How We Like Living In San Carlos So Far

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I want to let my readers know we are fine in San Carlos, Mexico and have absolutely no regrets about our decision to buy a house here.  We have been here long enough now that I can give you some plusses and minuses and thought I would mention a few.

Minuses:

Scorpions and other insects. We have had two scorpions in the house and a few more outside. They scare me. Everyone sprays regularly with an insecticide inside and out, and regretfully we have started doing that too. One neighbor has lived here 40 years and says he has been bitten twice and was very ill.

There is not a real downtown with a city center and nice architecture.

That it is difficult to find vegetarian or healthy meals in any restaurants……that I know of.

Not very responsive government entities for infrastructure problems that the town has such as water or sewer leaks and water shutoffs with no explanation as to why or even when the water will be back on. We have not been personally inconvenienced with these issues but many others have. The fact that most of our property tax money goes to Guaymas instead of taking care of San Carlos doesn’t seem fair but I hear Guaymas, which San Carlos is really just a suburb of, is broke.

Plusses:

Natural beauty with the prettiest sea colors I have ever seen. Some days the water is deep blue, some days turquoise and other times light aquamarine.  There is an overlook (Mirador) here from which National Geographic named the view one of the 10 best in the world.

The year around warm to hot weather with blue skies.  The majority of the northerners leave in the summer due to the high heat and humidity but we decided to try and stay through one summer to know if it is really uncomfortable. Mid-June is the time when the humidity kicks in and it has but I love it. I can’t get over how we live in the desert with such a dry climate all winter and spring and now the air feels exactly like the tropics. Fabulous! But we have been told July will be hotter and more humid, August more so, and September too, with the heat and humidity finally breaking about mid-October. So ask me again in September how I am loving it!

It is so much less expensive to own a house here than in the U.S.  From property taxes to insurance, to utilities; we are saving so much money I think we could take a South Pacific cruise every year if we wanted to. And groceries! So affordable, but mostly for “from scratch” cooking items. Processed foods are as high as in the US.  Vegetables are fresh, plentiful, and so cheap. At the same time, we are now finding almost anything we want which wasn’t the case in years past farther south in Mexico. Some of the stores even have sections with imported German, Italian, Chinese etc. foods.  And finding items like chia seeds, quinoa, tofu and so on are no problem.

Being able to obtain our US mail here. We use a mail service in Tucson and usually someone goes north at least once a week and picks up the mail to drop off at the Remax realty office in San Carlos which is very convenient to us.

San Carlos has almost everything we need but when it doesn’t, the larger city of Guaymas is only 10 miles away. This is where we go to Home Depot, Walmart, Sam’s Club, and anything else we can’t get in San Carlos.

Feeling healthier with clean air.  No allergies or respiratory problems for me here and being at sea level I feel much better. My oxygen level is now 96-97 compared to 91-92 in Colorado. We have some friends from Colorado that bought a place in San Carlos the same time we did and the oxygen levels situation is the same as mine.

Many many restaurants to eat out inexpensively but at the same time, not healthy but quite tasty!

It is so easy and inexpensive to get work done. Landscaping, plumbing, sealing the roof, you name it.  We had to have a tree cut down and removed. Cost? The equivalent of $12 US. In the US it would have cost a couple of hundred dollars.

Very friendly people, all nationalities included.

Watching and looking at boats. There have been some fishing tournaments recently and the boats take off in the bay in front of our house and with two large marinas in town we can look at boats all we want.

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And there may be more plusses coming up, some of it is hearsay and some have been reported in our local forums and the news.  A small hospital might be built just outside of town. An assisted care facility might also be built on the waterfront in San Carlos. There is more development planned and real estate sales have picked up so the economy is turning around after several years of the downturn that the US experienced.  And another big news item is that Guaymas, which has a shortage of water for the growing city, is planning to build a water desalination plant.

I am sure we will encounter more negatives along the way, but the positives will continue to be in the majority.

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Bought A House In Mexico

With this stunning view from every room……

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Before I tell you more, let me explain a bit. After we returned from the South America cruise we went back to Yuma, Arizona where our motorhome and car were stored at a friend’s house. We had planned to stay a few days and then leave for Mexico but I immediately had a relapse of what I had on the cruise and had to start all over again on the two wretched antibiotics and then follow up with tests to rule out anything really major. All is okay now but it delayed our leaving for a month.

As usual, we wanted to go to Mazatlan but I was afraid of another relapse and wanted to be closer to the border in case we needed to hurriedly return to Arizona.  99% of all people who drive their motorhomes down the Pacific coast of Mexico make their first nights stop in San Carlos, 240 miles from the border and just 300 miles south of Tucson. We have been here often but only stayed 2 or 3 days before going further south.

We stayed at Totonanka RV Park as always but this time we were flabbergasted to see it so full. There are 135 sites with only 4 left when we drove in and they were all gone a few hours later. After that, motorhomes coming in had to park in the aisles. This was wonderful to see after being so empty the last 8 years with people afraid to travel in Mexico by RV.

We met two neighbors near us right away and one of them said that two days later Remax was having open houses. The next day they gave us a sheet with the addresses and we thought this was a good chance to see what the inside of houses in Mexico looked like. We immediately liked the first one we looked at and even went back to see it again. In fact we liked it so much we seriously considered buying it but wanted to see more houses to be absolutely sure.

So I made a list of houses I had found online and the next day a realtor took us around. All of them were super nice and such a bargain compared to US prices. But when we walked into the 4th one we knew without a doubt that was the one. Wow and more wow. Now Steve normally has to think things over for a long long time before he makes a decision but as soon as we left the house he asked the realtor (without asking me but that’s ok in this case) what he thought we could get the house for and that we wanted it. The realtor would only say that the owners had turned down several offers below the listing price. Nevertheless, we offered less than asking price and it was accepted!  We moved in 17 days ago.

I know you want to see more pictures so here are just a few of the many I have taken already.

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Many of the houses in Mexico have walls around them with metal gates. The 2 car carport is partially seen on the right and there is a courtyard with potted plants on the left. We want to make the courtyard lush with more landscaping.

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This part of San Carlos is called the Caracol Peninsula. It’s a hill with about 350 actual lots but some houses are built on double lots and quite a few lots haven’t been built on yet. There are currently about 200 houses with a few more in the process of being built. The real estate market has suddenly heated up and 5 contracts were written just in the Caracol the week we signed ours.

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All of the pictures I am showing today were taken from our house. The flowering bushes are the neighbor’s on our left.

 

 

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There are always boats to watch as the entrance to this bay, called San Carlos Bahia, is at the left end of our peninsula and the San Carlos Marina is around the bend on the right. The Sea of Cortez is on the other side of the narrow spit of land behind the boats.

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I feel like we are staying in a five star hotel for a one star price. To give you an idea of what we paid for this house, it was much less than what the median price of homes in Colorado Springs is. So now you have homework to do. 🙂 Included in the price were all the furnishings.

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I like the Romeo and Juliet balcony out of the guest bedroom.

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The previous owners said they spent all their time in the front so they could chat with neighbors walking by.

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We call this area at the bottom of the lot The Orchard as there are 4 orange trees, 1 grapefruit, and 2 mango trees planted along the two sides of the pavers.

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For days we had been catching a wonderful aroma and finally saw these new orange blossoms. Wonder what it will be like when all the orange trees are in full bloom.

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Can you imagine what it would cost to live in an area like this in the U.S.? Not even close to possible except for multi-millionaires. I am happy to answer any questions you might have through the comments or the Contact Us tab.

Cruise Day 9 – Costa Rica

The ship docked early this morning and we will soon leave for a shore excursion. Yesterday was a sea day and since I don’t care to pay $25 a day for internet or $125 for 250 minutes slow connection, I couldn’t bring you all up to date on our last two stops. When on shore we are more focused on sightseeing than anything else. And now the weak signal will only allow me to write an email post to WordPress from my phone.

Rather than book the 31-day cruise to Buenos Aires, we purchased two cruises back to back saving $2800 each. We will have to pack up and debark in Valparaiso, Chile and then check in again the same day for the second cruise to Argentina. We will also have a different cabin and free 250 minutes of internet.

On days 6 and 7 we were in Chiapas, Mexico and Antigua, Guatemala.

Below are pictures of a church on the main square in Tapachula, Mexico, Mayan dance performers at the dock and at a planetarium, and Iztapa Mayan ruins plus more.

 Tapachula is close to the Guatemalan border and is the place where illegal immigrants are processed before they make the journey north. Our tour guide said many Haitians started arriving this year in waves to request asylum in the US before Trump won’t allow them in.

Cruise Day 5 – Huatulco, Mexico

This port stop is called Huatulco, in the state of Oaxaca, but we never saw the town. The port is actually in Santa Cruz, which is a small tourist town with a marina and it’s probably pretty quiet when there is not a cruise ship in port. There are mainly just tourist shops and restaurants.

We picked up a strong 4G signal to our phones a few miles before docking and having been without for 5 days, we gorged for a while before getting off the boat. A taxi ($3.00)took us to the next town called Las Crucecitas for a look around. The roads and boulevards are in good condition compared to roads we have traveled farther north in Mexico. And everything looked very clean and tidy.

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There are nine small bays along the coast with beautiful beaches

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Town square in Las Crucecitas

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Many children are already into the selling business

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Mirador (observation point)

A different taxi driver taking us back to the port area said he would charge us $1.60 US.  He spoke with an educated accent and when I asked him about it he said he went to the university in Mexico City and had been an accountant there working for the government. But he worked 10 hours a day and that was never enough for his bosses so he quit and moved with his wife to the Huatulco area and now works as a taxi driver 3 days a week. He is also trying to make a go off a small graphics/printing business that he started. On the way to the port he wanted to take a little detour and show us the mirador overlooking the port for no extra charge.  We tipped him more than triple the fare for being so honest.

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There are many places at the port and long the beach to get something to eat and drink. There are people in the water that someone said was 92 degrees F.

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Practically every town in Mexico has a public square known as a zocalo. This small port town has one that would fit in any large modern city.

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Santa Cruz and the small marina

It was time to go back on board and get a late lunch before the buffet closed and so that I could hurry up and write this post before we leave at 4:30.  We have T-Mobile which has roaming agreements with over 100 countries that gives us unlimited data, phone, and text as part of our plan.  It is ironic that our connection is better here  (4G and 4 bars) than it has been anywhere in the US!  I’m sure tomorrow in Chiapas will be good too because Mexico’s Telcel network has outstanding coverage.