The View From Your Window Contest: Winner #112


A reader writes:

Lake Winnipesauki, New Hampshire?


Madison, Wisconsin? The palm tree looks a bit like those shown during Fox News's coverage of the capital protests in Wisconsin last year.  I'm guessing it's a view looking southwest across Lake Mendota towards the Isthmus.


OK, I know that if my ridiculous guess gets posted at all, it will be near the top (but God forbid not the very top) for your readers to chuckle at condescendingly, like I have done so many times.  But I'm going with Eilat, Israel.  At least it has a beach and some dry, desolate mountains.  And a date palm tree.


I NEVER play this game, because omg, I don't have time to dig around in Google Images, but this photo pings my Galveston radar SO HARD.  I have to at least be on the record with it.  I love Galveston.  *sigh*



Can't say for sure, but this looks like the beach at Cancun – looking north along the beach – perhaps near the Hilton. I'll leave it to the techno-wizards to figure out the exact location.

Right country. Another:

Not much to go on … tropical to sub tropical, dry coastal area.  Western shore of Mexico?

Right coast. Another nails the town:

Puerto Penasco, Sonora, Mexico.  The gringoes call it "Rocky Point."

A gringo writes:

I was just in Puerto Penasco for a bachelor party in late May. Interestingly enough, I'm now in Bozeman, Montana for that very wedding, which starts in an hour. What a strange coincidence that the VFYW contest would include that photo today. Oh, and it appears that the photo is taken from La Choya, or the half-built condo strip that wasn't finished after the housing crash.


I never understood how "Rocky Port" got translated into "Rocky Point. I almost think the photo was taken from a window at the Las Palomas resort.

Right resort. Another:

This is taken from development phase 1 of the third or fourth floor of the Las Palomas condo-hotel, looking East/Southeast toward the "Malecon" (the main drag downtown). Rocky Point is a favorite vacation destination for Arizonans and is about a 3.5 hour drive South/Southwest from Phoenix metro. It sits on the north shore of the Sea of Cortez (Gulf of California). I spent about three years there doing real estate development, so I know these shores well.

Rocky Point has recently fallen on some hard economic times due to the Arizona real estate crash. The development boom in Arizona funded the echo boom development in this resort town. Tourism has also fallen off due to Americans scared to travel to Mexico because of the drug wars there. But because of Rocky Point's location, it has largely avoided the violence and is still a great place to get a drink a Sol cerveza, eat some great mariscos (seafood), go swimming and fishing and to hang out and practice your Spanish with the friendly locals. I encourage readers to check it out.

4 - best guess

Another also sings its praises:

This appears to be a view from Sandy Beach overlooking Playa Bonita (perhaps from Las Palomas, Bella Sirena, one of the Sonorans or the Reef?). The unfinished structure on the right is the movie theater that was to be finished back in August of last year and the towers on the right edge lead up to the lighthouse on the hill. I would assume this was taken early in the morning, before the vendors walk up and down the beach selling their trinkets, henna tattoos, rope chairs and sunglasses to any and all tourists and handful of locals still left there. Jet skis and "banana boats" would be rented to weekenders especially now during the Mexican national's summer vacation season. 

I was part of a pizza place there in what Americans call "Rocky Point" for five years and one thing you could count on was the amazing beauty of the beach and skies, which could wash away any troubles of the day. Some cheap but good tequila, some Indios, and homemade brownies  would accent this and your favorite taxi driver (Hugo!) could help make your night complete.  I miss the feeling of a slower paced life, riding around the streets on ATVs, not fearing the wrath of police after a few too many drinks, every day of sunshine, and all the times sitting back and taking in all the blessings life gives us which may be realized with a few cold beers while watching the dolphins jump in the ocean in front of you.  Life is good there.

Another memory:

I spent my 30th birthday camped on the beach nearby, and the unrelenting June sun at midday made me stare longingly at the resorts with their cool pools, swim-up bars, and, more importantly, shade. This photo is probably from the 'Cristal' Building at Las Palomas, looking toward the east and the town of Puerto Penasco itself.  From the low angle and the yellow awnings, which I believe are shade for grills for cooking, I would guess all the way on the beach-end of the Cristal building, second floor (perhaps Cristal unit 201 or 202).

The most accurate and detailed entry from a reader:

5 - best guess

Long time, first time.

I live in Phoenix, a few hours away from Rocky Point/Puerto Penasco. I've never been. It's a popular beach destination for Americans in Arizona, however, and I've seen friends' pictures. That gave away the location easily. A little snooping around on Google Maps and the angle revealed the photo would have to be from one of the resorts along the beach that stretches northwest away from town. 

1 - aerial shot

The aerial view of the Las Palomas resort showed something that could be the grey-and-yellow feature at the bottom left of the photo.  More snooping on the resort website confirmed that the grey-and-yellow feature was at the resort, and appeared to be something like a sun shade:

2 - ground shot

The exact location from which the photo was taken is tougher. The window would have to face southeast, toward resorts on the other end of the curved beach. But southeast facing rooms generally overlook the pool area, and a room low enough to see the grey-and-yellow sun shades would probably see other pool area features. So it has to be one of the rooms closest to the beach to avoid seeing anything of the pool area besides the sun shades, and to catch all of the beach without obstruction. The western wing of the western of the two buildings seems to have the right angle:

3 - reverse shot

So here's my guess: if the resort is oriented with four groups of buildings oriented like / /, it's in the / building that is farthest west and closest to the beach. I'm guessing second or third floor, in the tier of rooms one in from closest to the beach.

How close is that?

Close enough for the prize. Details from the submitter:

Puerto Peñasco, Mexico, on the Gulf of California, aka Sea of Cortez. From room E-306 at Las Palomas, 4:37 pm, with the Malecon of the old town center in the background.

The submitter writes back:

Well, this is not my contest to judge, but I thought the person you designated as winner – whose effort was all the more impresive having never been to Puerto Peñasco – had only the second-best guess. The closest guess was actually from the person above the winner, who said he'd camped out nearby on his 30th birthday. He nailed the proper building and approximate location in the Las Palomas complex – "the beach-end of the Cristal" – , and he was only one floor and a few units off from the exact point. The winner guessed a building on the far western end, which is at the opposite side of the property. The judge(s) of course wouldn't have known that E-306 is in the Cristal buiding without going deep into the Las Palomas website.

Like another poster, I had often wondered how the town name  got translated into English as Rocky Point, instead of the more literal Rocky Port. There is a interesting history of Puerto Peñasco on Wikipedia. If that history is correct, the English name – given by a long-ago British explorer – may even pre-date the Spanish name, which in turn is kind of a compromise between Rocky Point and the name given the town by Mexcan president Lázaro Cárdenas in the 1930s.

Whatever you call it, it's a great destination for folks from both countries.

He writes back again:

OMG, this gets complicated. I missed that the second person who guessed Las Palomas did get the right complex of buildings by guessing "Phase 1".  E-306 in the Cristal building is in Phase 1. So that makes the winner's guess actually the third-best guess, since he mapped out a location in Phase 2, farther to the west.