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Published: December 3rd 2013
DEC 3, 2013 - STILL in San Carlos
On Friday, November 29th, we were at the Guaymas Immigration office at 9 AM - waiting for the doors to open. We met a lovely older couple from New Mexico who were also waiting. They have been in San Carlos for 11 years and absolutely love it. They have a small "Ranchito" up in the hills behind the town. We were just getting more details on San Carlos (also know as "The Jewel of the Sea of Cortez" and "Sedona by the Sea") when the doors opened. And after speaking with three
agents, we were finally told that NO, we had to go back to Nogales to get our Tourist Visa. Ahhhh... Not gonna happen! So, we went back to San Carlos for breakfast and re-grouping. We then went to a local real estate agent who, after showing us a ton of property for rent on her computer, was finally convinced to show us a couple of homes out on Algodones Beach.. about 5 miles out of town. Apparently this was a huge commute for her...
So we trekked out to a gated community (Ugh!) and she showed us two of
the ugliest homes we've ever seen. OMG! Who designed these homes? Apparently, someone with a crayon and a basic concept of a box. We did see a cute house across the street for Sale and/or Rent with two cleaning ladies in it - so we went over there and asked if we could take a peek. It was really cute! They said their employer was the broker at ReMax. So, we headed back town to find the ReMax broker. And we met Diane, a charming, warm Canadian from Alberta who gave us the low down on San Carlos and living in Mexico. She spent a couple of hours with us - she was a wealth of information and funny as all get out. We were insistent that we wanted to be on the beach but she said we should also look at a couple of places in town - in fact she had just gotten a home yesterday that was a great value for rent, as the owners had missed the booking season for January - March. A "fire sale" sort of. So we went out with Sergio, her property manager, to first look at a couple of BEAUTIFUL homes
on the beach. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous and EXPENSIVE.... The wind was howling and cold(ish), which Sergio said was the problem with the beach. This time of year the winds were up and cool and in the summer the heat was beyond bearable. He said you may like the east side of Caracol hill (where the other house was) as it was out of the wind and had amazing views of the sunrise. So off we went - and the minute we entered the house on Caracol, we said "we'll take it for the month." (It costs about the same to rent a house here for 2 weeks as it does a month - which comes out to $42/day for the month). It's beautiful, has lovely furnishings, three bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, two massive decks and a dinky pool... and the most amazing views imaginable
. We're almost at the top of the hill so if we want to see the sunsets all we have to do is walk across the street (Marghi's in hand, of course).
Because the property had just come on the market the day before, they were caught a bit off guard. We had to wait until last
night (Monday) to get our internet connection and we are still waiting for the water pump to be fixed. We have water but it dribbles... showers have been interesting... but the water is hot, so we're not complaining. We're also waiting for our cable box - but we're not missing TV at all.
We have been to Walmart for groceries - an amazing
selection of American and Mexican products. It's in Guaymus, as there are no big box stores here in San Carlos. But San Carlos does have a thriving economy and fantastic restaurants. And we have met a TON of gringo's. Everyone here is so friendly and everyone seems to LOVE San Carlos. Apparently 70%!o(MISSING)f the town is gringo's and the Mexican's who live here are very happy as we bring lots of money to their community. The couple who live next door to us have been here for 41 years. Jerry and Flo Lebo, originally from Colorado. Jerry's 86 and Flo is about 85 and they are the sweetest people. He has been regaling us with stories - about how the town has grown and developed (as usual, there are some really BAD people) to how
Flo has won the Woman's Fishing championship quite a few times. We had a car "issue" - the car decided it would not start nor be jump started (we freaked but we did find out that Guaymus has a Hyundai dealership - Whew) but Jerry took us to his local mechanic and introduced us and told Angel to take good care of us. Angel took us out to the car which was parked waaaaay out of town at the horse stables (Walter had gone out there to check out the horses and prices - a surprise for me) and had gone over a big speed bump that he hadn't seen. Angel checked out the battery, said it wasn't getting any power and tightened the cables and.... varooooom! Contact! Apparently they had been knocked loose. While out there Walter realized that he was staring at a place he and Karen had been to in the early 80's - the old Sonoran Club Med. Now called Hotel Paradiso, it's fallen into a bit of disrepair but still has the most beautiful beaches along this coast. The beach also has a great lunch/munchie's place called the Soggy Peso. We will be making it
there one day... kayaking to and from is our goal! (An interesting side note: This beach is where they filmed CATCH 22 - which included putting in an air strip - and it's the name the locals call this beach - CATCH 22 Beach).
In addition to shopping for groceries (as well as fresh shrimp and lobsters down at the Y in the road), getting the car fixed and eating our way through the town - we have been reading (I've already finished one book) and -- of course, doing what we love to do best - looking at houses. This place has some of the most interesting homes and architecture I've ever seen. New, modern and stark mixed in with old classics and new, Italian/Mexican/Spanish/Greek/French opulent and romantic. EVERYWHERE! It's mind boggling how much wealth is in this place -- and many of these homes are just summer homes for wealthy Mexicans. Right now it's a buyer's market, as there are many, many houses and lots for sale. (This place was really hit hard in '09 with the recession) but rumor has it that Guaymas is dredging the ports for shipping containers bound for the US - to
take pressure off the Long Beach and San Diego ports - and take advantage of the duty free zone. Wal-Mart is going to make this their primary (ie, MAJOR) hub for all imports from the Far East! New roads and rail road lines are being put in place from here to the border (Nogales, Mexicali and Tijuana) - and CRUISE SHIPS will be docking soon. So... if you're looking for an investment opportunity... they say in two years this place will be a boom town!
Today is a sleepy day here. Will head to the beach tomorrow, looking to rent Kayaks.... or to golf course to play golf....... or do another day of nothing!
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