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San Felipe
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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!

The waterfront 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 cold sodas!

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San Felipe Beaches 

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.

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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 extra amenities.

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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!

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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.

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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!


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Giant sand dunes are located just south of San Felipe. You can't miss them! They can be explored on foot, by ATV, dirt bike, dune buggy and any 4-wheel drive vehicle. Don’t forget to bring water.


Both north and south of San Felipe you will discover beautiful sandy beaches. Unique quarter mile tidal changes allow visitors to enjoy walking, shelling or clamming for delicious little butter clams. Of course, you could just lay out, relax and soak up the rays. The water temperature is great for swimming all year long. The water does get a little cool in December and January.  


The distinctive beauty of the mountain range surrounding San Felipe is another realm of adventure to be explored. Expeditions to the waterfalls, streams, Indian cave paintings and fossil fields can be reached by guided off road dune buggy tours.


(The Malecon,) is where you will find fishermen and their pangas ready to bait your hooks. Experience life on the beach right in the heart of town. It's a great place to sit on the sea wall and relax while 'people-watching. Surf by restaurants, night clubs, bars, shops and taco stands.


San Felipe's Community Park is located right across the street from the Post Office. The Park is the center for most of the towns social functions and weekend festivities. Many come to enjoy family fiestas. Most weekends there is live traditional music and dancing..


On the tip of Rocky Point, that most readily identifies San Felipe, is a Shrine to the Virgin of Guadalupe. Located directly across from the lighthouse, the monument provides a splendid birds eye view of the town. Be sure to take your camera when you climb the stairs to the shrine. It's great exercise.


A short drive south of San Felipe you will discover the Valley of the Giant Cardon Cactus. This is where one of the largest cacti in the world are found, like the specimen sent to the 1992 Worlds Fair in Seville, Spain. The spectacular sight of numerous giant Cardon cacti is a natural monument of beauty unique to San Felipe.


An hour drive, on a paved road, south of San Felipe is Puertocitos. Here you can enjoy bathing in hot sulfur pools in the Sea of Cortez. Be there as the tide goes out, and the pools are cool enough to use. A romantic place to be on a full moon, in Baja

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