Many of you might be familiar with the trend that “small is the new big, “ well, San Carlos is right in style! This Sea of Cortez jewel is home to about 7,500 people, many expats and also as a get-a-way for Mexican Nationals who reside in the larger cities of Hermosillo and Obregon. What makes this small oceanside community extra attractive is that she is only a 4-hour drive from the US border. There is also an airport in nearby Guaymas (15 min. drive) with daily service to and from Phoenix, Arizona. More flight options are available if you fly into Hermosillo and then shuttle down to San Carlos.

Friday, 4:00 p.m.

Beach Activities

Algodones Beach

After you have unpacked your suitcases I would suggest that you slip on some shorts and flip-flops and head out to Algondones Beach. This is a great place to take a nice long walk on the beach, stretch your legs, and take in the beautiful mountain and ocean views. Pop into the Soggy Peso Bar and let owner, Lisa serve you up a nice cold drink and relax listening to the fabulous collection of music she has amassed. That girl has a really good ear for music!

7:30 p.m.,

Food & Restaurants

La Esquina

A perfect dining option for your first night in San Carlos is La Esquina (the inside corner). Located in the Las Palmas Plaza on the main boulevard Beltrones, this little Mediterranean bistro will not disappoint. The atmosphere is sophisticated with European flair and the thin crust pizza is prepared in true Italian style.

9:30 p.m.


For a nightcap, head to Ruby’s at the San Carlos Marina and grab an outdoor table and chairs to take in the gorgeous nighttime harbor views. The owners will supply the good music, extensive wine list, and friendly atmosphere. Local musicians often stroll through and are happy to take requests for a favorite Mexican tune.

Saturday, 8:00 a.m.

Watersport Activities

Gary’s Dive Shop

Start out your day with the Nature Cruise at Gary’s Dive Shop. This family owned business has been operating in San Carlos since 1971 and they are experts on the Sea of Cortez, the sea life and native birds of the area. The tour is approximately 2 hours and it is not unusual to see dolphins and at the right time of year, whales. My guests have always found this tour very informative and a great way to see San Carlos from the water.

10:30 a.m.

Marina Terra Beach Club

After you come off of the water it’s time to get in to the water! At the Marina Terra Beach Club you will find kayaks and snorkeling gear for rent and a guide if you would like an escort. Otherwise, jump on in and head out for some fresh sea air and do a little underwater sightseeing.

1:00 p.m.

La Palapa

It might be unusual to find a fantastic Greek restaurant in Mexico however; we are unusually blessed in San Carlos. Rafael, a native of Greece serves up a delicious menu of both Greek specialties and standard American fare. The restaurant is located on the beach under a huge palapa with lounge chairs and umbrellas on the beach providing a scenic lunch spot.

3:30 p.m.

Horse Back Riding Mexico

Rancho el Palmar

Next on the agenda is a horseback ride through the rugged and beautiful mountains that ring San Carlos. Trail guides Billy & Pepper will fill you full of the history of this 3,500-acre Mexican ranch as well as inform you of the local animals found in the area. Then it’s time to head back to your lodgings for a well-deserved siesta.

7:30 p.m.

Blackie’s Restaurant

This is a favorite of locals and many anniversaries, engagements, and birthdays are celebrated in this classic restaurant. The piano player has a roster of songs that would make Frank Sinatra proud. White table cloths, waiters dressed in black, candle light, and Armando, the best bartender in town ensure that this will be a lovely and memorable evening.

10:00 p.m.

Tequila’s Restaurant Bar

To round out your evening it’s time for some salsa, cumbia, and reggaeton music at this super hot spot. After 10:00 p.m. you won’t see many gringos and that is when the fun really gets started. This music will have you on your feet in no time and it’s great to watch the other dancers. Mexicans love to dance and they dance well!


10:00 a.m.

Embarcadero Marina Side Restaurant

Sunday brunch at The Embardadero is an after-mass tradition in San Carlos and the location is superb. Umbrella tables are scattered around the boardwalk of the San Carlos Marina and the brunch fills several tables with everything from fruit, to pastries, and the usual ham and eggs to eggs benedict. The attendant at the omelet bar will serve up tasty dishes to your specifications.

11:30 a.m.

Sagitario Gift Shop

Before departing I suggest you stop at this charming gift shop and pick up a few souvenirs of your Mexican visit. Owner Terry Gonzalez has a shop filled with colorful Mexican crafts and there is no doubt you will find something for yourself or as gifts to take home.

For more information on Sonora visit


No Responses to “36 Hours in San Carlos, Sonora”