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This page contains information designed to assist our friends and visitors who may wish to visit San Carlos with their motor home, trailer or other RV.
RV and Towed Vehicle Insurance Coverage
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Driving Your RV
Travel Advisory: A vehicle height restriction has been imposed on the Mariposa crossing. Vehicles over 2.49 meters or 8.5 feet high may only cross the border going into Mexico between 8 AM and 10PM, Monday through Saturday. Vehicles over 8.5 feet high cannot use this crossing on Sunday. Plan accordingly if you are driving an RV or towing a large boat or trailer. See our travel page.
Good Roads-Depending on the route you select the roads on the way run the gamut from modern four-lane highways to very narrow, windy two lane roads. We recommend you use Mexico’s international Highway 15 toll road from Nogales through Hermosillo to Guaymas/San Carlos.
Bad Shoulders – Typically, it isn’t the roads that are the problem
but often the shoulders. In places there isn’t enough room to pull off
of the road, or where you can there may be a sharp drop off the pavement.
Roads are frequently repaved and the edges are not graded so that
it is a smooth maneuver onto the shoulder so...
Night Driving - - Our advice is NOT to drive at night. Roads are not particularly well lit and at times you may encounter road construction, agricultural equipment or farm animals (with no tail lights )on the road. The chance that you may have to stop quickly, even during daylight is very high. So it is best to travel during the day when visibility is best.
Rest Areas – Are not organized by the state. Most common rest stops in Mexico are the Gas Stations (Pemex), which have ample paved and at times unpaved areas you can pull into. Gas stations are always a safe place to stop and take a nap if needed. Some have restaurants that serve up good--typically trucker food or small markets where you can buy something cold or hot to drink and snack foods. All have restroom facilities that are usually OK. Theses are not considered public however and usually charge a 2 – 3 peso fee for use. You will receive a small amount of tissue for your donation. Your donation helps the owner pay for the water, which is costly in the desert. There are clean well-equipped public restrooms at each toll plaza on Hwy 15 with adequate parking for RVs.
Tolls – There are 3 toll booths en-route at Nogales, Magdalena and Hermosillo. Current tolls are 45 pesos, 20 pesos and 60 pesos respectively per two axle vehicle or just over $10 US. For those towing a second vehicle or trailer the tolls are 66 pesos at Nogales, 27 pesos at Magdalena and 81 pesos at Hermosillo. Toll booths will NOT accept payment in US $ so have pesos ready.
Fuel – Mexican gasoline and diesel from Pemex are high quality. Pemex still sells leaded fuel so be sure to check the pump so you don’t inadvertently load up on leaded if your vehicle can’t handle it. Unleaded regular (called Magna) fuel has a GREEN label, unleaded premium (called premium) a RED label and diesel is found in a separate area sometimes with PINK pumps.
Green Angels - En-route to San Carlos, there are state run roadside assistance teams that patrol the highways to give aid. They are equipped with a few parts, never any for an RV, but they have powerful radios and will arrange for help. If you see a green truck pull up with a green cross on its side, the Green Angels have arrived. They won’t charge you for service but they will charge for any parts or fuel they provide you with. Mexicans are very friendly and helpful when it comes to being broken down on the road since most of them have had the experience. Don’t be afraid to flag down truckers or others passing by. They will stop if they can help you, they won’t hold you up and you’ll probably make a friend!
RV'ing in Your RV
Camping with your RV – All beaches in Mexico are federal territory and open to public use without restrictions. In San Carlos pulling up to camp on the beach is legal and safe. At times when the established trailer parks are hurting for income, the police have been known to come around and hand out flyers that encourage people not to camp on the beach but first it is illegal for them to force you off and secondly it is NOT dangerous to stay on the beach—-but it is always good advice to lock your car or trailer when you are not in it. The beach area to the right of Condominios Pilar, San Francisco beach and La Manga are all pleasant nice areas to camp in.
RV Park Quality – As in the US, you’ll find RV parks of every shape, size, description and level of quality. Just remember that photographs in a brochure don’t tell the whole story. Check with Good Sam or this website before you make your reservations. The two trailer parks in San Carlos range in age and facilities but all are in excellent locations and usually have an openings for those who arrive without reservations.
Water – Check with the management and ask your RV neighbors before you assume anything. There are RV parks that have potable water. There are others that say they do. The best rule in Mexico is to buy gallon jugs of water in the market for drinking. For brushing your teeth or cooking the water hook-ups are safe.
Electricity – Usually electricity is not a problem. More 50 AMP facilities are appearing all the time. This is another case where a short conversation with an RV neighbor can save you a lot of grief. Just in case, a circuit protector/monitor is highly recommended. Many RV parks also include Cable TV hook up.
Shopping for Groceries – Mexican supermarkets carry just about anything you are looking for. The packaging may look different and you may not know what to call it in Spanish, but usually the RV park front office attendants are bilingual and can help you by writing the name in Spanish. I suggest you do this before going to the store. It will make your shopping much quicker, more successful and less frustrating. Due to the warm climate fruits and vegetables in Mexico are often much more flavorful than U.S. produce. Mexican beef—especially in Sonora--is top quality, but in my opinion the best thing about Mexico is the seafood! However, you should be careful that it is fresh! It is best to buy it directly from the fish markets on the waterfront downtown or from fishermen on the dock early-mid morning. Make sure who ever sells it to you has kept it well chilled and on ice throughout the day if you choose to buy it after 1:00pm.
AC – From May to October, don’t leave home without it! No fooling.
The Law – Don’t break it or think you won’t get caught. Just as
you would want visitors to respect your laws, have the same
respect for Mexico. Firearms are illegal in Mexico. If you routinely carry firearms in your RV, for
protection or hunting purposes, be sure to remove them before you leave
If you do want to hunt there are strict laws you must adhere to in
order to bring your weapons into Mexico. In the our Attractions
directory there is an outfit that arranges Deer and Quail
hunting trips who can inform you of all the regulations to obtain a hunting
These tips were provided courtesy of Ted Fichtl, a renown Chili-head (which is why he has an RV in the first place) and an experienced Mexico RV’er.
Name: Totonaka RV Park & Motel
Name: Hacienda Tetakawi RV Park
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