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Scuba Diving & Snorkeling Deep Sea Fishing Desert Tours Dolphins Golf Horseback Riding Sailing, Jet Skiing & ATV Sea Kayaking Whale Watching Windsurfing
Scuba Diving & Snorkeling
The Sea of Cortez is a world class location for underwater sports. Summer water temperatures can reach well into the 80's and visibility can be 100' or more.
Crystal clear and constantly calm waters provide an incredible showcase for more than 800 species of maritime life. Two artificial reefs, a sunken ferry and several smaller wrecks make the San Carlos diving areas a top destination in the Gulf de California.
See the Resources page for dive shops.
Deep Sea Fishing
In San Carlos, fish for 80 different fish, among them; Amerjack, Cabrila, Dorado, Grouper, Blue Marlin, Black Marlin, Striped Marlin, Roosterfish, Sailfish, Sierra, Snapper, Swordfish, Tuna, Wahoo and Yellowfin.
The wide range of sea water temperatures in the San Carlos fishing area reflect its location between the warmer southern Sea of Cortez and the cooler Midriff Area, with a low of about 62 degrees in January-February, and a high of about 90 degrees in July-August.
See the Resources page for boat rentals.
San Carlos is perfectly located to explore the wonders of the Sonoran Desert. Cherished as one of the most beautiful deserts in the world, the Sonoran Desert is massive, covering 120,000 square miles in southwestern Arizona and southeastern California, as well as most of Baja California and the western half of the state of Sonora, Mexico. Don't leave without spending some time discovering the incredible variety of wildlife throughout the mountains and canyons that surround San Carlos.
There are hundreds of miles of trails and roads from San Carlos that allow you to explore this magnificent environment. Take your car and a map and in a 10 minute drive from the condo, you'll be in the middle of a sea of beautiful plants and trees: Chollas, Palo Verdes, Desert Ironwood, Catclaw, Saguaro, Desert Saltbush, Wolfberry, Velvet Mesquite and hundreds more.
Look for Cactus Wrens, Gambels Quail, Black-chinned Humming Birds, Roadrunners and so much exotic wildlife. There are hundreds of canyons and thousands of acres of woodlands to explore. Follow the mountains as they run right into the Sea of Cortez. If you don't feel like going alone, try a guided tour.
The subsection of the desert on the Sonoran coast around San Carlos is blessed by winter storms from the Pacific that nourish hundreds of indigenous wildflowers, woody plants and unique desert trees. There are hundreds of miles of trails and roads from San Carlos that allow you to explore this magnificent environment. Take your car and a map and in 10 minutes from the condo you are in the middle of a sea of beautiful plants and trees: Chollas, Palo Verdes, Desert Ironwood, Catclaw, Saguaro, Desert Saltbush, Wolfberry, Velvet Mesquite and hundreds more. Look for Cactus Wrens, Gambels Quail, Black-chinned Humming Birds, Roadrunners, Big Horn Sheep and other desert wildlife. There are hundreds of canyons and thousands of acres of woodlands to explore; the desert mountains come right down to the sea. The beauty of the Sonoran Desert is only matched by the solitude and simplicity that this truly unique environment provides to those willing to explore its secrets.
Canon de Barajitas: Ecological paradise!
North of San Carlos is one of most beautiful natural wonders of Western Mexico. The Canyon of the Barajitas is a virgin area that contains three different ecosystems and it can only be accessed by boat. Considered a "sacred place" by the Seris Indians, the Barajitas is a paradise for the lovers of nature and adventure. A great variety of palms, ferns and other unique wildlife are this spectacular canyon just off the coast of the Sea of Cortez.
This amazing desert Canyon is a fifteen-minute drive from San Carlos. This is a representative canyon of Sonora's coastal desert mountain ranges. Its narrowness, high walls and fresh water springs provide it with a humid tropical micro-climate. The canyon is home to at least two endemic flora species and also harbors other typical desert canyon flora such as Washingtonia and Eritrea palm trees and figs (Ficus sp.). Nacapule canyon is a great place to rock climb, bird-watch, explore hidden trails or just relax.
Island of San Pedro Nolasco
This is one of Mexico's famous sanctuaries of seals and sea lions. The underwater submarine canyon next to the island gives way to beautiful cliffs of protected coves of San Pedro island is home to a great variety of beautiful fish and marine wildlife. Boaters from up and down the coast come to San Pedro to swim with the seals and photograph the colony of sea lions. Recently the Mexican Government declared the Island of San Pedro Nolasco area an ecological reserve.
See the Resources page for tour providers.
Dolphins, Dolphins, Dolphins!
The condo complex was aptly named Bahia Delfin, which translates as Dolphin Bay. Every day a resident population of beautiful Bottlenose Dolphins work their way up and down the coast. You can watch them from your bedroom window or walk 30 feet to the beach and jump in with some swim fins. The dolphins love to swim along side swimmers. It’s really easy to kayak into the water and paddle along side. When the bait fish are passing through, the action really picks up. Diving pelicans splash all around you as the dolphins swoop up a morning meal. Smaller diving birds follow quickly behind trying to pick up leftovers. It’s truly remarkable!
See the Resources page for kayak rental information
Dolphin Pools: El Definario
The brand new, National Dolphin Center, El Delfinario, is located on the south side of San Carlos Bay. Just a 10 minute drive from the condo. You can actually go swimming with dolphins or enjoy shows that seek to raise awareness about the evolution and importance of these remarkable creatures.
The dolphin pool is the main attraction offered in this park and one of the most popular with kids. Eight trained dolphin and professional trainers offer entertaining performances. There are five shows a day, which include ball tossing, hoop jumping, leaps and acrobatics, performed on two specially-designed platforms.
The Delfinario is open daily, except Mondays, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. For reservations call Tel. 011 52 (622) 225-2600
Estuary El Soldado
One of the main reasons the dolphins live year-round off this beach is the adjacent Estuary. Estuary El Soldado is a federally protected wildlife sanctuary and is considered one of most beautiful in Mexico. The place is teeming with wildlife. It is home of a great variety of wild flora, birds, fish and marine wildlife.
The entrance is only a short walk from the front door of the condo. The estuary is also one of the very few Mangrove Oasis left. With depths of less than 8 feet, the huge estuary is home to thousands of birds and other animals. There are nesting colonies of Great Blue Herons, Egrets and Yellow Footed Gulls.
There are well marked trails around the estuary that are perfect for hikes and runners. The incredible quantity of wildlife makes this a naturalist dream come true. Find a quite spot and sit and watch the ever-changing sounds, light and color. As the tide goes out and the water level drops, watch the variety of sea birds go after scampering crabs and shrimp. It is a Discovery Channel in your back yard.
The San Carlos County Club is the host of a championship golf course that is open to the public. Most of the 18 holes have million dollar views of the Sea of Cortez or the Sonoran desert mountains. Tee off amongst the saguaros and palm trees.
According to the owners, San Carlos Country Club commissioned the design with Roy Dye, son of the legendary Pete Dye. The links style course is challenging for all skill levels. Best of all, it's only 10 minutes from the condo.
See the Resources page for the course contact information.
San Carlos is surrounded by hundreds of miles of trails that explore the Sonora desert, mountains and huge beaches along the Sea of Cortez. There are huge stables at the former Club Med resort now called Paradiso. You can rent by the hour or the day. They have guided tours exploring the desert, rocky canyons and miles and miles of sandy beaches. For beginners or advanced riders there isn't a more classic method to explore the Mexican arid coastal environment. Bring water and lunch and get lost for an afternoon.
See the Resources page for contact details.
Sailing, Jet Skiing & ATV
There are toys for all kind of joys. Rent an ATV and go up huge sand dunes. Try your hand jet skiing across San Carlos Bay. Rent a day sailer. All these items are available right in town. A five minute drive from the beach. Many of the outfitters will deliver the rentals to the condo.
See the Resources page for outfitters.
Discover why "paddlers" come back year after year. The conditions for sea kayaking are some of the best found anywhere. Great weather, great water, lots to explore! The key is easy access. Walk out the front door, walk 30 yards, jump into your kayak.
Your condo is on San Franciso beach. A five mile long, south facing beach that allows easy water entry for boaters. Head ¼ mile west and you are in a federally protected wildlife sanctuary, Soldado Esturay. Bird lover's paradise. Great Blue Herons, Snowy Egrets, and more. The lagoon is a wintering ground for migrating birds. While exploring the mangrove channels, look out for Mangrove Warbler, White-faced Ibis, Elegant Terns, Reddish Egrets, Brown Pelicans and numerous waders.
Next, head out to the isolated islands directly off the coast. The Sea of Cortez is one of the world's richest seas and home to an incredible variety of wildlife including whales, dolphins, sea lions, countless birds and spectacular undersea life. The coast around San Carlos is where the mountains meet the ocean. You can paddle through naturally formed arches and caves around the islands. Kayakers explore the many coves protected by cliffs. Snorkel, swim or enjoy the sun on secluded beaches.
Beginners, intermediate and advance paddlers may explore the large sea caves at the base of Punta Doble. The folks at Sonoran Sport Center took this great picture. They have trips that depart mornings and total estimated time is about 6 hours.
Kayak & snorkel expedition
The outfitters in town offer all kinds of kayaking adventure trips. Explore sea caves and sandy beaches by kayak, snorkel and on foot. Rent single or double kayaks or use a guide. Discover the perfect beach for an afternoon siesta. Kayak trips range from one to four hours or take a boat to a nearby snorkeling "hot spots" including a sea lion rookery. Join these graceful creatures, swimming alongside them while enjoying their playful and curious nature first hand. Additional activities include hiking into canyons draped with fig trees or fishing for a dinner of sea bass and red snapper.
See the Resources page for kayak rentals.
There are few places in the world were you can see Fin, Humpback, Blue, Sperm, Byrde and Orca whales. The Sea of Cortez is extremely deep (more than 2 miles at its deepest) Nutrients from deep submarine canyons feed abundant fish and plankton near the surface. These are perfect conditions for whales.
What makes this amazing is how close to shore the whales swim. From boats or kayaks, you get right on top of them. People fly in from all over the world to just to have this opportunity. From San Carlos, you can see these majestic animals up close.
Many types of whales in the Sea of Cortez are found up and down the 1100 mile coast
The fin whale, Baleaenoptera physalus, is the most common baleen whale in the Gulf. The fastest swimming of all the large whales. It has been called the "greyhound of the seas." It is second only to the blue whale in size, reaching a maximum length of 85 ft and a weight of 80 tons. The fin whale is unique in the animal kingdom by its asymmetry in lower jaw coloration. The right side of the jaw is white whereas the left side is dark. The fin whale feeds primarily with its right side submerged as would be predicted by this unusual form of counter coloration. It is very streamlined in shape. Like the other fast swimming whales, the fin whale is generally free of external markings, scarring, callosities and parasites.
The humpback whale, Megaptera novaeangliae, is a frequent visitor to the Sea of Cortez. One of the more spectacular of the great whales, it is known for its sensational breaching, lobtailing, and blowing a ring of bubbles to herd its prey of small schooling fish. Humpback whales are more frequently spotted in the lower Gulf but this individual was observed near Isla Partida in the mid-riff surprising veteran whalewatchers so that they initially identified it as a fin whale.
Orcas, or killer whales, Orcinus orca, are associated with the cold waters of the Pacific northwest so it seems peculiar to see them cruising in warm waters of the Sea of Cortez in the summer along the and Baja California coast. However, they are frequent visitors to this sea possibly because of the rich availability of fish, dolphins, sea lions and large baleen whales in the Gulf during all times of the year. Pods of orcas have been observed attacking blue whales and Bryde's whales, and recently, a whale shark in Bahia de los Angeles.
In addition to whales, there are over 600 species of fish, including huge manta rays, and several species of shark. At night marvel at bioluminescent seas and watch seahorses, sea snakes and flying fish as they are drawn to the ship's lights.
San Carlos offers an exceptional access to the Sea of Cortéz (also known as the Gulf of California) with two world class marinas. Actually, the Marina San Carlos is the largest natural marina in all of Latin America. Together, Marina Real and Marina San Carlos offer over 750 slips - a great way to start a scuba diving or sports fishing experience.
See the Resources page tours and boat rentals.
Every year windsurfers return to San Carlos. "Near perfect conditions" is the main reason. The secret is out. The steady off shore wind, warm water and protected coves make San Carlos a windsurfer's paradise.
Friendly locals, great food and the majestic natural surroundings provide the perfect backdrop as you whip across San Carlos bay. Bring your own board or rent one for the day. Lessons are available. You will never find an easier place to learn.
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