RV Days, Issue #009– Mexico RV Travel — Planning and Places

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RV Days, Issue #009– Mexico RV Travel — Planning and Places
May 29, 2006
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May 29, 2006
Issue #9

In this Issue:

  • Mexico RV Travel: Getting Ready
  • El Golfo
  • Puerto Penasco
  • Kino Bay
  • San Carlos

Mexico RV Travel – Getting Ready:

We started the preparation for our Mexico RV trip with two steps. We bought a “must-have” book and Mexico insurance. Armed with our newfound knowledge, we knew what to do to obtain documents for our vehicles and ourselves. We roughed out a very loose itinerary and headed on our way.

Now that we are back, we are happy to share our insights on places we have been and things we have learned along the way.
We do recommend the Mexican camping book – it helps you know what to expect and is full of campground and driving tips.

Go with an open mind and flexible travel plans. Understand what you will do about phone service and mail (or at least know what you might do without). Have your vehicles in good repair. Drive carefully. Take your time and enjoy.

See our site for more thoughts on Mexico RV travel.

El Golfo de Santa Clara:

We went to El Golfo de Santa Clara purely because there was an RPI park there. The park was a pleasant place with a great location on the beach. It is a Colorado River Adventure membership park – some CRA members spend the entire winter season at El Golfo, or even the entire year. They were a very friendly and welcoming bunch. Even though we were there as the winter season was winding down, there were still activities going on. During the winter months, there is a full complement of things to do, including cookouts, darts, exercise, karaoke, and so on.

As our first foray into Mexico, we were initially disillusioned with the town of Santa Clara. But looking back now, we realize that it was a good example of a developing Mexican town in the throes of a transition. And in keeping with our own advice about open minds, we did take in the town for what it was – shopping in the little markets, eating at taco stands, and navigating the dirt roads.

Read more of our impressions of El Golfo.

Puerto Penasco:

So what happens as tourism develops? Some good and some bad things we think. We next went to Puerto Penasco, or Rocky Point as it has been billed by the Americans. Sometimes marketed as “Arizona’s beach”, the signs of Americans taking over are obvious. High-rise condos are going up all along the main Sandy Beach. Further out, construction booms on many planned resort communities along the coast south of the Old Port. The Mayan Palace is out on its own private expanse of beach and more luxury homes are going in around it.

The Old Port seems to have evolved into a tourist-focused place, with plenty of restaurants and shops selling Mexican and not-so-Mexican crafts and other wares. There is a string of fish markets and a decent Malecon (like a town plaza/walkway along the water). Bars target the party-hound. Real Estate offices are all over. There are plenty of places to eat Carne Asada and Fish tacos. In peak weeks and weekends, ATVs can be rented to ride annoyingly through town and over the remaining section of sand dunes set aside for this purpose.

We stayed at La Playa Bonita RV Park, a popular RV park along Sandy Beach, which is a nice stretch of beach near town. The sites are close together, but we were happy to get one right along the beach. We had a great ocean view from this site, which makes all the difference. Elsewhere in the park, you would probably be without much of a view or much space.

The Reef is another RV park way down at the other end of Sandy Beach. We walked down the beach to it (a very long walk) and it looked like a decent park with a restaurant.

Read more about Rocky Point (and a couple places off the beaten path).

Kino Bay:

We really enjoyed our stay in Kino Bay. It was the right mix of a beach location near a realistic Mexican town. Kino Bay consists of Kino Viejo (Old Kino) and Kino Nuevo (New Kino). Old Kino is where the Mexicans live and the fishing boats launch. New Kino is where most of the new houses are, including a new housing development, Kino Bay Estates, at the end of the main road.

We stayed at Islandia RV park at the Kino Viejo end of the beach. The park is planted with lots of palm trees and a few palapas overlook the water, giving the place a tropical and laid-back feel. You can walk or bike into town to eat or shop in a number of little markets.

Our site had a great view of the Sea of Cortez. The pelicans here are fascinating, diving for fish almost all day. Seagulls, cormorants and other shore birds keep things interesting. There are plenty of shells to be found on the long beach and estuary.

More about our stay in Kino Bay.

San Carlos:

Our stay here was a vacation for us. We had a timeshare exchange that we had to use (or lose). So we had arranged to use our two-week exchange at the Premier Vacation Club (PVC) in San Carlos. It may seem odd that we would take a vacation when our RV travels are almost like a permanent vacation. But just like people who live in a stationary home, even fulltimers appreciate a break from the RV and their everyday lifestyle.

We enjoyed the resort atmosphere of the San Carlos timeshare. Our unit was well situated so that our balcony overlooked a lovely pool, the Sea of Cortez and the sunsets. We were able to snorkel off the rocky beach that fronts the PVC building. We also had use of the amenities at the sister hotel, the Hotel San Carlos Plaza, which was a quick 5-minute stroll away. The hotel has a small sandy beach with water sport equipment rentals, a beautiful large pool, a mediocre fitness room, WiFi internet access in the lobby, a couple of restaurants and a game room with pool tables. As timeshare clients, we also had use of the Owner’s Lounge that housed a large screen TV, sofas, and a couple computers for internet access.

In our case, our time in the San Carlos timeshare was also a bit of a splurge. We played golf a couple times at the lovely desert course at the San Carlos Country Club. We took a fishing trip with two other couples – a great 4 hour trip where we caught Dorado (mahi-mahi) and saw dolphin and sea lions. We did have a kitchen in our unit at the Premier Vacation Club, so were able to eat-in part of the time, especially breakfast and lunch. But we also treated ourselves and dined out more often than usual.

More comments on restaurants and getting around in beautiful San Carlos.

Need a gift for Dad or Grad…or hey, treat yourself to something new for the summer season! Check out these RVer gift ideas.

If we can’t beat the fuel prices, at least we can save on other RVing expenses. Make sure you are using RV club memberships to their full advantage.

If you still haven’t finalized your summer plans, here is some food for thought:

Another tool for your RVing toolbox: Download your copy of the Original Checklists for RVers. A set of handy checklists to make sure you don’t forget anything and enjoy safe travels.

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Until next time, hoping you Put a Smile in Every Mile!

Jose and Jill

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