Serving in San Carlos Nuevo Guaymas, Mexico
Updated: Jul 29
San Carlos is a little gem of a town that captured our attention many years ago when we first stayed there way back in 2005 in a time share. We were in the marina where we met a man living on his trimaran. He generously offered us his dinghy to get out on the beautiful bay with our two kids. He mentioned a little cave on a nearby island and we puttered our way there to discover the small hole in the rock. To our amazement the light pouring in to the opening revealed a large school of small fish and the reflection on the water reminded us of the blue grotto in Italy. Funny how such a memory sticks - the kindness and generosity of a stranger, the wonder of our children over this seemingly magical place.
We’ve been back many times since. It is a perfect distance from Phoenix or Tucson for a one day drive, as a final destination, or when heading further south. And of course, on a subsequent trip, we discovered that there is an active awesome pickleball community there. It is one of the places on our short list where we would consider settling down for a little while, IF we were the settling down kind.
Our first foray in to the San Carlos pickleball scene was just after Thanksgiving in 2017, when we checked in to a great Airbnb in a gated golf community. Ky mentioned the word pickleball to the home owner, Darren. It sparked a lengthy conversation that is quite familiar to all pickleball addicts who find a common soul. It turned out that Darren was one of the "Mr. Pickleball" players in the area. By that night after checking in, we found ourselves playing on a private court at one of his friend’s house, with fantastic players. We were still fairly new to the game, but the whole group of about eight people there was so friendly and played with us, despite them being at a much higher level.
The next day we played at the beautifully situated local courts that had recently been built at an old RV resort that was in the process of being converted to a housing development. There was a club house and large swimming pool that were not really being used. Some of the pickleball players in town spoke with the owner and convinced him to let them put courts on his property. It turned out to be a winning proposition for him (as many housing developments, resort owners and cruise ships are now finding out).
These days there are several new homes that have been built on the property and there is a model home that gives a sense of what is to come on the remainder of the large site. There is still no active restaurant at the courts, but hopefully that amenity will come.
The Mirador group is perhaps one of the most organized that we have seen on our travels. Their courts have wonderful amenities such as a large heavy duty rack with hooks for backpacks, paddle holders for next in line to play, fences between each of the courts, chairs and tables with umbrellas, and water, the elixir of life! All of this has the surrounding backdrop of rugged hills that give a feeling of being all snuggled in and protected, but we were told that there are some awesome storms that blow through at times.
Each time we’ve been, we’ve met a lot of new people, but we’re just beginning to feel that this is one of our pickleball “home” courts by seeing and playing with some familiar folks. On our last trip through, among other fun people, we met a fascinating German couple, kindred travel spirits, who have been nomadic for over 30 years. This time they had just returned from a two month visit to their homeland, and we were so happy to get to play some challenging games with them. They are an inspiration to us to keep doing what we have been doing for almost four years now, but they are at a whole different level of travel experience. I’ll be first in line to buy their book if they write one.
It was such a pleasure to meet Crista, and to gift a hat that looks fantastic on her from Chapala. She generously gave us a great looking hat that we will pass on at our next stop. For more great information on the area, check out http://whatsupsancarlos.com/ .
We also had a great time meeting and playing with another "Mr. Pickleball San Carlos" player, James Main. He and his sweet wife, Kim, organize pickleball trips (which we would love to join sometime) so check out https://www.facebook.com/destinationpickleball/ if you are wanting someone else to help you with planning a great vacation.
There are a few other places to play in town, and we stayed at an Airbnb in a small gated community called Tecalai Yori Condominiums which has a very playable, fenced single court next to a sparkling clean swimming pool and a nice club house. We were the only players there, so we just enjoyed using it to drill a bit. During peak season, I'm sure it is a happening court.
If you go:
Google Plus Code: WWW6+5R San Carlos Nuevo Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico
Cost: 100 pesos for a day pass. Passes are limited, and must be purchased prior to play. See http://sancarlospickleball.com/about-us/ for contact information and more info on day and annual passes.
Tecalai Yori Condominiums:
Must be an owner or guest to use this court.
Cost: 30 peso per person donation for balls and maintenance.
Google Plus Code: XX7H+M4 San Carlos Nuevo Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico