Here is a brief compendium of information about tourist travel in Mexico. We touch on the most important points, but haven’t the space to tell you everything you might need to know. Be sure to get in touch with SeaSide Reservations if you have questions.
All visitors driving their own vehicles into Mexico must have Mexican auto insurance. No exceptions. Liability is required; full coverage is recommended. You can obtain a policy right here through our website. Insurance is also available at agencies in many cities, including Tucson and Phoenix, as well as at towns nearer the border.
Rocky Point lies within what’s called the Free Zone, which means visitors’ personal vehicles don’t require a visa. If they drive outside the state of Sonora, though, a vehicle permit is required. Cost is about 290 pesos (about 23 U.S. dollars at current exchange rate).
The Arizona-Mexico border at Lukeville-Sonoyta (via Arizona 85) is closed from midnight to 6 a.m. Just as you cross the border into Mexico, if you see a green traffic light on the left, it means proceed. Red means stop. Mexican customs officers can stop you at any point to ask questions about your visit. They also are authorized to inspect your belongings. You may also encounter a military check-point somewhere along the 66-mile drive from the border to Rocky Point.
Upon re-entering the U.S., adult citizens will need to present their passports or other forms of acceptable identification to U.S. customs officials. Birth certificates are acceptable for children 16 and under. More information: Bureau of Customs and Border Protection at (520) 387-5671.
Holidays are particularly hectic times for crossing back into the U.S. If possible, when planning your trip into Mexico, allocate one extra day before and one extra day after the holiday period to avoid long waits at the border. You’ll seldom encounter delays like this when entering Mexico.
Firearms, ammunition and illegal drugs are strictly prohibited in Mexico. If you’re caught in possession of them, the penalties are severe. Interestingly, fireworks are also prohibited in Mexico, but nearly every street corner shop openly sells them. Go figure.
Heading in the opposite direction, back to Arizona, items that you may not bring with you include a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, plants, seeds, uncanned meats, live birds, Cuban cigars and alcohol in excess of one liter. Again, they’re not apt to go through your stuff with a fine-tooth comb, but it’s wise to stay legal. When the customs officer asks you what you’re bringing back, be candid about it.
Most personal items and recreational gear can be taken into Mexico with no problem (duty free). There are “official” limits on things like cigarettes (two cartons, maximum) and cigars (50); the limit on alcohol is three liters. It’s not as though Mexican customs representatives are going to aggressively search for overages, but it’s best to play it safe. They can, if you exceed these and other limits, charge you a tax.
On your return journey north, one good-tasting aspect of goods you can return with to the U.S. is seafood: up to 50 pounds of fish and shrimp, all of which are usually sold on the waterfront in Rocky Point. If you’re in possession of medical drugs that aren’t over-the-counter, be sure you have your U.S. prescription for them.
“Angeles Verdes” are government employees in green and white trucks who patrol the road between Rocky Point and the border to help out motorists in distress. They charge nothing for providing mechanical assistance, but motorists must pay for any required items such as fuel or auto parts needed. The Angels patrol between sunrise and sunset. To signal them, when you’re pulled off to the side of the road, raise the hood of your vehicle.
American greenbacks are just as spendable in Rocky Point as they are in the U.S, although the peso is the official currency. Mexican businesses that list their prices in pesos usually do a slight “mark up” (above the official exchange rate for dollars) when selling goods to tourists.
Rocky Point banks usually have ATMs, but they dispense pesos only, even if they say they’ll disgorge U.S. dollars.
More than half a dozen hospitals and clinics are located in Rocky Point, and most will provide medical care for visitors, for a price. Most don’t accept U.S. medical insurance. A notable exception is the Red Cross (Cruz Roja) on Blvd. Fremont, which is open 24/7. Its services are free, although it gratefully accepts donations.
You may take two domestic pets (per vehicle) with you into Mexico, but you’ll need copies of their current rabies vaccination certificates.
Riding ATVs on public beaches in Rocky Point is prohibited, but they are allowed on many inland dunes areas, beaches located away from town and at three RV parks in and close to town (The Reef, Playa Bonita and Playa de Oro).
The three RV parks mentioned above also offer space, with water, electricity and shower/laundry facilities, to tent campers, but dry camping is pretty much limited to beaches outside the city limits, to north and south.
If you trailer your personal boat to Rocky Point, it does not require a permit to head out to sea. However, if even one person on the boat is fishing, everyone aboard must have a fishing license (obtainable from the Port Captain). Fishing from the shore does not require a license.
Some U.S. cell phone companies offer “international plans” so their phones will work in Mexico, but most others will not. “1-800” numbers that are no-cost within the U.S. can cost the user about $1 a minute if called from Mexico. Avoid the blue “Call USA” pay phones you may see. Using them costs an arm and a leg.
Temperatures in Rocky Point are balmy more often than not. Things may get a mite humid in July and August; rain is infrequent, and thus usually welcome. Sea breezes are usually delightful, although sometimes they pick up to ideal kite-flying velocity. Ordinarily we find that ocean temperatures are anywhere from one to four degrees higher than air temps..
January: 54 degrees F.
February: 55 degrees F.
March: 58 degrees F.
April: 64 degrees F.
May: 70 degrees F.
June: 77 degrees F.
July: 84 degrees F.
August: 86 degrees F.
September: 82 degrees F.
October: 74 degrees F.
November: 62 degrees F.
December: 55 degrees F.
A visit and/or vacation stay in Rocky Point can be one of the highlights of the year.
But plan ahead, ensure you have booked adequate lodging, make sure you have all the personal and recreational items you’ll need. As you’re preparing your itinerary, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Rocky Point experts at SeaSide Reservations. We’ll help make your trip a memorable and enjoyable one.