Posted by: Sailing Camelot | September 15, 2011

Sep 10th – Discovering Puerto Penasco

With all synapses properly firing and all senses alert after a good, long night of deep sleep we’re ready to scout the territory. True to his word, Craig picks us up in the morning and takes us downtown for breakfast –first things first!-.

Downtown Puerto Penasco is colorful and much more modern than I anticipated, most buildings look brand new. This small city of 45,000, based on tourism and fishing (mainly shrimp), is clearly in the midst of a development boom. Right now is low season and very quiet, but we’re told that this place gets packed with tourists especially at Spring Break and Easter. The closest U.S. border is only 60 miles away, and it’s a three hour drive from here to Phoenix or Tucson – Arizona.

After an excellent and abundant breakfast Craig takes us for an extensive tour of the area. We discover that Puerto Penasco -also known as Rocky Point- spreads out far and wide; there are multiple resorts and luxury condo buildings, grocery stores big enough to satisfy the average Gringo, every service you can think of, and lots of night clubs, restaurants, souvenir
shops. As a matter of fact, walking the malecon (main street) reminds me a little bit of Puerto Vallarta on a much smaller scale.

The Malecon - Downtown

Monument to the Shrimpers

The gorgeous Plaza

It’s smoldering hot and quite humid, we’re sweating by the pint. Craig proposes a brilliant and refreshing way to spend the afternoon: go to one of a few Pool Bars in town!

So he takes us to the Pink Cadillac Pool Bar, where we spend the rest of the day in total bliss: the boys chatting away while marinating in the pool, me spread out in the sun reading my book. Excellent cheeseburgers were consumed at the bar while sitting in the water. They truly make you feel welcome here!

Slow Day at the Pink Cadillac Pool Bar

The Pool complete with Toys

Relaxing by Pool

Thanks and cheers to Craig for being such a gracious host and an attentive friend.

On Sunday morning we move Camelot to the end tie at Marina Fonatur, a much better solution with much less traffic. Monday is entirely devoted to boat cleaning and maintenance, poor Camelot was caked in dust and salt. It’s extremely hot, so we work a little and rest a lot…

Shrimpers in the Harbor - The Mast on the right belongs to Camelot! See the bow?

The Fleet moored behind us

Neighbors Up Close

By now Tom has made fast friends all around the Marina. He knows each Fonatur guy by name, they come down to the boat for beers at the end of the day. Tom’s Spanish is markedly improving! Or maybe the beers make the language barrier abate…

Tom's New Friends: Eduardo to the left and Marcos to the right

Tom with another friend: Rigoberto, the Security Guard

We explained to our friends about our need to ride up to the border to renew our Visas, and sure enough there’s a firend of a friend who owns a taxi and is willing to take us for a modest sum. We meet Javier, another super friendly and very reliable guy, who becomes our chauffeur for the rest of our stay here.

Tuesday morning Javier drives us to the border town of Sonoyta, 60 miles thru the desert in a straight line. We’re there in an hour. The formalities of renewing our Visas take just about 20 minutes; every single person we meet in the office is courteous, friendly and genuinely impressed by our lifestyle. Everybody wishes us safe travels and good luck, and with their
blessings still ringing in our ears we depart this colorful little town. Another tedious hour-long drive is made a little better by the copious amount of chocolate I brought for the trip. We all chomp on Snicker bars contentedly and before we know it we’re back In Puerto Penasco. By the way, the town is getting ready to celebrate their Independence Day (September 16th); the festivities will start on Thursday evening and last throughout the weekend. FIESTA!

All around little stalls are being erected; there will be food, clothing, souvenirs, local artifacts, flags and much more.

Wednesday is devoted to massive grocery shopping at the local, very well stocked supermarket. We’re thrilled to discover that food prices are very reasonable, and ecstatic to finally find steaks cut thick, the way we like them!

Javier is our shining star, patiently waiting for us and providing support. He also helps us unload and transport the groceries to the boat, well beyond his call of duty. He shyly admits that he’s curious to see Camelot, so Tom shows him around like a proud Papa. Lots of uuhhh and aaahhh follow, then Javier says that he wants to present us with a gift before we depart, to send us off with his blessing: a load of Tamales made by his wife.

For those who don’t know them, here’s a quick Tamales description courtesy of Wikipedia:

A tamale is a traditional Latin American dish made of masa -a starchy dough, usually corn-based-, which is steamed or boiled in a leaf wrapper. The wrapping is discarded before
eating. Tamales can be further filled with meats, cheese, vegetables, chilies or any preparation according to taste, and both the filling and the cooking liquid may be seasoned. Tamales were one of the staples found by the Spanish Conquistadors when they first arrived in Mexico and were soon widely spread throughout their other colonies. Tamales are said to have been as ubiquitous and varied as the sandwich is today.

Tom is crazy about Tamales, and I certainly don’t shy away from them! So we’re more than grateful for his offer, and are salivating in anticipation.

Sure enough, on Thursday morning Javier arrives to our boat with his wife Emma, a very spirited young woman with sparkling eyes and a ready smile, carrying a load of fragrant, freshly made Tamales. They can only stay a few minutes, so I show Camelot to a very curious Emma. As it usual happens with visiting women, she’s most impressed by my on-board washing machine.

As they take their leave, we hug and profusely thank them, accepting their well wishes for our upcoming trip. What a great couple!

As soon as they leave, I already, shamelessly have a Tamale in each hand – beating Tom by a good three minutes…  I just couldn’t wait, what can I say…  And boy, are they GOOD!!! 

Hot Tamales by Emma! Yum Yum...



  1. I keep hearing you say how hot it is down there. How hot is it? Low 90’s? Do you have any air conditioning in your boat? Does it cool off at night?

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