- San Felipe
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!