Banner on the
Arch in San Felipe reads: "Our Hearts
Go out to You ... Your Friends from San Felipe"
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
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.
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.
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.
Emergency numbers for the Baja:
|Fire Dept (Ambulance
FROM MAJOR SOUTH WESTERN USA CITIES TO SAN FELIPE
from San Felipe to other major cities: (in USA)
|| 244 miles
INSTRUCTIONS AND DIRECTIONS FROM THE USA
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.
Crossing at Calexico:
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.
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
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
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.
who live farther away may want to fly.
Fly into San Diego and drive rental car. Drive time is approximately
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.
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.)
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.
Casita Construction: The premiere home construction
company offering architectural design, home building, rennovations,
custom built home furnishings, landscape services.
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.
Hacienda de La Langosta Roja (The Red Lobster
Hotel): Quality comfortable newly renovated Hotel
in central San Felipe.
Homes: Individual homes available for rent.
- Rental Condos: Beachfront and golf course luxury condominiums are now available for rental. Click here for more information.
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
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!
must be reported to your Mexican insurance carrier BEFORE returning
to the United States.
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.
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.
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 the
shore (to enable sighting Coronado's representatives), was enabled to
improve upon the map he produced during the Ulloa voyage.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 plants
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
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
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
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."