San Carlos is a small but popular resort community along the Sea of Cortez, near the port city of Guaymas in the state of Sonora. Just a five-hour drive from the Arizona border, it has been nicknamed “Arizona’s beachfront” as many drive there to go sport-fishing. It is also a popular retirement spot for many Americans and Canadians.
The topography is quite fascinating–it is surrounded by mountains and desert, with cacti and palm trees vying for space along the beach. A claim to fame is that the 1970 movie ‘Catch 22’ was filmed in the desert there. The set included an airstrip and several buildings. One of the most important scenes, of an airstrike supposedly occurring on a Meditteranean base during World War II, was filmed over the mountains surrounding the Sonoran desert. The movie set remains but, sadly, has been left in disrepair and allowed to crumble.
We went there to celebrate Bob’s 60th birthday by spending a week at a resort, then chartering a small sailboat with a skipper and cruising for another week.
The resort week was fun with the usual daily activities–Spanish class, pool aerobics, theme dinners with entertainment; local tours were also offered, e.g. exploring the movie set in the desert.
It being the end of May, the weather was rather hot and humid. However, we managed to stay cool with the help of a few Negra Modelos (dark beer) with key lime slices along with lots of chips, salsa, and guacamole. The food was excellent as well–we enjoyed a variety of local seafood and traditiontal Mexican dishes.
The sailing was amazing! The water was so crystal clear we could literally count the seashells in ten feet down. At night, there were litte fish that lit up iike fireflies. One day while we had anchored for a swim, we were approached by a fishing boat loaded with langostino. The fishermen offered to sell us a bag at a price not to be resisted…we had a lobster feast that night!
Visiting San Carlos was a very different experience than being in Puerto Vallarta. While PV is for the most part very urban and touristy, SC in contrast is traditional Mexico. The combined natural beauty of the sea, the mountains, and the desert was mesmerizing as were the spectacular sunrises, sunsets, and moonrises we were treated to. Returning there is not in our plans, but the memories will always be with us.