Travel to Sonora is Safe. Read these tips and first-hand accounts to have a safe and enjoyable vacation in Sonora, Mexico.
Tell us about YOUR fun times in Sonora
We spent four days on the Ruta Rio Sonora and visited Arizpe and Banamichi. There were hot springs, horseback riding, trekking and visiting so many charming pueblos and amazing cathedrals. Our favorite destination was La Posada del Rio Sonora in Banamichi, Sonora. They have a website at http://www.laposadadelriosonora.com/ IT Is AMAZING !
We will be returning there again and again. It is like stepping back in time to a simpler, less hectic way of life. Not a touristy place…but I liked that about it. It must be one of the best kept secret in Mexico.
My husband and I have been living in San Carlos and Working in Guaymas, Sonora for the past 8 months and we have felt perfectly safe. I am 53 yrs old and I have traveled to and from Arizona by myself and never had any problems or incidents. (Well, except when I bought gas and they didn’t have a CCard machine and I didn’t have enough Gas to pay for it. The man just let me drive to the next town, use the ATM and go back and pay him. He was very nice and understanding even though I couldn’t speak Spanish and he didn’t speak English). The beach is wonderful, the fishing is great and the Scuba diving is fantastic. And Everyone needs to visit the town of Alamos. It is so beautiful and tranquil!
Not coming to Sonora because of the crime that is in Chihuahua, Mexico City, or Acapulco is like saying ” I can’t go visit my friends in St. Louis because there is crime in Denver, or Dallas. Y’all just come on down. It’s 6 hours south of Tucson so Leave at 8:00 in the morning and you will be just fine.
See you Soon!
P.S. I can tell you that I feel so much safer here than when my husband was working in Baltimore, MD. The crime that eminated from that city and Washington D.C. kept me on edge the whole time I was there.
Just ran across your site. Im headed your way next week. three of us on motorcycles from Austin, Texas. We’re riding hwy 16 all the way across to see San Carlos and Alamos, before heading up into AZ for the ride home.
The news makes me uneasy, but after touring in Mex over the past 6 years, I cant get the positive side of it out of my mind. Just tell myself, to be smart.
Have a question for you though. if coming that way to hit Alamos first, would you drop down from santa rosa to esperanza, tecoripa to esparanza, or go on into hermosillo to take 15 down? Greatly appreciate the advice.
We live in Tucson and have been driving back and forth between Tucson and San Carlos for the last three years, once a month and sometimes more often. The roads are good, the people friendly, and those of us in San Carlos totally agree that there is no reason not to come to Mexico and enjoy the little cities, the wonderful beaches and the people. We feel very safe in San Carlos and very safe along the way when we stop at restaurants or for gas.
This comment was left on the VivaSanCarlos.com board. I think it speaks volumes to the kindness of the Mexican people, especially the police that stopped and stayed with the traveler and his wife.
Sunday I lost 2 tires at the same time on my way into San Carlos and was stopped on the road.
Many cars past during the one hour stop. 4 different cars from Mexico stopped and offered help. The first one jacked the car up and removed both tires. Then a Mexican friend took me to Guaymas to buy a tire to get me on my way.
Upon returning I saw 2 police cars stopped by mine, one left after making sure all was ok. (my wife was in the car) The other police men stayed with my wife, telling her it is not safe for a woman to be there by herself. When I got there they took over putting the tire on and getting the car ready to go.
We talked briefly about the new Arizona law. I thanked them and gave them some money for helping which I had to force them to take. I am 71 years old and really appreciated the help.
Not one American even stopped or offered help. I wonder what would have happened in the US under the same conditions.
Anyway Thank you very much to the police and the others that stopped.
This is a response given to the question above regarding motorcycle travel from Austin to Alamos. This response was given by ALANSONORA on the VivaSanCarlos.com board.
There are lots of factors to consider.
Do you want the shortest route? The quickest route? The safest route? The most scenic route?
Are your friends the adventurous type, or not? How many in the group?
What kind of motorcycles are they riding?
My first comment would be that there are numerous state department warnings about Chihuahua and the mountains of eastern Sonora. Perhaps your friends could safely pass through without incident. Maybe not. For me, I’d recommend avoiding “rural” Mexico.
Although it’s the longer route and probably somewhat “boring” on motorcycles, Mexico 15 through Hermosillo is going to be the fastest and safest route to Alamos, in my opinion.
That being said, I’ve driven some of the back roads through central Sonora and even made the mountain crossing from Chihuahua through Yecora. The “Ruta Rio Sonora” or “Ruta Sierra” through Sonora would be some options. I expect any of these would be lots of fun on a motorcycle.
Has anyone heard about the resent discovery of Mr. Ryan of Tucson found dead in Santa Ana on Hwy 15 just 4 days ago. This is the main hwy into Sonora.
If Hwy 15 is not safe I don’t know what is?
Police have 3 people in custody that had Mr. Ryans truck
Mr. Ryan was 67 years old.
U.S. Consulate General Hermosillo and U.S. Consulate Nogales
Warden Message – Demonstration
May 13, 2010
The U.S. Consulates in Nogales and Hermosillo wish to advise American citizens of demonstrations scheduled to occur at the Nogales (Morley and Deconcini) as well as the Douglas/Agua Prieta ports of entry on Friday, May 14 and Saturday May 15, 2010. As of this message, no demonstration permit has been filed for the Mariposa port of entry. Law enforcement agencies on both sides of the border currently believe that the chances for disruption of traffic or violence are minimal. U.S. government employees have been asked to delay travel through these ports of entry.
We remind American citizens that demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence. American citizens are therefore urged to follow local media reports about planned or spontaneous demonstrations connected with the recently passed Arizona immigration law.
In the event you find yourself in an area where a demonstration is occurring, you should take the following security measures:
1. Be prepared to follow all directions from police officers. This includes not entering closed areas, changing your direction of travel, or clearing streets.
2. Avoid potentially hazardous situations. Do not attempt to walk through a crowd because your destination is in the middle or just on the other side of the group.
3. If threatened, do not engage. Move to the closest secure location (store, lobby, etc). Call the Police (066) and immediately report your situation. Also, be sure to notify the U.S. Consulate in Nogales +52 631-313-8150, or +52 1 (631) 318-0723 or the U.S. Consulate General in Hermosillo +52 (662) 289-3500.
U.S. citizens living or traveling abroad are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the State Department’s travel registration web site at https://travelregistration.state.gov/ibrs/ui/ so that they can obtain updated information on travel and security. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency. U.S. citizens are strongly encouraged to maintain a high level of vigilance, be aware of local events, and take the appropriate steps to bolster their personal security. For additional information, please refer to “A Safe Trip Abroad” found at http://travel.state.gov.
U.S. citizens in Nogales’ consular district may contact the American Citizens Services (ACS) Unit at the U.S. Consulate, located on Calle San Jose (S/N), Col. Los Alamos, Nogales, Sonora, Mexico; telephone 011 +52 (631) 311-8150; after hours emergency telephone 011 +52 1 (631) 318-0723; web page: http://nogales.usconsulate.gov/; ACS Unit fax 011 +52 (631) 313-4652; email: NogalesACS@state.gov.
U.S. citizens in Hermosillo’s consular district may contact the American Citizens Services (ACS) Unit at the U.S. Consulate General, located at Monterrey 141 Poniente, Col. Esqueda, Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico; telephone 011 +52 (662) 289-3500; after hours emergency telephone 011 +52 1 (662) 256-0741; web page: http://hermosillo.usconsulate.gov; ACS Unit fax 662 217 2571; email: Hermoacs@state.gov.
Friends mourning man killed
by Dennis Wagner – May. 12, 2010 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic
Friends in Phoenix say Ronald C. Ryan loved
Mexico and its people so much that he made
regular trips south of the border, often
delivering clothing and gifts to the poor.
Last week, the 67-year-old Valley
businessman apparently was murdered in
Sonora, his corpse left in a shallow grave
outside the town of Santa Ana. He had
vanished May 3.
Bart Hill, partners with Ryan in Sueño Sonora
Outfitters, a Scottsdale company that leads
hunting expeditions into Mexico, said it
appears bandits killed the American retiree
to get his new pickup truck, which was later
recovered by police at a carwash in town.
Mexican media reported this week that
investigators arrested two men in the
slaying, identified as a son and nephew of a
prominent figure in the Sinaloa cartel.
Special Agent Manuel Johnson, an FBI
spokesman, said the bureau was assisting
Mexican law enforcement with the
investigation, but he could provide no
Violence among narcotics cartels has
resulted in an estimated 22,700 deaths in
Mexico since 2006.
That violence has rocked northern Sonora
the past year, with scores of deaths and
kidnappings. On May 6, the State Department
issued a new advisory for Mexico, warning
about travel in the Nogales area.
Representatives at the U.S. Consulate
declined to comment on the case.
Hill said he and Ryan sponsor about 30
deer-hunting trips to cattle ranches in
Mexico each year, where local cowboys serve
He said Ryan also visited Sonora about twice
a month, sometimes bringing clothes and
other items gathered by Elias Entertainment
Group, a Phoenix company whose directors
own one of the ranches.
“He was a very compassionate person,” Hill
said of Ryan. “He cherished it down there.
Sueño Sonora means you’re dreaming about
Mexico, and that was Ronnie’s passion.”
Hill said he and Ryan spoke recently about
the violence in northern Sonora, agreeing to
take precautions and not drive at night.
Nevertheless, Hill said, Ryan left the ranch
south of Santa Ana in pre-dawn darkness en
route to Nogales, Sonora, where he was
scheduled to drive a friend to the hospital
Advertisement for surgery at 6:30 a.m.
When Ryan failed to arrive at the appointed
time, Hill contacted the U.S. Consulate to
report his friend missing.
According to the Associated Press, the
remains were discovered Saturday near a
river about 60 miles from the border.
Ryan, who lived in the Valley from his
childhood, retired years ago from a career
that included ownership of a construction-
crane businesses and a self-storage outlet,
as well as real-estate investments.
Hill said he initially suspected that
kidnappers targeted Ryan for abduction and
ransom. After speaking with the FBI, Hill said,
it appeared his friend was killed over the
truck, a new 4-wheel-drive Dodge with
Hill described Ryan as eager to help others
and willing to laugh with self-deprecation.
He said it was painful knowing that Ryan died
“Part of me loves Mexico, and part of me is
mad at Mexico right now,” he added.
Juan Elias is co-owner, with his brother, of a
concert business that has helped provide
clothing and Christmas gifts to villagers in
Sonora for the past five years. Ryan had
assisted them since 2008.
“The mothers would come, some carrying
babies with another child by the hand,
walking miles just to get a toy and some
candy,” Elias said. “Ron saw what we were
doing and he fell in love with it. He was a very
fine man. . . . This has really been
devastating for us.”
Hill said a memorial Mass is planned in
Nogales, Sonora, for Ryan’s friends in
Mexico. No information was immediately
available aboutservices in the Valley.
US State Dept – Don’t Use Hwy 15
“Extreme caution”, “increased threat to travelers”, employees ordered to “defer travel” – this doesn’t sound very safe to me.
Warden Message May 11, 2010
U.S. Consulate General Hermosillo and U.S. Consulate Nogales
This Warden Message is issued to encourage U.S. citizens to use extreme caution when traveling on Mexican Federal Highway 15 between Hermosillo and Nogales.
A U.S. citizen disappeared early on May 3rd departing from his residence in Benjamin Hill, Sonora. His vehicle was found later that day in Santa Ana, and his remains were recovered May 8. He had been murdered. Based on further investigation, a general increased threat to travelers on the highway between Hermosillo and Nogales continues to exist.
U.S. Consulates Nogales and Hermosillo have requested that their employees defer travel on Highway 15 between Hermosillo and Nogales until further notice. Additional information will be released as it is received.
U.S. citizens traveling through northern Mexico should exercise caution. Review of recent violence indicates that although criminal acts can occur unexpectedly at any time of day, overall it is safer to travel during the morning and early afternoon hours. American citizens are advised to refer to guidance in the Department of State’s most recent Travel Warning for Mexico located on the internet at http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/tw/tw_4755.html and Country Specific Information for Mexico, which can be found at http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_970.html for additional information regarding the current security situation in the country. U.S. citizens living or traveling abroad are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or consulate through the State Department’s travel registration website http://travel.state.gov/ibrs/ui.
For any emergencies involving U.S. citizens in Mexico, please contact the U.S. Embassy or the closest U.S. Consulate.
U.S. citizens in Hermosillo’s consular district may contact the American Citizens Services (ACS) Unit at the U.S. Consulate General, located at Monterrey 141 Poniente, Col. Esqueda, Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico; telephone 662 289 3500; after hours emergency telephone 044 662 256 0741; web page: http://hermosillo.usconsulate.gov; ACS Unit fax 662 217 2571; email: Hermoacs@state.gov.
U.S. citizens in Nogales’ consular district may contact the American Citizens Services (ACS) Unit at the U.S. Consulate, located on Calle San Jose (S/N), Col. Los Alamos, Nogales, Sonora, Mexico; telephone 011 +52 (631) 311-8150; after hours emergency telephone 011 +52 1 (631) 318-0723; web page: http://nogales.usconsulate.gov/; ACS Unit fax 011 +52 (631) 313-4652; email: NogalesACS@state.gov
Has anyone traveled to Puerto Penasco recently, like since the new immigration law was passed in Arizona? I’m hearing it’s not safe there now as the Mexicans, understandably, are really angry about it and angry at Americans and getting more and more hostile. Is it safe to go to Puerto Penasco now or not? We have AZ license plates on our car, we could be a target – and we’re blonde Americans. We have a timeshare there and have a week there this month but not sure if we should go or not.
Thanks for your help,
I’m from El Paso and I remember going to San Carlos when I was a kid with my gramps. I have fond memories of that place. We took a bus from Juarez to Chihuahua city. We then went on a 14 hour train ride through La Sierra Tarahumara all the way to Los Mochis. From there we took a bus to Guaymas where if I remember correctly, is real close to San Carlos. I think we also stayed at the Fiesta hotel too. Anyways, I’m planning on going back pretty soon once I obtain all my documents to get my passport. This website has reassured me that it is safe to go and the package that you guys are offering to go there is pretty great. See you guys soon.
Sonora is safe to visit, I’ve been living in Sonora for 2yrs now and I can tell you there is no danger if you are visiting… Come and enjoy all those beautiful beaches here…
My husband and I moved to Banamichi in Northern Sonora three years ago from Colorado to pursue our dream of building a hotel. Today we own and operate Hotel Los Arcos de Sonora (www.losarcossonora.com) offering ten individually decorated rooms. We have invested considerable time and money here in Sonora and are committed to living here for many years. We love everything about Sonora, the people, the food, the culture and the fiestas. We found it safe the first time we visited years and ago and have no fears living here. We also offer motorcycle tours to Mexico through Turkey Creek Motorcycle Tours (www.turkeycreektours.com).
Sonora is a beautiful part of Mexico rich in history, tradition and hard working people who love their country and state. The people are kind and loving and always more than willing to lend a helping hand even when not asked.
My first trip to Guaymas was in 1975 during certification dives for SCUBA. It was an incredible experience then, and continues to be an unbelieveably peaceful, friendly, safe place to venture anytime.
We now stay in San Carlos each year and have found the people to have a warmth about them that is only found here with smiles and an ability to make you feel at home. There is always a genuine smile and friendly helpful attitude. The locals are amazing and the atmosphere is relaxed and safe.
It is a sleepy little town with incredible diving, amazing food and margaritas, beautiful sunset cruises, very friendly dolphins and an overall experience that is enjoyed year after year. Thank you to everyone!
I would like a current assessment of the traveling safety issue when driving from Nogales to San Carlos. We want to take that drive in November and would like a new post about this issue . I know crime can happen most everywhere and do not want to blow the Mexican situation out of proportion.
Recent safety info: what does everyone think?
This Warden Message updates U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Mexico of the change to travel procedures for personnel at U.S. Consulate General Hermosillo. Due to the extreme threats of violence along Highway 15/Benito Juarez Autopista between Estacion Don and Guamuchil, Sinaloa, all official travel through this area is prohibited. All official travel by U.S. government employees to other locations in the state of Sinaloa must be conducted in armored vehicles. The single exception to the requirement to use armored vehicles when traveling in Sinaloa is within the city limits of Mazatlan, where U.S. government personnel are permitted to use non-armored vehicles for travel.
Due to increased security concerns in southern Sonora, all official travel south of Ciudad Obregon will be performed in armored GOVs and with police escorts. No personal travel of any kind is allowed for Consulate Hermosillo employees south of Navojoa, Sonora. U.S. government personnel traveling through Ciudad Obregon and Navojoa towards Alamos should exercise extreme caution. Travel to the mountainous areas in eastern Sonora is prohibited. In general terms, this applies to all travel east of the line drawn north to south from Nacozari de Garcia through Moctezuma, through Arivechi, through Rosaria and ending in Alamos.
Due to widespread violence across portions of the Nogales Consular District, including the city of Nogales, and because of the threat of known drug trafficking activity throughout northern Sonora, all official travel to/in the Nogales Consular District must be in armored GOVs. At this time, personal travel between the U.S. border at Nogales, AZ, to Hermosillo in personally owned vehicles is permitted for Consulate employees only on Mexican toll road Highway 15 during daylight hours.
Americans driving to Mexico are reminded that they must have a U.S. passport; a visa is required for travel to Mexico; Mexican automobile insurance is required; and that only Mexican pesos are accepted for payment at toll booths. Drivers are encouraged to follow the security precautions detailed in “A Safe Trip Abroad” which can be found at http://travel.state.gov/tips/safety/safety_1747.html. The Consulate recommends all Americans citizens residing in, visiting, or transiting through the consular district DRIVE ONLY DURING DAYLIGHT HOURS.
Please report any emergencies involving U.S. citizens in Mexico to the American Citizens Services Unit (ACS) at the U.S. Consulate General Hermosillo, located at Monterrey 141 Poniente, Colonia Esqueda, Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico: telephone 662 289 23500; after hours emergency telephone, cell 662 256 0741; web page http://hermosillo.usconsulate.gov; fax 662 217 2571; email Hermoacs@state.gov. The U.S. Consular Agency in Mazatlan is located at Playa Gaviotas 202, Local 10, Zona Dorado, Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico. Their numbers are 669 916 5889 during the day and for after hours emergencies, cell 669 918 0303.
I have been living in San Carlos for 4 years and love it, it is my little piece of paradise! I travel about every 4 to 6 weeks to Phoenix by myself (I am 67 years old), and I have never once felt in danger. Of course crime can happen anywhere but this area is quite safe. The road from SC to Nogales is a good road, lots of traffic, and many Arizona and US plated cars. The police in this area are very helpful so nothing to fear! There are many vacation homes here owned mainly by Americans and Canadians and they are vacant for much of the year and seldom are there any problems. So come on down and don’t fear! You will find that San Carlos will capture your heart due to it’s beautiful surroundings and warm friendly people!
sonora is a safe place i have lived in hermosillo for 2 and a half years there are alot of friendly people that are here to just give you a hand
Sonora is the safest place in Mexico
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San Carlos Mexico Guide