Patio dining at El Tapeo Puerto Penasco

Patio dining at El Tapeo Puerto Penasco

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.

Lighthouse at the top of Whale Hll in Puerto Penasco Mexico

Eating out with traditional Guacamole served at El Capitan with locally grown avacodos.

Eating out with traditional Guacamole served at El Capitan with Mexico-grown avocados.

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.

Vaquita mural in Puerto Penasco

Vaquita mural in Puerto Penasco

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.

Shrimp for sale in Malecon shops.

Shrimp for sale in Malecon shops. Are they in-season? Stored properly? Ask!

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.

beach resorts on the Puerto Penasco Bay

Looking northwest from the Penasco del Sol Resort

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.)

el oktupus bar in puerto penasco

Inside El Oktopus, the elegant upstairs bar on the Malecon.

Blue corn and tender beef at El Ocktupus

Blue corn and tender beef at El Oktopus

Malecon gateway Puerto Penasco Mexico

The Malecon

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.

Tequila tastings and history lessons inside the Tequila Factory

Tequila tastings inside the Tequila Factory (Factory in name only that houses a dizzying collection.

Bottle of Penasco tequila made in Jalisco.

A bottle of Penasco tequila that’s actually made in Jalisco.

The Marina

Senorita Rita sunset cruise in the Marina

Senorita Rita sunset cruise in the Marina

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:


Chicken entree in Miguels at the Paloma del Sol Resort, Puerto Penasco

Chicken entree in Miguel’s at the Paloma del Sol Resort, Puerto Penasco

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.

Paella platter served in the El Tapeo wine bar and cafe.

Paella platter served in the El Tapeo wine bar and cafe next to Las Palomas Resort.

Traditional recipes on the table inside the Grand Mayan Resort.

Traditional recipes at a poolside cafe inside the Grand Mayan Resort.

Eating out in Puerto Penasco, Mexico

My trip to Puerto Penasco was hosted by the Rocky Point CVB but all opinions, pictures, and videos are my own.

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Eating out responsibly in Puerto Penasco Mexico

Mindful menu items in Puerto Penasco, Mexico

Eating out responsibly at El Oktopus in Puerto Penasco, Mexico











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