Welcome to San Felipe
 Baja California, Mexico

 

 


SAN FELIPE TODAY

Banner on the Arch in San Felipe reads: "Our Hearts Go out to You ... Your Friends from San Felipe"
"OUR HEARTS GO OUT TO YOU.. YOUR FRIENDS FROM SAN FELIPE"The port of San Felipe is a friendly, hospitable, town that has depended on the sea for its economic survival. In the past 20 years its economic base has widened with the growth of tourist activity. Today, San Felipe is a thriving community of more than 20,000 permanent residents, with an additional 10,000 from the United States, Canada and Europe. The town is of sufficient size that a significant variety of goods and services are enjoyed by the entire populace.

Included in its many attractive tourist attractions, San Felipe offers silken and golden sandy beaches that include areas with sections of boulders and volcanic rock that provide a nice diversion to beach strollers. This makes for great clam hunting on a sunny afternoon. The dunes, the desert flora, and the mountains that surround San Felipe offer a spectacular panorama. Once called the totoaba paradise, named after a giant species of sea bass now protected, fishing enthusiasts still flock to this Sea of Cortez port, because of its great sports fishing.

The Sea of Cortez is characterized by the 10,000 feet deep submarine canyons that nourish over 800 species of fish and a third of the world's population of sea mammals (including eight varieties of whales). The stark, scrub-covered, islands off the coast play host to a variety of migratory birds, some of which, such as the elegant Tern and Laser Storm Petrel, nest only here.The Park Below the Arch

The natives are friendly and very tolerant of the many outsiders that come into town each year. The residents also actively support the same kinds of community recreation that we are used to in the States. There are ball fields, basketball courts, a swimming pool, and of course soccer fields where young and old alike compete. There are several different denominations of churches here as well as doctors, dentists, engineers, and lawyers. With San Felipe's proximity to the USA border, and the new developments of El Dorado Ranch and the San Felipe Beach Club and La Ventana del Mar, this area is rapidly becoming a very desirable, yet affordable vacation resort community.

The snowbird residents are active and involved in the community through various civic organizations. There are numerous recreational and social pursuits to fuel an active retirement lifestyle. Life is so comfortable here that many transplants now consider San Felipe their main home.

A Hotel in San FelipeSan Felipe has Digital telephone service and this is provided by Telnor (the high technology division of Telmex) and cellular telephony by Baja Cellular and TelCel. The Net offers dial-up and walk in connectivity to the internet and there are two different mail services that cross the border to deliver your postal mail. There are three Pemex stations that have unleaded gas in both regular and high octane. In addition one station has diesel. There is a propane plant to refill portable tanks as well as tankers to refill large tanks at your home. The are numerous lumber yards and hardware stores as well as auto part stores. There are grocery stores, furniture stores, and clothing stores. In short almost everything most people think they need can be found here without the need for a drive back across the border.

Return to Top

USEFUL PHONE NUMBERS:

Emergency numbers for the Baja:

  • Tourism Department - 078
  • Legal Assistance - 061
  • Police - 060
Name Phone Number
Police (Emergency) 060
Police 577-1134
Fire Dept (Ambulance also) 577-1182
Federal Preventive Police 577-1045
State Judicial Police 577-1203
Health Center 577-1521
Red Cross 577-1544
Chamber of Commerce 577-1104
Tourism Department
577-1155
Immigration Office 577-1083
Civil Protection Unit 577-1433
Mayor's Office 577-1021
Airport 577-1368
Copicentro

577-1402
Fax line 577-1466

District Attorney's 577-1110

Return to Top

MILEAGES/TIMES FROM MAJOR SOUTH WESTERN USA CITIES TO SAN FELIPE

Mileage from San Felipe to other major cities: (in USA)
City Miles Estimated Time
El Centro, California 137 miles 2:15 hours
San Diego, California 236 miles 4:30 hours
Palm Springs, Califonia 244 miles 4:00 hours
Los Angeles, California 350 miles 6:30 hours
San Francisco, California 725 miles 12:30 hours
Yuma, Arizona 184 miles 2:45 hours
Phoenix, Arizona 374 miles 6:00 hours
Tucson, Arizona 446 miles 7:15 hours

Return to Top

DIRECTIONS AND MAPS

  • Border Crossing Times
    Click to Enlarge Map of San Felipe


    DRIVING INSTRUCTIONS AND DIRECTIONS FROM THE USA
    Click to Enlarge
    If you are driving, you need to get to Calexico, California. You can get there via San Diego on Interstate 8 East or from Yuma, AZ take Interstate 8 West to Hwy. 111 exit. Take Hwy. 111 South to Calexico and the Mexican border. There are two crossing points into Mexico from here. See the following instructions. Drive time from border to San Felipe is approximately 2 hours.


Border Crossing at Calexico:
Click to Enlarge

 

From El Centro: Go east on Interstate 8 to Highway 111 exit. Go South on Highway 111 to the border. Go through the border, and bear right. After approximately 500 feet turn right for San Felipe. Go straight on this road through Mexicali (major intersections will have signs for San Felipe.) This turns into Highway 5.  Stay on Highway 5 until you reach San Felipe.   Click on map for larger version.

 

 

Eastern Border Crossing:
Click to Enlarge
From El Centro: Go East on Interstate 8 to Highway 111 exit. Go South on Highway 111 to the third light (Hwy. 98 or Truck Route 7). Go East on Highway 98 for about 7 miles where the sign shows the border crossing. Make a right and proceed up and over the cloverleaf and into the border crossing (this is clearly marked). RV's are to follow the signs for passenger cars.

From Yuma: Take Highway 8 West and exit at Highway 98. Go West on Highway 98 for about 16 miles. At the traffic light, make a left and proceed up and over the cloverleaf and into the border crossing (this is clearly marked).

Once through the new border crossing you will come to a "T" crossing. Make a right and proceed West along the border boundary to the first stop sign where you will make a left onto Calzado Manuel Gomez Morin (MORIN BLVD). Continue South on MORIN through 7 traffic lights, passing the Sony plant. Turn left onto Highway 5 going South. Just stay on Highway 5 until you reach San Felipe. 

Return to Top

Those who live farther away may want to fly.

1. Fly into San Diego and drive rental car. Drive time is approximately 5 hours.

2. Fly into Yuma, AZ and drive rental car. Drive time is approximately 3.5 hours. 3. Fly into Los Angeles and then fly into El Centro, CA and drive rental car. Drive time is approximately 2.5 hours.

NOTE: When renting a car you must tell them you are driving into Mexico. Some agencies will not allow rentals into Mexico. In San Diego Red & Blue is the most economical and allows their vehicles into Mexico with the appropriate insurance. In Yuma and El Centro, Avis rents cars that can go into Mexico. (El Centro Avis counter closes at 5:00 on weekdays, Noon on Saturdays, and closed on Sundays.)

Another option is to travel by bus. It can be a long tedious trip but can be done. Greyhound Bus has a station in Calexico, CA, right at the border. You can then walk or take a taxi into Mexicali Bus Station and get a bus to San Felipe. A taxi ride to El Dorado Ranch and La Ventana del Mar is about $15 from the bus station.

Return to Top

RESTAURANTS

Return to Top

REAL ESTATE

Return to Top

HOME CONSTRUCTION

      • Mi Casita Construction: The premiere home construction company offering architectural design, home building, rennovations, custom built home furnishings, landscape services.

HOTELS / ACCOMMODATIONS

      • Club Habana: Offering new exquisitely decorated hotel rooms, suites, and penthouses. From the time you walk into Club Habana, you will feel pampered by our resort staff. Whether you want to relax at the Spa, lounge by the beautiful pool, exercise in our gym, swim in the sea, or taste the mouth watering cuisine at Hemingway's or eat at any of our gourmet restaurants or refreshing bars, you will always feel the warmth and hospitality that our Mexico has to offer.A select and limited number of private vacation ownership units will be made available as well.

      • Playa Club Hotel & Suites: Upscale beachfront hotel in San Felipe, featuring a large crystal clear pool and beautiful gardens.

      • La Hacienda de La Langosta Roja (The Red Lobster Hotel): Quality comfortable newly renovated Hotel in central San Felipe.

      • Rental Homes: Individual homes available for rent.

      • Rental Condos: Beachfront and golf course luxury condominiums are now available for rental.  Click here for more information.

Return to Top

AUTO INSURANCE

Mexican auto insurance is a must. Mexico does not recognize U.S. auto insurance policies. Proof of automobile ownership is required. Insurance is easy and affordable to purchase whether on a daily or annual basis. Insurance rates vary and depend on length of stay, type and value of vehicle.

You can purchase your insurance policy well in advance of your trip to Mexico - 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. By purchasing your Mexico auto insurance online, you will save money and time, and you will never have to wait in line at the border again!

Accidents must be reported to your Mexican insurance carrier BEFORE returning to the United States.

 

ACTIVITIES

Return to Top

MEDICAL SERVICES

      • Abasols Medical Group: (English Speaking) Hospital St James Infirmary : Emergency Medical Assistance, Doctors, Dentists, Pharmacy, X-Ray Services, Lab
        Dr. Victor Abasolo Medical Group
        Av. Mar Negro Sur 1285 ,San Felipe, B.C. Mexico
        PHONE: Emergencies:(686) 577-0117
        Consult (686)577-1706
        E-mail: VICHE@TELNOR.NET
      • Botica Solymar: Pharmacy

        Calz. Chetumal #700-4, San Felipe, B.C.
        (In first mini mall on the right as you drive into San Felipe - one block from the Glorieta)
        PHONE: 577-1462 or 577-1450
        FAX: 577-2572
        Hours 8 a.m. to 10 p.m

UNIVERSITY

Return to Top

HISTORY

The history of the San Felipe region dates to more than 150 million years before present (to the formation of the Baja California peninsula) while its written history goes no farther back than the days of the first Europeans to set foot on its soil. Beyond that, nothing is known of the first humans to enjoy the local shores although information begins to appear from about two thousand years ago.

Dispatched by Hernon Cortés to map the coastline of the then known "Southern Sea," Fransisco de Ulloa recorded his presence in this area in September, 1539. With him was cartographer Domingo del Castillo who identified the San Felipe cove (on a map he was then making) as "Santa Catarina." What's more, because the existence of the Baja California peninsula was unknown at the time (the Spaniards thought La Paz was on an island some of them called "California"), it was Ulloa who reported it at the conclusion of this voyage. That voyage, by the way, included circumnavigation of the peninsula as far north as the approximate location of Ensenada.

One year later, Hernando de Alarcón sailed into the area on an unsuccessful mission of support for the Coronado Expedition (to the Seven Golden Cities of Cíbola). With Alarcón was the same Domingo del Castillo who, by virtue of the Viceroy of New Spain's orders to sail as close as possible to theThe Harbor in San Felipe shore (to enable sighting Coronado's representatives), was enabled to improve upon the map he produced during the Ulloa voyage.

Sailing in the first ship built on Baja California soil, Juan de Ugarte landed in the bay on July 5, 1721. Twenty-five years later, Padre Fernando Consag landed here and formally christened the place San Felipe de Jesús. San Felipe's modern history dates from 1876 when the Mexican government signed a colonization contract with one Guillermo Andrade who acquired some 30,000 hectares but died before his plans were realized.

Although the first fish camp was formed in 1904, it was not until 1925 that the first sub-delegation was created and San Felipe began to develop as an organized community. The first fishing society was founded in 1928, the first school established in 1929, and the first tourist facilities in the early 1950's. Electricity was provided in 1963 and the first potable water in 1967.

Return to Top

SAN FELIPE'S NATURAL ATTRACTIONS:

Today greater awareness and interest in Ecotourism is ensuring a different attitude to the natural environment. Now we have the Upper Gulf of California Biosphere Reserve which is run by the Unesco Natural Biosphere Reserves Program.

The Valley of the Giants: Natural Reserve of the thousand year old Cardon Cactus. This area has become a major visitors attraction due to the selection of one of these giant specimens that was transported to Seville, Spain during World Expo '92. The area has also become a favorite spot for photographers worldwide as it is a superb background for photo sessions.

Konsag Island: Konsag is plainly visible from the beach at any point around the San Felipe bay, appearing at first glance to be a sail. It is reachable by boat in 45 minutes or so under normal conditions and it is a great place to watch sea lions, seals and colonies of sea birds.

Punta Estrella: Punta Estrella has a breathtaking panoramic view beyond the meaning of the word as it encompasses the whole bay to the west and northwest and the Sea of Cortez to the east.

Puetecitos: Ninety kilometers south of San Felipe is a settlement called Puertecitos (little port) where thermal waters bubble and soothe. There is a small hotel, a gas station, a boat ramp and other services, including telephones.

Artificial Reefs: In Mach of 1991 the three levels of Government and the San Felipe community organized a Program of Artificial reefs to attract fish and provide better sport fishing, with the addition of more spawning grounds and of more natural production of biological resources.

Return to Top

SAN FELIPE'S ECOSYSTEM

The  San Felipe DesertThe Great Sonora Desert encompasses a large and diverse subtropical region extending from the west coast of Baja California to the western flank of Mexico's Sierra Madre Mountains. Within this vast expanse, the area surrounding San Felipe (an area of transition between the Lower Colorado River Section and the Vizcaino Desert Section) was determined to be sufficiently unique to enable its identification as The San Felipe Desert.

Many mountain ranges lie within the San Felipe Desert. The most prominent of which is the Sierra San Pedro Martír. This range, which is the tallest in Baja forms the western boundary of our desert.
The terrain varies from relatively flat sandy brush land to incredibly rugged almost impassable canyons.

With some areas receiving as little as 3 cm of annual rain, many unique plants have chosen to call this area home. The most impressive has to be the Cardon cactus. These are the largest cactus in the world and the San Felipe Desert is the northern most extent of their range. While many of these plantsThe Cactus in the San Felipe Desert have spines or smell and taste bad they also have brightly hued blossoms that attract lots of birds.

Birds are not the only animals that live here either. There are lots of bugs, insects, and reptiles as would be expected. But there are also coyotes, bobcats, mountain lions, mountain sheep, and vicious cholla chomping jackrabbits.

While deserts tend to appear as rather bleak places, they are an ecosystem literally full of diverse life forms. Even the dry sandy earth forms an alliance with algae and lichens to create what we know as a cryptogramic soil.

The San Felipe Desert is a highly varied and very unique ecosystem. It only takes a short time to fall in love with it. You can spend a lifetime discovering it.

Hopefully the links above and the rest of this site will pique your interest, or allay any fears you might have, about visiting this exciting community and making this your "home away from home."

Return to Top

 
Copyright © 2008 - La Ventana del Mar - All Rights Reserved