips for Staying Safe in Rocky Point
- Don't Drive at Night.
- Drive the Speed Limit.
- If pulled over by Police, have them take you to the judge, don't take a bribe (mordida).
- Get Mexico Auto Insurance before you enter Mexico.
- Set up cell service in Mexico through your U.S. carrier before you go.
- Don't purchase drugs or get overly intoxicated.
- Don't go home with strangers.
- Be nice to the Customs agents on both sides of the border.
- Don't bring guns, knives, or even one piece of ammunition with you.