San Carlos in one word, it would be “colorful.” Everywhere you go, there are brightly-painted houses, vibrant markets, and friendly locals. Even the natural world is colorful; every evening, the deeply contrasting blue sea and red rock are illuminated by a rosy sunset glow. Folks, if you haven’t made it down to this part of Mexico yet, you’re missing out. San Carlos is an ideal place to spend a vacation by the sea, unhindered by crowds and free to explore in the beauty of the idyllic coast.
About San Carlos
San Carlos is on one of the most beautiful vacation communities in Sonora, Mexico. Vacationing in San Carlos is all about the beauty of the beach and the charm of the culture. Seventy years ago, San Carlos was a cattle ranch with beaches untouched by anyone except a few fisherman. Today, it is a pristine resort village. Once across the border, it’s a straight shot on extremely well-maintained roads. The newness of this community lends to a fresh, clean area making it perfect for a holiday, a wedding, or a family reunion on the beach.
What to Eat
Local food is, of course, an essential travel experience. You think Taco Bell is Mexican? You’ll change your mind after you try real Mexican food. The authentic grub, by the way, is way better than Costa Vida or even (dare I say it?) Chipotle. The staple in San Carlos is fish, fish, and more fish, but even seafood-haters can find fish-free deliciousness to tempt their palates.
And don’t forget to get coconuts! These yummy treats are chopped in front of your eyes and filled with yummy goodness from octopus to as simple as chili and lemon.
Things to Do
If you’re hanging out in San Carlos, there’s one place you surely want to be: the beach. You can spend all day on the sand and never get sick of it! You might expect such a beautiful beach to get crowded, but it rarely is. In fact, if you decide to visit in the off-season, it’s almost like staying on a private beach. If that doesn’t make you feel like a celebrity or multi-millionaire, I don’t know what would! Be sure to take a walk to the old Club Med to take a look at this famous historic building.
In the off-chance that you do get sick of it, you can go on a fishing tour, or hike the fascinating rock formations. A hike up Tetakawi Peaks will come in handy to burn off all those mimosas, and you’ll be amazed at the sweeping views of the sea and city! San Carlos is also a fantastic place to go diving, and there are several top-rated dive sites in the area! Not a diver? Never fear! You can get scuba dive certified while you’re there or plan a trip to the hot springs.
If you would like to visit a hustle and bustle of a little town you can take a 30 min drive over to Guaymas. It has all the excitement of a big city with street vendors with carts and makeshift booths lined up and down the sidewalks with all kinds of wares and tokens of Mexico.
These shoes are a favorite. Every time we go our friends and family ask us to pick up these shoes.
Where to Stay
There are plenty of vacation rentals in San Carlos. You have a few options when it comes to staying in this town: rent a house or stay at a resort. If you want to rent a house, check out Hacienda Babbitt. This sprawling villa has six rooms and can accommodate large groups of up to 20 people plus more if people want to bring sleeping bags and don’t mind sleeping on the terrace or in the grass-lined, covered courtyard. The house is within walking distance of the beach and is situated in a secure gated community. You can sunbathe on the terrace in private or on the beach or book horseback riding along the beach. If you want to experience fresh tortillas made right before your eyes we can set you up with a local that will come right to the house.
You can also get many VRBO rentals
On the beach by Hacienda Babbitt is Bonifacio’s Cotton Club, a gourmet restaurant on the beach. You can sip cool drinks and listen to live entertainment while enjoying quesadillas or lobster.
If you are thinking of a destination wedding this would be the perfect place. Hacienda Babbitt could accommodate the wedding party while the hotel down the road can host family and friends. All at a reasonable price!
Another great place to eat is Soggy Peso. This is a fantastic little beach bar with food and drinks that are almost as good as the cool atmosphere of this open-air shack. If neither of these is for you, head to Bienvenidos, another little restaurant on the beach that offers a variety of local dishes.
Not far away, San Carlos Plaza Hotel is a perfect place to stay if a house rental isn’t your style. This hotel is located on the beachfront and has all the amenities you could need for your stay, including a gym, pool, and bar.
Average Air Temperatures (Range)
January – 60-75º February-60-75ºMarch – 60-77º April – 64-83º
May – 70-85º June – 78-90º July – 80-94º August- 80-94º
September-80-94º October – 74-88º November- 69-80º December-60-77º
There’s no doubt about it: San Carlos is the perfect place to stay and play on the Mexican coast. It’s not far from the border, has plenty to do, is absolutely gorgeous, is easy to travel in and around and if you have a private plane or want to charter one, you can even fly right on into it. If you’ve not experienced the ambiance and relaxation of Mexico take advantage of everything San Carlos has to offer.
For further information about traveling to Mexico, tolls, marriage license, insurance, passport information, different forms of transportation and general Mexico information, check out Mexico Travel Information.
Karie Babbitt is a Lifestyle and Family Travel Writer. Mother of three boys and one girl. She has raised a family of six on a single income for over twenty-five years. She will share how she budgets so she can travel to show her kids all fifty states before they leave her home. Her parenting fails and successes, budgeting tips, food and living life in bliss.