puerto penasco home port Project will encourage cruise tourism in the Sea of Cortés.sandy beach resorts

Cruise ship home port progressing in Sonora

The Puerto Peñasco project has seen a few setbacks

There have been a few setbacks for the 1.4-billion-peso (US $93 million) cruise ship facility in Puerto Peñasco, Sonora, but they appear to have been resolved and the first cruise ship is expected to arrive in the first half of next year.

Construction of the home port, so called because it will be a departure and arrival point for cruise ships, began in early 2013 but strikes by transport workers, issues with construction materials and political and environmental pressures have created delays.

Probably the biggest setback was the discovery that rock to be quarried to form the base of a jetty was not suitable and concrete cubes will have to be used instead. Building the forms to pour the cubes — the project will need 73,000 weighing just under one tonne and 10,000 more weighing nine tonnes — is under way near the site.

The concrete is also a more expensive proposition than quarried rock, but state and federal authorities have agreed to the additional cost, writes project supporter Jim Ringquist in the Rocky Point Times. However, savings will be gained by extending the jetty farther than planned in order to save the much higher cost of dredging, which had been proposed in the original plan.

The home port will be located at Sandy Beach in Puerto Peñasco, also known as Rocky Point, a city of about 60,000 located at the upper end of the Sea of Cortés, some 100 kilometers from the U.S. border. Known as well by some as “Arizona’s beach,” Puerto Peñasco has become a popular beach destination for visitors from Phoenix, Tuscon and Yuma.

Cruise ship customers are expected to come from those markets along with California residents, for whom a new coastal highway has cut the distance by 160 kilometers. An airport finished in 2008 is also expected to deliver visitors who wish to go cruising.

Expected to pump $12 million a month in to the local economy, the home port facility will include the one-kilometer-long jetty, terminal buildings and a pedestrian walkway.

Holland America has said Puerto Peñasco could become a world-class tourist destination with such a port, which also creates an ideal route for the company for seven-day cruises beginning and ending there.

Stops would include Guaymas, Loreto, La Paz and Topolobampo.

Sources: Reforma (sp), Rocky Point Times (en)

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