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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

New adventure - Puerto Penasco / Rocky Point

About this time last year, a friend in Phoenix was telling me about a great vacation spot in north-western Mexico: Puerto Penasco (as it is called in Mexico) or Rocky Point (as it is called by many in English). For brevity I will refer to it as Penasco as many of the locals do. It is a large town or small city at the top of the Sea of Cortez, the body of water separating the Baja from mainland Mexico.

Penasco started as a tiny fishing village, and has grown dramatically in large part due to its proximity to the US (1 hour drive) and in particular to Phoenix (3.5 hour drive). Penasco now has a population of about 50,000 depending on time of year and how many of the Canadians and Americans that own property there are present.

My friend knew I was planning to be in Phoenix without much of a plan for a week in February so he offered the use of his condo in Penasco. "Really? I am going to ride my motocycle into Mexico? I don't think so!" After questioning my manhood, he offered to drive down for a couple of days with me as he needed a break too. "OK, I'm in!".

What a great place! It is literally on the ocean (Sea of Cortez). Fishing boats operate from there. I guess that figures...it is a fishing town. You can go to the Malecon Fish Market near the docks, have a few pops at a number of great little restaurants / pubs, pick up some fresh fish or shrimp, head back to the condo and fire up the BBQ. Nice!

There are some amenities there, including a Sams Club and a Burger King...but not enough to ruin the character. There are long stretches of beach on both sides of Penasco. The stretch to the northwest is called Sandy Beach, and it is home to about 8 large resorts full of condos. There are a few more resorts to the south. An international-class airport was built a few years ago and so far it is underutilized, but clearly it was sized for growth. And, get this...a cruise ship port is being constructed to the west of Sandy Beach!

The ocean is relatively warm, and very clean. Check it out on Wikipedia: Puerto Penasco or Rocky Point.

What about the drive down? A non-issue. Penasco is in the "Free Zone" or "Hassle Free Zone". Americans and Canadians (maybe others) do not need a visa or a "Temporary Vehicle Import Permit". The only additional purchase is Mexican Insurance for the vehicle, which is available online or at many locations in Phoenix or on the way down. The purchase is similar to Canadians buying temporary health insurance for traveling to the US. You can buy it for a few days or a week, or annually if you go there often.

Anyway, long story short, the friend found a good deal on a nice condo. We just closed on it. So now I will be figuring out how to administer and handle taxes across three jurisdictions. Yikes!

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