Hello everyone and thank you for taking the time to read my story and bio. I’m writing this short anecdote because I’d like to share with all of you my journey, and how I came to find myself living in this special city in Sonora, Mexico. I have met countless people here who share a similar story and a similar affinity for this charming little beach community many call Rocky Point.
I moved to north Phoenix in June of 1995 and started my freshman year at Paradise Valley High School in the fall. I quickly learned about a small city in Mexico, just 55 miles south of the border and 3.5 hours from Phoenix, that all of the seniors went to for spring break because you only needed to be 18 to get drunk….score!!! It was going to be a sort of “rite of passage” trip before we were all going to go our separate ways out into the world. It was a foregone conclusion that senior year, spring break, was going to be epic!
Finally, March of 1999 arrived, and it was time to load up all of the lifted trucks and Jeeps and head down to Rocky Point. My first tequila shot would be taken and thrown up at a little, divey, beachfront bar called Manny’s. We’d park all the lifted vehicles at The Reef beach bar and drink all day and hang at the beach. Around sunset it was time to head back to the Baja Hotel to clean up and get ready to go out for the night. At that time, the Mirador area was the hot spot. I vividly remember driving up and down the Mirador, blasting our music loud and standing up in the back of the truck laughing and just being wild and free 18-year-olds.
Twenty long years would pass before I returned to that magical little city in Mexico, and boy how things had changed when I did!! Sandy Beach was now a thriving strip of resorts, restaurants and bars. Manny’s had transformed into a huge venue with an area for concerts, a swimming pool and a large dining room. New, amazing restaurant concepts and bars had popped up all over town. So, in a way it felt like it had become really commercialized, but at the same time had retained the charm of a small fishing village. One could enjoy all the recreational activities they could enjoy in Cabo, Puerta Vallarta or Cancun, yet only 55 miles south of the US border and much cheaper!
In January of 2020, I made the decision to end my 23-year career in the hotel and restaurant industry: I decided to turn in my chef’s knives and chef’s coats for a pair of hiking boots and started doing tours of the Grand Canyon, Sedona and Jerome, Arizona. The state’s diversity had always fascinated me, and I needed something a little slower paced for a while. Well, needless to say by March I didn’t have any work. Covid hit the tourism industry hard! But by September and October things started slowly coming back around again. I was getting a few tours, but not really enough to provide for me and my family. At that exact moment of my life, divine intervention took over. My boss, Jim Vaughan of Vaughan’s Southwest Tours, would tell me about Lynelle, a lady who owned a shuttle service called Head Out to Rocky Point, and she happened to be looking for a part time driver. That’s when my life would change forever!!!
My first year working for the shuttle service and staying in Peñasco about a third of the month was absolutely unforgettable. An unlikely friendship would form between the loco-local gringo from Tennessee who played guitar and sang, and the random tall gringo from Phoenix who drove for Head Out. As employees, we would get to stay at the employee condo in the Old Port when we were down for the night. Jason, our buddy Pierre and I would spend hours on the second-floor patio drinking, laughing and listening to Jason play tunes deep into the night. That year I turned 40 but I may as well have been 25 again. That loco-local Tennessee cat now plays music at an awesome restaurant bar in town called Grapes and Barley. Jason taught me a lot about the comings and goings of the Malecon and Old Port and a lot about Rocky Point in general. We would continue, acting half our age and living the bachelor life until early February of 2022 when once again, my life would change forever.
Have you ever been introduced to somebody and thought to yourself, “I want to spend the rest of my life with that person?” Well, on February 5th, 2022, that is exactly what happened to me. I was introduced to a beautiful, energetic young woman named Sayra Vanesa Conriquez Rivas and the whole “love at first sight” thing happened hard. For an entire year, every single time I came to Peñasco for work, I got to see the woman that I loved and spend time with her and her son Lian. Great kid with a great heart and spirit. Well wouldn’t you know it, here it is May of 2023, and that same amazing woman is now pregnant with my third daughter. We have a small house in Las Brisas and are doing great!
Fast forward to December of 2022, when one fateful day I would be scheduled to bring one passenger from Rocky Point up to Phoenix. Generally, the shuttle is pretty full, but on this particular day it was just one other passenger and me. It was a pickup at Puerta Privada at 10am and a drop-off at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport. I knew that her name was Patti LaDue and that she was pretty well known in the real estate game, but that was about all I knew. After picking her up, spending 4 hours with her, and getting to know her on a personal level, I realized that Patti was an awesome human being and treated people with understanding and empathy. She told me all about the stunning new resort concept they were working on just east of town, called Encantame Resorts. At this point in my life, I was desperate for change and was willing to welcome it in any form. So, I reached out to Keith Allen, after Patti gave me his business card, and inquired about a potential sales rep position. The rest is history as they say. I now get to wake up every morning in the city that I love and that has been so good to me. It’s my ultimate goal to be able to give back to this amazing community that has embraced me for who I am and shown me such peace and tranquility. Rocky Point, Puerto Peñasco, Punto Penasco….no matter what you call it, I call it home.
Encantame Chris, formerly of Head Out to Rocky Point can be reached at Encantame Towers, calling from the U.S. at (602) 489-1247 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.