San Carlos Mexico Trip ~ September 2023

Amanda Krugen   Oct 03, 2023

As divers in Arizona know, the conditions in Lake Pleasant get pretty rough in the summer and fall. So we booked a trip to San Carlos, Mexico for a reprieve and it was way better than what we had expected. Although we have been there before, it has been a while and this time we brought a group down with us. San Carlos is a hop skip and jump away from Dive Arizona. The drive down only took six and a half hours, not including a stop for some tacos after we crossed the border, which was 110% worth adding time onto the trip! We arrived in San Carlos late afternoon and checked into the Marinaterra Hotel to got settled in. We did a quick stop at Gary’s Dive Shop to check in with him, get waivers signed, and make a plan for the next day.

After a great night of sleep we woke up and headed to the dock the next morning. No dive day there is complete unless you stop at Barracuda Bob’s first though, they have some great options for a nice breakfast or coffee, and you can get it to go! Once everyone was on the boat we were greeted by Gary who shared some great scuba jokes to start the day off. We were quickly on our way to do some local diving and went to three different dive sites, including the Santos Degollado wreck. The first dive was a shallower dive site however there was no shortage of marine life and conditions couldn’t have been better. Even the water temps were in the high 80’s, most of us were in a 3mm shorty. We headed to the Santos for the next dive, the top was only about 20’ down and the bottom was about 60’, making it an excellent wreck for recreational divers. Wreck diving has a lot to offer, they can be a fun site for divers, including for those that are looking to do their SDI Wreck Specialty and they serve as an artificial reef drawing vasts amounts of marine life to the area. The Santos definitely did not disappoint! Before jumping in for our last dive of the day, the crew made some tacos for us, word on the street is they are some of the best in San Carlos. The third dive site was great way to end the day, we did a site with several swim throughs and caught a glimpse of a turtle. After the diving was over we headed back to the docks to find some food and hit the hay early.

The second day of diving we journeyed out to San Pedro Island. The had some company on the boat ride out which included Sea Lions and Manta Rays, a great way to start the day and get excited! Our first stop at the island was near a site called The Lighthouse. There was LOADS of Sea Lions that were quite playful, they would come up close to investigate, sometimes blowing bubbles at us or nibbling on our gear. Near the end of the dive we saw several Green Moray Eels wandering around. For the second dive we headed to a location near the first, it provided us with loads of schooling fish and a fun swim through. Once finished we had the afternoon tacos on the boat as we made the boat trip back to San Carlos for one more local dive. We chose to stop at a site called Sea Mouth which was a huge stand alone rock pinnacle. The top was around 30’ and the bottom around 90’, with no other major formations near it, there was an abundance of marine life. We made a few passes around that, enjoying every minute we could of our last dive. As the day was coming to an end we packed up dive gear and got ready to depart the next morning to make the journey back home.

We all were up quite early Sunday morning and headed out around 7:30am, drive time coming home was just under eight hours, not including a taco stop before the border crossing. The wait at the border only took about an hour and twenty minutes and went smooth. Since we had last been down, they’ve added a toll road that bypasses Hermosillo and shaves off an hour of drive time in both directions. 

The trip was a huge success and we plan on doing this trip 3-4 times a year. Its a great location that’s just a short drive away offering tropical marine life and much clearer water than what we have here in Arizona. The people in San Carlos are so friendly and many know English, however several of us took the opportunity to improve our Spanish. Huge thanks to the boat crew with Gary’s Dive Shop for teaching us a ton of Spanish pertinent to the scuba industry and marine life too! We absolutely can not wait to go back down and continue to use what we learned, get some more great diving in, and of course, eat more tacos!