The city of Guaymas is the governing authority for more than 1,500 other communities, the most populous of which are Bahía San Carlos, Pueblo Vicam, San Ignacio Río Muerto, Pótam, Bahía de los Lobos and Ortíz. Guaymas total population of 134,153, of which 101,502 or about 75% of which lives in the city proper.
Guaymas borders La Colorada, Suaqui Grande, Cajeme, Bácum and Hermosillo, with the Gulf of California to the west. Much of Guaymas is flat and borders the Gulf of California with 175km of coastline. Along its coast, there are important bays such as Guaymas, Lobos, San Carlos and La Herradura with 83% of Sonora’s piers in this municipality. Major elevations include the Serranías del Bacarete, Santa Ursula, San José, San Pedro, Luis Bland and the Cerros del Vigia.
There are two main rivers called the Mátape and the Bácum which empty into estuaries on the Gulf. The municipality has a hot, dry climate with maximum temperatures averaging 31C and minimum temperatures averaging 18C. Maximum temperatures can reach 50C during the summers and from June to October ocean temperatures in are the 80sF. Most of the territory is covered with mesquite trees and cactus. It is also the home of the endangered California Fan Palm, and Washingtonia filifera is found in coastal groves. Other species such as Perityle have been long noted at Guaymas. Desert animals such as the desert tortoise, chameleon, puma, rattlesnakes and others are the main wildlife.
Almost all agriculture here is irrigated, depending on wells and the Ignacio Alatorre Dam located in the Guaymas Valley. Fields here yield wheat, soybeans, safflower, corn, cotton with some fruit trees. The most important livestock here is cattle, with goats coming second. However, cattle production has decreased somewhat, with pig and domestic fowl increasing. The most important industry is related to processing fish products, such as canning and freezing, all located in the city proper.
Some maquiladoras have opened here, producing clothing, electronics and automobile parts. Construction related to the port is also a major employer. Some mining occurs here, mostly graphite, with some small quantities of gold, silver and lead. The most important economic activity in the municipality is fishing. Most fish the waters of the Gulf but some are involved in aquaculture. Species sold include sardines, shrimp, and squid. In rural parts of Guaymas’ coast, fishing employs over 80% of the population.
The municipality, especially San Carlos, is popular with visitors from Arizona and Sonora but much of the coastal area, where the stark desert landscape meets the calm waters of the Gulf of California, is still undeveloped. San Carlos is an important destination for sportfishing with modern piers and 800 species that can be caught including tuna, sailfish, salmon and others.
This bay holds a fishing tournament each year in July called the Torneo de Pesca de San Carlos. San Carlos also has an aquarium dedicated to dolphins and sea lions, which perform shows. The most notable peak in San Carlos is called the Tetacawi or Teta de Cabra, which appears to have two horns. Teta de Cabra means “goat’s udder” which it is supposed to resemble.
Other sports that can be practiced here include kayaking, sailing, jetskiing, snorkeling, scuba diving, mountain biking and hiking. San Pedro Island off the coast is popular for snorkeling, scubadiving and visiting the sea lions that live there. The Bacochibambo or Miramar Bay also attracts some tourism. In this bay this is a pearl growing facility, the only one of its kind in the Americas. Pearls from here come in a range of colors such as grey, gold, bronze, olive green, black and pink.
On land, there is the Sahuaral Desert, about twenty minutes from the city of Guaymas. It contains a very tall cactus that is approximately 500 years old. Here, the Barajitas Canyon is also a natural reserve, with three ecosystems and considered a sacred place by the Seri Indians. The canyon is accessible only by boat.