Guaymas & San Carlos, Sonora

I know that this question must get tiresome, but we are two missionary couples that have been asked to move from Maryland to Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico to operate and move forward with an orphanage/foster home. One couple has 5 kids, the other 3.  We are not looking to have extravagant lifestyles, but will (being Gringos) still be considered to have medium lifestyles even when we have the bare essentials.

What do you think, conservatively, each family would need in annual income to support itself, not including the operating budget of the orphanage. This will help us budget in these costs for fundraising.

I know that you cannot provide and exact answer, but any range would be very helpful

Thanks, Steve T

Carl replies:  I’ve been mulling over your question but haven’t yet had time to look into this in any detail.  In fact, we are about to offer a Talk About Mexico discussion forum in conjunction with my blog so I’m going to suggest that you post your questions there once the forum is in use.

It would be very helpful to know more about your needs and expectations — and especially if you have previous experience living in Mexico or “Second” or Third World countries. Experience has shown us that what some gringos consider to be “modest” or even “very basic” lifestyles are actually quite luxurious by the standards of Mexico.…there’s a lot more

Steve’s follow-up:  Actually, I understand US “modest” vs. Mexico “modest”.  I would say that we would be in the “middle” of the “gringo” scale.  We also have kids, so any information that would help with them would be helpful. We’d be looking for a house in a relatively safe area perhaps 3 br with running water, maybe an window AC unit, kitchen, living room area, Also, we’d be looking for a possible farm area with room for both families together.  I know that its tough to get a very accurate number, but any gist would be helpful.  


Carl’s comments:  Questions such as Steve’s inevitably take me into the far reaches of the internet and this was no exception.  I was a bit surprised at the lack of current (and credible) information on the cost of living in Guaymas but my search did turn up at least one very good resource, which is the first in the list below.  Most of the other sites I found on Guaymas and nearby communities (especially San Carlos) seem to be more interested in selling real estate than anything else, though a couple are worth a second look.  

In the end, I couldn’t come up with much in the way of specifics on the cost of living in Guaymas but anyone willing to follow the leads I’ve assembled here should be able to track that down.  As for me… well, the sun just came out and my dogs are begging for a long overdue hike!

Guaymas and Sonora Internet Resources

Brenda and Roy Going To Mexico:  I’ll start with this very popular long-running blog as it is definitely the “best of the litter” and may well be all that you need in regard to Guaymas and San Carlos. Includes an excellent blogroll for a variety of sites.

Guaymas Forum on Trip Advisor:  Brenda (see above) posts on this forum, which is reason enough to look at it before visiting the other forums mentioned below, most of which don’t show much activity related to Guaymas.

Mexico Living: the online edition of a glossy print magazine. The focus is northernmost Baja and the mainland bordering the Sea of Cortez, mainly San Carlos and Puerto Peñasco.  Not much happening in the forums.

Colegio Americano de San Carlos: bilingual education.  They advertised for a teacher last year and gave this information:

Compensation:  Currently, teachers working full-time at the school are paid $8,000 pesos each month (this is net of all deductions), plus rental assistance of $2,000 pesos each month (the school will help you to find accommodation). Based on current exchange rates, this is the equivalent of approx. $925 USD. The cost of living in Mexico is about 2/3 that of the US & Canada. American/Canadian teachers have found that this salary allows them to pay for utilities, food, gas, and other living expenses while working and living abroad. There may be opportunities to earn additional wages based on your skill sets and the value they bring to the school (i.e. after-school coaching, tutoring, etc).

Mexico Retirement Guide: Guaymas: The info here is quite thin but you might find it useful.

Expat Interviews In Mexico:  I haven’t had a chance to read these interviews but they look promising for details of living in Mexico and contacts with current expats there.

Traveling To Guaymas/San Carlos:  Published by ReMax Realty, extensive detail on crossing the border, permits, inspections, highways, etc. etc.  Unfortunately, the pages on this site do not display a date so we can’t tell what is actually current.  Because a realty business is behind this, perhaps they’d be helpful with specific questions about Guaymas if contacted directly. 

San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico:  San Carlos is a popular retirement/vacation community a short distance north of Guaymas.  There are forums on this site that can provide contact with people who know more about living costs, real estate and other current information about Guaymas.

Living In Mexico:  this appears to be a commercial real estate blog but I include it because of the extensive blogroll (links to other Mexico blogs), a very valuable resource for anyone seriously interested in Mexico. 

MexRetire:  Yet another real estate site, but with a twist: if you’d like to see their list of homes for under $100,000 you’ll have to fork over $50 for a Premier Membership.  Probably not worth your time (or money).

4 Responses to “Guaymas & San Carlos, Sonora”

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  1. Brenda says:

    Carl: Thank you for your kind words about my blog.
    We have been living in Guaymas since October of 2005 and love it here; but it is not for everyone.
    It gets extremely hot and humid here in the summer and that needs to be taken into account.
    If the people asking the initial question would like more info. about Guaymas they can feel free to email me and I would be happy to help them out.
    They can find my email address on the right hand side of my blog.
    Thank you again. Brenda

  2. irene says:


    The top priority for me before I move to a new place is climate. There are comments for Guaymas such as ´hot and humid´, fresh and not very cold. To me these are meaningless. Also as I am not American to compare with that country is no good for me.

    The idea of cold and heat is very different from person to person

    I need temperatures in celsius please. Max. and Min. in the year and when it rains <(most important).

    Please please help me with this as I am considering relocating from Peru to Mexico.


  3. nora says:

    Irene, contact me. I am also moving to Guymas .I used to live in Peru. Maybe we can share a place.

    Soy profesora y llego Guymas para trabajo circa primer dia de augosto. Necisita una departmento con internet y aire condicionar. C

  4. Thanks for sharing your experience with us. I truly appreciate your work. Keep posting.