/ Modified dec 12, 2023 4:39 p.m.

Rocky Point residents say it’s a ghost town after port closure

The closure of the Lukeville port of entry has turned Rocky Point into a ghost town, causing businesses to shutter, locals to lose their jobs, and uncertainty to loom over the community's economic future.

Lukeville port VIEW LARGER The Lukeville port of entry lay empty on Dec. 5, 2023, a day after the federal government closed the direct route to Rocky Point in order to move personnel to help with a surge of migrants.
Danyelle Khmara

Only four days into the closure of the Lukeville port of entry, people in the popular tourist destination Rocky Point are saying the place has turned into a ghost town.

Border officials announced Friday that the port of entry, which is a direct route from Arizona to Puerto Peñasco would close Monday morning.

Kristin Hanes, travel blogger at TheWaywardHome.com, lives there a few months every year, and said there are currently no people on the usually crowded streets or beaches and some of the businesses are shuttered

“A lot of these restaurants are closing, having limited hours. Someone said they went downtown and there were bunches of restaurant closures,” Hanes said. “This whole area just feels like a ghost town. It’s really different.”

Cynthia Lowe, who manages a property at a large resort there and owns the restaurant Ole Mole Penasco, says people began leaving immediately after the announcement — tourists rushing to the border before their only route home became hours out of the way on roads many don’t consider safe.

“The parking lots are even more dead than when covid hit and the place closed down,” Lowe said. “And the restaurant — revenues dropped drastically starting last Saturday.”

Lowe had six employees, and on Wednesday, she had to make a hard decision.

“Last night we met with everyone, and I couldn’t even talk. I was in tears,” she said “These people are like family to me. I couldn’t run this business without them. I’ve got a great crew. And starting at the end of this week, I gotta lay four of them off. Two of them have babies. You know.”

One of the employees she had to lay off is a migrant from El Salvador who had decided to stay in Puerto Peñasco with his partner and four-year-old child instead of attempting the dangerous journey to cross the U.S.-Mexico border.

Lowe is not sure how he, her other employees or even herself are going to sustain now.

Rocky point The usually busy beaches of Rocky Point were empty on Dec. 7 following the closure of the Lukeville port of entry.
Kristin Hanes
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