Feliz Navidad everyone! That’s “Merry Christmas” to those of you who are language challenged. It’s that time of year! You should still be full from Thanksgiving, so now would be a good time to ‘walk off’ those extra calories in Puerto Peñasco. The town is still recovering from the motorcycle rally, and just in time too! The shops are well stocked, and the restaurants are eager to tempt your palate with some of the best food you will find on either side of the border.

Looking for that ‘special’ gift for the hard to please relative or child? Well, if you can’t find it here, you aren’t looking hard enough. There are so many places to shop, you could spend your entire vacation doing it, and not visit the same place twice!

The Malecon alone could take a day to get through if you wanted to be thorough! Tee shirts, hats, belts, toys, trinkets and more can be had in just a few short blocks. If home décor and unique pieces are more to your taste, stop in at Mercedes’ on your way off the Malecon (I would say on highway 8 but that just confuses people). She always has the most beautiful stuff, and in quantity if you are looking for a ‘set’ of anything.

Then there is Rodeo Drive. For many years it was referred to as “the dirt mall” because it was, basically, a few tar paper shacks along a rutted sand/dirt road leading to Sandy Beach, where locals hawked all sorts of trinkets to the tourists who were planning on camping. Well, that was then…

This is now…Rodeo Drive has become the home to some of the finest artisans in this area, bar none. In addition to the many new buildings, the road itself is nicely paved and the sidewalks are in good repair. Mariachi’s Restaurant has set up shop to slake the thirsts, and tantalize the palates, of shoppers. An intricately decorated, comfortable and affordable restaurant, Mariachis is the place to go for that mid-day Margarita or lunch.  You can “shop ‘til you drop” and ‘drop in’ to cool your heels and revive yourself. You know what they say, it’s all about ‘location…location…location…’ and Mariachis is perfectly situated!

If you are looking for fine quality art, there is no better place to start looking than Rodeo Drive in Puerto Peñasco. Places like Su Casa and Casa de Talavera showcase some of the best of functional Mexican crafts and contemporary art pieces on canvas, glass, stone, ceramic or fiberglass. I guess, proximity to Sandy Beach and the condo towers might have something to do with the genesis of today’s Rodeo Drive, but who cares?!

This time of year, Sam’s Club has some neat stuff too, although it is not ‘artisanal.’  Since many visitors will tend to visit Sam’s because it is familiar, I’m sure they will have lots of gift ideas in stock for both the Mexican clientele and the tourists.

If you have a place in town, on Sandy Beach or out on the “Playas, (Las Conchas, Encanto, La Jolla, Dorada or Miramar),” right across the street from Sam’s is Hacienda del Sol. It’s a good place to furnish your condo, house, or apartment. Recently having teamed up with Ashley Furniture from north of the border, they have an excellent selection and if you need window coverings, well they have that service too!

I’ve even noticed that the food markets have added some ‘tourist friendly’ items to their shelves. It used to be tough to get half n half, at least it was where I shopped. Now I can pick it up at Ley Express, Super Ley and even a few of the smaller tiendas. French vanilla creamer for your coffee? Sam’s has it!

So, while those of us who have been here for a while decry the “Americanization” of our beloved Peñasco, while we sip out French vanilla flavored coffee, the fact is that the town had become so tourist friendly that even old curmudgeon’s like yours truly, can’t really complain all that much. After all, there are still lots of places in Old Mexico that one can visit to get that cultural vibe, and maybe it will be a few decades before they, too, become tourist meccas.

So, if you are reading this, and are either here or on your way, plan to take advantage of the many wonderful diversions our town has to offer. I wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas and the Happiest of New Years! See you in 2023.