San Felipe has so many things to do, you almost forget that you can just relax and do nothing. There is something to do for every age group and level of adventure.
Enjoy the quiet beaches at El Dorado Ranch and along the “campos” north of town, or the more bustling beaches along the Malecon and south of town. They all have beautiful white sand. You can enjoy the warm water of the Sea of Cortez from April through November. It cools off a little in the winter, but is still much warmer than the Pacific Ocean. There are no riptides like on the Pacific Ocean side.
In the Town of San Felipe
The Malecon is the street that runs along the waterfront in downtown San Felipe. During the day it is very quiet and relaxed. There are little shops, great restaurants, and street vendors. At night, especially weekends, the town comes alive with entertaining mariachis and musicians, night clubs, and numerous festivals throughout the year.
San Felipe started out as a fishing town and has great fishing opportunities. There are entrepreneurial fishermen with fishing pongas (small boats) along the Malecon, or plan for a week out on a fishing expedition with Tony Reyes.
Just south of the Malecon is the Marina. The large fishing and shrimp boats operate out of the Marina, as does Tony Reye’s fishing vessel. The Marina also has several slips for medium sized boats, probably up to 40 feet, that can be rented on a short term basis, and a launch ramp. There is a lot of development going on in the Marina including more slips being built, old debris being removed, and resorts being built. The Habana Club and Playa Club hotels, and Playa del Paraiso high rise condominiums are all being built or renovated. The Marina Club time share resort is also located in the area.
Yes, San Felipe does have an international airport. Bring your own plane. There are no commercial flights.
La Ventana del Mar Resort
Las Caras de Mexico is San Felipe’s professional level 18 hole golf course. Located in La Ventana del Mar, the resort area of El Dorado Ranch, it is 7 miles north of downtown San Felipe. The golf course has spectacular views of the Sea of Cortez and the Sierra San Pedro Martir Mountain Range. You can also see Mt. Diablo, the highest point in Baja at about 10,000 feet. You can sign up for golfing at the Pavilion golf shop in La Ventana del Mar and enjoy a wonderful meal at the Pavilion Restaurant. Golfing rates and meals are very reasonably priced.
Property owners in El Dorado Ranch and their guests can enjoy the pool, spa, and tennis courts located in the La Ventana del Mar resort area. La Palapa, the outdoor restaurant and bar, is also located near the pool and is open to the public. If you would like to be a guest in El Dorado Ranch, or if you want to find out more about property ownership, please give us your contact information so we can help you find what you are looking for.
Make a reservation or catch Rafael at the El Dorado Beach for an exciting ultra light plane ride over San Felipe. Contact us for more information.
Other Outdoor Activities
Rent your quad across the road from the El Dorado Ranch/La Ventana del Mar reception and entrance building for a fun ride around the trails, or rent quads in town. There are numerous places to rent quads, so if you can’t find one, just ask in town or at El Dorado Ranch.
Rent kayaks in El Dorado Ranch or bring your own. The calm waters of the Sea of Cortez make a perfect environment for easy kayaking. Ask at the El Dorado Ranch/La Ventana del Mar reception building. Kayaks can easily be launched from any beach.
The calm waters and light winds are great for water sports. You will need to bring your own. There is a launch at the San Felipe Marina.
Surfing: There are no waves, so there is no surfing. You can get to the Pacific Ocean via the Mexico 3 highway to Ensenada, about 3 hours away. This is a beautiful drive over the 10,000 foot mountain range that separates the east and west sides of the northern Baja.
South of San Felipe about 10 miles past the left hand turn off (you’ll know it when you see it), is a big sign that says Valley of the Giants. It’s on the right side of the road (going south) on a dirt road. There is usually someone in a kiosk collecting a small fee to enter, as this is privately owned land. Here you will find giant cactus as high as 70 feet called cordons. You can drive into the park with a 2-wheel drive vehicle, but heed the sign that says do not go further without 4-wheel drive. You will get stuck.
About 50 miles south of San Felipe is the little privately owned beach town of Puertocitos. There are sulfur hot springs, a little restaurant that is open sometimes (so bring back up food and drink) and a really nice inlet beach. You can swim off the rocky area near the hot springs; you will see lots of fish. This is also a good place to bring you fins, mask and snorkel, but we recommend going out at high tide and when the winds are calm. Someone at the entrance will be collecting a small fee per vehicle. There are no gas stations on the way, so make sure you have a full tank of gas.
If you are an off road racing fan, Mike’s Sky Ranch is a favorite stop on the major off road trails in the Sierra San Pedro Martir Mountain Range. The Baja 1000 passes through and pit crews stay here. It has a large swimming pool, rustic accommodations, and a small restaurant with a basic menu of home cooked style food. Take the Mexico 3 highway to the turnoff sign; it’s near the town of Trinidad. It’s about 40 miles from El Dorado Ranch, so we recommend a full tank of gas. 2 wheel drive vehicles are ok, but make sure they have a high clearance.
Big Events Unique to San Felipe
People go to San Felipe to celebrate all major and some minor Mexico and US holidays. Count on extended weekend celebrations for many of them, which include the US holidays of Memorial Day, July 4, Labor Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, and others. Below are some of the really big San Felipe festivals and holidays where you will want to make sure you make reservations early.
Mardi Gras: Month of February. Starting 5 days before Ash Wednesday, San Felipe has music, celebrations, and parades.
Month of March. Up to 250 miles of off road racing, start and finish in San Felipe. If you like this kind of stuff, you will not want to miss it. Make your reservations early.
Blues Festival: In the spring. Bands and artists from Mexico and the US participate. There is an entrance fee, but all the proceeds go to the Baja California Lions Club for charitable projects.
Easter and spring break: In the spring. If you like parties, this is the place to be. Lots of young people are on break from school and college. Make your reservations early.
Shrimp Festival: Month of November. Bands, dancing, booths with wonderful gifts and food, and restaurant specials. This is very fun for all ages. Unlike most fruits, vegetables and meats, you can bring shrimp and fish back to the United States. For the smaller shrimps you can pick up a kilo (a little more than 2 pounds) for about $8 – $10.
Christmas through New Year’s Day. Lots of parties and great food, the hallmark of San Felipe.