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Published: November 29th 2013
DAY 1 - NOV. 25, 2013
We planned on leaving Phoenix at 9 AM, but didn't get out of town until 12:30. Is this shades of what's to come? Nah, We're the Adventuresom's. We're gonna "go with the flow". We headed south of Tucson to the resort of El Splendor in Rico Pico. Just before arriving we saw a sign that said "Mission", so we decided to start our vacation with a bit of tourism. Mission San Xavier was beautiful! Built in 1692 by the Spanish (the opulence and grandeur in the middle of NO WHERE was amazing) and is one of the most visited missions in all the South West. We walked up the hill to the Grotto of the Mother of God, a tribute to the one in Lourdes, France. After, we wandered the grounds and the Church, along with a lot
of other people.
We then drove on and found the lovely hotel/resort of El Splendor - which was completely empty - and upon checking into our room immediately turned on the heat. Then we ran back to the car for our jackets, long pants and Mexican blanket. It was freezing! (High dessert and cold, cold nights!) It got down
to 36 degrees!DAY 2 - NOV. 26, 2013
Got up and out early. Drove to Nogales and found a local coffee shop and ordered extra large and extra hot coffee's! Crossed into Mexico with NO ONE (meaning border guards and Custom Agents) at the border. We just drove through. Certainly not like Canada or going into the US! We drove for 4 hours to our first Mexican destination, San Carlos, just north of Guaymas. We checked into the beautiful Sea of Cortez Beach Club, a 40 room time-share condo on the beach, complete with heated pool and jaccuzzi. Lovely room with a sea view and great bed and pillows (a hallmark to a good hotel!) After a great lunch of Ahi tuna burgers we headed into town to check it out. San Carlos is lovely! An ecclectic mix of old and charming homes sitting next to massive mansions, all surrounded by a lovely back drop of craggy mountains, white sandy beaches and warm, turquoise water on the Sea of Cortez. A charming town with a vibrant outdoor life. You can choose between snorkeling, scuba, fishing, kayaking, paddle boarding, sailing, horseback riding, golfing, tennis, hiking and EATING!!!DAY 3 - NOV. 27, 2013
had a lazy morning sitting on the deck watching the water. Got packed, finally, and headed out. Explored more of the town. Met a lovely woman walking in one of the older, wealthier neighborhoods, who gave us a 15 minute description of what life as an ex-pat was like in San Carlos. Apparently 30 years ago tons of wealthy Americans and Canadians came down and built huge homes... and now they're too old to take care of the property and everything is for sale... and cheap! She said it's a good place to invest as Guaymas is dredging the port in order to accommodate all the ships that are leaving Long Beach, CA (duty-free zone, baby!) and the new influx of Cruise Ships planning on coming in the next 5 years. Hmmmmm.... certainly something to think about.
We did a quick tour of downtown Guaymas - which is mainly a factory town and fishing port. Not very pretty but fairly prosperous. Apparently, it's the best shrimp in the world. Saw some beautiful homes and churches but will have to check them out when we return. We did stop for fantastic fish and shrimp taco's at a little way-side stand before hitting
And then headed out of Guaymas for a 4 hour drive to Los Mochos where we planned on a quick overnight stay. It's in the northern part of the State of Sinaloa and not a place one want's to spend a lot of time....being that this is the home of the most feared Cartel in all of Mexico.
We drove about 2 hours before we stopped at a toll booth and asked where we got our permit for the car. We had been told it was just before you exited Sonora, which is called the "hassle-free" zone - meaning you did not need proof of car ownership. At the toll booth we were told it was back towards Guaymas about 50 miles. WHAT?!?!?!? No signs, nothing to indicate it was the place for Government Carro (Car) approval. It was 4:00 and they closed at 5:00.... so we booked back to Mile Post 97 (the only marker we had to go by) and went in to get our permit to take our car further into Mexico. We got there at 4:45... and were told we could not get a permit because we didn't have a Tourist Visa. WHAT?!?!?!? What Tourist Visa???
Apparently we needed one to get further into the country and the only place we could get it was at the Border. WHAT?!?!?! We had to drive 7 hours BACK to Nogales to get our permit? (And why the heck hadn't the Boarder Patrol mentioned this to us? OH RIGHT... no Boarder Patrol!) We drove back to the Guaymas Airport to check in with Immigration and NO they said, they only issued Tourist Visa's if you came in by air. To say we were dishearted (and frustrated!!!) was an understatement. So we went back to Sea of Cortez Beach Club where the staff welcomed us with open arms. Well, at least that was nice...
We got to our room, unpacked and went out to the amazing hotel next door (which was completely empty) for a FABULOUS meal - with lots of wine...DAY 4 - NOV. 28, 2013 - THANKSGIVING DAY
Woke up to beautiful sunshine and sparkling Sea of Cortez. Our trip was completely in disarray... What to do? Oh well, guess we could be stuck in a worse place. San Carlos really is a special place - so let's make the best of it! We had breakfast and went to reception
to extend our room for a couple of days until we found a place we could rent for a couple of weeks. The man at the reception desk - who is from LA - said he'd had the same problem and we would apply for a Tourist Visa on line. He actually pulled up the site, filled out all the paper work, sent it in and said they should be sending back the approval in 1/2 hour. Once it's approved we had to head to the bank to get it stamped and then we could be on our way. REALLY???? So... I leave you here. We're heading to the bank and IF we get the approval we're leaving here at 5 AM for a 9 hour drive to Mazatlan tomorrow morning. We'll keep you posted!
In the meantime, may all have a most wonderful THANKSGIVING with your family and friends. We are so thankful for the wonderful people who share our lives and adventures with us - and most of all, we are thankful that we found each other.
PS. We went to Immigration office only to discover it closed at 1:00 PM. Why? No one seems to know - but come
back tomorrow at 9 AM. So, back San Carlos for lunch at Los Arbolitos, where we had the most fantastic shrimp dishes we've ever eaten (Happy Thanksgiving!) and then to the hotel for a swim and jaccuzzi, while watching the sunset.
It will be interesting to see what tomorrow brings...
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