Guaymas is an important Mexican fishing town located on the shores of the Sea of Cortez (aka Gulf of California) in the southwest region of the state of Sonora. The waters off Guaymas are famously rich in fish and seafood, and in its harbor visitors will see a myriad of fishing boats returning with their daily catches, as well as pleasure boats docked and waiting for their far off owners. Guaymas is particularly known as a fertile “camarones gigantes” area. These are huge, massive shrimp, trawled seasonally during the months of October thru February.
Originally inhabited by the Yaqui and Guaymenas people, Guaymas was founded by the Spanish in 1769. It was later a wartime arena for potential invaders ranging from the US navy to French pirates. The US occupied Guaymas for several years during the 19th century. Today, Guaymas is, of course, a lively commercial fishing port, but it is also a naval supply center.
While Guaymas has a population of about 130,000 people, it has a small town atmosphere. A waterfront boardwalk (a Malecón) seems testimony to its longing for tourism, and the city is determined to draw boaters and fishermen to its shores. Guaymas large harbor is already home to year-round boats docked there by many visitors who either fly or drive in to the area, and the town has developed a tourist center aimed at attracting more tourists. There are reports that the Guaymas’ main marina is undergoing a huge redevelopment project that will attract more tourists and sea-faring travelers.
One of Guaymas biggest events is its annual hosting of one of Mexico’s oldest and largest carnivals. The Guaymas Carnival, which began in the late 1800’s, takes place over a period beginning on the eve of Ash Wednesday and ending at midnight on the eve of lent. Carnival events and parades are held at several locations throughout the city. Most interesting to note about this carnival is that it begins with the “Quema del malhumor” or “Hoguera”, a public burning of an effigy of something or someone who has ticked off the public during the year. Notable burnings were the effigies representing Mexican Presidents Carlos Salinas de Gortari (1988 to 1994) and Vicente Fox (2000 to 2006), and the United States’ President George Bush Sr. (1989–1993). In 2009, an effigy was burned for singer Julio Preciado for his feeble interpretation of Mexico’s national anthem at the recent Serie del Caribe baseball tournament.
Attractions and Things To Do in Guaymas
Deep Sea Fishing – Guaymas is a popular holiday resort location offering visitors deep-sea fishing excursions. Visitors commonly reel in sailfish, fanfish, and swordfish.
Guided Diving and Snorkeling Excursions - the islands of San Nicolás, Santa Catalina and San Pedro offer good diving facilities, along with opportunities to observe indigenous birds and sea lions.
Beaches –a ridge of high hills separate the Guaymas bay from its most popular local beaches: Bacochibampo, San Carlos, Miramar, and San Francisco.
Visit San Carlos – a village of 5,000 people located about 22 km northwest of Guaymas. The bay at San Carlos has a gorgeous landscape nestled next to the impressive twin peaks of Cerro Tetakawi. The 1970 film, Catch 22, was filmed on the beach at San Carlos’ Playa Algodones (dubbed Playa Catch 22). Visitors will find a host of activities to engage in here, including guided diving, snorkeling, sport fishing excursions, trips to Isla San Pedro Nolasco (aka Seal Island), and horseback riding.
Plaza de los Tres Presidentes – Guaymas’ central plaza features a monument commemorating the three Mexican presidents hailing from Guaymas.
Enchanted Forest - a large, expansive cactus grove, which is home to many nesting parrots. locally referred to as “Selva Encantada”, it’s located 35 km/21.5 miles north of Guaymas.
La Pintada – about 50 miles north towards Hermosillo is the mountainous region where indigenous people hid from the Spaniards. Visitors can view more than 2000 colorful cave paintings created by the Seri and Pima people. The paint used was made from minerals mixed with limestone and iron oxide in varying intensities to create a range of colors – yellow, ochre, orange, black and white. See pictorial scenes of dancing, hunting, and fishing, and symbols attributed to the Seri and Pima Indians.
How to Get to Guaymas
Guaymas has a commercial airport, which provides service between La Paz, Tijuana, Guadalajara, and Tucson, Arizona (US Air). An alternative is to fly into Hermosillo, Sonora and then rent a car or take a bus to Guaymas. Hermosillo buses run to and from several US cities.