Cruise ships in Rocky Point? Not quite yet, but harbor construction has started. Yes, if you drive toward Wrecked at the Reef on the road to Cholla Bay, you can see the breakwater jutting out into the Sea of Cortez. Don’t worry, reports from the government state that all precaution is being taken to minimize impact on marine life. It’s also been stated, in the press, that at least 440 meters of the 1280 meter breakwater has been completed since the project broke ground just a few months ago. The breakwater will be like a jetty pier with initially room for one cruise ship to dock and eventually another berth will be added as well as the creation of an entire cruise ship terminal and commerce center.
So, when the cruisers come, what will they do upon arriving to Puerto Peñasco, Mexico? Well, we should start thinking about it. Because you know if they build it, complete it, have the first inaugural ship sailing…they will come.
Generally, cruisers like to arrive to the point of departure a day or two ahead of time hoping to check out their departure port. Since the cruisers haven’t boarded the boat yet, there’s no competing cruise ship food extravaganza or shipboard entertainment to hustle them back to their boat after a day of sightseeing. Being a departure point, they stay on land, eat out at our restaurants and are entertained by local activities. Their departure point is one more location in Mexico to add to their travel list and this location they get to explore by land, before they hit the sea. Additionally, a lot of cruisers like to do their land vacation before they hit the cruise to relax. So, the land portion of their vacation may start at the Grand Canyon but they will end up here in Puerto Peñasco.
Quite frankly, cruisers like to cruise, because they like to see the most amount of locations in a short period of time, always being able to return to the same cabin, no unpacking or repacking, no concern about driving, traffic or transportation. Basically, they show up and check out the new destinations every day or so.
Being the home port, the departure point provides a larger impact than other cruise point stops where cruisers visit a town for 8 hours. Most cruisers will have a chance to see Puerto Peñasco’s beautiful sunsets, lay their head on our pillows, and experience a full day and a full night in Peñasco. It will entice them to check out the town and all the local attractions Puerto Peñasco has to offer and come back again and again. So what will they be looking for to entertain them before boarding the ship?
Here are 15 activities cruisers might want to experience in Rocky Point.
1. Whale watching- Depending on the time of the year, the top of the list, #1 item might just be a Whale Watching excursion. Whether they’re fin whales or humpback whales, if it is the right season, whale watching is always at the top of a cruiser list. Lately, in Rocky Point the whales have been putting on magnificent shows not to be missed.
2. Sea-life excursion- If it’s not whale watching season, the cruisers still want to see wildlife up close and personal. A dolphin excursion, possibly sea turtles or sea lion tour would be exciting to cruisers. The Sea of Cortez has always been dubbed by Jacque Cousteau “the world’s aquarium” so watch out if we don’t see touristy glass bottom boats coming into town, maybe one of those submarine’s that take you down or private luxury boat ride’s to Bird Island. Cruisers love sea excursions.
3. Ariel views- See the town from above. Parasailing is always a great way to get a full view of the Sea of Cortez and some excitement in your heart. Ultralight, a powered glider, is an excellent way to take a flight with an experience trained pilot and get a bird’s eye view of all the beautiful beaches and resorts that Puerto Peñasco has to offer. Perhaps, we will see some helicopter ride’s added to our town. For the faint of heart, my vote goes to La Casa del Capitan on the top of Whale Hill, with spectacular view of the city, sitting down having a margarita.
4. Sports- Jet skiing, banana boat, hobby cats even kite boarding…many come to the water to be on the water or on the sand with ATV’s, dune buggy’s and rhino’s. Let the water and land sports begin.
5. Shopping! We cannot forget how important it is for people to shop. Cruisers go to every port with the expectation of finding something they need to remember a particular location. The Malecon, Cholla Mall, Mermaids market and all the little shops along Calle 13 and other local streets will be-of interest to tourists. Shop till you drop… is a well-known excursion at every port of call. Why do you think they have shopping malls on the ship? Cruisers are shoppers.
6. Foodies-Trying the local cuisine. Experiencing Rocky Point Specialties. We don’t have a huge shrimp statue in the Shrimp Plaza or a man riding the colossal shrimp in the Malecon for no reason. Peñasco has some of the best tasting shrimp in the entire world, good enough to make a fabulous tourists excursion. Yes, a shrimp tasting tour, Mexican shrimp cocktails, steamed shrimp, fried shrimp, shrimp wrapped in bacon, shrimp burgers, shrimp tacos … You get the idea. We can also modify it with taco stand tours, fresh fish tours etc.
7. Pinacate Biosphere, visiting the world UNESCO site. The state-of-the-art solar visitor center is worth the trip as well as the movie and a short walk around the desert and volcanic rock lava. This will be a must-see for history buffs when they want to see where Alan Shepard and other astronauts touched their feet down practicing for the Apollo 14 mission and experience a beautiful Reserve, this area contains more than 300 volcanic vents and cinder cones, including at least 10 maar craters.
8. Beach it! Don’t forget the beach. We have beautiful warm sandy caramel colored beaches in Rocky Point. Where will they go when they want to sit out on the beach for the day? Capture up some sun and be able to have a drink in their hand or have nearby food? Well, it will be beach bars or possibly new beach clubs that might pop up. Wrecked at the Reef, offers a soft sandy place to sit outside by the water’s edge and a quick walk to the cantina to order drinks and food. Rocky Point might be lacking a few beach bar clubs for cruisers who don’t have a beach or swimming pool at their hotel or resort. Think of Cabo beach bars…cruisers flock to them.
9. Historical Museum of Rocky Point. Wait? Do we have one of these? I don’t know… but many cruise excursions like to see the history of the town they are visiting. Right now, they might have to check out Capone’s Pizza have a beer and read about the history of Al Capone or look at the pictures on the wall at the Friendly Dolphin. A visit to CEDO can assist them with sea life history…or a night spent in Posada La Roca Hotel where Al Capone danced. We might be a little short of history museums.
10. El Rey del Mar, pirate ship cruises. Do we need to say more? Cruisers love the experience of going out on a pirate ship before they embark on their cruise in getting nostalgia on the sea of Cortez. Party ships, catamaran’s all these will be popular with the cruisers.
11. Fishing day trips- sport fishing is on the top of the list for many. Groupers, Dorado, bass even sailfish. Nothing like a day of fishing in the Sea of Cortez.
12. Kayaking, Stand Up Paddle boarding exploring the estuaries
13. Golfing- Peñasco offers three world class golf courses to entice the most discerning of golfers.
14. Relaxing- let’s not forget massages on the beach, or in a spa. Beautiful and comfortable condo’s to stretch out in before you board and soft white sand to sit and listen to some live music.
15. Tequila tasting tours- Beer tasting tours, margarita and wine tasting day trips are always popular choices for cruisers. They like to be shuttled around on tasting tours. In Mexico, tequila would be very popular or a pub crawl to see all the great beach haunts in town. Wine tasting and Margarita tasting would also be high on a cruisers list.
Puerto Peñasco has spectacular things to offer visitors, much more than the categories of activities listed above. So whether we have cruisers or not, let’s enjoy all Rocky Point has to offer and appreciate and enjoy the days before the crowds roll in.
Anita Kaltenbaugh is the Mexico travel examiner at examiner.com and author of the book “Travel Secrets- Insider guide to planning, affording and taking more vacations” available on the Kindle, and Amazon.com