The key to understanding a place is to step out of your box and try living like a local.
On your next trip to Rocky Point, check out local events and hot-spots and experience the community. Here are six ideas to get you started:
- Take a trip to the oyster farm – Can you say, fresh oysters anyone? And we mean fresh, scooped right out of the estuary of the Sea of Cortez. Fast food drive-ins have nothing on this drive up oyster farm. Just head out on Fremont road, pass Las Conchas and then follow the sand road on the right toward the water. The sign reads Ostiones Acua Mar. When you pull in, at the water’s edge, there are several pavilions to park beside, each with tables, a few stools and hot sauce. The oyster farmer will either take his red row boat and bring you back fresh oysters or put his above the knee water boots on and wade in to fetch your fresh catch. Bring a picnic, a cooler even music with you and sit and enjoy the atmosphere. On Sundays it is a popular spot for the locals and their families.
- Visit the local grocery store – Yes, we now have Sam’s Club in Puerto Peñasco but we still have numerous local markets all around town and the original “Super Ley” supermarket off Constitution Ave. Wander through the aisles and you might find some new tasty ingredients for native flavor in your cooking. Buy local and shop local. You can even check out the local department store “Coppell” right across the street, which sells everything from clothing and shoes, to furniture and appliances.
- Experience a Sunday in Rocky Point – Easy like Sunday mornings… but spend the night. What’s the best day in Puerto Peñasco? I guess it depends on who you ask. One might hear Friday as a common answer; because most recognize that exuberant feeling one discovers leaving work behind, crossing the border and putting their toes in the sand. Others might love that first morning they wake up to smell the sea and touch the sky. But, I’ll let you in on a little secret… Try staying over on a Sunday. Sunday is the best kept secret in Rocky Point. The crowds pull out, the kids go back to school and the city becomes alive with families, local residents and relaxation. Most local residents have off on Sunday; sometimes it’s their only day to relax. So, how do they spend it?…with their families…enjoying the town. Try out a few non-tourist events that happen only on a Sunday and you will appreciate the local culture of this day. Perhaps, next time you schedule a weekend down in Puerto Peñasco, take one more day and experience Sunday. (A good way to start the day is by checking out the local catholic churches, one being in Old Port).
- Attend a local community event – Not one just slated for tourists but an international or local musical event often held down at the Malecón. Especially if it is on a Sunday night, you will be sure it is featured for the local community. Large signs in Spanish posted on telephone poles will alert you to the upcoming happenings as well as community events listed on online calendars. Peñasco del Sol on Calle 13 also hosts various concerts, carnivals and festivals at the end of Calle 13 in the parking lot/fairground area. Ask the hotel for a list of 2013 scheduled shows. The carnivals complete with rides, games of chance and fair food Mexican style are a joy to all 5 senses.
- Have a drink at Barra Vieja – this is the oldest bar in Puerto Peñasco. Walking in you might feel like you’re in a set of an old movie, transported back in time for a moment. With a pool table, dim lights and Mexican tablecloths on the round tables, it is inviting. You may be lucky enough to catch live music on the small stage. Saddle up to the bar and order tequila or a beer, skip the frou-frou cosmopolitan. Depending on the night, Spanish Karaoke might be the entertainment. Go ahead try it, even if your Spanish is lousy. Barra Vieja is located off of Calle 13 towards Peñasco del Sol. Look for the tall sign off to your left before the curve. The bar is the bottom of the older hotel at the back of the sand parking lot. Hours vary.
- Spend a weekend afternoon on the Public Beach – The Public Beach is located between Playa Bonita and Peñasco del Sol. What you will find are vendors set up in the corner on the curve, beach cabanas for rent for the day and food trucks offering ceviche, frozen fruit bars and mangoes on a stick. Rent a cabana for the day, play in the sea and then head up from the water to the left of Peñasco del Sol Hotel and try out a slightly hidden local restaurant, Gamma’s for some fresh fish. Florescent lights, picnic tables and deep fried fish with the head on and a cherry in the eye will give you the delicious local experience. The food is fresh, homemade and at a fair price.
Wherever you are visiting from, it is good to experience all the touristy places but also to emerge yourself in the ones slightly off the beaten path.
To quote James Michener, “If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home“.