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San Carlos Trip Report

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Albert Lea...
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139 posts
56 reviews
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San Carlos Trip Report

We flew direct into Tucson on September 9th. Headed to pick up the rental car that I had reserved with Avis after calling their 800# twice to verify travel to San Carlos. Well we went to get the car and the girl rolled her eyes and asked if we got that info from the 800 #. They only go 15 miles into Mexico any problems after that is your problem. All the rental places are right in a row so we went down the line and asked them all. Dollar was the one we went with but at a higher $. They had a better Mexican insurance rate then anyone in the line also.

We drove to Nogales and stayed at the Best Western Sonora Inn and Suites. New hotel with excellent rooms and service. Everyone that we encountered did an excellent job. We had the complimentary breakfast and then headed to the Mariposa border crossing. I had copied off driving directions which I highly recommend. This is our second time driving and it went as smooth as the first time.

We stopped in San Carlos for lunch at Charlie’s on the Rock. Food and service was excellent and the view is priceless. We stopped at the Bank in the middle of town and withdrew some pesos out of the ATM. We have found that it is much easier paying with pesos then expecting everyone you deal with to convert to dollars. Plus you get a better exchange rate and with our ATM card we have no foreign transaction fee.

We headed to our destination, Premiere Vacation Club. This is our third stay with them and our week was wonderful. The rooms have been updated since our stay 4 years ago and they are very nice. I think you would be hard pressed to find better views. Every room is ocean front with beautiful sunsets. We ate at their palapa restaurant several times throughout the week. Very convenient and relatively good.

Best find this week was two new restaurants. Bonifacio’s and Five Palms.

Bonifacio’s is further south of us next to the Soggy Pesos. Excellent service, food and entertainment. The seaside view was incredible. We ate at Bonifacio’s three times.

Five Palms is on the west side of the main road as you are heading south out of town. Close to the last Pemex gas station. Talk about five star service!!!! They are training there servers like the cruise line. If you go you have to have the oysters Rockefeller!!!

We brought air mattresses with us and everyone around the pool enjoyed them at sometime. We also used them in the ocean. Snorkeling was great, I saw my first lobster, eel and starfish.

We left San Carlos at 9:43 on Friday the 17th and arrived back in Tucson at 4:00. The only stop we made was for a bathroom break. It took us 15 minutes to go straight through Hermosillo instead of taking the bypass and it took ½ hour to pass through the border crossing. We were lucky at the border, not a lot of back up, the last time it took over an hour.

San Carlos in 2012, here we come.

Phoenix AZ
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1. Re: San Carlos Trip Report

Always exchange dollars into Pesos and pay with Pesos in Mexico. Or you will be taken advantage by dishonest people giving you bad exchange value, expecialy at the pemex gas stations.

Albert Lea...
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139 posts
56 reviews
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2. Re: San Carlos Trip Report

Not that they would do it on purpose, just the fact that 12. something is very hard to figure out on the spurr of the moment. I couldn't do it without a converter.

Wisconsin
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341 posts
26 reviews
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3. Re: San Carlos Trip Report

Thanks for the great review, we head to Premier Vac Club in Feb, our first trip there and can't wait. We've used other resorts that ILX offer and have been satisfied.

I see a post from someone in Phoenix, guess I'd like to pick your brain a little. We're flying Milw Wis to Phoenix, then want to take the bus into Mexico and cab into San Carlos. At this time our biggest question is, where is the bus station, any where near the airport at all?

We'll spend a day in Phoenix visiting our son, so will have a rental car for a bit, he's new to the area so doesn't have a clue about the bus station. From what we've read the bus is comparable, if not better than Greyhound and it is about a 9-10hr trip. Any info you can put out here for us would be very helpful... thanks.

Albert Lea...
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139 posts
56 reviews
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4. Re: San Carlos Trip Report

I researched the bus about 4 years ago and the 10 hour trip discouraged me. Airfare is too expensive since we like having a car once we get there. We have rented a car in phoenix and in tucson and had wonderful driving.

Wisconsin
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341 posts
26 reviews
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5. Re: San Carlos Trip Report

air fare is pricey from Phoenix to Mexico, which turned us off, we're a little iffy about doing our own driving once in Mexico, and we have heard good things about the bus trip. We'll most likely give the bus a try, at least as a new and different adventure. thanks for the info though.

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6. Re: San Carlos Trip Report

Hello,

We're from WI, and have traded our Key West Condo for the Premier Vacation Club. We had to book for Christmas week, because of school and job. Having great difficulty with flights...very pricey, and long layovers. Your flight into Tucson and drive down sounds very interesting. both from a price point, and we love to see scenery from the ground!

Can you help with some questions. how long does this drive take, how many miles? How safe is it, really? Is gas readily available? How about the cost of mexican insurance?

Appreciate your help! heinzandmary@hotmail.com

tucson az
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for Tucson, Arizona, Northern Mexico
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7. Re: San Carlos Trip Report

The closest airport to San Carlos is Guaymas Sonora. Hermosillo, about 1.5 hours away, may have more flights. Connections can be made through Phoenix. Yes, the air fares are quite expensive, $800+ to Hermosillo, $1000+ to Guaymas. The fares are expensive because there is not high demand for travel to these cities. Most travelers go by car. There were more flights in the past but have been discontinued by the airlines.

It is a 6.5 hour drive from Tucson to San Carlos, The drive is safe, mostly 4-lane toll road highways in Mexico (tolls are inexpensive). Gas is readily available. When you rent a vehicle to go to Mexico, the car rental companies include the Mexican insurance. Travel should be during daytime hours.

It is also possible to travel to Guaymas by excellent bus service from Phoenix or Tucson, then taxi or local bus to San Carlos. The coaches are first class and very comfortable. TUFESA is the best bus line from Arizona.

Edited: 27 September 2010, 01:53
tucson az
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for Tucson, Arizona, Northern Mexico
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8. Re: San Carlos Trip Report

The air fares which I quoted above are from the Chicago area for comparison not Phoenix. Flying from Phoenix to Guaymas or Hermosillo is about $200 less than quoted above. Still very expensive.

Albert Lea...
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139 posts
56 reviews
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9. Re: San Carlos Trip Report

We have only done the drive twice and it did take 6+ hours. We felt as safe on the road as we do in the US. It was not cheep to drive either. We rented with dollar after finding out Avis does not rent further then 15 miles into Mexico. So without a reserved car we had to take the upgrade from a full size to a ford escape. We paid 1 wk at 245.00 plus 2 days 98,00 Extra driver 81.00 plus taxes for a total of 541.64. Mexican insurance came to 222.40. Dollar had the lowest rate for the insurance, 27$ a day with the taxes included in that price. The rental seems like a lot but we would not go there without renting a car again. We like the freedom to run into town to Tony's for fresh fruit, veggies, guac, salsa and shrimp, and to go to different restaurants. So even if we flew in we would rent a car once there. Cheaper just to drive.

Wisconsin
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341 posts
26 reviews
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10. Re: San Carlos Trip Report

Where is the bus station in comparison to the airport in Phoenix? We plan to fly to Phoenix and then bus down, taking a cab from the airport to San Carlos.

the more I'm reading about this the more excited I am, plus the latest review makes it sound just awesome, nice pics as well.

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