Mexico’s Hidden Gem: San Carlos, Mexico

Last weekend, Laura and I had the chance to visit San Carlos, Mexico for a wedding. This is a place I did not know existed. It is now one of my favorite places in Mexico.

We live in Phoenix full-time, and it’s about an 8-hour drive to San Carlos from there. Wanting to avoid as much flying as possible, we decided to take the direct flight to Hermosillo, about an 1 1/2 hour drive away from San Carlos. Using British Airways’ distance-based award chart is key here, as the flight is operated by their partner American Airlines, and is only 15,000 Avios per person, plus taxes. With flights the weekend we flew hovering around $500 round trip, this was a good use of points for the 47 minute flight. Otherwise, it’s 25,000 miles round trip using AAdvantage miles.

Additionally, taxis to San Carlos from Hermosillo were about $100, but you could Uber for $50. We elected to rent a car, for the base rate of $1 a day. Granted, we did have to purchase Mexican auto insurance for $15 a day, but still a steal compared to the taxi costs.

After a construction-heavy drive down Mexican Highway 14, we arrived at the Marinaterra Resort. It’s a very nice hotel, situated right at the marina, with restaurants and bars both on property and nearby to keep guests occupied. They also have a beach club down the road, with a resort-style pool, though we found beaches a few minutes away to be even prettier.

Anyway, here’s what San Carlos looks like:

View from one of the VRBOs Our Friends Were Staying At
View from one of the VRBOs Our Friends Were Staying At
View from the Beach, Taken with Beer in Hand
View from the Beach, Taken with Beer in Hand

As you can see, it’s incredibly picturesque, and did I mention cheap? Beers were around $1.50-$2.50 on the beach, and tacos were around $1 everywhere you went. The locals are incredibly friendly, and you didn’t feel pushed around like at other Mexican resort towns. This town is a hidden gem, and we’ll be back.

And, as an added bonus, there’s a Priority Pass lounge in Hermosillo International Airport! While it’s incredibly basic, there is free booze, some snacks the morning we were there, as well as free wifi and a shoe-shiner. Not worth paying for, but a fine place to relax before a flight.

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