San Carlos Travel Information
San Carlos is a resort community located on Mexico’s Sea of Cortez, a 700-mile-long body of water that provides mainland Mexico with 70 percent of its fresh fish. Located just four hours from Nogales, Arizona, down Mexico Highway 15, this seaside paradise is a dream for snorkelers, divers, whale watchers, windsurfers, kayakers, boaters, fishermen, golfers, and beachgoers alike. The dramatic view of the mountains and the sea in this rare paradise, along with the modern conveniences and prime accommodations, will provide you with the relaxing and enjoyable vacation you seek.
Getting to San Carlos
Flying: San Carlos is located on the western coast of Mexico on the Sea of Cortez, just south of Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico. The best source of transportation into the area is via the Hermosillo (HMO) airport. Air service is offered by several airlines in the US with connections through Mexico City or Phoenix, AZ to HMO. As of this writing, US Airways offers daily non-stop direct flights from PHX to HMO with direct non-stop returns to PHX. We suggest checking flights via Expedia or other online travel sites or contact your travel agent for more flights and details.
Driving: If you prefer to drive, the highway from Nogales, Mexico to San Carlos is considered safe and pleasant. People living in the Arizona area, the drive from Phoenix or Tucson down Mexico 15 through Nogales is considered safe, with interesting landscape and views along the way. Once in Hermosillo, continue south on Mexico 15 to connect with Sonora 17 Highway West. Stay west on Sonora 17 to the beautiful San Carlos. The total drive is approximately 8 hours if you prefer a beautiful adventure. There are service stations offering drinks, snacks, gasoline, and restrooms along the way. Pesos are required for the tolls. We strongly suggest speed limits be observed in the area of Hermosillo and San Carlos.
Don’t forget to bring your:
Ground Transportation in San Carlos
Once you are in San Carlos, you can get around by:
- Taxi – Taxi service is available from the airport. The cost is about 300 pesos ($300). In town, taxis can be found in front of the Marina Terra Hotel and at Plaza los Jitos, typically from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Fares are consistent, but can sometimes be bartered down 10 or 20 pesos. You can get most anywhere in the downtown area for $3-$6 USD.
- Rental Car – Rental cars are also available at the airport from Hertz and Budget for around 700 pesos ($70).
- Bus – San Carlos has upgraded to modern Mercedes Benz buses. They run every 20 minutes or so from 6:15 a.m. to 7 p.m. After that, the buses depart at 8, 9, and 11 p.m. The bus route takes you down the main thoroughfare of Boulevard Beltrones, past Marina Terra, to the end of Marina San Carlos. During Easter Week, you can also catch a route to Los Algodones Beach and the ranchitos region. A typical bus fare is around 40 pesos ($40) or 90 pesos ($9) to reach Guaymas.
- Ferry – The Guaymas-Santa Rosalia Ferry is a convenient way for Los Cabos or La Paz visitors to reach mainland Mexico and vice-versa. Vehicles can board the spacious ferry boat as well, which runs from Guaymas to Baja at night and arrives in Santa Rosalia in morning.
San Carlos safety information
The U.S. State Department has issued the following advisories for traveling in San Carlos:
- Stay on the main roads during daylight hours.
- Use the Lukeville, Arizona/Sonoyta and Sonora border crossings.
- Avoid non-essential travel west of Nogales, east of Sonoyta, north of Caborca, and on the Chihuahua border.
Important San Carlos contacts
Should you have an urgent need you may dial:
- Police/Fire/Paramedics: 6-1400
- Red Cross & Ambulance: 6-0911
- Port Captain: 2-2525
- Customs: 2-0170
- Tourist Info: 6-0202
Medical care in San Carlos
Clinica San Carlos is where most visitors end up if they require medical care. They are fully equipped to handle all urgent traumas and specialize in cardiac care. Some US and Canadian insurances are accepted and most staff workers are bilingual. You can find the hospital at 96 Calle Marte — directly across the street from Banamex, San Carlos, in the heart of the luxury home rental district. Call 622-22-60062 for assistance.
You may also call Dr. Andrew Dalid Yakushevich who runs a family practice in Guaymas Norte and specializes in emergency medicine / general surgery at 622-115-9289. He can do house calls in San Carlos.
San Carlos weather & best times to visit Guaymas
Each season has its own special opportunities in San Carlos. The weather is generally mild all year round.
- Winter (Dec-Feb) is a busy time of year for expatriates from Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, Alberta, and other chilly climates who have made the area their winter home. Yachting, church groups, volunteering and cultural gatherings are big this time of year. January is the coldest month, with temperatures ranging from 46 to 80. The whale watching season peaks from January through early April.
- Spring (March-May) represents one of the busiest times of year due to the Easter holiday. The last week of Lent, Semana Santa (Holy Week), is much like Fort Lauderdale’s Spring Break in terms of popularity. The days are the sunniest in spring and the water temperature is in the high 70s / 80s, so you’re guaranteed a nice swim.
- Summer (June-Aug) brings people who love diving, snorkeling and fishing. Sailfish, Marlin, Tuna and Dorado can all be caught in the Sea of Cortez. Algodones Beach is the hottest spot for swimming, with crystal clear water averaging 89 degrees. Daytime temperatures average 77-98 in July, which is the hottest month. Nighttime temperatures are still in the low 80s, with humidity over 50%.
- Autumn (Sept-Nov) is one of the nicest times to visit San Carlos, with calm winds and daytime temperatures that still reach the 70s, 80s and 90s. Hurricane weather is most prevalent in late August / early September. If you want to come during Thanksgiving holiday, you can find turkey at Wal-Mart or Sam’s Club in Guaymas. Hunting season runs from late October to early March, which includes private ranch hunts through the desert on horseback. Deer, bobcats, rabbits, coyotes and birds are popular prey.
Additional San Carlos travel information and resources