Before Crossing the Border to Rocky Point…

puerto penasco border crossing

Some things you should know before crossing the border to Puerto Penasco

Rocky Point, often referred to as Arizona’s beach, is only a 3 and a half hour drive from Phoenix and Tucson!

The short distance makes it very convenient, easy and inexpensive for visitors to drive their car to this popular destination. The drive is a very safe one and pretty straight forward. However, there are some things you need to consider to avoid any kind of trouble or delays when crossing the border.

I have been crossing the border to Rocky Point for almost 30 years now, and in all these years, aside from getting a speeding ticket while entering the town of Sonoyta, I have never, and I really mean never, had any issues.

Green / Red light system

Recently, a client told me about a situation he experienced last time he crossed the border that I had never heard about. This is good for you to know in case you experience something similar.

For those of you who have never crossed the border into Puerto Peñasco, this is how it works:

Right as you cross from the US into Mexico, you will see a small traffic light. Just like going through security at the airport, people are randomly selected for checkup.

If you get a green light you can keep on driving, but if you get a red light, you will be asked to pull over to the side and step out of your car. Officers will check your vehicle and if you don’t have any illegal drugs, food, or merchandise, you failed to declare they will let you go.

Make sure registration is current

When my client’s vehicle got inspected, they asked him to show his vehicle registration. At this time the officers noticed his car registration had expired and they would not let him cross the border.

Normally, my client could have easily resolved this little hiccup by going online and renewing his registration and immediately attempting to cross the border again.

When he went online, he wasn’t able to renew his registration because he was required to pass emissions first. They were all so excited to get to Puerto Penasco, this was a trip they had planned with friends several months ago!

They were not about to let this get in the way of their much-awaited vacation and looked up the closest place to get an emissions test. It turned out the closest one for them was in Goodyear (about a 2 and a half hour drive away).

Luckily, they were at the border early enough that they were able to drive back, get tested, renew their registration, and drive back across the border again, this time without any issues. They made it to Puerto Penasco and had a wonderful time with their friends!

This is the first time I had ever heard of Mexican border officers asking to see a vehicle’s registration. I know they ask for it for towed vehicles such as jet skis and ATVs, but not if you were just driving your car.

Make sure you check your registration’s expiration date before you cross the border.

Some other things to keep in mind


Make sure you also purchase Mexican auto insurance before you cross. It is illegal for a foreign vehicle to not have insurance in Mexico. You can buy insurance online HERE or on your way down.


Something very important to remember is that firearms are illegal in Mexico! If you have a firearm in your possession, you will be charged with a crime and incarcerated immediately.

Speed Limit

Once you cross the border, remember to observe the speed limit, and follow the signs on the road. Police are very vigilant in the town of Sonoyta and will stop you at the minimum breaking of the speeding rules.

In my experience the police are very polite and respectful. So if you get pulled over, get your ticket and have them follow you to the police station to pay your ticket.

As in most situations, you just need a little common sense to avoid adding stress to your vacation. After crossing, Rocky Point is about an hour away and the highway that takes you there is a Hassle Free Area.

Plan your vacation to Rocky Point today and have a safe and fun time in the sun!