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San Carlos, Sonora

The premier vacation, second home and retirement destination in Mexico!

27°57'N 111°01'W points you to a very special place: San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico -- a world-class vacation, second home and retirement destination.

Located on the Sea of Cortez where the mountains meet the sea, our community of 7,000 offers the convenience of small-town living coupled with easy access to the big-town amenities of Guaymas.

Home to some of the finest beaches in Mexico, San Carlos offers an active year-round outdoor lifestyle, with deep sea fishing, sailing, diving, kayaking, kite surfing and just plain old lying around on the beach a part of many residents' daily routine.

But San Carlos is far more than just a pretty beach. Learn why countless Americans, Canadians, Europeans and others from around the globe have chosen to vacation in San Carlos -- and why so many of them have chosen to become home owners here!

Great location (location, location)


San Carlos lies directly south of the United States / Mexico border crossing of Nogales, and is connected to Nogales by Mexico interstate highway 15, one of the better-maintained divided highways in northwest Mexico.

Unlike destinations further south, San Carlos can easily be reached from starting points far further than Phoenix within a comfortable single drive-day, and is reached from Tucson in little more than 6 hours.

Our community is served by the Guaymas airport, which receives daily flights from two Mexican commuter airlines offering non-stop service to many northwest Mexico destinations such as Guerrero Negro, Hermosillo, La Paz, Loreto, San Jose del Cabo and Santa Rosalia.

While there are presently no flights from the United States to the Guaymas airport, many visitors and longer-term or full-time residents of San Carlos choose to fly to and from the international airport in Hermosillo, just 75 miles north.

General Ignacio Pesqueira Garcia International Airport in Hermosillo served over 1.3 million passengers in 2014 and offers flights to dozens of cities both within and outside Mexico.

San Carlos is also connected by ferry to Santa Rosalia, Baja California. The ferry can accomodate cars and RV’s of pretty much any size, including vehicles up to 18 meters in length!

Beaches where the mountains meet the sea

boulevard_beltrones_370x265_01Some of the most spectacular vistas on earth are in those rare locations where mountains plunge directly into the ocean.

San Carlos offers these breathtaking views and more — pristine soft sand beaches wrapped snugly around delightful coves and bays.

Our beaches can be enjoyed virtually every day of the year, and are a constant source of relaxation and entertainment for residents and visitors. The sea at San Carlos is known worldwide for its clarity and warmth, and all forms of watersport are popular including snorkeling and scuba diving.

Playa Algodones, in particular, is famous not only to those who have visited it, but to those who have seen it in film, particularly the Mike Nichols epic Catch-22, which was largely filmed on and next to Playa Algodones.

Beyond entertainment, the undulations of the terrain also improve the quality of our real estate: because of the beautifully terraced topography of much of the land in San Carlos a disproportionately high percentage of our houses and condominiums have ocean views!

Outdoor fun!

kite_surfing_san_carlos_370x370_01San Carlos has a climate that encourages outdoor activities year-round, and visitors and longer-term residents enjoy a very wide array of choices when it comes to outdoor fun and exercise!

To begin with, San Carlos is a world-class beach town.

Pretty much evey activity you can imagine related to the water is available here: power boating, sailing, kayaking, jet skis, kite-boarding, snorkeling, scuba diving — if it involves water-fun you can most likely do it in San Carlos year-round.

For many, the most fun you can have on the water is deep sea fishing, and our part of the Sea of Cortez delivers consistently superior deep sea fishing.

fishing_sca_340x235_01San Carlos is known worldwide for its sport fishing — particularly the spectacular local billfish — and our beautiful Marinas accommodates yachts and sailboats from around the world.

The San Carlos Marina is a full-service marine facility with professional boat maintenance services like dry storage, repair and all sorts of upgrades available from skilled local boat mechanics.

Whether deep sea fishing or just sailing for fun, San Carlos has everything a water lover craves!

But the ocean isn’t the only natural resource that our community can boast of.

San Carlos sits at the intersection of some of the most beautiful mountains in the Sonoran desert, and the complex and varied ecosystem that results is literally at the doorstep of everyone who lives or visits San Carlos.

nacapule_canyon_370x250_01Imagine: just outside Ranchitos you enter Nacapule Canyon, a wonderland of decidious forest at the northern edge of the range of tropical plants, with fig trees and massive palms interwoven with cacti and other desert flora.

A confluence of natural springs and all this lush vegetation support a rich ecosystem of rare animals, birds and butterflies — and assure hikers of lots of exotic things to look at on day trips!

And if you don’t feel like hiking, there are lots of other ways to access the wonders of the desert and mountains such as guided — or independent — ATV tours, and professionally guided hunting trips and excursions.

dolphin_trainer_370x250_01Or maybe you’d like to just sit down and be entertained?

Try a visit to our Dolphinarium, a beautiful dolphin show and marine education facility located just minutes from San Carlos overlooking the Sea of Cortez on the spectacular estuary road!

Built by the State of Sonora, our Dolphinarium is a lovely new facility with a purpose that goes far beyond the big-fun of the performances: the dolphinarium has served as a perfect place to educate children from San Carlos, Guaymas and beyond about the beauty and value of sea life and the marine ecosystem.

Familiar amenities

While no American or Canadian worldly enough to want to vacation or live in San Carlos wants North American amenities all-the-time, most of us get cravings from time-to-time!

Modern San Carlos / Guaymas makes sure that you’re not craving for long!

A surge in development in recent years has brought our community Walmart, Sam’s Club, Home Depot, Autozone, Midas, Blockbuster, Domino’s Pizza, Little Caesars, Papa John’s Pizza, McDonalds, Burger King, Dairy Queen, Subway — and more!

Recent upgrades to the telcom infrastructure enables residents of Guaymas / San Carlos to stream movies from Netflix, and high speed wireless data plans make internet connectivity from smart phones and pad devices easy and fast!

Many of our longer-term or full-time residents also take advantage of shopping opportunities in Hermosillo just 70 miles north — you pass through it when driving down from Nogales.

Hermosillo is the capital of Sonora State and — with a population approaching 800,000 — supports a very large array of international-branded products, services and retail outlets, like an even more massive Walmart, Sam’s Club and the Most Highly Recommended Mecca of all things North American retail, Costco.

We offer downloadable .pdf’s with substantial information about San Carlos / Guaymas stores, shopping and services from the Shopping and Services page of this website.

Great stuff to eat!

tacos_370x250_01San Carlos and Guaymas offer visitors and residents lots of great places to eat, drink and be entertained.

Seafood is — obviously — terrific in our community, and our restaurants benefit from the delicious catch that is harvested daily from the Sea of Cortez. Shrimp, in particular, are abundant and inexpensive in San Carlos, and are used in many dishes served at our restaurants.

But San Carlos / Guaymas restaurants also benefit from the long tradition of ranching in Sonora state, and the terrific beef and pork that is grown locally.

Check out our Guide to Restaurants, Bars and Coffee Shops for more information about dining and drinking options in San Carlos / Guaymas! This comprehensive directory can also be downloaded in .pdf format.

Affordable Quality Healthcare

medical_250x200_01As we age, access to quality health care tends to become more of a factor in our thinking — especially when we’re considering buying seasonal or full-time retirement housing!

Retirees and long term residents of San Carlos benefit from a number of quality healthcare providers that are located in San Carlos / Guaymas and just north in Hermosillo, the capitol of Sonora State.

Our community is home to a long-established medical clinic with substantial capabilities staffed with experienced English-speaking doctors; numerous dentists; alternative and holistic medicine professionals; pharmacies; our local emergency response EMS unit, Rescate, and the resources of CIMA Hermosillo, one of the finest hospitals in Northwest Mexico.

The great news for Americans and Canadians looking for excellent medical care in San Carlos is that all this good medicine is very inexpensive compared to what they’re used to — usually less than 1/3 the cost for most procedures, sometimes even much less!

For a more detailed overview of doctors, dentists, pharmacies, a diagnostic imaging facility, alternative medicine and practitioners and emergency medical resources check out the San Carlos Medical Services page on this website. This directory can also be downloaded in .pdf format.