An Alcatraz Inspired Weekend in San Francisco

 

To many, San Francisco isn't just about a collection of bridges, crocked streets and buildings with unique architecture. To some, it goes beyond that, as it can be a place of fascinating history attracting many to this city and beyond its waters to the island of Alcatraz. Celebrating the 55th anniversary of Alcatraz Island's closure as a federal prison, Parc 55 and the Hilton San Francisco Union Square, are exhibiting showcases of the famous Alcatraz prison. Here are some fun ideas of how you can enjoy an Alcatraz inspired weekend and experience “Life on the Rock”, at the Parc 55 Hotel in San Francisco.

Parc 55 San Francisco Hilton | Photo by Erika Beach
Parc 55 San Francisco Hilton | Photo by Erika Beach
Parc 55 San Francisco Hilton | Photo by Erika Beach

Throughout both properties until June 28, 2018, you can take a look inside at some authentic artifacts, interactive displays and behind the scenes of some unseen parts of the island. You can experience untold stories and learn history about the island and prison.

Parc 55 San Francisco Hilton | Photo by Erika Beach

The Parc 55 Hotel is conveniently located close to Union Square, shopping and the Cable car pick up station. The rooms are all spacious and comfortable with spectacular views of the city. Some of the corner rooms are perfectly located with views that go beyond the city from every window. If you look closely, you can see the Golden Gate Bridge from one of the windows.

Our fun weekend started with a nice bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon from Canyon Ridge with a pairing of house select cheeses. We enjoyed these beautiful welcome wine and cheeses as we got ready for our welcome reception and dinner.

At Cable 55 Restaurant that is located at The Parc 55 Hotel, Alcatraz inspired cocktails and drinks were available, such as Warden’s Welcome, The Prisoner Wines, The Jail Bird Sandwich or The Impossible Escape Burger, with many more on the menu.

Dinner followed at Urban Tavern, which is located at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square. Urban Tavern offers cuisine dishes, in addition to 50 wines within 50 miles, providing a really decent wine list for wine by the glass, half bottle or full bottle.

Urban Tavern San Francisco | Photo by Erika Beach
Urban Tavern San Francisco | Photo by Erika Beach
Urban Tavern San Francisco | Photo by Erika Beach

After dinner, we headed over to Cityscape San Francisco, a rooftop bar overlooking the city on the 46th floor of the Hilton. The bar offers an extensive cocktail and wine list with a 360 degree view of the entire city. The views are breathtaking and one not to miss when in San Francisco.

Cityscape San Francisco Hilton | Photo by Erika Beach

All three of these locations are located at the Parc 55 hotel and the Hilton San Francisco Union Square, which are conveniently located one block from each other in the heart of the city. 

If your a history lover then visiting Alcatraz is a must on your next San Francisco trip! One fun option to take to Alcatraz is riding the Electric Cable Car that runs off the tracks. This cable car will pick you up at a location and take you on a little journey through the city. On your way to Pier 33, you will see famous streets and views of the city, all while hearing that famous San Francisco bell in your cable car. The cable car will drop you off at Pier 33 where the Alcatraz Cruise terminal is located.

A long line does form so make sure you arrive 30 minutes prior to your departure time. The cruise over to Alcatraz island is peaceful taking approximately 30 minutes. The best views going over to Alcatraz can be seen on the front of the boat on the second level. This spot of the boat provides unobstructed views of Alcatraz, giving the perfect photo opportunity.

Alcatraz Island is a beautiful place to visit with so much to see and a lot history. As many of you may know, Alcatraz was a military prison and one of the most notorious federal penitentiaries in U.S history. Visiting Alcatraz was a super fun experience and beautiful in a weird way. I took so many pictures that I had to split this post into two parts. Thank you for reading this and keep your eyes out for Part 2, which is coming up NEXT!!!!! 

 

Where to eat, drink, stay and things to do in Rosarito, Mexico

 

Rosarito, Mexico is a beautiful Beach town located in between Tijuana and Ensenada and just a short 30 minute drive from the San Diego border. There are so many things to do in Rosarito, but in the past, it has been known for its rustic beaches and nightlife. Rosarito Beach was also known for the famous Cinematic Studios where “Titanic” was filmed in 1997, and most recently, it has been getting more press due to the Royal wedding, as our “American Princess” Megan Markle’s father, is believed to have retired there. This however, is not what is attracting visitors back to Rosarito for vacation or retirement, but more for its adventure, foodie and other new attractions that is making this town so attractive. 

There are so many things to do in Rosarito besides go to the beach, and little by little this beach town has made a different name for itself. Some of its most popular and historic attractions continue to be open and have either expanded or remodeled, with new attractions opening every month. So, if you’re thinking about heading south of the border anytime soon, I have created a list of nine things to do in Rosarito, Mexico.

Puerto Nuevo Mexico | Photo by Erika Beach | La Casa del Pescador

1. Visit Art Galleries

Did you know that Rosarito has a lot of art galleries? I got to visit several of these art galleries that feature unique and original art pieces. One of those galleries we visited is Polo’s Gallery featuring 15 original local artist where the art on the wall changes every month. We also got to visit Monte Cristo’s Art Gallery, which is located next door and who’s unique art focuses on equilibrium and balance with a unique signature line in the center of every person in his paintings. 

 Artist Montecristo

Artist Montecristo

2. Visit furniture Stores

Rosarito has some of the coolest furniture stores with unique rustic and custom pieces that are very affordable. We got to visit two of these stores. The first store was Casa La Carreta that offers custom wood  and modern furniture at very affordable prices. Everything in the store was beautifully constructed and high quality. This store is able to ship to the U.S!

 La Carreta Furniture Store

La Carreta Furniture Store

The second store we went to was La Iguana, a welding store owned by the city Mayor where custom metal furniture is made. This store is a very typical welding store, but the work that is being produced here is outstanding, as everything is done by hand and no machines are used. Anything can be shipped to the U.S and Canada. The owner describes his creative process as, “Everything comes from the mind. You need passion to do this kind of work and do it with a lot of love. I’m teaching my son too”. He also sells equipales!

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3. Pikin Parque de Altura

Pikin Parque de Altura is a zip line park that is located near the beach. This park has a restaurant, camping ground, pool and unique cube bedrooms that are available for rent. This zip line was pretty fun that featured 6 zip lines, an obstacle course and a 15 meter bungee jump drop at the end. It is optional and not required to finish the zip line. Click below to see my GoPro video on the zip line. You have to watch until the end to see if I made the bungee jump! Let me know what you think of this zip line in the comments!

4. Visit the secret tequila and wine shop

Mercado del Mar is a little shop and its the coolest and best market in town. Its knowns for its butchery, but if you follow the path to the back of the shop, you will find yourself in Tequila and wine heaven. As soon as you enter this secret spot, you notice the floor to ceiling and wall to wall coverage of tequila bottles. I can’t remember if he said this shop has over 500 kinds of tequila brands or more. There also a great selection of local wines from Baja and other wine regions in Mexico. I started taking pictures and video an went on with my life. However, when I came home I saw the pictures and realized there was a small sign saying, “No pictures or video”…….ooops!!! Heres a couple pictures. Either way, this place was worth a visit and super cool!

5. Visit Puerto Nuevo

Puerto Nuevo is a place I’ve visited so many times and it’s one of my favorites. I’ve visited every lobster house in town, but this one has to be one of my favorites. La Casa del Pescador is known as one of the best and one of the original lobster houses in Puerto Nuevo. Puerto Nuevo, was an old fishermen village in the 1950’s, where men would fish and cook lobster after their long day of work. These fishermen would sit outside cooking lobster, as visitors passing through would ask where they could eat some lobster. The fishermen began feeding passing tourist and next thing they knew, restaurants began opening up. La Casa del Pescador is owned by the daughters of the original fishermen back in the 1950’s and it continues to feed passing tourists. Their mother started the restaurant while her husband would go and catch the lobster for the day. Today, there are over 50 lobster houses in Puerto Nuevo and its stands on its own making its mark in Rosarito.

 La Casa del Pescador | Puerto Nuevo

La Casa del Pescador | Puerto Nuevo

Puerto Nuevo is now known as a Lobster house village in Rosarito. With over 50 lobster houses in that area, it can be a little overwhelming on which to choose. One thing for sure about the restaurants in Puerto Nuevo is that some have better views and some offer better service. But the one thing in common is that everything taste delicious and the menus are pretty much the same. A typical meal in Puerto Nuevo consist of several lobsters to share family style, along with rice, beans, ceviche and fresh home made tortillas. Just add wine! You can also click HERE to see another Puerto Nuevo restaurant I wrote about last year.

 Rooftop seating

Rooftop seating

 Raw Lobster

Raw Lobster

 Cooked Lobster 

Cooked Lobster 

Puerto Nuevo Mexico | Photo by Erika Beach
Puerto Nuevo Mexico | Photo by Erika Beach

And just for a fun tip, I heard a rumor of how the town got its name Puerto Nuevo. Puerto Nuevo, which means, “New Port” in English, got its name because there used to be a Newport cigarette billboard on the right hand side of the road where the fishermen were located. Passing visitors who heard about the fishermen village would ask for directions and locals would direct them to make a right at the Newport cigarette sign and the fishermen would be located. They say the cigarette billboard became an iconic trademark that they name that section of town  became Puerto Nuevo. 

Puerto Nuevo Mexico | Photo by Erika Beach

6. STAY

The last time I went to Rosarito I stayed at La Rocas Resort and Spa. This resort has been around for many years, but is currently going through an awesome remodeling with updates, while keeping its Mexican rustic charm. I enjoyed an ocean front suite that included a private room, living room and a bar. The room amenities and bed were nice and comfortable. The suite also had a private patio leading outdoors to the pool and the palapa. There’s two pools on the property along with ocean facing spa treatment rooms with daily specials depending on the day. One thing to note here, is that the chilaquiles have been my absolute favorite I’ve had in a long time! This resort was perfect and I’ll definitely return.

La Rocas Resort | Rosarito | Photo by Erika Beach

7. Drink Mexican Wine

Rosarito offers some of the best selections of Mexican wines at every restaurant, so taking advantage of this is a big deal. Sometimes you’re able to get bottles that are made by smaller Mexican producers that are not available in the U.S, which are incredible! Did you know that Rosario makes wine too? You can visit Claudius Vino in Rosarito HERE. However, you can also head over to La Ruta del Vino, Mexican wine country. Valle de Guadalupe is about an hour away from Rosarito, with Cuatro Cuartos being the closest and stays open late. You can click HERE and HERE to read more on places to go, eat and sleep in Valle de Guadalupe.

8. Walk around the shopping markets

This is an obvious things to do while in Rosarito. Many shops cover the streets with artisan crafts and yummy treats.

9. Eat again!!!!!! 

One place that’s iconic to Rosarito is, Tacos El Yaqui! Meet El Yaqui, who has been cooking tacos since 1984 and opened his shop in 1994 and says, “My wife actually owns it. I just cook”. El Yaqui started cooking tacos on the corner and later became so busy he opened his shop. El Yaqui is iconic not only for his amazing tacos, but for his infectious smile and character. He is so cute!!!!!

Another must place visit is El Nido, a beautiful tropical paradise which has been open since 1971. This place is so beautiful in so many rustic ways offering one of the most iconic breakfast spots in Rosarito. The ceilings are covered with vines and hanging plants that sit on antiques. The furniture is made of rustic wood with a traditional Mexican charm. The outdoor patio is covered and the walls surround you with fountains and a beautiful fireplace in the center. Their menu concept is farm to table, getting all their food from their ranch in Ensenada. Did I mention that they make wine???? The breakfast here was delicious in every way. Including the wine! Unfortunelty, I was only able to try their 2012 Nebbiolo, which was bold like a Nebbiolo, with big tannins and super light in color. This wine still needed time, but the potential for aging is there!

Rosarito Beach is a perfect weekend getaway for those who want to relax, go an adventure or both. Its also perfect for those passing through Rosarito wanting to stop for some lobster, tacos and enjoying a touch of natural baja landscapes. P.S, the picture below, my hat was purchased on the boardwalk for $10 and it was made in Michoacan! Have you been to Rosario recently? Would love to know in the comments!

********** Special Thank You to Rosarito Tourism Board for hosting this post!

All photography by Me, Erika Beach.

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What you didn’t know about Puerto Peñasco and 10 things to do that does not involve the beach

 
Puerto Peñasco, Mexico | Photo by Erika Beach
"An endless ocean with moon drifting tides, lies a timeless horizon where the sea kisses the sky" - Erika Beach
"Un mar interminable, con olas manejadas por la luna, un eterno horizonte, donde el mar besa el cielo" - Erika Beach
******* Please note that this blog is written in two languages. English is in Bold and the Spanish is in Italic, right below each paragraph.
 View from La Casa del Capitan

View from La Casa del Capitan

Puerto Peñasco is an old fishing village situated on the Sea of Cortez, where the state of Sonora meets the state of Baja California, Mexico. Puerto Peñasco is a beautiful desert beach town situated 3.5 hours away from Arizona, and six hours from San Diego.  It's also known to many as Rocky Point, especially those in Arizona. One of the things that makes this rocky pearl town in the north western part of Sonora so special and unique is it’s connections to the moon and NASA. During my last trip here, I got to visit this beautiful biosphere along with other activities that didn’t involve the beach. Rocky Point, is such a unique desert town, I wanted to tell a couple of things you may have never known about Puerto Peñasco (Rocky Point) and 10 things to do that does not involve the beach. Well, only one involves the beach.

Lo que no sabias de Puerto Penasco y 10 cosas que hacer que no incluyen playa

Puerto Peñasco es un pueblo Viejo pesquero situado en el mar de Cortez, donde el estado de Sonora se junta con Baja California.  Puerto Peñasco es un hermoso pueblo donde el desierto se junta con el mar situado a tres horas y media de Arizona y seis horas de San Diego.  Muchos lo conocen en ingles como Rocky Point, especialmente en Arizona, donde lo conocen como “Arizona’s Beach”.  Una de las cosas que hace a este bello pueblo en la parte noroeste de Sonora tan especial, es su conexión con la luna y NASA.  En mi ultimo viaje a Puerto Peñasco, me toco visitar la bella biosfera y otras actividades que no incluyen la playa.  Puerto Peñasco es un pueblo único y quiero platicar de unas cosas que pocos conocen, y 10 cosas que no incluyen playa. Bueno, solo una incluye la playa

Puerto Peñasco, Mexico | Photo by Erika Beach | El Pinacate

El Pinacate y Gran Desierto de Altar Biosphere Reserve

El Pinacate y Gran Desierto de Altar Biosphere Reserve are large and relatively undisturbed protected areas with unique physical and biological characteristics in the Sonoran Desert. It comprises two very distinct broad landscape types, the east (volcanic shield) and the west (active sand dunes). It’s an area unique in all the world, with it's moon like craters over a mile wide, lava tubes, 'moon-scapes', black pumice soil, cinder cones and sleeping volcano’s. 

La Reserva de la Biosfera de el Pinacate y el Gran Desierto de Altar, son areas protegidas con características físicas y biologicas en el desierto de Sonora.  Tiene dos tipos de paisajes muy distintos. Al este (zona volcanica)  y al oeste (dunas de arena activas).  Es una zona unica en el mundo, con cráteres de mas de una milla de anchos, tubos de lava, paisajes lunares, y suleo de piedra pomez negro. 

 Accumulated Lava Rock

Accumulated Lava Rock

The presence of a volcanic shield, and by the extensive areas of active dunes that surround it, made for ideal conditions for NASA training. From 1965 to 1970, NASA began sending astronauts to the Gran Desierto de Altar, to train for walking on the moon, due to the similarities of the terrain to the lunar surface. Neil Armstrong was amongst those men. El Pinancate Biosphere was caused by a violent steam of explosions. Approximately some million years beneath the earth, hot magma melted rock created massive subterranean pools of intensely hot liquid slowly building up pressure far below the earth's surface. This caused a violent 'steam explosion' that sent millions of pounds of rocks-debris into the sky, creating the nine craters.

Tambien esta la presencia de un escudo volcanico y volcanes durmientes.  De 1965 a 1970, NASA mando astronautas que llegarian a la luna a entrenar en esta bella zona. Escogieron a esta zona por los tipos de suelo tan similar a la superficie de la luna.  El famoso astronauta Neil Armstrong, fue unos de los visitantes a esta zona. La biosfera del pinacate fue creada por una violenta explosion de vapor.  Magma caliente debajo de la tierra creo lagos subterraneos de liquido caliente, que poco a poco formaron presiones hasta causar explosiones mas de millones de anos atras.  Esto creo los nueve craters.

Puerto Peñasco, Mexico | Photo by Erika Beach | El Pinacate

To the west, are North America's largest field of active sand dunes and only active Erg dunes. The dunes can reach 200 meters in height and contain a variety of dunes types. To the East, there is a dormant volcanic area, comprised of the Pinacate Shield with extensive black and red lava flows that covers as part of the desert pavement and nine large craters. These craters are a perfect circular shape that are one of the most significant visible landforms in North America that can be seen from space. These craters were formed by volcanic eruptions that accumulated lava in compact rocks, sand and volcanic craters. The most recent activity was about 11,000 years ago and these volcanic craters are dormant.

La zona de dunas activas de arena mas grandes de norte America se localizan al oeste.  Las dunas pueden llegar hasta 200 metros de altura y se caracterizan como diversos tipos de dunas. Al este esta la zona de volcanes inactivos comprendidos por el escudo del Pinacate con piedras de lava rojas y negras que cubren la zona desertica y los nueve craters.  Estos craters tiene una figura circular casi perfecta y son unas de las zonas mas significantes de Norte America que se ven desde el espacio.  Estos craters se formaron por erupciones volcanicas que acumularon lava, piedra y arena.  La actividad mas reciente fue aproximadamente 11000 anos y estos craters estan inactivos.

 Photo by NASA

Photo by NASA

Below is a video of things to do in Puerto Peñasco, Mexico!

Puerto Peñasco, Mexico | Photo by Erika Beach | El Pinacate

Ten things to do in Puerto Peñasco that does not involve the beach

1. Watch the sunset and the Ocean tides

Watching the sunset is something that I always try to do at every beach destination I’m at. I love watching people walking around the beach and looking at the sun as it disappears. However, If you have visited the beaches of Puerto Peñasco, then you have encountered the natural phenomena that occurs along it’s shore, where the ocean tides come in and then disappear to a far distance.  Approximately every fifteen days, both during a new moon and a full moon, when the sun, the moon and earth align, one of the most extreme and drastic tide ranges in the world occurs. 

Las mareas y observer la puesta de sol

Disfrutar la puesta de sol es algo que siempre trato de hacer en cualquier destino playero al que voy.  Si has visitado a Puerto Peñasco, entonces te a tocado ver el fenomeno que ocurre en la bahia cuando la marea sube y luego desaparece a la distancia cuando baja.  Aproximadamente cada 15 dias cuando la luna nueva y la luna llena, el mar pasa por una danza de mareas drásticas. Esto ocurre cuando el sol, la luna y y el mundo se alignan, manifestando uno de los cambios de marea mas drasticos y extremos en el mundo. 

Puerto Peñasco, Mexico | Photo by Erika Beach | El Pinacate

This happens on the upper Gulf of Mexico where the tide enters into the narrow strip of the Upper Gulf, causing the sea to rise to a registered high level, down to a draining low level in a single day. When the moon and sun are not in alignment, “flat tides” exist both in the morning and evening. Puerto Peñasco’s tides are ultimately a result of gravity, the sun and the moon, and the earth’s rotation.

Esto ocurre en el golfo de california donde el mar entra a la parte superior del golfo y esto causa que la marea se registre super alta y luego baja a un nivel considerado drastico en un solo dia.  Cuando la luna y el sol no estan alineados, existe lo que se le llama “mareas planas” en la manana y la tarde.  Las mareas de Puerto Peñasco son un resultado de la gravedad el sol y la luna combinadas con la rotacion de la tierra.  Selecciona aqui o abajo para ver un lapso de tiempo  de la marea.  Normalmente en marea alta, la bahia esta al nivel de las rocas en la foto de abajo.

Puerto Peñasco, Mexico | Photo by Erika Beach | El Pinacate

CLICK BELOW to see a time lapse of a low tide. Normally when in high tide, the shore will be up the level of the rocks pictured below.

Puerto Peñasco, Mexico | Photo by Erika Beach | Tapeo Wine Bar

2. Wine Bar, Tapeo

During our stay we visited the most darling wine and tapas bar called, Tapeo. At the entrance of Tapeo, you will find a beautiful wine bottle Christmas tree that is up year round. The indoor outdoor restaurant offers a very comfortable Mexican rustic vibe with live Salsa nights on Wednesdays. They offer delicious dishes like paella and other tapas for sharing.

Durante nuestra estacia, nos toco visitar un barecito de vinos y tapas llamado, TAPEO.  A la entrada, esta un arbolito de navidad de puras botellas de vino super lindo que esta todo el ano.  El restaurante tiene un ambiente “indoor/outdoor” con una vibra super rustica Mexicana donde ofrecen noches de salsa los miercoles.  Ofrecen paella y otras tapas para compartir deliciosas!

Puerto Penasco | Mexico

They offer a full wine list filled with wines from the Baja Mexico wine region, which included one of my favorite Mexican wines and producers, The Duetto by Santo Tomas. That bottle is from Valle De Guadalupe and the 2009 vintage. I had never had the 2009 vintage before so I was curious if the bottle would hold the same as prior years.

Ofrecen una carta de vinos muy completos con vinos de la region del valle de Guadalupe en Baja y Coahuila.  Esta lista incluye uno de mis productores de vinos mexicanos favoritos, el Duetto por Santo Tomas.  Esta botella es del Valle de Guadalupe y una reserva del 2009.  Nunca habia probado esta reserva del 2009, asi que tenia curiosidad si la botella degustaria igual como las versions de anos anteriores.

 Photo by Katherine Belarmino

Photo by Katherine Belarmino

I previously tried the 2007 vintage, which is made up of Cabernet and Tempranillo. In prior vintages, this bottle was made in collaboration with Wente Vineyards, located in Livermore Valley in Northern California. However, the 2007 vintage was the produced only by Santo Tomas. This bottle is one of the most popular bottles produced in Ensenada, Mexico. This bottle is difficult to find, so if you find a  2007 vintage…grab it!!!! The 2007 vintage was had dark and savory fruits with notes of baking spices. It was silky with a touch of creaminess that lingered to a nice smooth finish. It was my first love in Mexican wines!

Previamente deguste la reserva 2007, que estuvo elaborada con cabernet y tempranillo.  En reservas anteriores, esta botella se elaboro con una colaboracion de los Vinedos Wente, localizados en el valle de Livermore en el norte de California.  La reserve 2007 fue producida exclusivamente por vinedos de Santo Tomas.  Esta botella del ano 2007, es una de las mas populares producida en Ensenada Mexico y es muy dificil de encontrar asi que si ves una…agarralal!  La reserva 2007 tenia sabores de frutas obscuras con notas de especies para hornear.  Tenia un toque cremosito y sedoso con un final largo.  Es mi primer amor de vinos mexicanos!

Puerto Penasco | Mexico
Puerto Penasco | Mexico

At Tapeo we had the 2009 vintage, which was just as beautiful as the 2007. It was an elegant red blend made of 60% Tempranillo and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon. It was earthy and a beautiful nose of dark berries. It was lighter in baking spices then the 2007 with soft tannins and a nice long round finish. We all loved this bottle and wanted more! I love this wine and I know I can never go wrong when I order it.

En Tapeo probamos la reserva 2009, que estuvo igual de bello que el 2007.  Es una mezcla de tintos compuesta por 60% tempranillo y 40% cabernet Sauvignon.  Es terroso con un aroma de cerezas obscuros.  Es mas ligero en especies que el 2007 con taninos suaves y un acabado lindo y completo.  A todos nos encanto esta botella y queriamos mas!  Me encanta este vino y se que nunca me arrepiento cuando lo pido.

Puerto Peñasco, Mexico | Photo by Erika Beach | El Pinacate

3. Hike El Pinacate y Gran Desierto de Altar Biosphere Reserve

During my visit to Puerto Peñasco, I got to explore the east side of the El Pinacate Biosphere Reserve. I didn't get to visit the west side, but I was able to experience the volcanic and crater side. We had a guided tour by the Biosphere reserve that took us all over the park and explored a lot of the craters that were accessible. 

Durante mi visita a Puerto Peñasco, me toco explorar la zona este de la biosfera El Pinacate.  No me toco visitar la zona oeste, pero si visite la zona de los craters y el area volcanica.  Nos dieron un tour de la reserva que nos llevo por todo el parque y pudimos explorer craters accesibles. 

Puerto Peñasco, Mexico | Photo by Erika Beach | El Pinacate

Upon stepping onto the park, you can automatically feel the different on the ground. Colorful volcanic rocks cover the floors leaving the impression that a stronger force was present at some time. The views from on top of the craters are beautiful and serene making you feel so small. The craters are so enormous and some can be spotted from far away.

Cuando llegas al parque, imediatamente notas la diferencia del suelo.  Piedras volcanicas coloridas cubren el suelo y dan la impression que en algun tiempo hubo una fuerza muy fuerte presente en esta zona. La vista en lo alto de los craters, son increibles y serenas y te hacen sentir pequenisimo en la tierra.  Los craters son enormes y se pueden ver desde muy lejos.

Puerto Peñasco, Mexico | Photo by Erika Beach | El Pinacate
Puerto Peñasco, Mexico | Photo by Erika Beach | El Pinacate

Tips on the Biosphere Reserve:

  1. Check in at the Information Center prior to traveling out into the Reserve.
  2. There is no Entrance Fee, but donations are always greatly appreciated.
  3. Bring water and toilet paper. There is a restroom, but no toilet paper!
  4. There are some poisonous animals, snakes & insects in the reserve (rattlesnakes, scorpions, black widow spiders, Gila monsters, etc). Do not disturb the animals, turn over rocks they might hide underneath, or place hands-face-legs into holes or caves. Ask Reserve Staff members for more information on visitor’s safety
  5. Drone info: We had a drone and it was allowed to fly up to a certain high only. I couldn't remember how high. 

Tips de la Reserva de la biosfera

  1. Registrate en el centro de informacion antes de viajar hacia la reserva.
  2. La entrada es gratis pero siempre se agradecen y aceptan donaciones.
  3. Lleva agua y papel del bano, hay sanitarios pero no hay papel!!!
  4. Hay animals venenosos como viboras e insectos.  No molestes a los animals, no voltees rocas o metas manos o tu cara donde no puedes ver.  Pregunta a los guias por mas informacion sobre tu seguridad en la reserve.
  5. Informacion de Drones:  nosotros teniamos un drone pero nomas nos permitian volar hasta cierta altura…no me acuerdo cuale era el limite.
 Picture by 52 Perfect Days

Picture by 52 Perfect Days

Puerto Peñasco, Mexico | Photo by Erika Beach | La Señorita

4. La Senorita sunset cruise

One of the things that I was looking forward to the most was sunset cruise with La Senorita. However, due to high winds, we were unable to take the boat out. Instead, we relaxed on the boat, had some cocktails and watched the sunset. I can’t wait to come back on another sunset cruise. The sunsets must be majestic.

Una de las actividades que mas me emocionaba era tomar el “sunset cruise’ con la senorita.  Pero porque habia demasiado viento, no pudimos salir al mar.  entonces nos relajamos en el barco, disfrutamos  de diferentes tragos y vimos la puesta de sol.  Quiero regresar y tomar el “cruise” han de ser increibles las puestas de sol.

Puerto Peñasco, Mexico | Photo by Erika Beach | La Señorita
Puerto Peñasco, Mexico | Photo by Erika Beach | La Señorita
Puerto Peñasco, Mexico | Photo by Erika Beach | La Señorita
Puerto Peñasco, Mexico | Photo by Erika Beach | La Señorita
Puerto Peñasco, Mexico | Photo by Erika Beach | La Señorita
Puerto Peñasco, Mexico | Photo by Erika Beach | La Señorita
Puerto Peñasco, Mexico | Photo by Erika Beach

5. Paddle board or kayak

A kayak or paddle board excursion on The Club at Laguna Del Mar, is also another fun and relaxing thing to do. Laguna Del Mar is located in the middle of the golf course, so paddling gives you the feeling like you’re in the middle the Middle East desert. This area does get a little windy on some days so be prepared to paddle!!!! During our adventure, we saw a couple days far away and plenty of wildlife. 

Una excurcion de kayak o paddle en el Club de Laguna del Mar, es otra actividad divertida y relajante que puedes hacer.  Laguna del mar se localiza en medio del campo de golf, asi que andar en paddle se siente como si estuvieras en un desierto del medio oriente. Esta zona si es un poco aerosa, asi que preparate para remar mucho!  Durante nuestra Aventura vimos…y mucha fauna!

Puerto Peñasco, Mexico | Photo by Erika Beach
Puerto Peñasco, Mexico | Photo by Erika Beach
 Puerto Peñasco, Mexico | Photo by 52 Perfect Days

Puerto Peñasco, Mexico | Photo by 52 Perfect Days

 Puerto Peñasco, Mexico | Photo by 52 Perfect Days

Puerto Peñasco, Mexico | Photo by 52 Perfect Days

Puerto Peñasco, Mexico | Photo by Erika Beach

6. Golf

If you choose not to kayak or paddle board, The Club at Laguna Del Mar has a large golf oasis that is surrounded by Deltas of the Sea of Cortez. The course is surrounded by pristine salt water lagoons abounding with wildlife. I didn’t chose this option, but a couple of my friends did. 

Si no quieres deportes acuaticos, el club de Laguna del mar tiene un inmenso oasis de golf que esta rodeado de deltas del mar de cortez.  El campo tambien esta rodeado de lagunas de agua slada llenos de fauna de la region.  Yo no escogi esta opcion pero unos de mis amigos si.  

Puerto Peñasco, Mexico | Photo by Erika Beach
Puerto Peñasco, Mexico | Photo by Erika Beach
Puerto Peñasco, Mexico | Photo by Erika Beach | Tequila Factory

7. Tequila Factory

The Tequila Factory was super fun and a learning experience. Located in the middle of town, is a cute tequila tasting room that is an extention of the origional one. Upon entering the tasting room, you’re immedialty welcomed as an friend or “Amigo”, making you feel at home. You go through a little bit of tequila history, followed by a tequila tasting. This was such a super fun expeirence and took a bottle home of the Tamarindo Tequila.

El Tequila Factory estuvo super divertido y también aprendimos mucho.  El Tequila Factory esta localizado en el pueblo y es una extension del original.  En cuanto entras al tasting room, te dan la bienvenida como un amigo, y te hacen sentir como en tu casa.  Te dan un poco de historia sobre el tequila y luego una degustacion.  Esta experiencia fue super divertida y hasta me lleve una botella de tequila de tamarindo.

Puerto Peñasco, Mexico | Photo by Erika Beach | Tequila Factory
Puerto Peñasco, Mexico | Photo by Erika Beach | Tequila Factory
Puerto Peñasco, Mexico | Photo by Erika Beach | Tequila Factory
Puerto Peñasco, Mexico | Photo by Erika Beach | Tequila Factory

8. Eat

You have to eat three times a day, so you might as well try different food spots every time. Click HERE to see my last article on all the fun places to eat and drink in Puerto Peñasco. We ate at La Casa Del Capitan, El Oktopus, Citron at Palomas Del Sol Resort, The Grand Mayan Resort Tapeo and Miguel’s Restaurant at Peñasco del Sol Hotel. You don’t want to miss this!!! Click here to see the video.

Tienes que comer tres veces al dia o no? asi que pues hay que probar diferentes lugares cada vez.  Oprime aqui para ver mi ultimo articulo de lugares divertidos para tomar y comer en Puerto Penasco.  Nosotros comimos en la Casa del Capitan, el Oktopus, Citron at Palomas Del Sol Resort, The Grand Mayan Resort, Tapeo and Miguel’s Restaurant en el hotel Penasco del Sol.  No te lo quieres perder haz click aqui para el video.

Puerto Peñasco, Mexico | Photo by Erika Beach
Puerto Peñasco, Mexico | Photo by Erika Beach
Puerto Peñasco, Mexico | Photo by Erika Beach

9. ATV/Quad/ Dune Buggy

You also have the option of taking the ATV or dune buggies’ out in the desert and the beach. We took a guided tour with Javie’s ATV through the town and then to the dunes. Click here to see my ATV/ Quad riding video.

Tambien tienes la opcion de andar en cuatrimotos y ATV’s o dune buggies en el desierto y la playa.  Nosotros tomamos un tour de ATV’s con Javie’s ATV.  Primero por el pueblo y luego por las dunas.  Selecciona abajo para ver el video de ATV’s.

Puerto Peñasco, Mexico | Photo by Erika Beach
 Puerto Peñasco, Mexico | Photo by 52 Perfect Days

Puerto Peñasco, Mexico | Photo by 52 Perfect Days

Puerto Peñasco, Mexico | Photo by Erika Beach
Puerto Peñasco, Mexico | Photo by Erika Beach

10. Walk around the Boardwalk and Malencon

Walking around el Malencon (center of town) is a no brainer. There’s so much to see and so many darling shop to look at. Fishermen are usually outside selling their daily catch, while other are making fun michelada drinks on the streets. Along the way, you can also find neat stores built of recycled items. Or simply find a boutique hotel that is the perfect hidden gem.

Caminar por el malecon es obvio.  Hay mucho que ver y muchisimas tienditas super lindas que visitar.  Los Pescadores casi siempre estan vendiendo sus pescas del dia mientras otros  venden micheladas en la calle. Durante tu caminada tambien te encuentras con muchas tiendas con productos de materiales reciclados.  O simplemente encuntras un hotel boutique Escondido para pasar un buen rato.

Puerto Peñasco, Mexico | Photo by Erika Beach
Puerto Peñasco, Mexico | Photo by Erika Beach

Future port of entry

There are so many things to do in Rocky Point. From desert activities to water sports or just relaxing by the beach is what makes this desert oasis special. However, in the near future, a cruise ship terminal will be available. Actual dates are not set, but the State of Sonora has future plans to bring in additional tourist via cruise ships. 

Hay muchisimas cosas que hacer en Rocky Point.  Desde actividades en el desierto o relajarte en la playa, es lo que hace este lugar tan especial.  En un futuro no muy lejano, se va a abrir un Puerto para cruceros. Todavia no tiene fechas, pero el estado de Sonora tiene planes en el futuro para traer mas turismo por barco.

 Puerto Peñasco, Mexico | Photo by Erika Beach | Peñasco del Sol

Puerto Peñasco, Mexico | Photo by Erika Beach | Peñasco del Sol

 Puerto Peñasco, Mexico | Photo by Erika Beach | Peñasco del Sol

Puerto Peñasco, Mexico | Photo by Erika Beach | Peñasco del Sol

 Puerto Peñasco, Mexico | Photo by Erika Beach | Peñasco del Sol

Puerto Peñasco, Mexico | Photo by Erika Beach | Peñasco del Sol

 Puerto Peñasco, Mexico | Photo by Erika Beach | Peñasco del Sol

Puerto Peñasco, Mexico | Photo by Erika Beach | Peñasco del Sol

 Puerto Peñasco, Mexico | Photo by Erika Beach | Peñasco del Sol

Puerto Peñasco, Mexico | Photo by Erika Beach | Peñasco del Sol

 Puerto Peñasco, Mexico | Photo by Erika Beach | Peñasco del Sol

Puerto Peñasco, Mexico | Photo by Erika Beach | Peñasco del Sol

 Puerto Peñasco, Mexico | Photo by Erika Beach | Peñasco del Sol

Puerto Peñasco, Mexico | Photo by Erika Beach | Peñasco del Sol

 Puerto Peñasco, Mexico | Photo by Erika Beach | Peñasco del Sol

Puerto Peñasco, Mexico | Photo by Erika Beach | Peñasco del Sol

 Puerto Peñasco, Mexico | Photo by Erika Beach | Peñasco del Sol

Puerto Peñasco, Mexico | Photo by Erika Beach | Peñasco del Sol

 Puerto Peñasco, Mexico | Photo by Erika Beach | Peñasco del Sol

Puerto Peñasco, Mexico | Photo by Erika Beach | Peñasco del Sol

A special thank you to Come to Rocky Point (Puerto Peñasco Convention and Visitor’s Bureau) for sponsoring my stay, activities and this post. I also want to thank you for getting to this point of my article and I hope that you get the chance to visit this ocean pearl in the middle of the Sonoran desert. 

Un agradecimiento muy especial a Come To Rocky Point (Puerto Penasco Convention and Visitors Bureau) por patrocinar mi estancia, actividades y blog.  Tambien les quiero agradecer por llegar hasta este punto de mi articulo y espero que tenag la oportunidad muy pronto de visitor esta bella perla del ocenao en el desierto de Sonora.

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Best places to have wine in San Miguel De Allende with breathtaking views!

 
 View from El Mirador | San Miguel de Allende

View from El Mirador | San Miguel de Allende

Some of the most majestic skyline views in all of Mexico can be seen in San Miguel De Allende. UNESCO World Heritage is situated on a hill where cobblestone streets cover the grounds of the city, giving panoramic views to just about any rooftop. During my last visit to San Miguel De Allende, I got to experience some of the best that San Miguel has to offer with their baroque Spanish architecture, cultural festivals and thriving art and food scenes. Guanajuato wineries and vineyards are also located about 20 minutes from the center of SMA. You can read about it here and here. But most of all, I was able to visit several rooftop restaurants with 360 degree views of San Miguel that can be seen from every direction.

 View from El Mirador | San Miguel de Allende

View from El Mirador | San Miguel de Allende

 La Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel | SMA

La Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel | SMA

El Cielo

One of the most magical spots in town is La Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel, whose dramatic pink towers rise above the main plaza, “El Jardín”. El Cielo offers one of the best unobstructed views of La Parroquia and the towns Plaza, where cultural festivals can be seen from the top, as they walk through the streets. This restaurant offers traditional Mexican dishes and local wines from the state of Guanajuato and Mexico. Come for the wine and views!

 El Cielo Rooftop Bar | SMA

El Cielo Rooftop Bar | SMA

 El Cielo Rooftop Bar | SMA

El Cielo Rooftop Bar | SMA

 View from El Cielo Rooftop Bar | SMA

View from El Cielo Rooftop Bar | SMA

 Night view from El Cielo Rooftop Bar | SMA

Night view from El Cielo Rooftop Bar | SMA

Luna

If you ever visit SMA you have to visit popular Rosewood San Miguel de Allende Hotel. Their rooftop bar Luna is located at the top level offering majestic view of the entire city. This is a beautiful hotel and restaurant with an impressive wine list with a large variety of Mexican producers, Old World and New World wines. La Parroquia is further away, but panoramic views of the other side of San Miguel covers the scene and are spectacular. Delicious tapas, dishes and exotic cocktails are available to dining or apetizers. This is a must visit and makes for the most beautiful wedding!

San Miguel De Allende | With Love Paper and Wine
San Miguel De Allende | With Love Paper and Wine
San Miguel De Allende | With Love Paper and Wine
San Miguel De Allende | With Love Paper and Wine
San Miguel De Allende | With Love Paper and Wine

Quince

One of the best things to do in SMA is walk the cobblestone streets that cover the city. We found this restaurant doing just that and had the most delicious meal!  This restaurant was nicely decorated in modern décor offering the close views of La Parroquia from a different perspective then “El Cielo”. The food was exceptional and the drinks were made by in house mixologist. Due to the fact that cocktails is what they do best here, I decided to skip the wine and I ordered a Raspberry Watermelon vodka drink topped with a chilli lemon powder and a rose petal. A Bloody Mary and Michelada cart was also available for brunch. I highly recommend everything here!!! Due to it's popularity, make sure you make a reservation, otherwise you're stuck at the bar.

San Miguel De Allende | With Love Paper and Wine
San Miguel De Allende | With Love Paper and Wine
San Miguel De Allende | With Love Paper and Wine
San Miguel De Allende | With Love Paper and Wine
San Miguel De Allende | With Love Paper and Wine
San Miguel De Allende | With Love Paper and Wine
San Miguel De Allende | With Love Paper and Wine

Pictured on the below is a breakfast restaurant we found by accident right across the street from "El Mirador". Consequently this restaurant was called "El Mirador". This restaurant was like eating at someone house with impressive views and a home cooked meal. Actually, it was someones house and it was a home cooked meal!!! Regardless, we had the best breakfast and had the best view of SMA. 

San Miguel De Allende | With Love Paper and Wine
San Miguel De Allende | With Love Paper and Wine

The Unknown Churro Spot

If you visit SMA, you have to ask around and find this churro place pictured below! It's the best churro spot and it was recommended to me by several people. We waited in line forever for the churro, but it was totally worth. I can't remember the name of this place, but it's near the central park and when you see the long line, you know you found it!

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IMG_6230.JPG

Another must thing to do in just walk around the entire town. Most of the hidden spots we found was by walking around. Theres so many beautiful building to see all very unique and not one in the same. The streets and architecture are colorful  and a true representation of what Mexico is like. You can also walk over to the market and buy yourself some artisan handmade goods. Or simply take in the views and all the burros and people!

San Miguel De Allende | With Love Paper and Wine
San Miguel De Allende | With Love Paper and Wine
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Beautiful wineries, picturesque rooftops bars, baroque architecture and an exceptional gastronomical scene, are the reasons why tourist’s from all over the world continue to make San Miguel one of the most popular tourist and retirement destinations in Mexico.