Hola! Welcome to Puerto Peñasco! Seems a strange way to open a column, doesn’t it? Well with all that is, and has been, happening in our town, maybe not so much! After forcing my gaping jaw shut watching the people coming to and leaving the town, it seemed to be about the right opening. What do I mean? Well, you don’t really think that everyone who visits our fair city has been here before do you? Newbies abound! I mean, the sheer volume of cars, trucks, SUV’s, RV’s, and other modes of transport that I see on the road, on the playas and in town would make it almost impossible that everyone coming in has visited our fair city before.

What do all those folks see? They see what we all saw, just from a ‘now’ perspective and a different time. They see a quaint, gringo friendly seaside city with superlative amenities and accommodations, pristine beaches, warm azure water, mild climate, lots of sunshine…and lots to do! They tell their friends, “You should come to Rocky Point with me (us) for a weekend (week, month…forever)” and they do!!

Have you seen Sonoita on just about every day of the week? Someone told me, so I can’t swear it to be true, that there are ‘NO rooms at the inn’ in Peñasco until February!! Seems they were trying to book a condo…or a house…or a broom closet…I can’t remember which, and they could not get a reservation.If that is anywhere near accurate, the guys who come around to wash your car windshield will soon be renting out cubby holes between buildings!

The traffic coming into Mexico and returning to Arizona on just about any day of the week, and just about any time between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m., is amazing. Folks who don’t make it past the border checkpoint before it closes, coming in either direction, either just pull over and sleep in their cars (Lukeville side) or simply throw them in “park,” turn off their engines and have a cocktail with their fellow travelers (Sonoita side) until the border re-opens. What else can you do when you are stuck in the middle of a five- or six-mile traffic jam?

It used to be that Sunday was the worst day to return to Arizona from Peñasco, traffic wise. Then Monday became the new Sunday…then just this past Tuesday (just an ordinary Tuesday, no holiday before or after) when I came back from a Costco run to Chandler, crossing the border around 2:30 in the afternoon, there was a mile long backup coming north! That’s new.

The only conclusion one can draw from such activity is we have been discovered as they say. One of the draws for most folks who call Peñasco home, or who spend a lot of time here is/was the tranquil, laid-back vibe the town exuded. They are just as baffled as I am. That is until I sat back and thought about it for a minute.

Forty-four years is a long time. Damn near half a century! Heck, many of the people who come to town to visit aren’t even that old! The old Rocky Point many of us fondly recall is receding in the rearview mirror of my memory. The peso/dollar investment that has been made in our town by “big money” folks is paying off, handsomely. The condo towers that sprouted on Sandy Beach have clones sprouting at Encanto and points south as well as Laguna Shores and Islas del Mar to the north. The visitors can’t get enough of them! Encantame is almost completely sold out in towers one and two with pre-sales in tower three running full speed ahead. After lying dormant for almost fifteen years, Playa Azul is topping out and their condo/home sales are brisk. It seems our visitors want more than just a weekend getaway!

Is it selfish to hope that Peñasco doesn’t go the way Ensenada and Cabo have gone? Don’t get me wrong, I like having a Sam’s Club as much as anyone, but a part of me fondly remembers having to search around town among the side streets to find a ferreteria that had the right size toggle bolts or sitting up at the Casa del Capitan sipping a frozen margarita on a hot summer day while wondering what working folks were doing. I know nothing lasts forever, but if you knew folks coming to paradise would keep those days in mind, even though you weren’t there, it would be a good thing. So, welcome to town! Enjoy our beaches, restaurants, and shopping! Shift gears and ‘set a spell’ as the old timers used to say. It’s what Peñasco living is really all about! Oh, and Feliz Navidad y Prospero Año!