Puerto Penasco, Sonora, Mexico

I’ve been reading about RVing in Mexico since I started researching the RV lifestyle and thinking it was something I wanted to do.  I thought about going  last year, but the timing wasn’t right.  This year the timing worked and I headed out with the Escapees Solos to the beautiful fishing village of Puerto Penasco in the State of Sonora.  This is part of the Sonoran Desert and it looks exactly like southern Arizona.

I arranged for Mexican insurance on the rig before I left. It was a 200 mile drive from Quartzsite to Why, Arizona where I gassed up and dropped off my car and other items that are not allowed in Mexico. The Why-Not gas station has storage facilities that cost $60 per month.  We camped at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument for the night and headed out at 9:30 in the morning.  It was only ten miles to the Lukeville border crossing.  It’s a very small border crossing and was an easy entry point. It must have been break time because no one even looked in our direction as eight RVs passed through the sentry point.  Then we caravanned to our destination. 

It was only 60 miles from the border to Puerto Penasco and the Concha Del Mar RV park. Concha Del Mar is a dirt/sand parking lot with dry camping for $56 per week or $300 for the month. It is beach front camping on the Sea of Cortez for those in the first row.  Unfortunately, the first row was filled, so I was in the second row and made friends with the front row people!  We arrived on Saturday, Jan 26th.  Those in the front row arrived the Wednesday before and got front row parking.  Note to self…come early next year! There are other RV Parks here and some with full hookups. I have 520 watts of solar and fairly large holding tanks, so I really don’t need hookups. 

Rigs on Beach
Camped on the Sea of Cortez
Rocky Point
Night view of Puerto Penasco from the campground

For those of you who are afraid of Mexico because of the BS you hear from 45 and Fox “News”, the reality is much different.  I’ve traveled to Mexico many times and have never felt the slightest bit uneasy.  I take a few simple precautions by not driving at night and not buying drugs!  That’s it!  I’m more afraid of going to work, church, movies, school, concerts and clubs in the US and getting shot than I am of getting harmed  in Mexico.  Guns are illegal in Mexico and except for the drug cartels, people don’t have guns. And don’t forget it is America’s insatiable appetite for drugs that fuel the cartels and violence in Mexico and Latin America. I suppose I should be grateful that some people are afraid to come to Mexico because this place is crawling with Americans seeking an inexpensive spot on the Sea and tons of fresh seafood. My only regret is that I cannot speak Spanish…except for what has remained of my ninth grade Spanish class at Wilson Junior High School in Detroit.  Thanks you Mr. Gonzales!

Let me tell you about how horrible Mexican people are…

I was looking for a tire value extender and went to several places with no luck.  Each place suggested another place to try.  I finally went to a truck tire store and struck out again.  The young man that worked there said, “follow me”. He was cute, so I did! 🙂  He walked me next-door to another store and translated for me, but still no luck.  He then took out his phone and called the only other place he thought might have one and still no luck.  Can you imagine an American store owner doing something like this? No, me neither.

Another horrible incident happened when I couldn’t remove the spikes that were holding my outdoor mat secure.  I got two out with my baby hammer, but the other two wouldn’t budge.  The local woman washing the rig next to me  saw I was struggling and came over to help.  She couldn’t do any better than I with that baby hammer.  “Uno momento”, she said.  She left and came back with a giant crowbar.  That sure did the job.  Muchos gracias, again!

We went to a small taco place for dinner and of course we wanted beer.  They didn’t have a license for beer or wine.  Instead of disappointing us, the owner hopped on a bicycle and went to the store and returned with beer for all!  Horrible Mexican!

Beer Delivery
Got the beer!

Are you getting the picture yet?  I sure hope so.   And as for the crisis on the border.  HA!  We do have an immigration problem and our immigration laws must be changed. To blame poor, desperate people for coming to the American border to seek asylum, because that is what our LAWs say to do, is stupid and inhumane.  Change the law so they can apply for asylum from their home countries and, then be accepted or rejected.  I could go on and on…but I’m sure you get the picture.

I grew up with Mexican people and I guess if you have personal experience with people you are less likely to prejudge them because of their ethnicity or religion. I’ve been to Mexico several times and  I find Mexican people to be kind, helpful, humble, polite, family-oriented people. It was no different on this trip.  In spite of the truly horrible things 45 says about Mexicans, they are still hospitable and welcome us to the “fun side of the wall”. 

 While in Mexico I had some work done on the rig. I had my decals removed and painted.  This way they will never fad or crack again.  I hated those cracked decals!  I also had the jack-knife sofa reupholstered in a neutral fabric replacing the God awful material they use in RVs.  My rig was in good shape except for those two things.  The price was about one-third of the US. The body work men did a professional, excellent job!  It cost $950 for my 33 foot rig. The sofa was $450, half the price of a new sofa. It looks fantastic and I know it will help when, or if, I sell the rig in the future. It’s a win-win in my book.  I get work done at a reasonable price and I help support the local economy.  I already have my list going for next year!

Peeling decals
Peeling decals
No decals
One day, three workers…all gone!
Paper and primer
Papered up and primed
Painted decals
Mucho better!  Looks like new.
Beautiful reupholstered sofa

Two RV groups, the Solos and the WINS were there so there were plenty of people to hang with and go places.  Many bring cars, but I decided that for my first time I’d leave the car behind.  Next time, and yes, there will certainly be a next time, I’ll tow the car behind.  

Sunset happy hour
Happy hour on the Sea of Cortez

Once we got to Puerto Penasco, there seemed to be a pattern that developed.  See if you recognize it…

After arriving and getting set up it was time for lunch.  My friend, Owen, and I walked down the beach to a small restaurant and had fish tacos and of course, a cerveza! Unexpectedly, the first person we met was Persian!  Go figure.  His aunt owned the small restaurant and he worked as the bartender. 

The next day my next-door neighbor, Stewart, took Owen and I into town to the Malecon (the street along the sea). The main area is lined on both sides with vendors selling the same things…t-shirts, blankets, hats, etc.  There were several seafood markets too.  We went to the Three Boys and I purchased a pound of shrimp and 1.5 pounds of red snapper for $7.00!  We also stopped for a Margarita before heading back to camp.

The following night we went to Lucca’s, a chicken restaurant and I ordered a half chicken with rice and the best refried beans I have ever tasted.  Chicken and a bottle of water was $6.75! I was beginning to see a pattern…great food, inexpensive prices.  My kind of place!

We also visited the Tequila Factory and did a little day drinking. I learned about tequila and sampled several types.  I liked the darker tequila and purchased a bottle.  We continued the day drinking after returning to the rigs.  It was an early to bed for me!

February 2nd was the Seafood Bowl at Shrimp Plaza in the middle of town.  Shrimp is a big deal in Puerto Penasco!  The state of Sonora closed 2018 with the production of 70,000 tons of shrimp, the largest harvest in all of Mexico.  The Seafood Bowl is always the day before the Super Bowl.  It seemed to be held for the gringos in this small seaport town.  We were treated to wonderful food, local arts and crafts, American music, local dancers and drinks of all kind.  It was a fun way to spend the afternoon.

Shrimp plaza
Shrimp Plaza

Super Bowl is also a big deal here and the local businesses cater to the Americans again.  Most of the Solos headed to the New Mexican Restaurant to watch the game, eat and drink. This is where I was introduced to Mr. Don Julio.  I’ll say no more…

There was a VFW  and they provided surf and turf dinner for Valentine’s Day.  It was delicious and cost $10!!

At the campground many vendors provide tortillas, asparagus, empanadas, shrimp, tamales, etc. most every day.  Some of it is even still warm when they arrive.  I definitely didn’t go hungry. Shrimp and asparagus are two of my favorite foods, so I was a happy camper! 

See the pattern yet? We ate out quite a bit.  The food was so delicious and very reasonably priced.

The experience of Rving in Northern Baha was wonderful.  If I had more time I would have ventured further south with new friends I met in Puerto Penasco.  I’ll have to save that for next year.  The only downside was the weather.  It wasn’t as warm as I expected.  But it was still warmer than most other places in the US, except maybe for southern Florida.

Booger picker
Not the Tequila I purchased!

I followed a fellow Solo back to the border crossing in Lukeville.  It took me a grand total of about five minutes to get through border control.  I do have a Global Entry card issued by the government.  This deems me a “trusted traveler”.  The border officer entered my card in the computer, handed it back to me and said, “Have a nice day.”  The dog just looked at me as I drove through.  Needless to say, there was no crisis or “invasion” at this border crossing.  I heard the same report from other Solos that entered at different border control points. 

Mexico, I’ll see you next winter.  And I’m bringing lots of friends!  I picked up my car in Why and spent one night at the casino campground there and then headed to Tucson to meet up with a couple of friends. 

Until next time…   

Sunset and boat
Sunset on the Sea of Cortez


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