Rhonda Meets San Carlos
Updated: Jan 2, 2021
Arrived in San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico around 5:30pm. I was so excited to be at the Totonaka Rv Park. They had plenty of room and the man at the reception spoke very good english. Bonus! We said we’d like to stay a week. No problem. It was 2926 pesos for a week.That’s $154 us dollars. It had 2 small pools, hot showers, a coin laundry room and a lounge with TV and books. It had everything we could have asked for. The grounds were much like a parking lot with a small amount of grass/weeds and scattered palm trees. You could also rent a casita that lined the edges of the property. We enjoyed staying here but we ran around a lot seeing what else San Carlos had to offer.
Larry and I are super active so the first thing we like to do is check out outdoor activities. They had lots of hiking close by which we both like. We wanted to take out our kayak in the bay if it was calm enough. There were several small towns within 10 kilometers with fabulous small and unique beaches to explore. I knew I would spend at least a few afternoons at the pool or hot tub. I was hoping to do some morning jogging and venture around with our bikes. Just walking up and down the Malecon is fun too.
The first night, we went to a restaurant right in front of the park for dinner and a celebratory beer or two. We were feeling very successful with our first day of driving in Mexico. Equally exciting was that we found the RV park without getting lost. Good signage and right on the main road. It was a nice quiet park and we rested so well the first night.
Our first morning, after tea and coffee, we ventured out on foot to get a lay of this little town. We walked across the street to the beach. Wow!! We saw men fishing off the rocks and met a very friendly couple on the beach. The gentleman was Mexican but had spent time working in Saskatchewan. He spoke good English. His wife was a sweet Mexican woman that spoke no English. She smiled a lot and looked like she could understand some of what we were talking about. The man told us how he was building a house on a lot. He had a few lots and was going to develop them. The cost of living here was very inexpensive and labor was cheap. He even suggested that we buy something there. It was a good community. We shook hands and walked on. We walked as far as we could on the beach until it turned into backyards of homes. When we walked on the street by some of these homes that were “Se Vende”(for sale) we investigated more. Some had beautiful green lawns, patios, swimming pools with ocean views. I was amazed! I could live here! Lol
On our walk, we found the Ley Market about 3 km on the right side of the road. We checked out what they had and picked up a few things. This is where I first realized how cheap food is in Mexico. It’s in Pesos it sounds like a bunch but I divide it by 19 and that gives me what it is in US dollars. They had enough familiar food that we can survive plus I would rather make my own meals than eat out too much.
Walking back to Totonaka Rv Resort, I almost got hit by a car that veered off and headed at me! It really got my heart going. I ran toward the buildings away from the road and the driver got control of his car just in time to straighten out and drive down the road. It was freakin scary!!
We packed some snacks for a road adventure at lunchtime. We saw another beach up the road about 4 km. We could actually drive the truck on the beach. So we did, of course. We walked almost 6 km down a relatively empty beach. No people, no vendors just us and another couple that was in the RV park, and they recognized us. We chatted and the lovely lady told me it was the best day of her life!! She told me that when she was in the ocean this morning, Dolphins came up and swam with her. It was like a dream come true. We were on high alert when we finished our walk on the beach. We got to see a few dolphins not too far in the distance. It was very special. The dolphins and the ladies story.
We spent the afternoon at the pool. We met George and Donna from Vancouver Canada. George was super friendly. He was a retired butcher and they spend 6 months in Mexico. He asked if we had played PickleBall. We had not but were willing to try. We also met Bonnie and Geri from Kelowna British Columbia. Both couples were heading further south. We planned on staying in San Carlos for a week and then keep driving south down highway 15D. George taught us Pickleball the next morning. We played with Bonnie, George and Kerry. Kerry and his wife, Tracey were caravaning with George and Donna. Since we were leaving the same day we decided to drive along with them. It seemed safer with a group.
Some mornings, I jogged around the campgrounds to get a bit of exercise. A gal named Sharyl said it was safe to jog down into town on the road close to the beach. I did that a few times too. We also played pickleball most mornings. Sharyl stopped by a few nights at our trailer and chatted. She was there alone until the end of December when her husband retired and would fly down for the rest of the winter. She came in October. She had a nice big trailer that they keep in San Carlos year-round but only stay here for 6 months. She had a Razor off-road quad that she took us out in one day. Both Larry and I got to drive it. We went to Nacapule Canyon and it was beautiful. I was hoping to see these crazy big eared wild rabbits but unfortunately, we didn’t. It was still a fun afternoon.
Each day we drove around checking out the various beaches close by. We went to at least 5 different beaches during our stay in San Carlos. All beaches were within 30 minutes or less to get to. We stopped at the Soggy Peso beach (nicknamed because of the restaurant) one afternoon to have a beer and watch the sunset. We took a road to the top of a hill that overlooked the ocean with a fantastic view close to Tetakawi Peak. We were going to hike to the top of Tetakawi Peak one morning before it got too hot.
We found out about a beach that was great for kayaking around the bay. A gentleman at our pool gave us directions and we eventually found it. Most of the streets aren’t marked well so directions are hard to interpret. We went out for a few hours in the morning until the wind came up. We were able to go through some interesting rocks in the water and semi caves. We stopped for lunch in a cove but there wasn’t a good beach to get off on. We met another kayaker on the bay and he gave us ideas for other places to kayak but we ran out of time on this trip. Everyone so far has been super helpful with all kinds of tips and information on the area.
We found out that on Tuesdays and Sundays, they have a pickup softball game about 3 miles away. Thank goodness we both have our mitts and cleats! We went out on Tuesday to see if we could play. Of course!! They gave us a few rules before we started. The most important one was not to try to retrieve the ball if it goes in the tires that line the ball field. Why? Because of rattlesnakes!! Both Larry and I were on the same team and we won! I played right-center field and Larry was on 3rd base. In the first inning, Larry caught a fly ball and threw out 2 folks 1st base. He looked like a star! We both got good hits and we had fun. Since we started at 11 am, it got hot fast. The game lasted at least 9 innings…...it went a little long for me. Afterward anyone that wanted to go eat together at a restaurant was invited. Softball players got a discount. We opted not to have lunch. Next time!
The day before we were going to leave, we planned on hiking to the peak of Mount Tetakawi. I wanted to start by 9 am. I wasn’t sure how long it was going to take so the earlier the better. We also started to climb on the shady side. The parking was right off the main road and had a sign in Spanish talking about bringing enough water, not hiking alone and if you were old, etc. I felt like I read enough of the sign and we headed up the trail. It was very steep and gravelly. Close to the top, it was so steep that they had a rope to help pull yourself up. It wasn’t too scary so we kept going. It was totally worth it when we got to the top and had a 360-degree view!! We stayed up top for a bit and rehydrated before descending. It took a little over an hour to get to the top. Not bad. On the way down, we got a little lost….couldn’t figure out where the trail went so we just tried to line up with the truck we could see in the parking lot. We also saw another truck down there. Interesting. We thought we would meet them coming up the trail but never did. As we got to the bottom of the hill, we found 2 Municipal Policia waiting for us in their truck. They came up to us and only spoke Spanish. We said we didn’t speak much Spanish. We tried using a translator on our phone. They said we didn’t read the sign and we had to pay a fine for not having a permit or guide to hike. We said we had no money. They said one of us had to go to the police station and the other one had to go for money. I told them I was not comfortable being separated. We went around and around trying to come up with a compromise. They wanted 3000 pesos for the fine. That’s about $158 us dollars. I was willing to pay a fine but not being separated. They finally said we could drive our truck to the RV Resort and they would follow. What a relief!! I was super scared until that point. When we got back to Totonaka, Larry drove into the campground and dropped me off at the office. The cops stayed outside the gate. I thought that was weird. Sharyl came by and I told her what was going on. She said it was a scam and not to go back out. Ignore the cops! I got Jose from the reception office to come translate for us. He called the police station and went out to talk to the cops while on the phone. I went with him but stayed away from the cops. After he spoke with them, he said to go back into the park. He explained that it was a new sign and they just started to enforce it. The fee should have only been 800 pesos (42 us dollars) not 3000!! They were giving me a warning. And that was it!!! Wow!! What a crazy experience. I feel like we lucked out.
I was super glad that we were traveling with George and Donna and Kerry and Tracey to our next stop. We were heading to Los Mochis. It’s a halfway point to La Cruz. There were no good campgrounds in Los Mochis so we were going to stay at a Pemex gas station. A lot of truckers do this and so do campers like us. Safety in numbers, That’s what George kept saying…..