Boo Bar, Changa's, Iguana Banana, JJ's Cantina, Lucky's Cantina, Mexico, Princesa De Penasco, Puerto Penasco, Rocky Point, Sea of Cortez, Seaside Mexico, seaside reservations, The Lighthouse, Wrecked at the Reef
We headed south of the border bright and early (6:15am) from Chandler. My husband and I have been to Rocky Point many times (this is our 3rd trip this year); our friends Drew and Elana had never been. So we chatted along the way about our favorite places, foods, shops, etc. After a short 3.5 hr. drive, we were in view of this gorgeous beach.
The staff at Seaside Reservations was very welcoming. We knew we had arrived well before the 3pm check-in, but stopped in just to see if we could get in a little early. The owner of the condo we were staying in was in the room, so we needed to come back in a couple hours. No problem! We knew there were margaritas waiting in the fishing port area.
WARNING: Before people judge my dining and drinking choices…This trip was not about trying to eat Paleo in another country. I believe in fully immersing one’s self into another’s culture whenever possible. So, I consciously ate what my heart desired and knew I would not fell the best. Back home I will get back on track.
Our first stop each visit to Rocky Point (Puerto Penasco) is always a restaurant called The Point. It is on a pier overlooking the serene Sea of Cortez. There is outdoor seating around the building and spacious seating indoors as well. I always order the clam chowder, so why change? It was smooth and filled with clams. My husband ordered the shrimp fajitas that smelled heavenly!
After filling our bellies and consuming a large Cadillac Margarita we hit the street to do some shopping.
For those who have never been to Rocky Point, such as Drew and Elana, it can be a little daunting and overwhelming. After being here so much, we forget it can be a little of a culture shock. There are vendors lining the streets calling and trying to draw you in to their business. Stay focused and keep walking, I say! Elana was going to see if she could get some Christmas shopping done. I assisted my friend in finding great gifts and negotiating the best price. Is it odd that I love the back and forth of price negotiation?? We quenched our thirst at Lucky’s Cantina (another fave of ours) where I was surprised with the trio that sings to us EVERY trip here! The women’s voice makes me smile. There are 2 gentlemen that play acoustic guitar while the beautiful woman serenades patrons.
It was time to check into the condo. Located in the building where you check in was a small convenient shop (none of the other resorts had that!) where we got some beer, water, and coffee. We were on the 3rd floor in Building D. I read some reviews online saying that building D was so far from the ocean…seriously??!? Look at the photos; it was about 250 yards. I guess everyone has an opinion! 😉 Our room was a cozy 2-bedroom condo overlooking the water.
The master bedroom had a king-sized bed and an adjoining bathroom with a tub/shower combo. The second bedroom had a queen bed and bathroom across the hall with a walk-in shower. Located off the kitchen was a small laundry room and laundry tub. The kitchen was fully-loaded with a fridge, microwave, stove/oven, dishwasher, coffee maker, blender, toaster, and spice rack.
The weather was much cooler than expected. We knew swimming in the sea was not going to be an option. We checked the pools and sadly, none were heated. We found 1 of 3 hot tubs that were heated.
Since we had been cocktailing all day, I was craving beef tacos from Wrecked on the Reef. My husband and I could eat order after order of them. Dinner at Wrecked was nachos, oysters Rockefeller (nothing like the U.S. version, but still yummy!) and tacos.
After dinner we headed back to our condo. The patio, though smaller than other resorts, fit all 4 of us nicely. We had a gorgeous view of the water. Nothing is more relaxing than sitting on a patio, cocktail in hand hearing nothing but the waves and occasional seagull. It is my ‘yoga for my soul’.
After a very comfortable night’s rest, we headed to Lucky’s Cantina for the ‘free’ breakfast. I say free, because you have to buy a drink to get the ‘free’ breakfast…still SO WORTH IT! Lucky’s is located in the fish market area on the second level overlooking the water on one side and the street on the other.
Next we went to Iguana Banana. They had a very versatile drink menu. I had to try the “Black Margarita”. At first glance, one may hesitate to drink something of that color. But fear not! It was AMAZING! Not too sweet, not too strong, just perfect. After a drink and more photos 😉 we went downstairs to shop.
More shopping was to be had! After a few deals were reached everyone was comfortable with the whole shopping/negotiating thing. We continued to bum around the area checking out the shops. I came across a small vendor making fresh pineapple drinks with rum. I had seen these umbrella toting concoctions, but had never tried one. It was better than I could have imagined! After coring the pineapple and saving the ‘shell’ for your ‘glass’, the gal blended all the fresh fruit and juice with rum…simple, refreshing, and priced right.
Our next stop was Boo Bar. Another second story establishment with views of both the town and water. What makes this place different…the seats at the bar are SWINGS! Use caution when sitting on the swing 😉 Great staff that kept us laughing and drinking for hours. We ordered a mix of appetizers that was our unofficial lunch. Pizza and nachos are great drinking foods. I met the owner of Boo Bar, Jose Flores. He purchased the bar in 2008 and added the now famous swings. I knew Jose and I would be pals when he said he was a Chicago Bears fan. Out of nowhere one of the staff yells for me to come to the window. The Mexican Revolution Parade had begun! What a great surprise!
There was one place I had yet to ever visit…The Lighthouse Restaurant and Bar. If you wan a serene cliff-side dinner overlooking the town, this is your place! Staff smiling, live music table-side, cold drinks, and the view!! Oh, and the food was delicious too!
As night began to fall we headed back toward the resort and stopped at JJ’s Cantina. It gets a lot of hype as it is one of the original Rocky Point bars. We have been once before and on both visits the same – only a handful of people in a very large bar with an amazing waterfront outdoor seating area. We had one drink and headed closer to the resort.
We stopped in at Changa’s (formerly Bandito’s) owned by musician Roger Clyne. I immediately grinned ear to ear when I saw my old friend and bar tender, Hector, previously from Wrecked at the Reef! We hugged and of course, took photos. It such a nice feeling to see familiar faces. Puerto Penasco really is a small town with a small town feel, where everyone knows everyone. It is one of the reasons we love the place so much!
Our final stop as we were getting ready to head home always has to be Wrecked – for one more indulgence of the simplest yet addicting tacos and a coco-colada.
When people ask how I can go to Mexico with all the bad news, shootings, robberies, etc. I smile and tell them: every town/state will have ‘bad areas’, there will always be people who make poor decisions putting themselves in danger. The people of Puerto Penasco know their money comes from tourism; they know AZ is their main food source. I encourage all my friends to head south of the border for a weekend. Cross the border in daylight, keep your attitude at home, don’t wander at night (I mean, would you do that in NY or LA??), and be open for a fun time. Never forget you are in another country that has a different culture, laws, and penalties for breaking those laws. Be inquisitive and respectful, be mindful and adventurous. Grab your sandals, swimsuit, sunscreen, and leave your preconceived notions at home.
Use your head and you will have the best beach vacay with only a 4 hour drive!!
Huge thank you to Seaside Reservations for the accommodations and to Jose, at Boo Bar, for the shot of tequila!
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