History of Rocky Point

Most Americans call it ROCKY POINT MEXICO. It is actually Puerto Peñasco (Rocky Port) Mexico. It is located where the Sonoran Desert meets the Sea of Cortez, 65 miles south of the Arizona/Mexico border.  The town was first settled in the 1920’s. Prior to that, it was just one of the safe harbors for vagabonds that fished the upper Sea of Cortez.  The town lacked any source of drinking water, so it was not settled permanently. Rocky Point has been the fishing, beach and partying playground for people from southwestern US areas for many years. Even in the 1800’s, fishermen from Arizona came to enjoy great fishing.

During the 1920’s prohibition in the US, Rocky Point had its first real boom when John Stone, a hotel owner from Ajo, Arizona saw an opportunity to make money. He drilled a water well east of town and built a hotel/casino. He also set up flight service from Phoenix and Tucson. Tourists could come to Mexico and enjoy drinking, gambling and fishing without fear. It is said Al Capone and many of his friends were frequent visitors. Rocky Point was growing and doing well until Stone and the locals had a falling out. He burned down the hotel and blew up the water well on his way out of town. The town died again.

It wasn’t until 1936 that Rocky Point got another chance to develop. Mexico President Lazargo Cardenas came to the area in 1936 and started the process of building a railroad connecting the Baja area to central Mexico with a major railhead and sea port at Rocky Point. He named it Puerto Punta Peñasco (Port Rocky Point). Since then the “Punta” has been dropped. Rocky Point prospered for many years. The railroad was completed and the road to the US was built. The Shrimp and Fish industry grew. Several hotels were built.  

Up until about twenty years ago tourism had again decreased, and was mainly in the form of  camping on the beach, going fishing and partying. Not many hotels were left. Puerto Peñasco industry was primarily commercial diving, fishing and shrimping in the beautiful Sea of Cortez. The pristine beaches with crystal clear waters stretched for a hundred miles north or south with almost no development. In the early 1990’s Mexican law changed to allow more foreign investment in property and business. This has given Puerto Peñasco a third opportunity to grow. Many private and commercial projects have resulted in Puerto Peñasco growing into a major Mexico tourist destination with great resorts, hotels, restaurants, and fun things to do. Thousands of Americans have built homes in Rocky Point.  The beaches are still there to enjoy, as well as the fish, shrimp, clams and scallops. But now Rocky Point has much more to offer visitors for vacation accommodations and fun.