Monday, March 15, 2010

Puerto Penasco, Mexico

Mexico.  Sunshine, beaches, and seafood.  For us the el-nino event brought rain, wind and clouds to California and Arizona.  Now winter in eastern Washington usually means clouds and some snow.  So while it was sunny and warm in Wenatchee we were in California with clouds, wind and rain.  So why did we leave Wenatchee?  There was only one solution and that was a run for the border to find sunshine!

It worked!  While Phoenix got rain we got sunshine!  It was great watching the weather on the TV for a change.  We rented a condo on the beach at Los Conchos just east of Puerto Penasco. 

Why go to Mexico instead of California?  Well, gas is cheaper in Mexico and more people speak English than in California. 

But Mexico is well Mexico.  Travel is an adventure with all sorts of hidden costs.  It was a hundred plus dollars for the Mexico vehicle insurance for one week. 

The dog required all sorts of exams, vaccinations and papers to cross into Mexico.  We followed the letter of the law and spent almost three hundred dollars for Bugaboo to visit Mexico.  We were waved into Mexico.  Returning to the US they just ignored Bugaboo.  A "local" from Phoenix pointed out the US has to keep the dog in quarantine for 30 days while their status is sorted out.  So maybe that is why Bugaboo was not even asked for identification!!

You need passports to return to the US. 

Violence in Mexico is in the news today.  We have never felt threatened in Mexico, but we have generally stayed in areas rural areas with large populations of Americans.  Mexico's justice system leaves a lot to be desired and I have several friends that just refuse to visit Mexico as a result their experiences. 

Read the blogs.  Read the news and make your own judgement on travel to Mexico.  The good news on Puerto Penasco is that you can make it a day trip from Organ Pipe Campground. 

Puerto Penasco is the ocean front property in Arizona.  Actually it is on the Sea of Cortez which in our opinion is better than than a location on the Pacific.  It is a more built up and tourist oriented than we like, but then that weather!

Here is the view from our condo.  Yes, it was a tough and difficult week, but somebody has to do it.  Even with the perfect weather the beach was virtually empty.  The economic tides have hit the tourist business hard in Puerto Penasco. 

As we mentioned we much prefer outdoor activities to city pursuits.  If you stay in Purerto Penasco, be sure to visit the Intercultural Center for the Study of Deserts and Oceans (CEDO) located in Los Conchos.  They run kayak and birding trips out into the desert for a modest fee.  Be sure to inquire early about the kayak trips since they are tide dependent.  When we tried to book a trip it was to late since the tides were not going to be favorable until after we left.  They also have an interesting museum gift shop.  CEDO is a joint project with the University of Arizona.

Puerto Penasco has a "downtown" perched on the rocky point where the town was first established.  North of this area is the current town with "normal" shops.  Grocery shopping is best done at Lei's grocery store.  This is the only supermarket in town.  Fish and shrimp are best bought at downtown rather than the grocery store.  There are some good restaurants and bars in the area.

The Wikipedia entry is well worth reading if you intend to visit:

There are RV campgrounds in town that you can google and get phone numbers.  We did not visit them so have no recommendations in that area.  If you have stayed at them, please enter a comment in this blog for others.  Thanks.

Well, there are many reasons for visiting Mexico.  For us this is one of the best.

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