The History of Puerto Penasco, Rocky Point, Mexico

Welcome Fellow Mexico Travelers. I would like to take a moment to share a little history with you about a wonderful fishing village known as Puerto Penasco, Rocky Point, Mexico. The true Mexican name for Rocky Point is Puerto Penasco, but most people have come to know and use the gringo name, Rocky Point. Are you aware that Rocky Point, Mexico, could have been an Arizona seaport, but due to some great negotiating by the Mexican government in the mid 1800’s, it was made a part of Mexico.

The US/Mexican war ended in 1846, and a joint commission was set up to establish where the new border between the two countries would be. Negotiations continued until 1853, when a gentleman named James Gadsden, a railroad promoter from South Carolina, was authorized by US Congress to make 5 different secret offers to the Mexican Government, which would be anywhere from $15 million to $50 million. Each option would would include enough territory for the US to have a soujthern railroad route to the Pacific Ocean, and, in turn, a seaport on the Sea of Cortez. At the time, the president of Mexico, general Santa Ana (of Alamo fame), didn’t want to give up control of the territory connecting the mainland Mexico to the Baja Pennisula. In 1854, Congress agreed to the demands of Gen. Santa Ana and paid $10 million for the territory that now makes up our southern portions of New Mexico and Arizona. This land known as the Gadsden Purchase, included both Tucson and Yuma, but did not include access to the Sea of Cortez. Because of this, Arizona lost the chance to have its own beach front property.

In the 1920’s, two lone fisherman, Victor and Benjamin Bustamante, discovered giant schools of beautiful blue shrimp in the waters around the “rocky point”, which was known then as Cerro de Penasco, but changed to Puerto penasco when other fisherman began to movie into town.

In 1929, a US Mafioso named John Stone, who was known to associate with Al Capone, saw the areas potential to be a resort destination. John decided to build a hotel and drill a well for fresh water. By 1931, Stone had managed to alienate many of the local officials, and because of this, he lost his license to do business in the area. Before his unwilling departure, Stone burned his hotel and dynamited the well, leaving Rocky Point without fresh water once again. The hotel was rebuilt by the Bustamante Brothers and became the Hotel Penasco (still standing today).  

In 1936, the President of Mexico, Lazaro Cardenas, visited Rocky Point and saw that the area had such a tremendous potential. He ordered a peir to be constructed for the local fishing fleet. He was also responsible for the first railroad that connected Rocky Point with mexicali and the Border.

Finally, in 1955, the shrimp industry stared to boom! Markets in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Albuquerque, Tucson, and Phoenix were developed, and Rocky Point was finally on the way to becoming something more than just a small fishing village.

Here are some photos we scanned from a old copy of Arizona Highways Magazine from 1964.

      Older Rocky Point (1).jpg     Older Rocky Point (2).jpg     Older Rocky Point (5).jpg

Let’s continue this walk in the past with some photos from the beautiful state of Sonora. I will descibe the location of each photo as we go along (3 at a time).

Lets begin with 3 photos of Hermosillo. The first phots is an overview of the beautiful city, which is the Capital City of Sonora. The second photo is the Hermosillo Museum and Library. The third photo is of a beautiful Cathedral in Hermosillo.

      Hemosillo, Mexico     Hemosillo, Mexico     Hemosillo, Mexico

Next 3 photos: The first photo is the University of Sonoran in Hermosillo. The second photo is Plaza of the Constitution in Hermosillo. The third photo is the Histiric Kino Mission at Cabora.

      Hemosillo, Mexico            Plaza of the Constitution in Hermosillo.jpg            Kino Mission

Next 3 photos: The first photo is The Old and new Mission in Cocospera. The second photo is Sonora’s Obregon Dam. The third photo is a view from Mocuzari Dam on the Maya River.

      Old Mexico     Old Mexico     Old Mexico

Next 3 photos: The first photo is a Mission at Magdalen. The second photo is a view of Magdalena. The third photo is Kino Bay.

      Magdalen, Maxico              Magdalena            Kino Bay, Mexico

Next last 3 photos: The first photo is San Carlos. The second photo is Nogales in the mid 60’s. The third photo is Nogales Famous La Caverna Cafe.

      San Carlos of Old            Nogales            Nogales

Here is one more item for your viewing pleasure. Here is a photo of a .50 cent paper bill from 1915. The actual size is about the same size as Monopoly money. Thank you Senor Steve for sharing it with us!     ** Did you notice where the bill was made? **

      Old Mexican Money     Big Money (1).jpg

Now, jumping forward 40 years to 2007, Rocky Point is the “hot spot” for endless hours of fun in the sun. You can find just about everything you will need to make your vacation absolutey unforgettable. You don’t believe me? Well, lets just list some of the wonderful things Rocky Point has to offers you and your guest.

Activities: Ultra Light Rides, Kite Surfing, Golfing, Ocean Kayaking, Jet Ski & Wave Runners, Quads, ATV’s & Golf Cart Rentals, Parasailing, Banana Boat Rides, Horse Back Rides, Fishing Charters, Cet Mar Aquaruim, Diving, Snorkeling, Pinacate Mountain Range Tours, Oyster Farms, Beach Weddings, Day Spas, Day Trips to Bird Island, and Whale Watching, which is seasonal.

Don’t forget about all the wonderful events that Rocky Point host every year.

Yearly EventsAngler of the Year Fishing Derby, Over the Line Softball Tournamant, Volleyball on the Beach, Sky Divers, Tri-Athalons, Easter and Holy Week, Cinco De Mayo, Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers, One Club Open Golf, Mexican Independance Day, Memorial Day, Day of the dead, and the big one in March, Spring Break. Rocky Point also has a wonderful variety of Internation Cuisine, which includes Italian, Japanese, German, American, and Mexican. For more listings, click: Restaurants

Now, the best way to really show you Rocky Point is with photos for you to enjoy. I have done just that by adding over 100 photos that will show you Rocky Point in all its splendor! I tried not to use photos we have already used on other pages, so many of these photos are new! I truly hope you like them.

      All Rocky Point      All Rocky Point      All Rocky Point 

      All Rocky Point      All Rocky Point     All Rocky Point 

      All Rocky Point      All Rocky Point      All Rocky Point 

      All Rocky Point      All Rocky Point      All Rocky Point

      All Rocky Point     All Rocky Point     All Rocky Point 

      All Rocky Point           All Rocky Point          All Rocky Point 

      Rocky Point 101 (22).JPG     All Rocky Point     Rocky Point 101 (24).JPG 

      Rocky Point 101 (21).jpg     Rocky Point 101 (25).JPG     Rocky Point 101 (26).jpg

      Rocky Point 101 (23).jpg     Rocky Point 101 (13)1.JPG     Rocky Point 101 (14).JPG 

      Rocky Point 101 (30).jpg           Rocky Point 101 (31).JPG           Rocky Point 101 (27).JPG 

      Rocky Point 101 (33).JPG     Rocky Point 101 (32).JPG     Rocky Point 101 (34).jpg 

      Rocky Point 101 (38)1.jpg           Rocky Point 101 (36).jpg          Rocky Point 101 (35).JPG

      Rocky Point 101 (37).JPG     Rocky Point 101 (39).JPG     Rocky Point 101 (28).jpg 

      Rocky Point 101 (40).JPG     Rocky Point 101 (29).JPG     Rocky Point 101 (41).JPG 

      Rocky Point 101 (42).JPG     Rocky Point 101 (43).JPG     Rocky Point 101 (44).JPG 

      Rocky Point 101 (50).JPG             Rocky Point 101 (48).JPG          Rocky Point 101 (47).JPG

      Rocky Point 101 (45).jpg             Rocky Point 101 (49).JPG          Rocky Point 101 (51).JPG 

      Rocky Point 101 (52).JPG     Rocky Point 101 (53).JPG     Rocky Point 101 (54).JPG 

      Rocky Point 101 (55).JPG     Rocky Point 101 (56).JPG     Rocky Point 101 (57).JPG 

      Rocky Point 101 (59).JPG     Rocky Point 101 (58).JPG     Rocky Point 101 (61).JPG

      Rocky Point 101 (60).JPG     Rocky Point 101 (62).JPG     Rocky Point 101 (63).JPG 

      Rocky Point 101 (64).JPG            Rocky Point 101 (66).JPG           Rocky Point 101 (65).JPG

      Rocky Point 101 (67).JPG     Rocky Point 101 (68).JPG     Rocky Point 101 (69).JPG

      Rocky Point 101 (46).JPG            Rocky Point 101 (71).JPG           Rocky Point 101 (70).JPG

      Rocky Point 101 (73).JPG     Rocky Point 101 (75).JPG     Rocky Point 101 (72).jpg

      Rocky Point 101 (77).jpg     Rocky Point 101 (78).jpg     Rocky Point 101 (79).JPG

      Rocky Point 101 (76).jpg           Rocky Point 101 (80).jpg          Rocky Point 101 (82).jpg

      Rocky Point 101 (84).JPG     Rocky Point 101 (88).JPG     Rocky Point 101 (83).jpg

      Rocky Point 101 (81).jpg           Rocky Point 101 (86).jpg          Rocky Point 101 (96).JPG

      Rocky Point 101 (89).jpg     Rocky Point 101 (87).jpg     Rocky Point 101 (92).JPG

      Rocky Point 101 (97).jpg     Rocky Point 101 (93).jpg     Rocky Point 101 (91).JPG

      Rocky Point 101 (85).jpg            Rocky Point 101 (74).JPG           Rocky Point 101 (94).JPG

      Rocky Point 101 (95).JPG     Rocky Point 101 (98).JPG     Rocky Point 101 (90).JPG

      Rocky Point 101 (101).jpg         Rocky Point 101 (100).gif        Rocky Point 101 (99).jpg

      Rocky Point 101 (102).jpg            Rocky Point 101 (103).jpg           Rocky Point 101 (106).jpg

      Rocky Point 101 (104).jpg           Rocky Point 101 (108).jpg          Rocky Point 101 (105).jpg

      Rocky Point 101 (109).JPG           Rocky Point 101 (107).jpg          Rocky Point 101 (111).JPG

      Rocky Point 101 (110).jpg           Rocky Point 101 (112).jpg          Rocky Point 101 (113).jpg

      Rocky Point 101 (114).jpg     Rocky Point 101 (115).bmp     Rocky Point 101 (117).jpg

      Rocky Point 101 (116).jpg     Rocky Point 101 (119).jpg     Rocky Point 101 (118).jpg

I hope you have enjoyed the photos everyone. If you have any questions, or if you would like to make a reservation for Rocky Point, please contact Shea at 602-404-2982 or 1-866-785-2350. I am always happy to help.

All information was researched and provided by Shea Peil at seasideshea@gmail.com

Be Sociable, Share!