Puerto Penasco (aka Rocky Point) is a cruise port and resort city in Mexico's Sonora state, with population over 60,000. The port is located approx 100 km (60 mi) from the USA border (Arizona state). The port is on Gulf of California (aka Sea of Cortez) and on a small land strip joining Baja California with mainland Mexico.
Resort tourism started to develop here since late-1990s, and is now region's main industry targeting mainly the US source market. Next large industry is commercial fishing. Due to its proximity to Arizona’s largest cities - Phoenix (state's capital, population 1,5+ million, metro 4,75+ million), Tucson (pop 0,5+ million, metro 1+ million) and Yuma (pop ~95,000, metro ~200,000), Puerto Penasco is nicknamed "Arizona’s Beach".
Mexican Federal Highway 2 (aka Fed 2) was opened in 2013, runs along the USA-Mexico border and has total length 1987 km (1235 mi). Fed 2 shortens the drive distance from Baja California by 160 km (100 mi). City's largest development projects include 100+ restaurants and 42 hotels-motels.
The resort town is served by Mar de Cortes Airport (aka Puerto Penasco International Airport) located at 15-min drive from downtown (in La Jolla de Cortes). The airport is also very close (5-min drive) from some of Sea of Cortes largest hotels and resorts. The airport currently doesn't serve any regularly-scheduled flights. Only the Mexican carrier Global Air offers domestic charter flights connecting with Ciudad Juarez, Queretaro, and Tijuana.
Puerto Penasco Airport is also Mexico's first 100% privately funded airport being built by Grupo Vidanta (1974-founded Mexican corporation specializing in design, construction, financing and operation of hotels, resorts, beach and nightlife clubs, restaurants, ports, ship cruises). Grupo Vidanta's major businesses include Mar de Cortes Airport (opened 2009), Vidanta Golf (7 premium golf courses in Nuevo Vallarta, Riviera Maya, Riviera Nayarit, Los Cabos, Acapulco, Puerto Penasco), Vidanta Cruises (brand with one liner - Vidanta Elegant, purchased in 2017), Puerto Penasco (cruise port), Vidanta Foundation (non-profit). In 2015, Grupo Vidanta reported USD 750 million annual revenue.
In January 2019, the UK-based company CMV (Cruise and Maritime Voyages) announced its plans to homeport in Puerto Penasco the 550-passenger liner Astoria. Shipping operations were scheduled to start on December 7 (2019) with voyages to Baja California and Mexican Riviera ports. The 11-day itinerary (themed as "Treasures of the Seas of Cortez”) visits as call ports Topolobampo, Mazatlan, Cabo San Lucas, La Paz, Loreto, Santa Rosalia, Guaymas (San Carlos). Astoria's prices started from USD 1600 per person. With Astoria's deployment, CMV targeted almost exclusively the Arizona USA market.
The Mexican source market is targeted via CMV's brand "Cruceros Marítimos Vacacionales" served by the bigger (1300-passenger) liner Magellan. The CMV ship was homeported in Acapulco and started operations in February (2019). The 2-month program (February-March) was based on 7-day Mexican Riviera voyages out of Acapulco to Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta, Manzanillo, and Cabo San Lucas. Roundtrip departures were also offered from Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta.
In 2020, CMV Astoria had scheduled 3 departures from Rocky Point (Jan 9, Jan 20, Jan 31) on the 11-day “Treasures of the Sea of Cortez” itinerary. Following the 3 voyages, the ship was repositioned (via Panama Canal and Transatlantic crossings) to England (homeports Poole and Hull) for the rest of 2020.
Puerto Penasco cruise terminal
"Homeport del Mar de Cortes" is the name of the new Vidanta-owned cruise ship terminal (currently under construction). The exclusive for cruise ships facility is located northwest of downtown (between Sandy Beach and Cholla Bay).
- Cruise Industry
After much anticipation, the first cruise ship departed Thursday, January 9, from Puerto Penasco, Mexico, commonly known in the USA as Rocky Point...January 13, 2020
- Cruise Industry
Cruise ships are expected to be homeporting in Rocky Point (Puerto Penasco) for the first time this winter. Unfortunately, the long-awaited cruise...August 1, 2019
- Cruise Industry
CMV-Cruise and Maritime Voyages is offering value-added specials on a couple of "Treasures of the Sea of Cortez" voyages for Christmas and New Year's...May 30, 2019
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