GUAYMAS is an important port that claims some proud history but has little to offer visitors. Like most ports, Guaymas is rough, dirty and vaguely depressing, and makes few concessions to tourism. There's a plaza where you can look out over the deep bay and scores of fishing boats at anchor, some crumbling old Porfiriano bank buildings and a dock that resembles a building site, complete with random piles of bricks, rubble and sand. Here and there are old boats, abandoned and disused, rotting in the salt air. The best thing about Guaymas is its sunset, one of the finest in Mexico – try to be here to see the sun sink behind the mountain ridges that surround the town. There are also some nice beaches just a short bus ride away.
Virtually everything that happens in Guaymas happens on Serdán, the main drag. Bringing southbound traffic from the highway into town from the west, it then leaves to the east for Ciudad Obregón via the docks, passing the now-defunct train station.
The airport is off the highway west of town, though you'll have to rely on taxis to get to the centre. Most people arrive by bus: Autobuses TUFESA (Tel:622/222-5453), Norte de Sonora (Tel:622/222-1271), Estrellas del Pacifico (Tel:622/222-4067) and Autobuses TAP (Tel:622/222-4533) are served by terminals on Calle 14 at Rodríguez, a couple of blocks off Serdán and within walking distance of all the action. Ferries from Santa Rosalía arrive at the docks 2km east of the centre, easily reached on local buses along Serdán.
From the bus stations, Rodríguez leads towards the centre, the street numbers rising as you go. In the first block you pass what looks like a Venetian castle, but is in fact the town jail. The best of the budget places to stay in Guaymas is the Casa de Huéspedes Lupita, Calle 15 no. 125 (Tel:622/224-1945; Price: Under M$150/), opposite the prison and just a block from the bus stations. You'll pay a few dollars more for a/c and private bath. Nearby is their smaller sister hotel Casa de Huéspedes Marta, at Calle 13 and Avenida 9 (Tel:622/222-8332; Price: Under M$150/), with similar rooms and slightly higher prices. For a little more comfort, carry on into town and try the Hotel Impala, Calle 21 at Avenida 12, one block off Serdán (Tel:622/224-0922; Price: M$200-250), an older place whose prices are inflated because it has had a face-lift, or the Hotel Rubi, Serdán and Calle 29 at the far end of the waterfront (Tel:622/224-0169; Price: M$350-500), a better value for its simple, quiet courtyard rooms with private bath, TV and a/c. In the other direction, at Serdán and Mesa (aka Calle 9), the Santa Rita Hotel (Tel:622/222-8100, email@example.com; Price: M$250-350) is also worth a try (don't be confused by the more expensive motel of the same name). Perhaps the best place to stay is the comfortable motel– trailer park complex, Las Playitas (Tel:622/221-5196; Price: M$150-200), which offers furnished cottages in a quiet spot overlooking the bay. It's out of town on the coast at nearby Las Playitas (see "Beaches around Guaymas"); take a taxi, or the local bus.
Mercado Municipal, a block off Serdán on Calle 20, sells fresh food good for picnics, but Guaymas has plenty of inexpensive, no-nonsense places to eat. On Serdán, between calles 17 and 18, and also at Calle 10, Las 1000 Tortas dishes out tasty tortas, tacos, quesadillas and comidas. Off to the right you'll find Restaurant Mandarin, a Mex-Chinese place in the Hotel Impala. Opposite Banamex, SE Pizzas also offer a great buffet deal: all-you-can-eat and a soft drink for M$30. Lonchería Doney, a popular local comedor, lies at the far end of Serdán, on the corner of Calle 25. To sample some of the town's best seafood head for Los Barcos on the seafront, Avenida 11 at Calle 20, with its huge palapa dining area.