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Boulevard Beltrones
Plaza Arrecifes Suite 6,
San Carlos, Sonora 85506

480-626-1064  (US)
622-226-1221 (Mexico)
622-140-0960 (Mexico Nextel)
62*13*44977 (MX Nextel Radio)


Travel | Maps | Weather | Area Activities | Amenities | Marina Real


There are several daily flights to Hermosillo (HMO) and Guaymas (GYM) from Phoenix Sky Harbor (PHX). Hermosillo is just over an hour’s drive north of San Carlos. Check here or with your local travel agent for your options on schedules & fares. When checking rates on-line, you’ll often find substantial savings by booking 2 roundtrip tickets: the first set for your Departure City-Phoenix leg and the second for the Phoenix-Guaymas (or Phoenix-Hermosillo) portion.

Since you’ll probably want to do some sightseeing while you’re in town (and taxis are relatively expensive) it makes sense to get a rental car during your stay. Each airport has both Budget (1-800-527-0700) and Hertz (1-800-654-3131) rental car agencies on location.



TBC Bus Lines has bus service to Guaymas, departing from Phoenix ($40), Tucson ($30) or Nogales, Sonora ($20). If you need to get a tourist card, be sure to tell the driver and they will stop at the 21 Km checkpoint. If you forget, this card can also be obtained at the Immigration office in Guaymas. Terminal locations and phone numbers are:

  • Phoenix: 1360 E. Van Buren St, 602-258-5852
  • Tucson: 1428 S. 6th St, 520-903-2801



Directions | Mexican Auto Insurance | Tourist Visas and Car Permits


San Carlos is located just 320 miles due south of Tucson, Arizona. You'll find our office in the plaza behind the Pemex station in the heart of San Carlos, which is located 10 kilometers north of the city of Guaymas. As you approach Guaymas the road signs for San Carlos are clearly marked.

>From Tucson you take Arizona State Highway #19 to Nogales. At the outskirts of Nogales take the Highway #189 bypass (Exit #4) (be sure to be on "Mariposa Road") which then becomes Mexico Highway #15 after you cross the border.

All roads on the way to San Carlos are 4 lane divided highways and are generally in very good shape. There are three "toll roads" you will encounter along the way. The first toll booth you'll encounter charges 37 pesos (about $3.35) and the other two charge 19 pesos (about $1.75) and 57 pesos (about $5.20 ) respectively each way.

There are ample gas stations along the way, however, if you happen to need roadside assistance, Mexico has a fleet of emergency vehicles, known as the “Green Angels” who assist all travelers on Highway 15. Just raise the hood on your car and they'll stop to help you out. They speak some English and charge only for parts or towing.

Finally it is important to note.. do not have guns or ammunition in your vehicle or possession!! If you are caught with either you will be jailed immediately (no exceptions!) and your car will also be confiscated as well. Remember that you are in a foreign country and the laws of the US do not apply here. Mexico is a delightful country with warm people and rich traditions. Just remember that you are a guest in this country and “don’t leave your brains at the border”.


You will need to purchase Mexican auto insurance before traveling to Guaymas-San Carlos. You can purchase this insurance before heading south, on the way down in at several locations in Nogales, or finally purchase your policy directly at the border in the same office where you register your vehicle. We recommend buying your insurance before leaving as it will save you time on your trip down. You can order it online at the Mexico Insurance section on our links page.


In an effort to enhance security and efficiency at U.S. borders, the U.S. government will soon enforce new passport requirements for all travelers entering or re-entering the United States from Canada, Mexico, and other locations.  These new rules include US Citizens.

By Air:  All travelers will need to have a passport, including US citizens returning to the US by air on Jan 23, 2007.

By Land & Sea: A passport or other qualified travel document will be required at all land border ports-of-entry prior to June 1, 2009.  The final exact date has not been set.  Effective January 31, 2008, all travelers are required to have documented proof of citizenship such as a passport or birth certificate and photo ID and be prepared to show these documents when entering the USA.


The Sonora Free Zone program for vehicles has expanded!!  This means that those who plan to travel with vehicles in the state of Sonora north of Empalme/Guaymas no longer have to register and obtain a vehicle permit.  If you plan to travel to the San Carlos-Guaymas area and no further into Mexico, this option applies. This also applies to trailers, boats, etc. Tourist cards are still required but for stays of 7 days or less. You can get a no-fee tourist card at KM 21 station located south of Nogales.

If you plan to travelling south of Guaymas-Empalme, you must obtain an All Mexico permit for the vehicle which is good for 6 months and is valid for travel in all other areas of Mexico. You will need a credit card to post a bond of about $20 to guarantee you will not sell the car in Mexico. The new vehicle permit station is south of Empalme, at KM 98.


Obtain both at the Tourist Permit location at the "21 KM" checkpoint area south of Nogales.
NOTE: This process can take 1/2 hour or more depending on the time you travel. This is why we recommend getting both the 6 month tourist visa and if necessary, the 6 month car permit, so you can get through this last crossing into the interior of Mexico in just a minute or two! These options are detailed below.


NOTE: You must have your visa issued here before proceeding to get your car permit at the building marked "ONLY SONORA" (which is located about 30 feet to the right) .

1) All Destinations (including San Carlos) past the 21 Km checkpoint require a tourist visa. You have 2 choices:

a) 7 Day Tourist Visa - There is no charge for this visa which allows you to travel exclusively in Sonora for 7 days. You must have either a valid passport or both a birth certificate and a driver's license/photo I.D.

b) 6 Month Tourist Visa - This visa is valid for a period of 6 months and allows you to stay in the "interior" of Mexico for up to 6 months and/or to travel back and forth as often as you want (during the 6 month period). After completing the application in the office, you'll be instructed to make the payment of $20 (US dollars) at the Banjercito payment window. As with the regular "no charge" 7 day visa, you'll need to present either a valid passport or both a birth certificate and a driver's license/photo I.D. Again, the payment for the tourist card will be made at the Banjercito payment window. After your payment is received, return to Migration to have your tourist card stamped.

2) Any minor children traveling with only one parent will need notarized affidavit from the other parent to travel beyond the "free zone". In case of a divorce, a notarized affidavit written statement is still required from the non-custodial parent authorizing the travel plans.


Note:  If you do not plan to travel any further into Mexico than Guaymas-San Carlos, you do not need any permit for your vehicle. If you do plan further travel or travel outside the State of Sonora, the following procedures will apply.

1) You will need the following documentation to obtain a vehicle permit:

a) A valid driver's license

b) Proof of ownership of your vehicle including registration and title (or notarized bill of sale in lieu of a title)

c) If you have a lien holder listed on your registration or title, you will need a letter from the lien holder giving you permission to take the vehicle to Mexico. Lien holders such as credit unions etc. are familiar with such requests and will generally be able to issue you a statement in a matter of minutes. Although this is the official policy, this document is seldom if ever requested.

d) Finally you'll need proof of citizenship for you and all passengers. These requirements were outlined above under tourist visas.

2) Currently there are two types of vehicle permits you can obtain: a "Only Sonora" Permit, or a 6 month "Mexico Auto Import Decal". Here's a description of the differences.

a) "Only Sonora" - This vehicle permit is currently free of charge. This permit allows you to drive in Sonora and must be turned in upon your return to the states. You will need photocopies of each listed above document (other than the tourist visas), which you can bring with or have copied there. After receiving your permit, place it on your windshield and are on your way to Sonora Bay. When you return home, you just turn the permit in at a booth outside the station at this same station at Kilometer Marker 21. You can't miss it because the "Only Sonora" return lane is well marked. Simply pull in by the booth and wait in your car for an attendant to come and remove your sticker.

b) "Mexico Auto Import Decal" - This 6 month vehicle permit requires all of the documents listed above. There is currently a $15 fee that you are required to pay a via a credit card (AMEX, MC or VISA) . This permit will allow you to drive in all of Mexico, not just the state of Sonora, and if you expect to make multiple trips during the six month period, this permit saves you the time it would take to obtain and return the "Only Sonora " permit each trip. Whatever vehicle permit you choose, remember to return it to the station at kilometer 21 before it expires!!!