Below you will find specific and common information on how travel to San Carlos & Guaymas, types of accommodations, getting around town, currency and communications. Please make sure you are familiar with what you need to enter Mexico from the Mexican Customs Office.
San Carlos/Guaymas does not have an international airport. Guaymas International Airport (GYM) is 15 minutes away from San Carlos. Most visitors will fly into the airport and rent a car or make arrangements for transportation.
Hermosillo, the capital of the state of Sonora, is 1 1/2 hours to the north and some visitors will fly into it's airport and take a first class bus ride to Guaymas and from there take a taxi (between $15-$20 US) or local bus to San Carlos.
San Carlos/Guaymas is 250 miles from the Arizona border.
From Nogales, Arizona: Take Mexico International Highway 15 south to Navojoa. From the Arizona border it is a divided four-lane toll road as far as Navojoa. The 370 miles take about seven hours from the border. From there it is another thirty miles east to Alamos. Coming south takes a little longer with the immigration Tourist Permit (tourist card) and vehicle permit stops. Both directions have tolls, about $25-$30, and frequent drug inspection stops plus the agricultural check between the state of Sinaloa and Sonora when coming north.
From Mazatlan: Take Mexico International Highway 15 north to Navojoa. Turn east and travel 30 miles to Alamos.
If you do drive your vehicle to Alamos, you must have Mexican auto
insurance, it's the law. Please look under the Travel &
Lodging directory for a list of companies.
Car Permit: Sonora Only is the name of the simplified vehicle registration program for travel only within the State of Sonora, good for a period of up to 180 days. This permit sticker is only given at the Nogales Port of Entry at Kilometer 21. Make sure all papers for the vehicle have the same name on them. Have two copies of all the following:
You MUST surrender the sticker as you cross into the US. You may not travel outside of Sonora with this sticker.
- proof of ownership (vehicle title)
- original of the vehicle registration
- valid driver's license for identification
- proof of citizenship
- current Mexican Tourist Permit (get it stamped at the Migración office next door)
Buses run throughout Mexico and you can pretty much find a bus anywhere which heads to Alamos through a connection. From the airport in Guaymas take a taxi or local bus to the TBC Station in Guaymas which has several buses a day to Alamos or catch any bus going south to get you as far as Navojoa from where you can catch a bus to Alamos hourly until the evening. The Alamos bus station (TBC Bus Depot) is in the Alameda. It is open 4am to 9:30pm. The Tel. is (647) 428-0096.
There are no large conglomerate hotels in the tiny colonial village of Alamos, Sonora, Mexico. But there are historic haciendas, a convent, a military hospital and homes that have been restored, combined and converted into gracious accommodation facilities. "Intimacy, romance and nostalgia" are words often used to describe the lodgings here. Some hotels have double and triple rooms. There are B & B's, casitas, suites, rooms in private homes, haciendas and many alternative lodging choices. Our "small luxury hotel of the world" is complete with gym, spa, theater and four pools.
During Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's, the Ortiz Tirado Music Festival, Master Folk Art Festival and Easter, it is wise to make reservations a minimum of a month in advance.
Vehicles are not really necessary in Alamos as the city is small and most important and interesting locations are within walking distance of accommodations. There are many taxis and tour guides that can transport you to locations outside of city central and these services are reasonably priced.
"We don't drink the water from the faucets in Alamos." Bottled water is normally supplied at all lodging facilities, if not; it is readily available in the tiendas and shops.
The Peso presently values between 10-11 Pesos to 1 US dollar. Banks
generally have the best exchange rates & generally open at 9am (M-F), make
sure you check what hours they do money exchanges. Lines may be
longer at banks, but rates are probably a little better than exchange houses.
Most of the larger establishments will readily accept US currency. The issue in that case will be the exchange rate that they offer; it is advisable to ask first in order to avoid any disappointments. Many businesses will not be able to make change for anything higher than a $20 U.S. dollars so it is a good idea to carry small bills with you, or pesos.
Credit Cards are accepted by most of the hotels, with
some or no surcharge, but not all of them. ATM's are found in Guaymas at the banks and can be used to secure funds, although it will be in pesos. In San Carlos, there are two ATMs. One is at the Banamex near the Pemex station and another one is inside the OXXO convenience store a couple of blocks away on the opposite side of the street. This is one of the easier ways to travel, although there will be a small fee attached to your withdrawal. While you are planning your trip, make sure that you carry - or have access to, enough cash or traveler's checks.
Time & Pace
San Carlos is in the Central Time Zone and does observe daylight savings
time. Businesses are open throughout the day. Since Guanajuato doesn't really have slow season (except in the hottest months of July-August), the traditional siesta isn't usually observed except in some of the small towns outside the capital. Siesta or the mid-day break is a
tradition that reflects not only the necessity of avoiding heat-related
fatigue, but is also a traditional time to spend with family, eat the meal of the day and recharge the batteries so to speak.
You can call (direct dialing) and fax to anywhere in the world from
San Carlos/Guaymas, using the facilities at your hotel or at Larga Distancia office. You can purchase prepaid phone cards throughout town. Internet access is available throughout San Carlos/Guaymas in "cyber cafes", some hotels may offer the service.