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Guaymas and San Carlos Sonora, Mexico: Top 8 Things to Do and See

  • Joel CZ 
  • 10 min read
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Before I tell you what to do in Guaymas and San Carlos Sonora, Mexico, it’s important to understand that both are kind of like, the same place.

San Carlos is a “neighborhood” within the Guaymas municipality.

However, despite being such a small place, the port of Guaymas (whose full name is Heroica Guaymas de Zaragoza) is the second most important tourist destination in the state of Sonora, after Hermosillo.

This is because the tourism epicenter in Guaymas is San Carlos Sonora’s tourist complex, which borders the Sea of Cortez.

This mix of beaches, deserts, and mountains makes this an exotic and ideal tourist destination for any traveler.

There are plenty of activities to choose from and places to go, not only in the Port of Guaymas and San Carlos but also a few kilometers away.

Where is Guaymas Mexico?

Guaymas is in the middle of Hermosillo and Ciudad Obregon, so to get there, you will have to fly to either of those two cities in Sonora and then take a bus or rent a car.

Either way, the approximate travel time will be two hours.

Weather

According to the National Meteorological System, the average temperature is 32ºC, so if there is one thing you can be sure of, it is mostly hot.

Being a desert area, you might think that the heat is dry, but due to its contrast with the sea, it is relatively humid, with some rain between September and October.

Best things to do in Guaymas Sonora

guaymas san carlos sonora
Layout of patio and docks of seaport of Guaymas, Sonora -Source: Alberto Tirado / shutterstock.com

Visit the Port of Guaymas

This main attraction is the boardwalk, where you will enjoy a beautiful sunset and undoubtedly the best seafood in the state.

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There are also beaches like San Carlos Sonora, where you can swim, snorkel, scuba dive, and fish.

Also, don’t forget to leave without a souvenir! You should visit the local markets where you will find a variety of handicrafts.

This site has different ways to spend the night in a hotel, motel, guest house, or even a trailer.

Explore the Barajitas Canyon

guaymas san carlos sonora
Desert mountain of Guaymas Sonora -Source: Antonio Lopez Zamudio / shutterstock.com

It is an extraordinary place surrounded by beautiful natural attractions, ideal for those who like exploration, as it converges three different environments: mountains, desert, and beach.

The site is an ecotourism development with several entertainment possibilities, such as free and autonomous diving, kayaking, fishing, sailing, hiking, cave exploration, and nature observation.

It is also possible to take boat excursions to San Pedro Nolasco Island, a natural sanctuary for sea lions.

The site has cabins and a telescope.

Location: 23 km north of San Carlos Sonora by sea.

Discover the Pearls of the Sea of Cortez

Probably one of my favorite things to do here; this place is all about the pearls of this wonderful state. These “pearl farms” are unique and have no comparison.

They will give you a tour of their facilities and tell you the history and processes of these pearls.

Undoubtedly, obtaining them is not easy.

The colors can be different, not only litmus; there are green, gray, pink, and blue.

Of course, the pink ones are also nice. But the litmus ones are, for me, the most striking.

Just so you know, the harvest takes approximately four years, but it is fair and necessary to maintain the oysters properly.

In addition to a guided visit to this farm, you can buy some pearls either in a lovely bracelet, a ring, or a necklace.

Visit Downtown Guaymas

guaymas san carlos sonora
Municipal Palace of the government of Guaymas Sonora -Source: Marotoson / Shutterstock.com

Escaping to downtown Guaymas is a must.

Here you can enjoy a stroll through the heart of the city and visit some of its most important sites, such as the recently remodeled Templo de San Fernando.

This temple stands proud and white as the most emblematic church of the place, despite its forced remodeling in 2009 due to a roof that collapsed due to humidity.

Now, one street from the San Fernando Church, you will find the Municipal Palace, built in rock, and although small and rustic, it is worth stopping to observe it and take a picture.

As a cultural fact, did you know that Guaymas is the only region (call it city or town) that has given Mexico three presidents?

Yes, Guaymas was the birthplace of Plutarco Elías Calles, Adolfo de la Huerta and Abelardo L. Rodríguez, which is why a monument is dedicated to them consisting of three columns with their respective statues. An iconic stop if you ask any of the locals.

Stroll along the boardwalk

guaymas san carlos sonora
Breakwater boardwalk in Miramar beach in Guaymas Sonora -Source: Carolina Arroyo / shutterstock.com

And last but not least, the Malecon is the ideal place to watch the sunset over the spectacular Sea of Cortez.

A walk that is best enjoyed in the afternoon and evening and where you can find viewpoints, dancing fountains, and endless options of sweets and snacks for sale along the way.

Definitely, a must-do in Guaymas.

Nacapule Canyon

On the way to San Carlos, approximately 40 minutes apart, there is a group of canyons, the most famous is the Nacapule Canyon.

It is a magical place because, on the one hand, it is full of rock formations, porous and arid.

However, in its interior, you can find a great diversity of flora, from cacti to palm trees, and the deeper you go into it, the more the temperature drops.

Water filtration explains this rare phenomenon of coolness from the mountains, which allows the temperature to drop, and other types of plants that would never occur in a desert.

A must-see for anyone wondering what to do in Guaymas, Mexico.

In addition to the scenery, visitors can find four zip lines, making the tour more fun.

However, visiting this place between October and February is recommended, which isn’t very hot yet, so you can enjoy it more fully.

Tetakawi Mountain

guaymas san carlos sonora
Tetakawi mountain -Source: Jejim / shutterstock.com

Your adventurous soul will feel happy climbing Tetakawi Hill.

Besides, the effort of climbing will be rewarded with the spectacular view of San Carlos Bay that can be seen from the summit.

This hill is undoubtedly the hallmark of San Carlos, and its name comes from the Yaqui Indians who lived here and named it after the shape of “goat tits” (Tetakawi).

Although it is an important tourist spot, you must not forget to be prudent.

In other words, the best thing to do is to get advice from a group specialized in this type of excursion so that they can tell you what the best time is, the best season, how to dress and, if possible, to go up with you.

San Carlos Sonora, Mexico

A beach community in San Carlos Sonora -Source: Cactus Pilot / shutterstock.com

First, I must clarify that San Carlos comprises a part of the territory of Guaymas. It is divided into New and Old San Carlos.

You can find the Mirador and the San Carlos Bay in the first one.

Here you can do different water activities, from snorkeling to yacht rentals, which cost around 3000 pesos for approximately two hours.

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The distance from Hermosillo to San Carlos Sonora is 114 kilometers by road, which is about two and a half hours.

If you arrive early, you can enjoy the beautiful views and exciting activities this place has in store for you.

You can visit the hot springs since San Carlos is famous for them. I love these waters, they are super relaxing and make you forget about everything, don’t you think so?

You can also do activities such as kayaking, diving, swimming, windsurfing, among others.

I felt like San Carlos is more relaxing with activities that connect you with nature.

Is it safe to live in San Carlos, Mexico?

Yes, San Carlos Mexico is very safe. I spent 8 months there and didn’t even feel like I was in Mexico. It’s a nice town and community of its own.

Although the state of Sonora is indeed known for heavy drug-related crimes, you have nothing to worry about if you’re not involved or go out there looking for trouble.

Pretty much the same rule applies to the rest of Mexico.

As for the weather, the best season to visit is between November and April since all tourist services are open, and you won’t have to worry about where to stay.

On the other hand, some people prefer to visit in September and October since there are almost no people and you will have more tranquility.

Los Algodones Beach in San Carlos Sonora

Los Algodones Beach, San Carlos Sonora

As you may already know, Mexico is a beach destination by nature since 17 of its 32 states have coasts, all of which have beautiful beaches to enjoy.

Whether they are in the Pacific Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea, or the Sea of Cortez, they are all truly worth showing off to the world.

This beach offers calm waves, very clear water, and white fine-textured sand.

Los Algodones beach is located in San Carlos, very close to the city of Guaymas and the “Cajon del Diablo” Biosphere Reserve.

Los Algodones beach activities and facts

  • If you choose this beautiful beach to spend a few days on, you should know that the prevailing temperature is around 32 degrees Celsius in spring and 17 in winter
  • Los Algodones Beach is located in southeastern Sonora, 126 kilometers from Hermosillo
  • You can practice various water sports such as diving, fishing, snorkeling, windsurfing, swimming, and jet skiing, among others
  • At any time of the year, Los Algodones beach is the ideal place for camping, although it also has hotels for tourists
  • Among other activities that can be practiced in the vicinity, a scenic corridor is a great place for hiking
  • Visit the panoramic viewpoint. You will appreciate beautiful sunsets and the blue Sea of Cortez, which in the distance merges with the sky

Believe me; if you are a fan of sunrises and sunsets, you will see some of the most beautiful ones here.

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