April 12, 2013 — If you read the most recent update in our Timeshare Blog the Gatehouse you may recall under the International Section, specifically dealing with Mexico, that “Grupo Vidanta made an announcement the other day that beginning on June 20, 2013, AeroMexico will begin scheduling national and international flights for the first time through the Mar de Cortes International Airport” in Puerto Peñasco, MX (aka “Rocky Point”).
So here’s the scoop. Grupo Vidanta, known by many as simply the Mayan Palace, has had a presence in Puerto Peñasco (aka: Rocky Point) going back decades to when Vidanta’s President, CEO and all around nice guy Daniel Chavez Moran first started to build his resort and timeshare empire in Mazatlan, Mexico in 1974.
Senor Chavez is undoubtedly one of the most influential business leaders in Mexico. He has long aspired to build a mega-resort in Puerto Peñasco, which he eventually accomplished with his massive Mar de Cortés master-planned resort development that includes a Mayan Palace resort (with an Interval International-affiliated timeshare component) at La Jolla de Cortés.
Mr. Chavez is so ‘into’ Rocky Point that he not only invested a couple hundred million (USD) to build the master-planned community there he took it a step further, a huge one, and also developed Mexico’s first privately built International airport, which he located a ‘cobblestone’s throw’ from his Mayan Palace La Jolla de Cortés golf resort.
La Jolla de Cortés resort is an awesome community, located about 10 miles west of Puerto Peñasco and 60 miles south of the US border with Arizona. And of course along with every amenity you can imagine the development sits smack dab on some of the most beautiful pristine beaches Mexico has to offer, facing the emerald colored Sea of Cortés, hosting spectacular sunrises, sunsets and clear blue skies.
However, there are issues with the Puerto Peñasco region (not the resort) because the ‘city’ really was that ‘quaint little sleepy Mexican fishing village’ you always read about. That is until after 9/11 when travelers, tourists and vacationers from N. America opted for ‘drive-to’ beach front locations in Mexico. They soon began to discover Peñasco and the boom was up and running.
And roar it did, starting with the area known as Sandy Beach which, like the Mayan Palace, also faces the Sea of Cortés and was also being built from the ground up. It became a community of hotels, full ownership condos, homes and fractional interests. And all was going quite well until the crash of 2008 was in full swing.
I happen to have spent a lot of time there consulting during that era and I soon discovered that every full time, fractional and/or timeshare real estate schlep, etc. was telling every prospect they could get their hands on that Rocky Point was destined to be the next ‘Cabo’, or the next ‘Vallarta’ or ‘Cancun’.
And they did sell a ton of property pitching Peñasco in that manner, with ‘greed’ being added insisting to these prospects that (e.g.) ‘…bet you wish you had bought in Cabo before that was discovered…’ & ‘…better not pass this last chance up…’ (and a lot more including returns on investment, rental income and so forth).
Having personally lived and worked in Mexico for a decade, including in Cabo, Vallarta and Cancun, my skin would get goosebumps every time I heard that (…next Cabo…) rubbish.
And I say rubbish because as much as I enjoy Peñasco and would recommend it as a place to vacation, a place to retire, a place to own a vacation home, start a business or own a timeshare the area is about as similar to (e.g.) Cabo as Miami is to Seattle.
For example in Peñasco during the winter months it gets a little chilly there and from time to time dips down to the mid or upper 40s° (F) when everyone (well, most everyone) is bundled up in jeans, jackets, socks, boots, sweaters, scarves and hats and during the early morning hours fog banks often roll in.
Another issue Peñasco has been dealing with, at least until the new airport starts flying in travelers this coming summer, is that most visitors could only get there by driving into Mexico (or from within Mexico) and from a U.S. perspective there was and still is no shortage of Gringo tourists who’d rather, wrongly, ‘eat dirt’ than drive in Mexico.
That said, for generations many U.S. citizens from Arizona didn’t have such concerns and they drive down all the time for a quick weekend get-away, a short term vacation, a special holiday celebration like the 4th of July, Memorial/Labor day weekends as well as to attend weddings, racing events, fishing and so forth.
And they’ve been enjoying the beachside community so much that they have dubbed Puerto Peñasco as “Arizona’s beach” and thousands have built their vacation and/or retirement homes on lots all up and down the nearly endless miles of unspoiled beach front property.
Puerto Peñasco has some real potential, too, because between just the greater S.W. USA and the N.W. corner of Mexico there must be NLT 70 Million prospective visitors who would, if Rocky Point marketed itself properly, effectively and aggressively, etc., choose to come for a visit & some Sun & Fun.
And with the addition of the proposed Cruise line embarkation point (home port), Mr. Chavez’s International airport, a new convention center, the new coastal highway along the west coast of mainland Mexico leading to Peñasco as well as the inland road coming down from Arizona that crosses at Lukeville, AZ more people just might come for that look-see.
And if that happens — along with some surely needed infrastructure improvements as well as many more shopping and dining options, etc. that are needed within the community — then this unpolished gem in Mexico could become a real jewel.
However, it will never be “the next Cabo”, “Vallarta” or “Cancun” and needs to be marketed for its own merits. And those merits being, in part, Puerto Peñasco is a very safe and wonderful seaside/beach destination in Mexico sitting on the Sea of Cortez that is truly cherished by locals and visitors alike but it is also, and will forever be, its own unique self: Puerto Peñasco.
© Copyright Inside the Gate. All rights reserved.
Contributing sometimes extravagant, bombastic, emotional, pompous or even pretentious writings about the timeshare industry, Scoop covers an array of industry related subjects each week including inside information, tips, scandals, interviews, forecasts as well as new (good or bad) products and services--- and, of course, all the 'Good', the 'Bad' and the 'Ugly'.
Stay tuned for what is sure to be a fun ride and check back to Timeshare Scoop du Jour each week for more of the inside scoop.