Mortimer Sánchez

Sleepy seaside paradise

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Ever tried to pee in the ocean while the tide’s sloshing around?

Don’t worry, I couldn’t either. And before you call it pollution, remember that fish pee, too.

I’ll get back to that.

I had found my way to the newly remodeled Hotel Peñasco del Sol on a Sunday. For those who remember, it’s the Plaza las Glorias, reborn. Even though the building’s only a decade old, it had fallen victim to the ocean’s tortures and human neglect. Now, it’s a whole new bird of paradise.

I’ve only ever rented beach houses in Puerto Peñasco. Once, a long time ago, I stayed at Playa del Mar, on the far end of the malecón in old town. I spent most every early morning hung over and cursing the Sonoran children’s soccer team that had taken over the hotel.

Peñasco del Sol was a library compared to that bad memory. Just happy families and smiling couples. After a tantalizing hour’s wait, they finished cleaning my room on the fifth floor, and I walked in. Maybe Latino Perspectives shouldn’t have sent a pauper like me to make an unbiased review of this hotel, because I was impressed just opening the damn door. I’ve rented apartments smaller than this pad!

King size bed! Flat screen TVs in the living room and the bedroom. I pulled back a curtain to find one entire wall was a window overlooking the ocean. I stepped onto the small balcony to gaze across the length of Sandy Beach sprinkled with sunbathers, families, new condominiums and half-built hotels in the distance.

This hotel certainly has one leg up on all others here; location. I drove down to the malecón inside five minutes. There I haggled over a soccer jersey, and chatted with the owner of Santana’s coffee shop. He’s a transplant from California who came and fell sweet on a girl from Mazatlán four years ago. Now he’s struggling to keep things going as the U.S. economy forces people to guard their money.

Hotel Peñasco del Sol benefits from its location, and as the first major luxury hotel in the area. The guests were mostly Mexican. I had to drink an entire beer before hearing a U.S. accent at the outside bar-pool. Then again, it was Sunday – they’ve all gone home. A lawyer from Culiacán rattled my eardrums with stories about her family, her job, beaches, the ranch back home, the flarfh boltoablah blah blah. I lost track after two hours.

One beauty of this hotel is having many escape routes for just such a case. Sneak over to the cabana beds, saunter down to the beach. Hide in the hotel’s restaurant or coffee shop. Or slip out the front and check out the numerous restaurants on Calle 13.

I opted for the beach. There, a group of men in red shirts had begun to play Sinaloan banda music. The tuba player managed with one hand, a forgotten beer in the other. The drummer mugged for passing cameras, and the singer hopped around as other bandmembers tossed firecrackers at his feet. Free entertainment! When I realized my bladder was full, I glanced up at the hotel pool, and saw my talkative new lady friend still there. I headed for the ocean. Don’t criticize! It was closer and quicker! You’d have done the same. I spent the next hour pretending to be a human buoy, and finding out that certain things require standing very still.

The next morning I tried out the breakfast buffet at the hotel’s restaurant, Miguel’s. Two chefs are on hand to whip up a nice omelet for guests, and my only complaint would be the rubbery French toast. The rest of my day was beaches, sunburns, new sandals, helados, sand everywhere… and two flat-screen TV’s playing at once! I loved them so much I actually sat down and watched a… cough… Richard Gere movie. On both.

Then I strolled to the inside lounge to enjoy a few Cuba libres and not-very-tasty nachos. I know! Nachos are never good! Not their fault. We can thank U.S. bars for that invention. But the bartender, Jimena, was an absolute sweetheart, even when a customer complained about his michelada and demanded a refund…after drinking all of it.

Then the lawyer from Culiacán sat down next to me. Damn! She began talking about family, work, beaches, the ranch back home, the flarfh biblah blah blah… again. It only took fifteen minutes for my eyes to roll back in my head. I was daydreaming about flat screen televisions.

Hotel Peñasco Del Sol
Paseo Las Glorias #1
Puerto Peñasco, Mexico

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