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Puerto Peñasco Hangout

March 24, 2023 - April 4, 2023

Playa Bonita RV Park • Puerto Peñasco, Sonora, Mexico

This Hangout is currently sold out, but join the waiting list and we’ll let you know if a spot opens up!

Leave winter behind on Mexico's sunny beaches

Nestled into northwestern Sonora, the former fishing village of Puerto Peñasco (also known as Rocky Point in English) today offers visitors a wide variety of exciting activities and experiences, all set against the backdrop of the Great Altar Desert and the shores of the Sea of Cortez. During the 11-night Puerto Peñasco Hangout, you’ll be inspired by the area’s natural beauty and unique landscapes as you play, dine, explore, or just relax.

On the day that the 62nd Escapade ends, we’ll gather less than three hours away in Ajo, Arizona for an overnight stay in full-hookup sites. The next day, we will caravan together through Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument to the Lukeville, where we’ll cross the international border together. Just a little more than an hour later, we’ll arrive at our beachfront RV park, right on the Sea of Cortez, with plenty of time to unwind on the beach before a welcome taco buffet dinner that evening.

Then for the next 10 days, we’ll hang out together, soaking up the warm spring weather, sharing evening happy hours and campfires on the beach, enjoying potlucks and “throw-downs”, and exploring the charming restaurants, bars and shops of Puerto Peñasco!

Included activities

On our first full day in Mexico, we will wander along Puerto Penasco’s Malecón (waterfront esplanade), which includes Colosio Plaza and a corridor full of curios shops, bars, and restaurants. Then we’ll watch evening envelop the city during our two-hour private sunset cruise on the Sea of Cortez, featuring snacks, soft drinks, music, and an open bar. 

At the Tequila Factory, we’ll get to sample nine different varieties of Mexico’s most famous distilled spirit, as we learn from the owner Fernando (who is somewhat of a local celebrity) about how genuine tequila is made.

We’ll spend a lazy afternoon enjoying the live music, cornhole games, and swimming in the pool at Manny’s Beach Club, a popular beachfront venue that features delicious food, beer, wine, and margaritas and other cocktails. Don’t forget your swimsuit!

We’ll lace up our hiking boots to explore the coastline of nearby Bahía la Cholla (Choya Bay) on a beach hike that will treat us to dramatic views of rugged hills, sandy beaches, rocky shoals, and marine wildlife.

As a tourist town, Puerto Peñasco is well known for its many excellent restaurants. We’ll visit a few of them as a group during the Hangout, including Grapes & Barley, which is popular for its wide selection of craft beers and wines and features a tap room, beer garden and rooftop wine lounge.

If you like to shop, Puerto Peñasco’s “Rodeo Drive” has you covered! We’ll visit the curios shops, higher-end stores, and art galleries that line this street, where you’ll find an almost infinite variety of folk art and souvenirs, from shell-art and ironwood figures by local artisans to Mexican ceramics, silver jewelry, t-shirts, sombreros, the traditional jorongo (Mexican blankets and serapes), bags, and iron work, among other treasures.

Of course, there will be plenty of activities to entertain you in camp as well, including a “beach drink throwdown” fundraiser for Escapees CARE (enter your best recipe, alcoholic or not!), a beach music sing-along/karaoke night, brunch and dinner potlucks, and campfires on the beach.

Optional activities

Yoga Classes with Theresé Julo – $80/person

Yoga classes with instructor Theresé Julo (The Tripping Yogi) are always one of the most popular activities at Hangouts, Convergences and Escapade. Theresé will lead eight yoga classes during the Puerto Peñasco Hangout, including both morning sessions and evening sunset sessions on the beach! Everyone is welcome; no yoga experience is needed. (You must purchase all eight sessions as a package; individual classes are not available.)

Paint & Sip – $30/person

Show off your art skills during an instructor-led painting class while you enjoy wine and Spanish tapas at El Tapeo Wine Bar & Tapas. This class includes your instructor from the Rocky Point Art Gallery; your canvas, paints & brushes; two glasses of wine; and a selection of appetizers. And you’ll bring home a unique souvenir that you created!

ATV Guided Adventure Tour – $50/person

The deserts surrounding the Sea of Cortez offer a wide variety of off-roading opportunities. On this three-hour guided tour with Javier’s Rocky Point Quad Adventures, you’ll drive or ride as a passenger on a quad ATV through several scenic locations, including a visit to an oyster farm where clams and oysters are available for purchase. Each of our two tours can accommodate up to 12 people including 8 drivers and four passengers. (See the note below for more details on space limitations for this tour.)

Guided Deep-Sea Fishing – $115/person

The Sea of Cortez offers incredible opportunities for anglers. This six-hour deep-sea fishing charter aboard the Blue Fin, a 32-foot Sea Ray Sedan Bridge, will take you 18-20 miles offshore in search of grouper, pinto bass, red snapper, and white sea bass. Your fee includes a knowledgeable captain and guide, all fishing tackle and equipment, beer, sodas, waters, gratuities & taxes. Each of our two tours can accommodate up to eight people. (See the note below for more details on space limitations for this tour.)

El Pinacate Biosphere Hiking Eco-Tour – $79/person

The El Pinacate y Gran Desierto de Altar Biosphere Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, includes more than 30 square miles of volcanic fields and several large craters. This six-hour tour will begin with a visit to the Schuk Toak (sacred mountain) Museum. You will then hike several short trails that describe the biological and geological aspects of the Reserve, followed by visits on foot to the very edges of the two largest craters, Elegante and El Colorado. Your tour includes minibus transportation between Puerto Penasco and the Reserve, a picnic lunch at El Colorado, admission to the Reserve, and the services of a knowledgeable guide. This tour can accommodate up to 25 people. (See the note below for more details on space limitations for this tour.)

Special note for the ATV, Deep-Sea Fishing and El Pinacate tours: If more people sign up for these tours than there are spots available, priority will be given in the order of registration, with additional participants automatically wait-listed for a cancellation. Refunds will be issued to any registered participant who can’t be accommodated due to space limitations.

Hangout location

Our home base for our 10 nights in Puerto Peñasco will be the Playa Bonita RV Park, located right on the shore of the Sea of Cortez, just steps from the beach. All of our sites will have full hookups with 30 amp electrical service, water and sewer. 50 amp service will be available for an additional fee paid to the park. Playa Bonita also has on-site laundry facilities, a bathhouse, a jacuzzi, and a recreation room. Pets are welcome as long as they are on a leash while outside your RV.  

We will spend the night before we leave for Mexico in full hookup sites at the Ajo Heights RV Park and Belly Acres RV Park, which are adjacent to each other in Ajo, Arizona.

This Hangout is limited to only 30 RVs and tickets will go quickly—so be ready to register when they go on sale! 

Is this event right for me?

Every member is welcome at all Escapees RV Club events. With that said, the Puerto Peñasco Hangout is best suited for members who:

  • enjoy hiking and walking
  • like experiencing different cultures
  • can participate in activities during weekdays (traditional working/business hours)

For events designed specifically for working-age RVers, with most activities in the evenings and on weekends, try an Xscapers Convergence. Or for more of an all-inclusive, guided-tour experience, you may prefer one of our Head-Out Programs (HOPs).

Schedule

Activities and schedule are subject to change. Activities marked with an *asterisk are not included in your Hangout and optional activities fee.

Friday 3/24

Arrive in Ajo, AZ

Introductions & orientation meeting

Saturday 3/25

Caravan to Puerto Peñasco
Check-in at Playa Bonita RV Park
Welcome dinner at Puesta del Sol

Sunday 3/26

Morning yoga class
Exploring the Malecón
Sunset cruise

Monday 3/27

Morning yoga class
Happy hour & dinner at Grapes & Barley*

Tuesday 3/28

Morning yoga class
Tastings at Tequila Factory
Potluck dinner

Wednesday 3/29

ATV adventure tour #1
Deep sea fishing tour #1
Beach drink throwdown
Sunset yoga class

Thursday 3/30

ATV adventure tour #2
Deep sea fishing tour #2
Beach music karaoke/sing-along

Friday 3/31

Morning yoga class
Shopping on “Rodeo Drive”
Manny’s Beach Club*
Campfire on the beach

Saturday 4/1

El Pinacate eco-tour
Sunset yoga class

Sunday 4/2

Morning yoga class
Potluck brunch
Paint & Sip at El Tapeo

Monday 4/3

Morning yoga class
Cerro la Choya hike
Farewell dinner at Puesta del Sol

Tuesday 4/4

Check-out
Return to United States

Important things to know

International travel by RV is a bit more complicated than traveling in the United States. We will organize a caravan and do everything we can to help make your trip amazing.  But you are responsible for complying with all of the following requirements, and the group will not be delayed if you fail to do so. 

  • Passports: Every attendee (including children) must have a valid passport with an expiration date of October 4, 2023 or later.
  • Tourist cards (FMM): You must obtain a FMM (Forma Migratoria Múltiple, a Mexican tourist card) for each attendee online within the month before our border crossing. The cost is about US$30 a person, depending on the current exchange rate. We will provide each attendee with detailed instructions for how to do this.
  • Vehicle liability insurance: Mexican law requires that you have vehicle liability insurance issued by a Mexican insurer. The cost can be significant–as much as US$100 or more–depending on your RV and the options you select. Coverage for damage to your vehicle(s), if you need it, will further increase this cost. See more details in the FAQ below. To avoid surprises, we recommend getting online quotes for insurance before registering for the Hangout.
  • Your RV and tow or towed vehicles must be registered in your name, and must be in good mechanical condition to make the drive between Ajo and Puerto Peñasco. All the roads and highways we’ll travel on are paved. 
  • Pets are permitted in Mexico as long as they have current vaccinations. A veterinary health certificate is no longer needed for dogs and cats, but may still be required for other animals.
  • Guns and ammunition are illegal in Mexico. Enforcement is strict. Expect your vehicles to be inspected. Any guns or ammo found will be confiscated and result in you being immediately jailed. Don’t do it.
  • Recreational drugs and medical marijuana are illegal in Mexico. Again, enforcement is strict. Expect your vehicles to be inspected by drug-sniffing dogs. Illegal drugs will be confiscated and you will be sent to jail. If you take any controlled substances (other than medical marijuana) prescribed by a physician, be sure they are in the original bottles with the prescription label. Hemp-derived CBD products containing less than 1% THC are permitted.
  • Radios: We recommend that you have with you a Family Radio Service (FRS)-capable walkie-talkie for communications within the caravan (and so you can order food and drinks from the restaurant to be brought to your rig). These cost $25-$50 for a pair on Amazon. Be sure your radio has fresh batteries if it uses disposables, or bring the battery charger.

Also be sure to read the Frequently Asked Questions below.

Price & what's included

Registration includes:

  • 1 night camping in a full hookup site in Ajo, AZ
  • 10 nights camping in a full hookup site on the Sea of Cortez
  • Welcome & farewell dinners
  • Sunset cruise with music & open bar
  • Tequila tasting
  • Hiking & social activities
  • Pre-departure information webinar
  • Event beach bag & koozies
  • Hangout hosts

Additional required costs:

  • Mexican tourist cards (about $30 per person)
  • Mexican vehicle liability insurance (about $100-$300 or more, depending on RV and options selected)

Optional activities:

  • 8 Yoga Classes – $80
  • Paint & Sip – $30
  • ATV Guided Adventure Tour – $50
  • Guided Deep-Sea Fishing – $115
  • El Pinacate Biosphere Eco-Tour – $79

Other possible costs to consider: meals out, property insurance coverage if needed

All activities listed for this event are subject to change.

Hangout price

You must be an Escapees RV Club member to attend this event. If you are not currently a member, you will be able to add a new membership during the registration process.

  • You are physically capable of participating in the event.
  • Your recreational vehicle, other vehicles, and any other equipment you may use to participate in the event will be in working condition.
  • You will observe all applicable laws (including obtaining relevant licenses) and event rules, and will conduct yourself in a safe and prudent manner while participating in the event. 
  • That although volunteers may be directing and assisting you to your parking area, it is the driver of the vehicle who is ultimately responsible for avoiding obstacles or dangerous situations and is solely responsible for any damage to your property or the property of others.
  • You accept and assume all risks arising from participation in the event, and waive and release all claims against Escapees or its affiliates relating to such participation. 
  • You consent to receive medical treatment deemed necessary if you are injured or require medical attention during your participation in the event, and agree that you are solely responsible for all related costs.
  • You grant your permission to be filmed, videotaped, audio taped or photographed, and grant to Escapees full use thereof without compensation.
  • You will receive occasional email notifications of future Escapees events; however, you can opt-out of these notifications at any time.

The above is only a summary. Please carefully read the full the terms and conditions, assumption of risk, and waiver of claims agreement that will be provided to you during the registration process.

How to register

To register, click the button below and follow the instructions on your screen. If you need assistance with your registration, please call Escapees Event Registration at ‭(936) 755-1060‬‬.

Registration opens Wednesday, October 19, 2023
at 10:00 a.m. Central Time.

Before registering, be sure you read and understand the Important Things to Know (particularly the additional costs for mandatory Mexican vehicle liability insurance) and the cancellation policy.

We’re sorry, but this Hangout is currently sold out. If you’d still like to attend, please join the waiting list below. We’ll notify you if a spot opens up.

After you register

Watch for an email from registration@escapees.com for a confirmation of your registration. If you don’t receive it, call Escapees Event Registration at ‭(936) 755-1060‬ to be sure that your registration was processed correctly.

After you register, please join the private Hangout group on Facebook (a link to this group will be in your confirmation email). We will use this group to communicate with Hangout attendees before and during the event. You will also receive one or more emails before the Hangout with more information as needed.

Frequently asked questions

Yes. Every attendee (including children) must have a valid passport with an expiration date of October 4, 2023 or later. 

If you are a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you don’t need a visa. However, you do need a FMM (Forma Migratoria Múltiple), basically a Mexican tourist card, for each attendee. You can obtain the FMM online within the month before our border crossing. The cost is about US$30 a person, depending on the current exchange rate. We will provide each attendee with detailed instructions for how to do this. You must bring your printed FMMs and payment receipts with you to check-in. We will have the Mexican authorities stamp our FMMs when we cross the border into Mexico.

Mexican federal law requires that you have vehicle liability insurance issued by a Mexican insurer. This insurance covers bodily injury to and damage to property of third parties while you’re driving. The minimum required coverage level is 50,000 pesos (about US$2,500) in property damage costs and 100,000 pesos (about US$5,000) in personal injury expenses, but for their own protection, most visitors purchase at least $100,000 in coverage.

Each self-propelled vehicle that you plan to operate in Mexico must have its own liability policy. If you have a motorhome and a toad, that means you’ll need two policies. Owners of towed trailers will need liability coverage only on their tow vehicle.

The cost for the required liability coverage can be US$100 or more per vehicle, depending on your vehicles and the options you select. In the past, some Escapees members who have motorhomes with toads have saved money by insuring their motorhome for just the two driving days. You’ll want liability coverage on your toad or tow vehicle for the entire duration of the Hangout so that you can drive it while you’re there.

You may also need or want insurance coverage for damage to your RV or other vehicles if your U.S. insurance doesn’t already provide it. (Many insurers include this coverage for destinations within 75 or 100 miles of the border, which Puerto Peñasco is.) The cost for this coverage depends mostly on the value of the insured vehicle(s)–more expensive vehicles cost more to insure.

It’s important to understand that your U.S. policy has two main parts: liability to third parties (bodily injury and property damage), and damage to your own vehicles (collision and comprehensive).

The liability portion of your U.S. policy is not valid in Mexico. You are required to purchase a Mexican liability policy as described above.

The damage to your vehicles portion of your U.S. policy MAY OR MAY NOT cover you for damage incurred in Mexico. Read your policy and talk with your insurer to find out.

If your U.S. policy does not provide damage coverage in Mexico, you can add this coverage when you buy your Mexican liability policy. Be aware that the cost for this coverage depends mostly on the value of the insured vehicle(s)–more expensive vehicles cost more to insure. As a VERY rough guide, figure on an additional US$100 in premium for every $100,000 in vehicle value.

If your U.S. policy does provide coverage for damage to your vehicles in Mexico, be sure you understand and comply with any applicable restrictions. If you’re OK with those restrictions, you don’t need to spend the extra money on redundant Mexican damage coverage.

FCIS Insurance, an Escapees Commercial Partner, can assist you with your Mexican liability insurance. Call 800-331-1520 or email info@fcisinsurance.com to discuss options with one of their RV insurance specialists.

You can also price and buy your Mexican liability insurance from a number of online sites, including Lewis and LewisMexpro.com and Oscar Padilla Mexican Insurance. Or if you prefer, you can visit a Mexican insurance broker in one of the U.S. border towns. Finally, your U.S. insurer may also be able to suggest a source.

Be sure to shop around, as premiums can vary significantly between insurers.

The roads between the U.S. and Puerto Peñasco are all paved, and pretty much like you’d find in the United States. Most of the roads in Puerto Peñasco itself are also paved, although you may encounter dirt secondary roads on occasion.

Yes, all of the diesel fuel sold in the northern part of Sonora is ultra-low-sulfur (ULSD) suitable for use in all diesel engines. You will not see it labeled as ULSD, however. 

If you prefer not to buy diesel in Mexico, know that the round-trip from Ajo to Puerto Peñasco is about 210 miles, so most vehicles can make it on one tank of fuel.

Yes, pets are permitted in Mexico as long as they have current vaccinations and parasite treatments. As of December 16, 2019, a veterinary health certificate is no longer required for dogs and cats, but may still be required for other animals.

Dogs must be kept on leash at all times while outside your RV. Please be sure to pick up after your dog.

No. Guns and ammunition are illegal in Mexico. Enforcement is strict. Expect your vehicles to be inspected at the border and again at a military checkpoint on the way to San Felipe. Any guns or ammo found will be confiscated and result in you being immediately sent to prison. 

In the past, some Escapees members have shared the rental of a self-storage unit in the U.S. to store their prohibited items the night before departure. We have also heard of travelers leaving their weapons with a pawn shop in the U.S. and then retrieving them when they return.

No. Recreational drugs, including marijuana, are illegal in Mexico. Again, enforcement is strict. You should expect your vehicles to be inspected by drug-sniffing dogs at least once. Illegal drugs will be confiscated and you will be sent to prison.

If you take any controlled substances prescribed by a physician, be sure they are in the original bottles with the prescription label attached. And if possible, don’t bring any larger quantity than what you’ll need during the Hangout.

While not required, it’s highly recommended to help keep in contact with others in the caravan. They are especially useful if you need assistance during the journey. 

Any Family Radio Service (FRS)-capable walkie-talkie will work. If you don’t already have one, they cost $25-$50 for a pair on Amazon. Be sure your radio has fresh batteries if it uses disposables, or fully charge rechargeable batteries before each travel day.

Citizens-band (CB) radios are not required.

To help ensure that illness doesn’t interrupt your fun, we recommend drinking and brushing your teeth with only purified bottled water. (Bottled water is readily available at stores in town, so don’t worry about bringing a 10-day supply.) 

The fresh water supply is fine for bathing, washing dishes, and so on. Many RVers sanitize their fresh water systems upon returning from Mexico, just to be safe.

Yes, there are several major supermarkets within a short drive from the RV park.

Playa Bonita RV Park has wifi, but as with many campground wifi systems, it may not be reliable with so many people in one area.  If you need data-intensive bandwidth, you may wish to use your own cellular hotspot or Starlink system (which also works in Mexico).

Your cell phone will work in Mexico, and coverage in the RV park and the cities is generally good. However, availability of service, data speed and data caps will vary depending on your device, plan and carrier. Please check with your carrier beforehand.

We strongly recommend that you have at least mobile voice service on your phone while you’re in Mexico for use in an emergency. If your current U.S. plan does not include service in Mexico and you can’t add it temporarily, it is possible to get a local SIM card and add data to it to use in your cell phone or other mobile device. The cost is about $5 per gigabyte of data.

Tents are not permitted in the camping area due to space constraints. Small shade tents or shelters are OK on the beach.

The town of Puerto Peñasco is probably safer than many large American cities. You will see tourists and residents alike walking around and to and from the Malecón and downtown areas at night. Of course, it’s always a good idea to take the same reasonable precautions you would in the United States.

From Ajo, AZ to the border crossing in Lukeville and then to the campground in Puerto Peñasco is 105 miles and about 2 hours of driving time. Our actual travel time, however, will be closer to 3-4 hours, allowing time for customs and immigration formalities at the border.

No, but we encourage you to travel with the caravan for safety and fun. Participants traveling to Mexico with the caravan will also enjoy expedited crossing at the border.

Yes, subject to availability at the RV park. As soon as you know your schedule, request a reservation for your extra days at Playa Bonita RV Park by email at reservations@playabonitarv.com or by calling 011 52-638-383-2596. If you call, be sure to let them know that you’ll be with the Hangout so they can try to keep you within our block of sites after our event is over.

Unfortunately, no. Because of the different sizes of sites, we will assign rigs to sites based on their rig size. In general, we will put each participant into the smallest site that can accommodate their rig.

No, our sites won’t face the beach, because those sites are reserved years in advance. However, our sites will be immediately behind the beachfront sites, putting you only a few steps from the water.

No. Each rig owner must register themselves separately, and at least one person in each rig must be an Escapees member.  

None of the sites at Puerto Peñasco RV Park are designated as handicapped accessible. And because the legal requirements in Mexico for providing accessible accommodations are not the same as in the U.S., the park and the businesses in town in general may present numerous barriers to people with mobility challenges. Almost the entire campground is firm sand, including most of the walkways, and there are steps in various places, including from the camping area down to the beach.

No. English is widely spoken throughout Puerto Peñasco. Of course, it’s always polite when traveling internationally to learn a few words to be able to communicate in the local language!

Yes, there are several car rental agencies in Puerto Peñasco, including Enterprise. 

Yes! The Hangout begins on the same day that the 62nd Escapade ends. So you can leave the Pima County Fairgrounds by check-out time and make the approximately 3-hour drive to Ajo, AZ with plenty of time to spare.

No problem! Just email hangouts@escapees.com with your question, and we’ll do our best to get you an answer.

Cancellations & travel insurance

Should you need to cancel your registration, call Escapees Event Registration at ‭(936) 755-1060‬ between 8 am and 4 pm Central Time, Monday through Friday, or email registration@escapees.com. You may be entitled to a partial refund of your registration fees, depending on when we receive your cancellation:

  • On or before Monday, January 23, 2023: $50 cancellation fee, remainder of payment refunded
  • Monday, January 24 through Wednesday, February 22, 2023: 50% refund of full event cost
  • After Wednesday, February 22, 2023: no refund

We recommend that you purchase travel insurance after registering to protect your investment in the Hangout if you must cancel due to unexpected illness, death, or certain other contingencies. Travel insurance can also help to cover medical and trip interruption expenses for emergencies that occur during the Hangout. Pre-existing medical conditions are waived as long as you purchased your insurance within 15 days after your Hangout registration fee payment. Get a personalized online travel insurance quote now.

Waiting list

If this Hangout is sold out when you try to register, please join the waiting list by completing the form below. There are usually several cancellations before a Hangout…so if a spot opens up and you’re the next one on the waiting list, you’ll get another shot at registration! (Note: please don’t join the waiting list unless and until the Hangout sells out. Entries received before that time will be ignored.)

Details

Start:
March 24, 2023
End:
April 4, 2023
Event Category:
Event Tags:
, ,
Website:
escapees.com/hangouts

Organizer

Cheryl & David Goldstein, Hangouts Directors
Phone:
936-327-8873
Email:
hangouts@escapees.com

Venue

Playa Bonita RV Park
Playa del Mar de Cortes y Paseo Balboa Final
Puerto Peñasco, Sonora 83550 Mexico
+ Google Map
Phone:
+52 638 383 2596
View Venue Website

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