We spent the entire vacation in the state of Sonora, which is Mexico’s equivalent to Arizona in that it is really hot, contains the Sonora Desert and doesn’t have daylight savings time, I don’t know enough about Mexican politics to know if there are more parallels.
We dropped the dogs off in Chino Valley as soon as the vet’s office opened and we hit the road. Crossing into Mexico was so easy we weren’t even sure we had done it until we ended up on the streets of Nogales. We stopped there to get a temporary cell phone since it was cheaper than putting an international plan on our existing cell phones. Since it was such a cheap phone it was pretty basic, it was actually nice to be cut off from our regular phones while on vacation. We used them over wifi at the hotel, but that was all.
After a few miles we stopped to get our visas and then we were on our way to Hermosillo. Everything we read told us that we could use American money pretty much everywhere, but that turned out not to be true, particularly at the toll booths. So after the first toll booth we bought a soda at a gas station with American money and got some pesos as change so we could pay the tolls the rest of the way. Later we wound up putting away the American money we had, and pulling some pesos out of an ATM to get a more favorable exchange rate.
We stayed at a nice hotel in downtown Hermosillo.
The first night we didn’t do much except go to dinner, but it was a fantastic dinner with carne asada and Mexican beer. I had a bit of a hard time with all the stray animals wandering around on the streets, I wanted to take them all home.
On Sunday we headed to the coast, where I took way too many photos. It was a bit bizarre to see the ocean framed by cactus, not two things one usually thinks of as being together, but at Playa Piedras Pintas in San Carlos we found exactly that.
We had some fabulous seafood at Mariscos Esterito, which overlooks a small pond that was chock full of shore birds hunting for lunch. I took far too many photos, but I just couldn’t stop myself.
As distracting and cool as the scenery was, the food was also fantastic, we both love Mexican food and seafood, so the two combined was amazing, Les had pan seared fish and I had shrimp ceviche, it was delicious!
After lunch we left San Carlos and headed to Guaymas, the beaches there were much more crowded, but we got to watch pelicans diving into the Sea of Cortez.
We didn’t want to be out on the highway at night so we headed back to Hermosillo fairly early. We got back just in time to get to the top of one of Hermosillo’s most famous landmarks at sunset. Cerro de la Campana is a mountain and one of the main symbols of Hermosillo. Its summit is 350 metres (1,150 ft) above the valley floor and contains a lookout called El Caracol, which was inaugurated in 1909. There are two theories as to the origin of the mountain’s name. One states that it is from a peculiar metallic sound that is made when the mountain’s rocks fall against each other. The other is based on the bell-like shape of the elevation.
On Sunday we went to Plaza Zaragoza after an amazing breakfast. We arrived with the intent of touring the Palacio de Gobierno, but we didn’t take into account the fact that it was a National Holiday in Mexico, so it was closed. We did tour the Catedral de Hermosillo (aka La Catedral de la Asunción) and take some photos of the plaza and the outside of the government building.
Since the government building was closed (there are supposed to be some great murals in there), we headed to to Parque Madero, a local park and learned some interesting history.
Since we didn’t want to be in Nogales at night we headed home after the park. Every border crossing we’ve had back into the US has been a pain in the ass, but we were always crossing into Canada before, we were pleasantly surprised when were pretty much just waived through at the border after a few basic questions. I figure me being blonde and so white I’m practically see through had something to do with it.
All in all it was a fantastic trip and we got the first stamps in our passports.