You roll into Puerto Penasco and don’t speak Spanish, but you’re hungry. The landscape is fairly flat but look out towards the sea, then lift your gaze to the large hill towering over the town. That’s Whale Hill and at the top, you’ll find Casa del Capitan. There’s a lighthouse next door. Let that be your guide. No Habla Espanol? No problem. It’s easy when you’re eating out here. The staff caters to visitors from both sides of the border.
Casa del Capitan is the highest restaurant in the area and a perfect spot to get your bearings. A round bar welcomes you inside the bright yellow, red, and blue establishment. There’s a spacious, multi-leveled dining room and a wide patio with splendid views of the Sea of Cortez, the strand of highrise resorts to the north-west and the main town below.
Mindful menus when eating out
Eating out in Puerto Penasco focuses on seafood. Shrimping and fishing have been the one constant in the region. The sea is rich here and it’s brought a notorious dilemma to focus. You may have heard of the plight of Vaquita Dolphins who are being run into distinction by illegal fishing. That’s not happening in Puerto Penasco as the small dolphins rarely swim near and favor the western side of the sea. The problem is complicated and worthy of a Hollywood potboiler including shady Chinese vendors wanting a fish-bladder with dubious health benefits, smugglers, secretive fishing, and a small, endangered creature caught in the cross-hairs.
If you want to make sure you’re eating responsibly, ask your waiter what’s local and ‘what’s in season’ for the freshest fish, shrimp, clams, and scallops.
Rocky Point becomes Puerto Penasco
Locals still call the area Rocky Point. Set along a sandy expanse that stretches for miles to the north and south, the port city has lifted itself from a series of setbacks. Prohibition in the US set investors south to build hotels and watering holes. A falling out left that in ruins. In 1936 Mexican President Cardenas gave the village its current name and formalized plans for a rail line to other points in the country. He also inspired a highway to the US – Arizona border, 65 miles away. That road still leads visitors into the city. From Phoenix it’s a three hour drive to the heart of town.
A few hotels remained but most visitors camped, fished and partied. In the early 1990’s, laws changed to allow more foreign investment and the tourist boom has been taking off ever since. Looking for a colorful, boutique experience or the heights of all-inclusive luxury? It’s all here. (Read about where to stay in this earlier post.)
There are hotels and restaurants sprinkled throughout the village. Looking for a snack? Try a fresh cut pineapple or sip from a coconut at one of the many vendor trucks or roadside stalls. The Malecon overflows with them. There are small local and large party bars, waterfront dining and rooms with a view.
It’s still a working marina with boats moored near but there are several party boats offering visitor sunset cruises and day trips when the winds allow.
See more of Puerto Penasco and the Marina in this video:
Eating out in the resorts
Don’t shy away from the resort restaurants when eating out in Puerto Penasco. They are many, beautiful dining rooms and creative chefs honoring traditional ingredients while taking them to new heights.
Eating out in Puerto Penasco, Mexico
- El Oktopus – Malecon bar and restaurant
- El Tapeo – Wine bar and Paella
- Casa del Capitan – At the top of Whale Hill, adjacent to the lighthouse
- Senorita Rita – Sunset Cruise from the Marina
- Tequilla Factory – Shop and tastings
- Citron – Steak and Seafood inside the Las Palomas Resort
- Miguel’s – Inside the Penasco del Sol Resort
- For more information: Come to Rocky Point Website
My trip to Puerto Penasco was hosted by the Rocky Point CVB but all opinions, pictures, and videos are my own.
I hope you enjoyed the post. Share these pins with your pals:
Proud member of these linkups: