I live in Arizona smack dab in the middle of this flaming inferno called Phoenix. Although malls and billboards are everywhere I turn, there is a place I like to escape to that is but four short hours away by car. This magical place is called Puerto Penasco or by most Arizonans....Rocky Point.
Puerto Penasco is somewhat touristy as it is a very poor town and tourism is the only real thing keeping that place alive. It is a port town that relies both on tourism and fishing for its economy. It's colorful and bright as well as impoverished and run down in most parts. However, during the times I have visited there, I never felt threatened in any way. I've gotten the usual cat-calls and I've been hit on by many of the local guys, but from my experience, most of it was harmless and in good fun. Choosing to ignore them meant they'd stop bothering you. It is relatively safe but the drivers there are a bit wild. Always buy insurance if you are driving out there. It can usually be purchased at a border town such as Gila Bend for like 30bucks(although I am unsure of this price, i dont think its very expensive.)
Although Puerto Penasco is not as notoriously wild as its fellow college-student getaway, Tijuana, it does have its crowded and packed moments. Spring Break, of course, is packed with party-goers and tourist families alike. Unfortunatly, this is also the time where people like to drive around drunk and trash the beaches like there's no tomorow. ATVing on the coast is also a popular activity as well as scuba-diving, snorkeling and whale-watching from a small cruise ships.
During the off-season, prices everywhere, of course will be much cheaper. A lot of the shops in Puerto Penasco are lined up against the coast and many are tourist traps. There are many vendors walking around selling everything from kites to necklaces. If you don't want anything a simple 'no gracias' or 'no thanks' will do. They're cool about. However, if you are looking to buy anything, fortunatly, you can bargain with the locals until you reach a fair price for both parties. Your name on a grain of rice, anyone?
If you like seafood, you will love the resturants. Many of the ingredients are fresh since they are right by the sea. Oh yea,and instead of cow milk, they generally use goat cheese which has a sharper, saltier taste. Still good though. Better, I think. The food isn't too expensive either. Nice resturants price meals at 5-6 bucks which is a very good deal since they do give so much. Although I can't give specific names of resturants at this point, I can say that I have eaten at like 5 (that seems sort of a lot for this town) and I havent had a bad experience yet. The people are friendly and dont even seem to mind the sometimes rude and arrogant tourist. Also, at many resturants, you will find that almost everywhere you go, there will be mariachis willing to pay (for a small tip of course) but they play rather well and the live music is well worth the couple bucks.
If you need a place to stay.....2-5 bedroom condos by the beach can be rented. These are usually very nice and suprisingly clean and the shower water sort of smells salty but I dont mind. Sorry, can't tell you the prices since I didn't pay any of the times I went (I'm good like that) but I don't imagine it to be too expensive especially during the off-season. (I fancy that one could take a sleeping bag out to a quiet part of the beach and not be bothered) The people are very friendly and are willing to speak English as long as you let them teach you a little Spanish.
So there's my spiel. Good way to utilize my insomnia hours, right? There are other places in Mexico, of course, I'd like to explore but granted, I have not the financial means or mostly the time at this point to go anywhere but the cute little four-hour-away town. I suppose many small, port city tourist towns are like this but I am still very fond of this little place. It has its own charm and I really like the people. My first souvenier from there was when I was 13, it was my name on a grain of rice. If you want to go, go because I went and I want to see if other people will love it in the special way I do......