Penthouse perfection in Rocky Point

You know you are in for a treat when you are given the special code that allows the elevator to take you up to the penthouse at Bella Sirena. Walking inside the beautifully etched doorway of Penthouse C1301, you find yourself in the spacious yet comfortable, living area with a large dining table for 12, leather couches, a 70-inch flat-screen TV and a dream kitchen with granite countertops and high-end stainless steel appliances.

But what really beckons your attention is the view. Opening the large sliding glass doors, the view is incredible. The grounds below are meticulously maintained. Palm trees billow in the ocean breeze. The sun’s reflection sparkles off the waters of the many pools in the complex. Offering 360-degree views, the skyline of Los Suenos catches your eye to the left and the construction of the new cruise ship dock to the right. Straight ahead is nothing but a beautiful view of the Sea of Cortez and its sandy beach.

Exploring the 5,000-square-foot penthouse, there are “Oh, look!” moments at every turn. The inside of the condo has literally been brought outdoors with the large sliding pocket doors opening the living area and master bedroom to the ocean view. From the walk-in wine cellar with two separate wine coolers; the media room with a great stereo system; the master ensuite complete with fireplace and custom walk-in closet; three more large bedrooms, each with its own private bathroom; and the oversized laundry room to the intricate tile work in the ceiling recesses, the attention to detail will not go unnoticed.

The kitchen is professionally equipped with anything and everything you could possibly need: Viking appliances, well-stocked cupboards and drawers, pass-through windows to the deck and, best of all, a separate ice-making unit to keep up with the many guests.

The palapas are very large — both of them! The furniture is heavy yet inviting, and the outdoor gas grill is large enough to handle lots of cooking. The hot tub is a welcome respite after a full day of activities. A spiral staircase leads up to the second outdoor space, which is nicely appointed and complete with a fireplace.

The owners of this luxury property are local to Phoenix and bought their first Rocky Point property in 2008, and this one in 2015. They have not spared any expense or attention to detail for their guests. From the welcome note and bottle of Champagne to the supply of amenities and the extremely comfortable beds, you only need to bring your clothes!

If you’re considering a relaxing and plush stay in Rocky Point, don’t miss this gem. The owners of the condo are incredibly accommodating and generous with their home. The only negative thing we could come up with was the thought of it not being available the next time we want to escape to Mexico! For your getaway with friends or family, contact John and Debbie Peterson at VRBO.com/788918.

Rocky Point 101

Puerto Peñasco (nicknamed Rocky Point) is a growing seaside village and beach destination that is an easy four-hour drive from Chandler. Once you cross the border, you will travel less than an hour on the Mexican highway, which is clearly marked along the way as a “hassle-free zone.” Almost every car you see will have an Arizona or California license plate. Although it may seem familiar based on the company, going to a foreign country can be intimidating when you don’t know the culture or laws. The following can help you plan ahead and enjoy your trip.

Car Insurance – Everyone driving to Mexico is required by law to purchase Mexican vehicle insurance with liability coverage. There are several places to do so before you cross the border.

Currency – The resorts, most restaurants and stores use U.S. currency, but it is wise to have pesos for cabs, tips and street vendors. Credit cards are subject to additional fees when used internationally. There are also fees on cash withdrawals from foreign bank ATMs.

Required Documents – Adults and children 16 and over need a passport or passport card. Children under 16 only need their birth certificate. The driver must also have a current driver’s license. Make photocopies of these documents and keep them separate from the originals.

Vehicle Titles — All vehicles crossing the border must have a vehicle title. This includes cars, trucks, boats, jet skis, water bikes, ATVs, dune buggies, etc. If you are leasing your vehicle, the leasing contract must be in the name of the person driving the car. If your vehicle is a company car and you are allowed to drive it out of the country, you will need to show a document verifying your employment and authorization to drive the vehicle in Mexico.

Smart Travel Enrollment Program (STEP) – This free program is provided by the U.S. government for U.S. citizens who are traveling to, or living in, a foreign country. This program allows you to enter information about your trip so the U.S. Department of State can assist you in case of an emergency. Enroll at Travel.State.Gov.

Speed Limits and Traffic Signs – Speed limit signs in Mexico are in kilometers. When driving through Rocky Point, the speed limit is 40 km, or 25 mph, unless otherwise noted. If you break the traffic laws, fines will be assessed and you will be asked to follow the officer to the police station, where fines must be paid immediately.

Tipping – The standard rate for tipping at restaurants, bars and taxis is 15 percent. For parking attendants, laundry service and room service a 10 percent peso tip is customary.

Things to Do in Rocky Point

El Malecon Boardwalk – A stroll down the Malecon in downtown Puerto Peñasco is a great way to take in the local flavor and the magnificent view of the Sea of Cortez. Along the boardwalk, you’ll find shops, restaurants and fish markets. Don’t miss the breathtaking sunsets.

Fishing – Whether an avid fisherman or a novice, Rocky Point is one of the best locations in Mexico for fishing because of the surrounding islands, reefs and estuaries. Popular fish species include sierra mackerel, triggerfish, corvina, shrimp, grouper and spotted seabass.

San Jorge Island — Bird Island – Take a boat ride over to the island. Swim and snorkel with sea lions, do some bird watching, see dolphins, scuba dive or kayak. From October to April, you might see whales!

El Pinacate – Challenge yourself with a hike to the peak of El Pinacate, the Santa Clara Volcano. It is a natural protected area, where lava flowed more than 2 million years ago. The mountain range is filled with rocks, sand and volcanic ashes that have formed spectacular colors and craters. El Pinacate is a well-maintained national park about 45 minutes from Puerto Peñasco. Camping is allowed.

Golf – Three golf courses are available; two are Jack Nicklaus-designed courses with spectacular scenery.

Sand Dunes – Sand dunes offer activities such as horseback riding, ATV and dune buggy riding, sand boarding and hiking.

Oyster Farm – Only seven miles from Rocky Point, you can watch oysters being caught, shucked and served.