Growing-up in Upstate New York and not moving out to Arizona until the age of twenty-seven, I have come to realize just how diverse the Sonoran Desert really is. Living in Nogales, AZ, which borders Nogales, Sonora Mexico, I have come to realize that Mexico and Southern Arizona have both gotten an amazingly bad reputation.
Granted, Mexico has it’s issues, but to ignore the vast opportunities that this country offers to the multi-sport athlete would be an error. I am specifically speaking of a little fishing village about 5 hours south of Nogales, Arizona. San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico is a sports enthusiasts paradise.
I discovered this gem in the rough quite by accident and even before I even became interested in multi-sports. Working on the border for several years I finally got up enough courage to take the plunge and start exploring the vastness of Mexico. Sixteen years later and I have learned the language, traveled the entire Western Mexican Coast, and married a senorita from down there. The cultural experiences, adventures, and friendly people make this place too good to be scared away by the constant media barrage of reports of violence.
San Carlos offers year round training. It is wise to avoid San Carlos in August and September if you are not an early morning riser but for those of you who want to train straight through the winter months with no worries about venues to swim, bike and run then San Carlos is your place.
The center of the village has a 20 kilometer road that loops around the village. Kilometers are marked by giant cement pillars which have the kilometer forged in giant metal numbers attached to each pillar so you always know how far you have gone even if your GPS or power meter drops the signal.
There are several beaches to choose from which all have differing terrain from sandy beaches to rocky beaches to pebble beaches. You name it and you will find it in San Carlos. Open water swimming is ideal and the number of power boats is quite minimal.
Biking and running in San Carlos is also outstanding. You can attack world class mountain bike trails one day and the next go for a 20 mile plus loop all along the coast of the Sea of Cortez with limited traffic and friendly locals.
Please don’t let the bad press scare you off from considering a trip to San Carlos. This place is amazing during all times of the year but during the winter months is quite possibly one of the best triathlon training venues in the Americas.