Puerto Peñasco’s “rocky” history

PUERTO PEÑASCO, Mexico — The small Baja California city of Puerto Peñasco is a relatively popular destination for boaters, with many bringing their vessels in by trailer and using a public launch ramp within the city’s harbor area to access the Sea of Cortez. But the city also known as “Rocky Point” was once a strategic coastal town during the U.S.’s involvement in World War II. Puerto Peñasco, after the war effort, was a destination for commercial fishing.

A military base was built in Ajo, Arizona, shortly after Pearl Harbor was attacked in 1941. Ajo is one of the closest U.S. cities to Puerto Peñasco. The cities agreed to build a highway connected Lukeville, Arizona to Puerto Peñasco – Lukeville sits on the U.S.-Mexico border, on the road between Ajo and Puerto Peñasco. The highway would allow folks from the Ajo base to access a military harbor in Puerto Peñasco. The U.S. military, apparently, still has permission to use this road on an as needed basis.

Puerto Peñasco, once the war was over, began to grow, with permanent infrastructure, such as schools, churches, shops, even a shipyard, quickly popping up. The growth eventually led to Puerto Peñasco, in 1952, being recognized by the Mexican government as a city.

It was in the 1960s when Puerto Peñasco became known as a destination for commercial fishing. The price of shrimp was reportedly so high by the middle of the decade that Mexico’s fishing fleet established Puerto Peñasco as a base for its operations. Dredging at the harbor and concrete docks on the waterfront would come the following decade.

Puerto Peñasco, which was a small fishing village during the early 1900s, has since become a draw for anglers, boaters and U.S. tourists in general.


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