pixel

In the Belly of Baja
By Misty Tosh

A Summertime San Carlos Getaway

By Misty Tosh
@bigsweettooth

San Carlos Hidden Beach

Earlier this year, my boyfriend and I bought a rural 6-acre ranch in Northern New Mexico. I never thought the Southwest is where I would finally have my own patch of land, but somehow the call of the wild was too enticing, so we bit the bullet and bought a horse farm. We kept our sailboat in LA and plan on spending the depths of winter there and in Baja (per usual), but since the relocation, we now we have a new go to spot as well - San Carlos, a small hamlet on the mainland side of Mexico. This little town is only a handful of hours south of the border, and a convenient destination from my new digs in the mountains of New Mexico. But, I’d never been! So, one day last month, we packed up the truck with the dogs and hit the road to experience what it’s like to kick it in San Carlos.

We had rented a house online and since it was the dead heat of summer (100+ temps), we got an amazing deal. We scored a dog friendly, 4-bedroom house - with an infinity pool - overlooking the shimmering Sea of Cortez for almost ½ price off the regular rate on VRBO. I was really interested in the possibility of moving my sailboat from LA down to somewhere in Mexico, so the plan was to explore both marinas in town, as well as eat myself silly. Pretty simple agenda for the 10-day trip.

Leo's Asadero salsas

First things first – driving down from the Santa Fe area and crossing over the Mexican border is a gorgeous ride. Passing through the historical mountain town of Silver City, NM and then onto the sunlit valley of Tubac, AZ is what road trips are made of. There are plenty of perfect little restaurants to fuel up on local fare, winding roads that lead to natures best dog runs and zero traffic make the trip painless all the way down to San Carlos, which is about 5 hours from the border crossing of Nogales.

Once we crossed the border, tacos were in immediate order. Imuris is a quick flash of a town, but one reason to put on the brakes is the charcoal fired goodies at Leo’s Asadero. The doggies started drooling the minute the platter of taco fixings and salsas came out and each got a few juicy carne asada tacos while I stayed in the vegetarian lane with gooey cheese quesadillas and charred green onions. Every single customer at the al fresco dining area came up to pet Minka and Pancho – each showing us their own pups on their smart phones. It was the friendliest mutt wonderland I’d encountered in months!

San Carlos seafood

A few short hours later, we were in the bay of San Carlos, checking into our beautiful vacation spot. After an immediate plunge into the bath water warm swimming pool, we got busy plotting where we might eat. Since it was a different area of the Sea of Cortez, we were anxious to try the seafood and I’d heard about a local's joint called Arbolito’s that was said to have the best of the best. Onward we went.

Arbolito’s happened to be jam packed when we rolled in, with a mariachi band in full effect, but we managed to grab a table overlooking the sea within a few minutes. Thankfully, it was a huge 6-top table and we needed all the space because we went nuts. Juicy chocolate clams, marinated baby shrimp tacos, mile-high crab tostadas, grilled octopus tendrils on a cast iron platter, fat shrimp in cream sauce, stacks of warm corn tortillas, bags of tortilla chips, bowls of crema, piles of limes and vats of salsa hit our table one right after another. Perhaps we got a little out of control since the prices were so low. It was an amazing seafood spread making its way from the kitchen to our table. First meal conquered – time to race back to the pool and beach before the sun plopped back into the ocean. Turned out, the beach was even warmer than the pool! I’d actually never been in water that warm and just floated around, swimming with the dogs who were splashing around chasing schools of fish they could see below. The visibility was that good. No wonder San Carlos is a scuba diver and sport fisherman’s paradise.

San Carlos octopus

The next morning brought on a water show like no other from our cliff side spot. We perched on the edge of the pool watching the water skiers, banana boat riders, jet ski hotshots, sailors and salty fishermen cruise around getting on with their daily fun time. Everyone waved at us from their craft and we planned on lounging there all morning to watch the activities. The folks out on the water were really living life to the fullest – nobody connected to anything other than the majesty of the sea. I’ve never seen anything quite like that water show in all my years!

The breakfast witching hour was about to pass when we decided to dry off and hit the road. Time for Rosa’s Cantina, an order-at-the-counter type of restaurant I’d read was the best AM food in town. From the first sip of piping hot coffee, it really managed to outshine the typical Mexican breakfast fare. A different level of freshness, but still on a homemade, working mans level. Perfectly cooked omelets smothered in cheese with shredded hash browns filled my belly, while my guy loaded up on green chile, chicken, and egg topped chiliquiles. He proclaimed them the best he’s ever had, which is no small feat. The popular place was equally peppered with Americans and Mexicans enjoying the energy of the morning and I just sat there sipping my coffee wondering what I would find when I made it over to the marinas. San Carlos breakfast omelette Would my beloved 36’ ketch sailboat end up south of the border finally? What would be the next adventure in this hidden gem of a town so close to the USA? Stay tuned for the next dispatch!

Restaurant Locations:

Leo’s – It’s on the west side of Carretera Internacional 189 as you pass through the small town of Imuris, Sonora

Los Arbolitos – It’s on the East side of the road - across from Charley’s Rock on the main drag as you head north into San Carlos.

Visit the Rosa’s Cantina Facebook Page

4.7 93 Reviews
  • user logo
    Benjamin Driebe
    From logo

    Absolutely fantastic, I already forgot her name because I have a terrible memory but the woman that helped me on the phone was wonderful,...

  • user logo
    richard carr
    From logo

    fast replies and great price!

  • user logo
    Juan Zuniga
    From logo

    I just would like to know if you guys are going to update the fastpass direction any soon, during the month of January the lane changed to...

  • user logo
    Richard Schweiger
    From logo

    Very professional, very helpful, great policy, I couldn't be happier with Baja Mexican Insurance, the friendly smiles and ease of it all in...

  • user logo
    Ryan Frisby
    From logo

    We use them every time we travel to Mexico. Luckily we have not needed their services yet but getting insurance through them is quick and...

  • user logo
    Jan Muhammad
    From logo

    I need a tourist visa for maxico I'm from pakistan help me sir

  • user logo
    Tracy Moore
    From logo

    Very easy, quick, and professional

  • user logo
    robert kepper
    From logo

    They are very good . There website doesn't show you need a title to bring a vehicle across the border.I was stopped and told I had to...

  • user logo
    Edilver Martinez
    From logo

    Our go to Baja car insurance, everytime we take a visit down south . Usually it's for a day trip either for a quick getaway with the family...

  • user logo
    Daniel Markofsky
    From logo

    Third time working with Baja Bound and they made it easy! Thanks!

  • user logo
    Steve Bender
    From logo

    Have never needed to use the insurance fortunately but the website always works great. Can buy a policy in about a minute.

  • user logo
    Jose Paez
    From logo

    Had a great experience getting insurance at Baja Bound, before I always stoped at the border to purchase my insurance, not anymore. By the...

  • user logo
    JUSTINE SERRANO
    From logo

    I purchased insurance through them & CHUBB for our trip to San Felipe. Unfortunately, we had to cancel due to our vehicle having an oil...

  • user logo
    Christian Minor
    From logo

    Team were on point, provided inside information, prices were great and they had my proposal already in the system when I called back....

  • user logo
    Joey Digiovanni
    From logo

    Easy to work with 😉. Always courteous and helpful

  • user logo
    George
    From logo

    Excellent customer service

  • user logo
    Kellye Pummill
    From logo

    Fast and easy!

  • user logo
    Jennifer Toups
    From logo

    Baja Bound is and has been my go to Mexico insurance company. The website is extremely easy to use, keeps all your info for a quick...

  • user logo
    Cesar Lopez
    From logo

    Very convenient, great price !!

  • user logo
    Louis Schneidman
    From logo

    I had an awesome experience with Baja Bound. Family owned and highly personal, top notch customer service. I have total peace of mind...

  • user logo
    Phil Noble
    From logo

    If you’re looking for Mexican Insurance that you can trust and feel good about while traveling in Mexico, you’ve found the right place....

  • user logo
    Jeff Bunker
    From logo

    Great coverage options . Price buy and print policy , very quick and easy , highly recommend them when driving in Mexico

  • user logo
    Burrell DeVine
    From logo

    Easy to navigate and very competitively priced! I had to call in and add an additional day, they couldn't have been any more pleasant to...

  • user logo
    Nereyda Torres
    From logo

    Me gusta la asuguranza porque la puedes comprar por un dia y te asegura en Mexico por el tiempo que vas ya sea hasta por mes (Translated...

  • user logo
    james whitmer
    From logo

    Best insurance I've had so far

  • user logo
    Rail1riders
    From logo

    Quick, easy, well designed website and not just for Baja. Good rates for temporal residente gringos. We’re not living in Jalisco. Printed...

  • user logo
    Matt B
    From logo

    I always use Baja Bound to source my insurance while traveling to Mexico. Fortunately, I have not had to file any claims. I do appreciate...

  • user logo
    Refugio I. Rochin
    From logo

    Excellent online and by direct phone. Spanish and English with proven response to questions. Website is very informative about driving in...

  • user logo
    Kelly Carney
    From logo

    Yara is very helpful and explains everything. Love working with companies like this.

  • user logo
    Slumdog Gump
    From logo

    Changed some money. Good rate and friendly people.

  • user logo
    Jeff G
    From logo

    Went down to TJ June 11 2020 No problems going into TJ but the way back was a ordeal 6 hours in line to get back into the USA but no...

  • user logo
    don letson
    From logo

    Great renewal process, if only south Dakota would do the same for car registration.

  • user logo
    len buckholtz
    From logo

    SIMPLE, STRAIGHTFORWARD. OLD GUYS LIKE THAT. WILL DEFINITELY USE IN 6 MONTHS IF STILL RUNNING AROUND THE WILDS OF BAJA.

  • user logo
    Susana Judd
    From logo

    Easy, quick and fair prices. Easy to deal with if needed.

  • user logo
    Seismic Waterfinder
    From logo

    Very excellent service, needed insurance for Mexico, price was fair. The custumer service rep was Yara

  • user logo
    Nicolas Dervé
    From logo

    Very good ans very fast. We hope all will ben good if we need it.

  • user logo
    Blake Glassco
    From logo

    I will never drive south of the border without Baja Bound in my center console. I was in an accident a couple hours south of Ensenada and...

  • user logo
    JohnPaul Gemelli
    From logo

    Baja Bound could not have made it an easier ... also, I made a mistake and called them having to leave a message ... but, they called back...

  • user logo
    Jeff Brandt
    From logo

    so far so good, however I have read good things about them

  • user logo
    Sengoz N
    From logo

    SERIOUS.

  • user logo
    Kenneth Trass
    From logo

    Getting a policy was simple, Provided more than provider for price comparison.

  • user logo
    Esther Valencia
    From logo

    Super easy to purchase just the coverage you need when crossing the border in your own car. I especially appreciate the fact that I was...

  • user logo
    Larry Cottingham
    From logo

    Great service, very helpful people there.

  • user logo
    Luis Cortes
    From logo

    Easiest way to purchase insurance when traveling to Mexico. I have used their service for the last 7 years and it only gets easier and...

  • user logo
    j dougher ty
    From logo

    EZ Peasy insurance purchase. Great service every time I've used them. Had to cancel one time when my travel plans went away - no problem....

  • user logo
    Paul Niehouse
    From logo

    Extremely easy to acquire a policy. Many options available. Reasonable rates.

  • user logo
    Colin
    From logo

    Super-easy and instant. Very happy with initial purchase.

  • user logo
    Howard M Elster
    From logo

    2nd year with Chubb. No problems

  • user logo
    Cyndee Congrove
    From logo

    Great customer service, quick, friendly staff helpfully answered all questions, very patient with my learning curve on a new product. Would...

  • user logo
    Art Eugenio
    From logo

    I've had Baja Bound insurance for more that ten years now with thousands of miles logged in Baja. Fortunately, I've only had one fender...

  • user logo
    Gabe Matthews
    From logo

    Where do i start..... you dont know you have good insurance until you have to actually use it. I have had Baja Bound INS for over 5 years...

  • user logo
    keith berkley
    From logo

    Been going to baja for 45 years. This is best insurance company i have come accross.

  • user logo
    Ryan Perkio
    From logo

    I have been using BajaBound Insurance for 15 years - multiple trips per year. Their website is easy, their coverage is great, and the...

  • user logo
    RaMon McBride
    From logo

    I have not had any claims thus far so rating is based on ease of purchase.

  • user logo
    Larry French
    From logo

    By far the best service for Mex insurance in Baja. They are personally there for you if you have problems south of the border.

  • user logo
    Tudor Thomas
    From logo

    Baja Bound makes buying insurance for going south of the border as easy as it gets. The website is the easiest I have used and the staff...