Hopefully as you are reading this Editorial, our Lukeville/Sonoyta border is open and operating at least from 6AM to 8PM. But…At the end of last month CBP made an announcement that border wait times would increase as officers were being diverted to handle the processing of immigrants which would mean less staff on hand to process vehicles and pedestrians. They then announced that they were shutting down the border completely to ALL traffic – pedestrian and vehicular for an undetermined amount of time. And as of this writing that is where it all stands. Our border is due to suspend operations on Monday, December 4th – meaning that you were able to cross at our Lukeville/Sonoyta border up until 8PM on Sunday, December 3rd. Obviously, this has everyone upset as millions of visitors and residents (annually) use our border crossing as well as children who go to school in Ajo and those who work in the U.S. and use medical services in nearby cities.
If, as you are reading this, the Lukeville border has closed – and remains closed – you can still come to Puerto Peñasco, but will need to cross at another port of entry such as San Luis, Algodones, Nogales, etc. At any of these crossings you DO NOT need to obtain a vehicle permit, but you will need all other documentation. If you come through San Luis (the border is open 24/7 as of this writing) you can get to Puerto Peñasco by taking Hwy. 2 to Sonoyta and then Hwy. 8 to Peñasco or you can take the toll road or the free (libre) road from San Luis to the Coastal Hwy (Hwy. 3). In my opinion, taking Hwy. 2 from San Luis to Sonoyta and then Hwy. 8 down to Peñasco is the easiest, safest and best way to get here. Many people also drive the free road and toll road going towards El Golfo – I do this as well.
Whether you take Hwy. 2 or the Coastal Hwy., there are military checkpoints and an agricultural stop if you take the toll or free road toward El Golfo. On ANY highway/road in Mexico there can be an Immigration checkpoint – some are mobile and hop around the state – a “pop-up” if you will. As we’ve said many times before, it is Mexican law that all tourists (not those with resident cards) need to obtain an FMM to enter the country of Mexico whether you are staying 1 hour or 6 months. The FMM can be obtained online and are usually good for 180 days or the length of your stay if you designate such. There is a fee if you stay in Mexico longer than 6 days. Whether there will be a checkpoint, or whether you will ever be asked for an FMM is unknown, so the choice remains yours as to if you choose to get one or not. At other ports of entry there are SENTRI and READY LANES.
The San Luis border is just south of Yuma and is most likely the one most people will use and is less confusing than traveling through Nogales. San Luis is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and is easy to navigate and Google Maps is spot on with directions. Be sure to stop at Tortas DF – you’ll thank me later! When heading back into the U.S. you can expect to wait in the border line anywhere from thirty minutes to four hours (from my personal experience). There is an app for border wait times. The good news is that a few of the other ports, including San Luis have SENTRI and READY LANES…so there’s that.
As far as San Luis goes, there are 3 lanes going into the U.S.: far left being for SENTRI, center being for all traffic and far right being a READY Lane. I’m sure there will be lots of updates on road conditions on social media and I, myself will be travelling to and from the U.S. via San Luis several times during the first part of December (if our border is indeed closed) so we’ll keep you updated as well. Please feel free to call, email or message us anytime for current road conditions and updated info. Navigating this whole mess via social media is already a nightmare and unfortunately people are not always so helpful (again, my personal experience). Make sure you get reliable information from a trusted source and let’s hope this issue is resolved and becomes a non-issue by the time you read this. Feel free to contact your local representatives, but I do believe CBP is under DHS and they seem to be able to do whatever they want for however long they want: The pandemic “officially ended” in May yet our border has never been opened back up until midnight and we are still taking off our belts at the airport…enough said.
Unfortunately, a few hours will be added to your trip to Peñasco depending on where you are coming from. But the good news is that the weather is fantastic, the ocean is beautiful, the whales are showing up soon, the food is awesome, and the beer is still ice cold. Hopefully you can add an extra day or two to your vacation and enjoy Puerto Peñasco even more.
Last month was fantastic in Peñasco with the highlight being our Annual Motorcycle Rally. It looks as if approximately 8,000 bikers from all over and about 20,000 tourists came to town to spectate and participate in the largest – and best – motorcycle rally south of the border. Mark your calendars for Veteran’s Day Weekend 2024 for the next Rally.
The Rocky Point Jeep Jam also drew in tons of people who participated in a bunch of fun events including shows, obstacle courses and runs. The Jam donated to the Boo Football Charity and we were supposed to get a full write-up from Jose Boo himself – owner of the Boo Bar in Old Port – but he must’ve been too busy screwing off posting Facebook memes to write an article (LOL) so stop by the bar and give him a hard time. Tell him we need all the deets about the new Boo Football Charity, including info. about the football clinics and how, what and where to donate. Chop, chop Jose Boo!!!
Despite the possibility of our border crossing closing, we are still going to have a very fun and festive December. This month is always a wonderful time to be in Rocky Point. The weather is great, and the social calendar is full of party after party after posada after posada. Along with posadas, there are also so many charities that hold fundraising and gift giving events like folks driving out to barrios to hand out blankets, jackets, toys and food to the Cholla Bay Children’s Christmas Party to Laguna Shores Resort’s fundraising dinner and auction benefitting the young and old – La Esperanza para Los Niños and Casa Hogar, Home for the Elderly – just to name a few. There are also food drives, toy drives and general collection drives held by many businesses around town. Not only can you donate to any of these charitable events, but you can usually attend as the items are being presented to the designated charities and families. If anything gets you in the Christmas and holiday spirit, it’s doing for others and knowing you helped someone. And don’t forget about the CBSC Cholla Bay Light Parade and the Nautical Boat Parade out in front of Sandy Beach – check the Events Page for more info.
Peñasco is also a fantastic place to do your holiday shopping. We have so many stores that offer some very unique gifts. Some favorite areas are the shops along Rodeo Drive, in the Old Port and the artisans’ booths at the Mermaid’s Market, which is held every other Saturday (see our Events Page in this edition). But we have shops tucked in every nook and cranny around town so just get out there and take a drive around and see what you find. Two super gifts for the Rocky Point lover are, of course, a yearly subscription to The Rocky Point Times and the 2024 Tide Calendar. You can contact us for a subscription and stop by Plaza Fabiola for a new tide calendar. Both are must-have tools for planning your visits to Rocky Point!
Once Christmas is over and done, then get ready for New Year’s Eve celebrations when the town revs up again. Nearly every restaurant and bar in Puerto Peñasco offers some type of New Year’s Eve special so you either pick your favorite place to park it for the night or hop between a few of your favorites. If you are bringing your pet, please keep in mind that there are a lot of fireworks going off so make sure your pet is safe and secure.
In the January edition, if our border is open, we’ll talk about the need for travelers to have current registration for their vehicles. In the last couple of months, we have been receiving numerous complaints about people being coming to Rocky Point and being turned back for not having current registration, their registration not matching their driver’s license, outdated registration, registration that is a few months away from the renewal date, people driving other peoples vehicles and if you have a truck with a camper on it, you will need the registration for the camper as well. That particular person has been coming down for years and years in the same vehicle and was not let into Mexico because he did not have his registration for a camper that was attached to his truck – not a tow camper – a camper, camper. Honestly people, we do not make this stuff up! Make sure all of your documents match are in order and up to date and you follow the law. We’re not here to preach to you, we just want you to be informed. Well, all kinds of good news this month! Yikes!!
On a happy note – Feliz Navidad, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! We hope everyone is with family and loved ones this year or at the beach here with us!! See you in the New Year.