WHERE IS PUERTO PEÑASCO?
Nestled on the northeastern shore of the Sea of Cortez, about 60 miles south of the Arizona border in the state of Sonora, is Puerto Peñasco, aka Rocky Point. The once sleepy fishing village has seen a tourism boom in recent years with the addition of many large hotels and fully furnished, privately owned beachfront condos and homes for rent. Puerto Penasco is affectionately known as Arizona's beach.
HOW DO I GET THERE?
The most common way to travel for now is still by land, but a newly constructed airport will provide other options soon. Fans living outside Arizona typically fly into Phoenix or Tucson. From either, it’s an easy 3 ½ to 4 hour drive through the beautiful Sonoran desert. We recommend bringing the basics including bottled water, sun screen, aspirin and Mexican Moonshine tequila but know there is a Walmart, Sam's Club and Super Ley grocery as well as many seafood vendors to satisfy just about anything you need. Feel like you need directions when you get to the border? Just find an Arizona license plate and follow it. Chances are almost guaranteed they are going to Penasco.
Passports or Border ID Cards are required. For more information including what’s required for kids as well as instructions on how to apply for a passport, what is a passport card, and up-to-date information go to www.travel.state.gov
WHAT IF THERE IS BAD WEATHER?
Mother Nature has thrown us some curve balls over the years. Rain, wind, fog, thunder and lightening have all been a part of our history since 2000. Despite these rare occasions, RCPM has a very simple policy regarding weather. The show must go on! Of course if there is any danger, they'll pack up and ride out the storm but will return as soon as it's safe. However, it's a lot likelier you'll see sun, very few clouds and a lot of stars at night. All ticket sales are final and are Rain or Shine.
Entering Mexico by car is very easy. You’ll either be waived through or asked to pull over where a representative will confirm you are not bringing weapons or commercial items for sale in your vehicle. Please be aware that the border is closed between Midnight and 6:00am in both directions. When returning, there are now up to 5 lanes to re-enter the United States! As of 2012, if kids under 18 do not have a Passport or Border Card, an original and notarized letter from their parent or guardian will suffice. Provide the U.S. Agent your required travel documents for all passengers upon re-entry.
When returning, you'll be asked by US Border Agents to comply with U.S. Law regarding what you can bring back. If you have questions, get them answered at www.travel.state.gov. A good rule of thumb is whatever you bring into Mexico is considered from Mexico when you return back to the United States.
Bringing four legged friends? Make sure you bring immunization papers.
Most of the condo complexes on Sandy Beach have private guard gated parking for renters. Fans are encouraged to either carpool or walk to shows when possible. Taxis are also available from most resorts - see below! During the Friday and Saturday night shows at the Mexican Moonshine Main Stage, parking will be available at the Sonoran Sea for a $5 charitable donation while space allows. The $5 will be donated to a Puerto Penasco non-profit which provides equine therapy for special needs kids.
New to Circus Mexicus XXV! We've negotiated a flat fee with Radio Taxi Tourista in Penasco that will cover all of Sandy Beach to Cholla Bay. Reach them in Penasco 24 hours a day by calling toll free 602-481-3497 or look for them throughout Sandy Beach. If you choose to use other services, it's best to confirm the rate to your destination before you get in the cab.
WHAT ELSE DO I NEED?
Temperatures can range from the low 80’s to high 90’s during the day and the mid to upper 60’s at night depending on the season. Rocky Point receives an average of just two inches of rainfall per year so leave the umbrellas at home. Visitors can purchase just about anything in Penasco they forgot back home at convenience stores, large grocery chains or various farmacias around town. Bottled water is always a good idea. Add a trustworthy pair of sandals and shades and you’re ready to go!
Forget to bring the tequila? Banditos will be selling bottles of Moonshine inside their Cabana Bar in addition to selling shots by the glass all weekend.
Vehicles can be rented in Phoenix or Tucson at the airport. However, travelers need to check with the company they’re renting from ahead of time because not every company allows their cars to be driven to Mexico. Mexican law does require a Mexican auto insurance policy with a minimum of liability coverage.
If driving you're own car, how do I buy Mexican auto insurance you ask? Good question and the answer is easier than you might think. Check out Circus Mexicus sponsors ammexinsurance.com for competitively priced and quality coverage options. If you’re a repeat visitor to Puerto Penasco, Ammex Insurance saves your vehicle information for future trips making it even easier to purchase next time.
DOLLARS VS PESOS
One of the biggest draws to Puerto Peñasco is its affordability. Food, drinks and souvenirs are all reasonably priced. Most stores and restaurants accept credit cards as well as U.S. currency. In fact, many businesses deal exclusively in U.S. dollars and are likely to give you change in American dinero. Don’t feel you need to exchange currencies before leaving the U.S. However, if you plan to buy your Circus Mexicus ticket at the gate, it must be paid in U.S. currency. Of course, we always recommend saving money and time in Penasco by purchasing your tickets in advance online at the Tickets tab. Once you’re in the concert grounds, the RCPM merchandise booth accepts credit cards and U.S. cash.
WHAT CAN I BRING INTO THE FRIDAY AND SATURDAY CONCERTS?
Beach chairs and blankets are encouraged on the hill with a perfect view to the stage. There will be plenty of drinks and food for sale inside the concert grounds. Please leave your own beverages, coolers, fireworks and food at home. Do not bring any weapons into Mexico under any circumstances.
WHERE DO I STAY?
There are several privately owned, beachfront condo resorts along Sandy Beach within 1-3 miles of the Mexican Moonshine Main Stage including Sonoran Sea, Sonoran Sun, Sonoran Sky, Princesa, Las Palmas which are available to rent by calling RPR Mexico toll free. Discounted reservations for the fully furnished 1, 2 and 3 bedroom condos at the beautiful resorts as well as private homes in Las Conchas are available while supplies last. Call RPR Mexico now at 866-483-3379 and use the code RCC616. Don’t delay!
Check out RV Rental Outlet in Mesa, AZ (15 minute drive from Sky Harbor Airport) at rvrentaloutlet.com or call 877-554-4108 if you’d like to rent, drive and stay in your own luxury RV! RV spaces with electricity can be reserved by contacting the park directly at thereefrvpark.com or playabonitaresort.com. For those who prefer the great outdoors, there is very affordable beach camping just east of Wrecked at The Reef on Sandy Beach. Just pull in and you’ll be charged a reasonable price to camp beneath the stars.
For more information or information on Puerto Penasco, visit www.rockypoint360.com.
IS IT SAFE?
Yes. Whether following RCPM in the U.S. or Mexico, we encourage fans to bring their common sense with them. Simple suggestions such as driving during daylight hours or with a group of people can save headaches. Alcohol and driving don't mix in either country. Puerto Penasco is not immune to the same crimes you find in many large U.S. cities or tourist destinations, but most consider it very safe.
GOT ANYTHING TO EAT AROUND HERE?
Not only does Puerto Peñasco have a wealth of great food, but the majority of it is very reasonably priced. Having been originally founded as a fishing village, fresh seafood is in abundance and boasts a world class shrimp industry. Many restaurants also serve authentic, homemade Sonoran-style Mexican food. Inexpensive taco stands located throughout Penasco serve great tasting tacos de carne asada, tacos al pastor, tacos con pollo y los tacos mariscos. Most of the condo accommodations on Sandy Beach include full kitchens, so you don’t need to only rely on restaurants to create great food. Take a trip to the Malecon and buy whatever you need direct from the fishermen. Need more ideas? Just ask any local, they’ll steer you in the right direction.
Recent years have brought more choices to purchase food in Penasco. As you arrive into town, you'll find a Walmart and Sam's Club next door to one another with a great selection of just about anything you need including meat, dairy, bottled water and Mexican favorites among a million other things. You'll find the Super Ley grocery stores in town closer to Sandy Beach as well as in the border town of Sonoyta as you drive through town on your way to Penasco. Forgot your Mexican Moonshine, beer or other liquor necessities? Stop by visit our friends at Vazquez Liquores in Sonoyta and Cholla Bay MiniMart as well.
I DON’T SPEAK THE LANGUAGE
¿No hablas español amigo? Don’t worry. Most of the store and restaurant owners can speak English. There’s no need to speak English slower, louder and with your hands thinking for some reason it will make the locals understand you better. For a quick study on a few useful Spanish phrases, we recommend giving the song “Una Soda” a spin.
CAN I DRINK THE WATER?
Don't drink tap water. We encourage fans to play it safe and bring their own bottled water. Bottled water and purified ice are also available in stores and restaurants throughout Puerto Penasco.
YES, I’M ON VACATION, BUT I HAVE WORK TO DO
We recommend contacting your cell provider for details regarding international cell use. If you have a smart phone, most people make sure they TURN OFF their cellular data roaming at the border and connect to free wifi signals easily found at resorts, restaurants and bars throughout Penasco for data downloads. There are pay phones, land lines in hotels, VOIP phones such as Vonage and most resorts provide wifi at no charge. It's usually inexpensive to send and receive texts and international calling charges vary depending on your carrier.
WE KNOW WE AREN’T ALL THAT WAY
Remember, we are the visitors. Don’t be an ugly American. Obey the law, respect the people, their language, country and culture.
I HAVE FRIENDS WHO CAN'T MAKE IT, HOW DO THEY BUY CIRCUS MEXICUS MERCHANDISE?
Fans can always find Circus Mexicus gear year 'round at peacetimegoods.com.
WHAT ELSE IS THERE TO DO IN ROCKY POINT?
Interested in playing golf? Puerto Penasco is home to both Jack Nicklaus Design and Signature golf courses. It's also home to The Links at Las Palomas on Sandy Beach. Take a trip to an oyster farm at the estuary. Take a boat cruise. Go deep sea fishing. Spend an afternoon in a sea kayak. Do nothing.