San Felipe Mexico
Feb 28 - March 5 San Felipe 250 Off-Road
Join the excitement as more than 100 four-wheelers,
ATVs and motorcycles compete on a challenging 250-mile off-road
course Drivers have hours to complete the race. Fri. is tech
inspection from 3-8pm .
click here for Hotel
S a n
F e l i p e
Felipe was named San Felipe de
Jesus in 1721 by Father Fernando
de Consag, who organized the first expeditions.
Felipe is considered the second most important tourist
port in the state due to the development acquired since1925.
The place is known for its low tides, small bays of thermal
water, brooks and inlets in the mountains of San Pedro Martir
and the "Valle de los Gigantes." San Felipe is a natural attraction
in itself, due to its sunshine, its bay, its warm beaches,
quiet sea and abundant fauna. San Felipe has all services
for family tourism. The tasty dishes made with fish from the
sea of Cortez, are a must and can't be missed. Dive many times
in its various beaches and enjoy the splendor of the state.
Felipe, a "Nature Wonder"
It is not commonly known that in San Felipe there is a unique
sea phenomenon. The tide retracts approximately 600 Mts. and
people can walk over the wet soft sand, admiring the great
array of sea shells and snails, then (the tide) returns twice
a day depending on the movements of the moon.
Felipe is considered as one of the most beautiful beach destinations
of Baja California. It can be reached
by the Mexicali or Ensenada Highway
as well as through the International Airport.
The moderated waters, tides and its
comfortable hotels as well as the tourist activity development
are attractions to be known.
SAN FELIPE gained much of its
popularity with the invention of the three day weekend. This
charming beach side town is the first of many towns to be
found as one travels south, down the east side of the Baja
Peninsula. It is just close enough to the U.S. border to make
it a long weekend destination, and it's just far enough from
the big cities for tourists to feel like they really
got away from it all.
San Felipe is a very easy two and a half
hour drive south of the border from Mexicali ( about 123 miles)
on a good paved road, and worlds away from any typical gringo
environment. The road from Mexicali is four lanes for the
first 30 miles through the Mexicali suburbs and farmlands,
and then it narrows down to two lanes when it reaches the
wide open spaces. Shortly after the road turns to two lanes,
the unique Baja scenery begins, and the stark open Baja frontier
is nothing short of spectacular!
areas around San Felipe are very active. The city has
recently initiated a plan to beautify the waterfront area,
and dozens new palm trees have been planted in 1998 on either
side of the seaside main drive. Both visitors and locals like
to cruise the seaside drive near the center of town, and vehicles
of all kinds can be seen parading by.
There are dozens of campgrounds located on
sandy beaches north and south of town, and San Felipe is finally
begining to offer some nice hotels. Basic services such as
gasoline, ice, beer and food are plentiful in the various
markets located throughout San Felipe. One of San Felipe's
claim to fame is the extreme tidal changes. When the tide
goes out, it goes way out! This makes for excellent
beachcombing, but makes launching a boat more of a planned
event than a random act.
The weather in San Felipe is very pleasant
most of the year, and very hot in summer. Fortunately, the
Sea of Cortez is never too far away for a refreshing dip.
Strolling along the seafront walkway in the evenings is a
great way to enjoy the eveinings all year long.
Speaking of food, if you haven't had a fish
taco in San Felipe, put it up on top of your "to do" list
when in town. The fish taco craze that is catching the world
by storm started right here on the waterfront in San Felipe.
They are delicious!
The beaches south of San Felipe run uninterrupted
for almost 50 miles. There are hundreds of vacation homes
located right on the beach, all the way south to Puertecitos.
Most of these homes are located in 'Campos', which provide
some sence of community in this otherwise desolate stretch
of Baja. There is one "oasis" of sorts, about 20 miles south
of San Felipe, at Km. 35. CHELO'S CAFE
is not much to look at when you are headed down the highway
at 60 m.p.h., but upon closer inspection this little rest
stop has plenty to offer! In addition to serving delicious
breakfasts (and usually lunch) in a quaint courtyard environment,
this roadside haven also features a full-on medical clinic,
complete with a shiney ambulance! Dr. Jose Lopez is a very
capable and honorable M.D., and is always happy to help travellers
in need. Phone 011-52 (657) 7-1987. In case you didn't get
all of your shopping done in San Felipe, a small curious shop
next door has a moderate selection of goodies, and usually
Many of the activities in and around San Felipe take place
at the beach! The beaches start well north of town, where
the once mighty Colorado River drained into the Sea of Cortez.
Good beaches continue south, through San Felipe, and all the
way down to Puertecitos. For a detailed list of San Felipe
beaches, check out the "Campground"
are dozens of miles of open beaches north of San Felipe, accessible
via dirt roads off of the blacktop. If you are looking for
desolation, these definitely fit the bill!
Just north of Punta San Felipe (the big hill at the
north end of town) there are a few small beaches tucked away.
It's a bit more laid back than the main beaches in town.
PLAYA SAN FELIPE The
main beach in town always seems to have something going on,
either in the water, on the sand, or on the waterfront. A
good place to hang and watch the action!
From the main beaches in town all the way south to
Punta Estrella and beyond, Baja travelers will find over 50
miles of beaches, all the way to Puertecitos. Bring ice!
THE "CAMPOS" AND BEACHES SOUTH
Starting approximately 18 miles south of
San Felipe, a series of "Campos" (camps) line the Sea of Cortez
for dozens of miles, south towards Puertecitos. These campos
are basically clusters of homes on or near the coast, easily
accessible off of the main Baja Highway headed south. Even
if you don't own one of these hideaways, you can find value
in their existance. The roads leading to these various campos
usually provide easy access to the beaches along this coast,
and are generally in good shape. The campos themselves are
generally owned and operated by local Mexican families, who
are usually happy to let you traverse their property to access
the Sea of Cortez. Since all beaches in Mexico are open to
the public, these campos are a great way to get down to the
sand all along the coast south of San Felipe.
CAMPO SANTA MARIA Located
just off the blacktop at Km. 30.5. Once of San Felipe's closest
campos also happens to hold the distinction of being one of
the best. This first class collection of homes is located
on two sides of a beautiful bay, and south as well. Most of
the homes are newer, very nice, and built with conforming
materials to add to the aestetics.
The beaches here are wide and beautiful, and the bay provides
good clamming at low tide. Getting to the homes on the north
end of the bay can be challenging at high tide, but access
to the south end is usually pretty easy. Keep in mind that
this area is privately owned, and that registering at the
entrance is sometimes required.
CAMPO MAYMA Located
right past Bahia Santa Maria, at Km. 31 off the blacktop.
Located about one half mile east of the highway, Campo Mayma
is a small collection of well-kept homes, connecting on the
north end with Campo Santa Maria. The beach is very nice,
and it's just a short walk to the tidal flats of Santa Maria
Bay to the north.
NUEVO MAZATLAN Just
east of the highway at Km. 32. This beach is located between
Campo Mayma to the north, and La Jolla to the south. It's
a good beach, although at low tide there are rocks exposed
in the surf area.
CAMPO LA JOLLA Off
of the highway at Km. 32.5. A very quiet beach with
homes on the bluff, very similar to Nuevo Mazatlan. Food and
drinks can be obtained a few miles to the south on the main
road, on the west side of the street.
CAMPO SAN PEDRO
& R V Parks,Nowhere else on the peninsula are
so many campgrounds available to the Baja traveler. The vast
majority of the campgrounds north and south of San Felipe
are very basic in nature, although there are a few that offer
- Boating, The waters
off of San Felipe offer fairly good fishing, although the
quality does improve as one heads further south. Fishing also
improves at the small island seen offshore, called Roca Consag.
Local fish include bass, sierra, triggerfish, and further
offshore lucky fishermen might find yellowtail and corvina.
Because of it's close proximity to the border, many visitors
to this area trailer in their own boats. For those who do
not have the time or ability to B.Y.O.B., fishing charters
are readily available in town.
There are at least 4 official places to launch a boat
in San Felipe, and more than a few un-official places! Try
the ramps at: EL CORTEZ MOTEL
- CLUB DE PESCA - RUBENS
and EL JACALITO RV PARK. Because
of the extreme tides, planning your launches with a current
tide chart is a must!
- Lodging,For a town
so famous for tourists, San Felipe is a bit short on quality
accommodations. This is partially because most people visiting
this part of Baja are not looking for anything fancy. Where
the Cabo crowd demands rooms with color T.V. and telephones
in each room, most of the Felipe crowd seems content just
to have running water and a pillow. Still, for those who must
have a some luxury, San Felipe does offer a few nice hotels.
- Bars If you like seafood, your in
luck in San Felipe. If you like fish tacos, you have died
and gone to heaven. San Felipe offers dining options across
the board, from small street-side taco stands, to full-on
restaurants with air conditioning, bathrooms, and fake silverware.
Eating around is half the fun of any good trip to San Felipe!
CARLOS FIESTA'S HOT TIP:
Fish Taco stands used to be scattered along the entire waterfront,
along the main drive in San Felipe. The sidewalk became so
thick with taco stands that tourists were often forced to
walk in the streets to travel the Malecon. In an effort to
organize the city's pride and joy, San Felipe has set up a
"Taco Central" of sorts, down on the south end of the waterfront
drive, on the west side of the street. Called "Plaza Maristaco"
this area boasts the same taco stands that have satisfied
hungry hombres for years! In addition, there are still various
taco stands scattered around town. You haven't had a real
fish taco until you've had one (or two, or three, etc.) in
San Felipe! "Grazing" from stand
to stand to find the best fish taco is not only acceptable,
it is a tradition. These stands also offer shrimp tacos, beef
tacos, seafood cocktails, and a host of other fine culinary
For a small Mexican town located in the middle of nowhere,
San Felipe offers a very good selection of shops and
stores to get lost in. The main shopping street is Avenida
Mar De Cortez, and runs parallel to and just behind the beach.
The other shopping street is Calzada Chetumal, and runs east
and west, starting at the ocean, and heading out towards the
main highway. A market on the south east corner of these two
streets is a great place to load up on essentials.
LAGUNA DIABLO DRY LAKE BED
Do you ever think about what it would be like to drive a vehicle
100 miles per hour? How about letting your 9 year old drive
the family car with you in the back seat? Or maybe being pulled
behind a motorcycle with ski ropes while riding a skateboard?
The long dry lake bed north west of San Felipe is just the
place for such shenanigans. The lake bed surface is as hard
as a rock most of the year, but watch out if there has been
a recent rain.
CANYON A fun place to stop on the way to San Felipe!
Natural hot springs combine with waterfalls and pools to create
a very special hideaway in Baja!
like there is always some type of recreation on the calendar
for San Felipe! Between the wide open spaces of the desert,
and the seemingly never ending seas, there are lots of options
for outdoor enthusiasts.
KAYAK San Felipe is
the starting point for serious kayakers headed south to Puertecitos,
Gonzaga Bay, and for the truly brave, Bahia de los
Angeles! On the lighter side, novice kayakers can enjoy the
calm waters right in town, with a short jaunt around Punta
San Felipe and back being an easy 2 hour adventure.
San Felipe is a magnet for dirt bikes, dune buggies, sand
rails, ATV's and anything else with two or more wheels! The
terrain outside town is perfect for cutting loose and letting
the dirt fly. In addition to endless miles of trails heading
in all directions from town, a dry lake bed north east of
town adds additional off-road options. For tours to the wilderness
outside of San Felipe, check out the nice folks at BAJA
Closer to town, there are some very fun sand
dunes at the south end of town, conveniently located
just up from the hotel zone. These dunes are perect for 4
wheel ATV's and motorcycles, but the area is not really large
enough to accomodate dune buggies and sand rails. Remember,
even though most of this area is open land, the ecology is
affected by reckless treks by vehicles. Staying on existing
dirt roads and trails when possible is always a good idea.
The SCORE INTERNATIONAL
Baja 500 really gets the town hopping once a year!
Four wheel ATV's can be rented in two places in town. One
shop is on the waterfront, just north of the new Fish Taco
Plaza, and the other is directly behind it on the main shopping
The waters just off shore are excellent sailing waters. The
waters in the bay are usually pretty calm, while the prevailing
winds from the north west are easily found not too far east.
Catamarans have been enjoying the good sailing conditions
here for years, and an annual sailing regatta always brings
in a good crowd. Watch out for the 'big northern' winds that
sometimes last for 3 or 4 days in Spring and Fall.
The main beach right in town is a good place to play volleyball,
and is close to all the necessities such as hot tacos and
cold beers. For even more convenience, Rocodile features a
fun outdoor court right next to the bar, with music pumping
away all day long.
San Felipe Bay is a great spot for watercraft of all
types, including Wave Runners, Ski-Doos, Jet Skiis, etc. Also,
it is common to see tourists flying along the water just offshore
on a huge rubber 'banana', barely hanging on when the tow
boat hits a wake! You too can enjoy the thrill of re-aligning
your back for just a few pesoes.
The waters off the main beach are usually pretty calm, and
perfect for board-head wannabe's. Around the point to the
north, and further out to sea, the waters become more exposed
to the prevailing winds, and wave hopping and lateral screaming
can be fun. At low tide launching can be a chore, as the water
goes w-a-y out.
San Felipe is a growing area, and real estate activity is
increasing in town and south along the coast to Puertecitos.
There are two distinct areas where vacation homes are popular
here. The first area is right near town, mostly near the beaches
just north and south of San Felipe's main beach.
The second area that has exploded with homes over the
last few years is the coastal areas south of Punta Estrella,
just below of San Felipe. From this point south, for about
50 miles, there are hundreds of homes built right on the beach,
just above the high tide line on the Sea of Cortez. The close
proximity to the U.S. border makes this a great location for
a getaway casa!