Friday, January 2, 2009

LOVE San Carlos

San Carlos (about 700 km north of Mazatlan) is probably the biggest surprise on our trip to date. We both had no expectations of it as a 'destination'. It was just a stop along the route. However, it is one of the most beautiful places we have experienced.

We had intended on staying two days only - just long enough to have one day to explore and one evening to enjoy a meal out. However, not long into our one-day tour we both decided that this place deserved more time. So, we booked an additional couple days. And, we seriously considered adding on a few more days.

There is really only one long strip that takes you through town, and that winds along to a number of resorts, new developments and marinas. But are they beautiful ... the scenery is spectacular. Fabulous homes dot the hills and areas surrounding the marinas. According to the literature we picked up, these homes are owned by 'Mexican movie stars and playboys' (who wrote that?!). The Algodones beach has perfect white, powdery sand - just like the caribbean, and it stretches for miles. The Sea of Cortez is azure. There is a terrific beach-side bar where you can wile away the hours. There are great restaurants. There are no crowds. No one seems to be in any kind of hurry. It is the kind of place that makes you question whether you need to travel any further down the road.

We had a fantastic day on the 31st - just toured and enjoyed the beach - great weather (22 degrees celcius). We had a fabulous New Year's Eve supper at 'Blackie's Restaurant' - probably as good a meal as you would have anywhere in the world - great food. Very popular place with the locals, as many, many big family groups started coming in around 10:00 - everyone dressed very formally and of all ages.

To ring in the New Year, we had a tip about a club across the road from us. So, at 11:30 we headed over there, only to be told that the cover charge was $15/person. As we knew we'd only be staying for a few drinks, this didn't seem worth it, so started to head out the door. The manager called us back, and charged us only $5/person. We were ushered through the virtually empty club, but told that, as we had not made reservations, we would have to sit outside on the deck (cold). Seemed a little strange, but guessed that they were expecting many, many people to show up shortly.

Well - they didn't. At midnight (I was watching my watch), there was no count-down, but we saw the waiters all hugging each other and wishing each other 'Happy New Year'. Our big bouncer-type waiter clearly felt sorry for us, as he came out and hugged us both. Shortly thereafter, we finished our drinks and headed on home to bed. However, we heard the loud music from the club until the wee hours of the morning... guess they show up late and party even later in Mexico!

New Year's Day was overcast, so we decided to head to Guaymas and tour around. Big city - not much allure there! We picked up some cash and groceries, and headed back to San Carlos.

Our neighbour in the park knocked on our door later that evening, and invited us over to a fire at another site. He and his guitar had been quietly serenading the park from his lot, and he was making his formal debut around the campfire. We met a great group of people - many Canadians who were wintering in the park.

On the 2nd, we decided to do a hike that we had been told about the night before. The hike was through Nacapule Canyon - a 1.6 km hike that took you through the canyon walls and into a number of natural oasis areas. At the end, you reached a pool that is fed from the mountains above. For those daring enough, there was a rope that you could climb to reach the canyon above. It was a little precarious, but the scenery was nice from up there.

We carried on to Algodones beach, but it was a little too windy, so we headed to a nearby sand dune and parked ourselves to enjoy the remainder of the afternoon sun. From there, we took a brief tour of another RV park (identified as the best RV park in Mexico). It earned its reputation - very nice. Another time.

We stopped at a lookout point and had another great view of the beautiful Sea of Cortez. We noted that everywhere we had been today (hike, beach, viewpoint) there were many, many families making an outing of the day. It appeared the Mexicans were taking advantage of the Christmas break and doing the 'touristy' thing.

Now we're pushing the supper hour, and still have to eat, and then head over to see our new amigos around the campfire. We're planning on leaving tomorrow, but will do so sadly. This is a place to return to. However, we are looking forward to coming across many other beautiful places in our travels.

Happy New Year everyone! Till next time.

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