View Full Version : San Carlos, Mexico

08-27-2007, 00:08
Just wanted to see if we have any San Carlos divers? We dive San Carlos about once a month in good season, and would like to chat with divers from the area?

Rocky Top, any information on the diving there?

08-28-2007, 19:50
where is this San Carlos? Is the water warm? Is it chocked full of fish and wildlife? Are there reefs and coral and sponges and sea fans and other stuff?
If yes to all of the above, how do I get there?

08-28-2007, 21:36
Who do you dive with?

I'm looking at a flyer for El Duque Dive Charters. It's run by Mike Ward.

I met him at the Long Beach SCUBA Show this past June.

Unlimited diving, all meals, fills. tanks, weights, sleep aboard and round trip transfers from the airport at Tucson...

4 day trip to Isla Tortuga for under $550!
5 day trip to Isla San Pedro Negro for under $700!!

I'm really jonesing to give it a go.

Anyone have any info on El Duque?

BTW - The San Carlos I'm talking about is on the east side of the Gulf of California in the State of Sonoroa, just north of Guaymas./ Are we talking about the same one?

08-29-2007, 03:52
Here's what I can tell you about San Carlos having spent a 4 day weekend there last October:

I've seen El Duque but never been on it. My buddy said it's sort of like Blackbeards, except you actually sleep on deck.

We dove out of San Carlos on a private boat and with Gary's Dive Shop. Both times we went out to San Pedro Nolasco. (it's Nolasco not Negro) About a 1-1/2-2hr. ride each way or less. Leave around 8, 2 dives, lunch and back by 4pm.

Phoenix/Tucson diveshops run trips down there and certify divers so you might want to check with some of the diveboats before booking. Ocean Spirit is a big dayboat out of San Carlos. And Gary's has a bigger/faster boat also. His other boats are old concrete hulled tourist boats.

I don't know why El Duque does San Pedro as a 5 day trip since everybody goes there as a day trip. Unless they go elsewhere also.

Our second trip back we saw El Duque anchored in a nearby cove so I assume they were diving there that day. But at 1/2 hr. out from the San Carlos Marina not my idea of a liveaboard adventure. Unless they were just parked there for the night or something. El Duque has a website also.

Personally I'd stay at Marina Terra and dive with Surface Time, the only diveop located at the marina where all the diveboats leave from.

You can rent inexpensive condos there for less than the cost of their hotel rooms and you get use of all the hotel amenities. 2 pools, restaurant and a bar on the marina. There's also about 4-5 other restaurants within 2 blocks in either direction.

Check out Oceanside Realty for some good deals on condos. Their office is located 100' from the Marina Terra lobby. And the condos they rent are newer and nicer than the hotel's - I've been in both. There's two small local markets within walking distance of the hotel, one just across the parking lot, the other nearer to the beach. The hotel also has a day use beach club 1/2 mi. away.

Diving at San Pedro is warm until about mid-October. I dove there the weekend of the 22nd in a swimsuit/t-shirt. But it was cold at depth below the thermocline - I didn't go down there. My buddy had a 3mil and he was cold under it.

We were looking for the Scalloped Hammerheads, they school off the south tip of the island b4 they start their migration south but we missed them by a week. Since the water was changing there was a lot of big particles in it but I'm told that's atypical. And a lot of shredded jellies so if you're sensitive to that, you might want at least a skin.

Just about every dive the Sea Lions came out to check us out. I had one admire himself in the port of my video housing, blow a bubble and gone. We also saw Cortez Angelfish and those territorial Damselfish that nip at you. Some big filefish or triggers also - not sure what they were. I also saw several spotted eels. Our first day riding back in we saw a pod of Dolpins also.

It's similar to California diving in that it's rock based not coral based reefs. There might've been some small corals but no fans or anything like that. Near the island there's a lot of dramatic vertical rock walls in one area. Depending on the weather you can dive all the way around the island but most diving is done on the sheltered side.

To see the Hammerheads you have to go past the South tip into some rougher water. We planned to do a live drop and pickup but the water was pea soup so we swam back to the boat. Couldn't see 20' in front of us. Not typical.

Everything I've mentioned can be found at: http://www.sancarlosmexico.com/

It's about a 10hr. drive from Phoenix so about 8-8-1/2 from Tucson. You can also fly USAirways from Phoenix, that's what I do. But it's pricey, around $450 r/t. It's a $20 ride from the Guaymas airport to San Carlos.

Another option would be to fly to Phoenix and go with El Mar Diving in Mesa. They charter a bus on some of their trips or usually have a van for smaller groups. Ocean Planet Scuba may also on their HH migration trip - it's pretty popular. The Dive Shop in Tucson also runs a bi-monthly trip to San Carlos.

Other divegroups stay at the Best Western and another condo resort near town but you'd need transportation to the marina from there.


09-21-2008, 19:16
Looking For Good Dive Shop In San Carlos (Surface Time Closed) Want To Make Trip Mid to Late Oct

Charles R
09-23-2008, 12:31
El Mar is Mesa AZ also owns El Mar in San Carlos El Mar Mexico General Info (http://www.elmar.com/Mexico/general.html) Thats who we book our trips though you show up get on the bus and enjoy the ride.

09-23-2008, 19:03
Looking For Good Dive Shop In San Carlos (Surface Time Closed) Want To Make Trip Mid to Late Oct

I was diving down at San Carlos for several days a couple of months ago. I went out with Ocean Sports, which is right at the marina. Was disappointed with customer service, though. The diving.... it was pleasant enough. It's worthwhile if it's the nearest affordable diving to your home, as it is for Tuscon/Phoenix folks, but IMO not worth a long or expensive trip from elsewhere in the country.