You must buy Mexican liability insurance if you drive your can to Rocky Point. Most insurance companies also won't pay for collision (please contact your U.S. car insurance agent for details), but some do. We have Allstate and are covered for collision in Mexico, so we only need to buy Mexican liability insurance. You can buy Mexican car insurance ahead of time on the internet at several sites and print the policy just before you go. You can also buy Mexican car insurance on the way down - it takes about five minutes and you can do it while you're filling up for gas at the Chevron station in Ajo (or a dozen other places in Ajo). Recent law changes in Mexico have raised the amounts that can be collected from someone at fault in an accident, so most insurance companies are now recommending coverage of at least 300k if not 500k for liability. Here are some links for getting Mexican car insurance over the internet:
A passport or passport card must be presented to enter the United States or you could be delayed at the border. Children under the age of 16 may present an original or copy of a birth certificate, but please first check the current details in the US department of State and Department of Homeland Security links below:
If you feel like cooking, the condo is fully equipped with a full set of pots, pans, baking trays, cooking utensils, knives, coffee maker, K-Cup single serve coffee maker, tea kettle, dishes, glasses, and spice rack. The kitchen also has a microwave, electric range and oven, full side-by-side freezer/refrigerator, dishwasher, toaster, blender, and can opener. The resort sometimes supplies a single serving of coffee for each day, but if you must have coffee in the morning (like me...), either bring your own or buy it there.
There are several supermarkets in town. If you need a map, you can pick one up at one of the gas stations in Ajo, or use the google map I created on the "Links" page.
· Super-Ley. This is the closest to the resort and the one we typically go to. This is a medium sized US standard supermarket with most of everything you need. They have fresh baked bread and tortillas, hot foods, deli, cheese, meats, beer/wine/liquor, soaps, and a very small hardware selection. It is on Constitucion, just south of No Relecion.
· Santa-Fe (Super Val?) on Benito Juarez (Highway 8). On the right (west side) after you pass the first traffic light when you enter town.
· Bodega Aurereo (Wallmart affiliated). This is a large "big box" style store that has many items including large appliances, clothing, fresh and packaged food. It is located on the east side of Benito Juarez (Highway 8) - on your left as you come into town.
· Sam's Club - You have to be a member, but you can use your US Sam's Club membership. It is located next to the Bodega Aurereo (Wallmart), on the east side of Benito Juarez (Highway 8) on your left as you come into town.
Here's some of the items you may want to buy at Super-Ley (or bring from home):
Laundry detergent, softener, bleach for washing clothes (full sized washer/dryer)
Dish soap - we leave some under the sink, but it disappears, so better to bring your own.
Water (I drink the filtered water in the condo, can also buy at Super-Ley)
Favorite coffee, tea (basic brands at Super-Ley, but no k-cups)
Shrimp! Definitely buy it on the waterfront, at the "Malecon"
Consider a cooler if you are bringing home seafood (they will provide a cheap one)
The resort supplies beach towels, bath towels, clean sheets, bath and face soap, and hair shampoo conditioner (small hotel style bottles). You really only need to bring your clothes and bathing suits! Some other items you may want to bring:
Water toys, Beach Umbrellas, Water shoes,
Innertube for lazy river and water slide (they have some there, but usually not enough)
Children's toys and games,
Blu-Ray or DVD movies (we have a small collection of movies in the condo)
Alcohol can be purchased really cheap at the UETA duty free store at the border just before entering Mexico (on the right). A 1 liter bottle of Stoly Vodka is only $12. They sell many types of beer, wine, and liquor. If you want to stock up, you're allowed to bring 1 liter per adult back into the US. Alcohol is also readily available at liquor stores and the Super-Ley in Rocky Point. Drinking and driving is as serious an offense in Mexico as it is in the USA, so use caution, or better yet, use a taxi!
American dollars are accepted most everywhere, although you may get change in pesos. American credit cards are also accepted in most places, but some gas stations do not accept credit cards, so check first.
Gasoline is sold in state controlled gas stations at prices that are usually cheaper than in the USA (Regular gas was $3/gallon in October 2012, while it was $3.68 in Phoenix). We typically leave Phoenix with a full tank and drive straight to Rocky Point. Then before heading home, fill up at the cheaper Mexican prices. Many gas stations only accept cash, although I'm finding more and more accept credit cards as of January 2014. We've heard that some stations have less than accurate meters, and a common recommendation is to look where the taxis are filling up. We've never had a problem buying gas in Rocky Point. If you're concerned about foreign gasoline in your car, fill up in Ajo, Arizona and you should be able to make the approximately 200 mile round trip on a single tank of gas. There is also a gas station in Lukeville, Arizona, right on the border with Mexico. From Lukeville to Rocky Point and back is a 120 mile round trip.
The condo is powered by US standard 120/60 hz, so you don't need any power converters or special adapters.
Our condo is equipped with a free, high speed ethernet internet connection and wireless router. The wireless access code is taped on the top of the router, next to the phone in the kitchen. If you would like to connect via an Ethernet cord, bring your own cord and connect into one of the ports in the back of the wireless router.
Long distance telephone charges are very expensive and will be charged to your room account, payable when you leave. If you plan to make frequent or long calls back home, consider getting an internet phone service (like Skype, Vonage, or Magicjack) and you can make your calls for free.
Cellular service is also available in some spots, but again, it's expensive and you may need to enable international service on your cellular account before you leave the states. Contact your cellular provider before you leave to see what your options are.
Allow yourself about 4 hours to drive there from Phoenix. We can make the trip from Ahwatukee in 3 1/2 hours (if we don't stop), but if your live on the west side of Phoenix closer to highway 85, you'll make better time than someone in the East Valley. Allow extra time if you stop for gas, buy car insurance, or stop at the border.
First drive to Lukeville, Arizona (it's the border town on the USA/Mexican border), then drive another 60 minutes thru Mexico to Puerto Penasco. If your GPS doesn't include Mexico, set it to Lukeville and follow the directions from Sonoyta below. You can use mapquest or maps.google.com to also get directions there. Here are some basic directions:
Sonoyta is the border town across from Lukeville. Distances change from miles to kilometers, so don't be alarmed when you see the distance change to "90" for Pto Peñasco! 100 kilometers is about 62 miles.
From the border, drive straight for approximately 1.8 miles. You will arrive at a 2-way intersection with a stop sign where you will see a monument and signs for PTO Peñasco and Santa Ana to the left. Make a left at the stop sign and then bear right, follow the signs to PTO Peñasco.
Stay to the right towards Puerto Peñasco/Caborca at the Y intersection. There is a traffic light soon after you bear right. Continue straight through this traffic light to Mexico Highway 8.
Once you have gone through Sonoyta, continue on Highway 8 from Sonoyta for about 60 miles to to Puerto Peñasco (60 miles of desert). Along the way, there is a sign that says El PTO Penasco. DO NOT turn at this sign.
As you begin to enter Puerto Peñasco, turn right at the third traffic light onto the street named “Calle 26” or “No Reeleccion.”. Continue straight on this street, past the railroad tracks until you get to a traffic circle that marks the beginning of the Las Palomas property. Exit to the left around the traffic circle (first right). Follow this street as it curves to the right and continues straight up along sand dunes and the golf course on the right to another traffic circle. Exit the traffic circle left (2nd right) up the palm tree lined entrance to Las Palomas to the security gate at the main entrance of the resort.
Check-in is either in the Phase 1 or Phase 2 lobby depending on their staffing and time of year - check with the guard in the guard house for the current check-in location. Resort check-in time is 4pm and check-out time is 11am. All payments for your stay, including rent, telephone charges, restaurant, bar, etc. will be settled at the reservation desk when you leave.
There can be long waits (up to 2 hours) at the border crossing, so try to time your return to avoid the crowds. We have personally never been on line with more than 10 or 15 cars in front of us so plan ahead if you hate waiting in line. The worst times are midday at the end of a long holiday weekend. Hate the lines?? Stay an extra day!