Written by MURMANSK44 on 04 May, 2004
Life in San Felipe too hectic? Can't decide where to go for fish tacos tonight? Starting to see neon tecate signs in your sleep? Then maybe you need a day trip into the desert. Try heading to Puertecitos. Only 85…Read More
Life in San Felipe too hectic? Can't decide where to go for fish tacos tonight? Starting to see neon tecate signs in your sleep? Then maybe you need a day trip into the desert. Try heading to Puertecitos. Only 85 kilometers separate the RV/fleshpot of San Felipe from Puertecitos, the last stop on the last paved road on the northern Baja's Sea of Cortez. It is a great opportunity to experience empty deserts and quiet beaches.
Every desert traveler should be prepared before setting out. In the movies, Lawrence of Arabia had a compass. I suggest lots and lots of water. A compass should not be necessary here. There is only one road out of San Felipe which runs north and south. If you find a line of RV’s and motorcycles headed the other way, then you are traveling north towards Mexicali and the U.S. border. So turn around.
Then just south of San Felipe you will come upon a military roadblock. Anyone entering San Felipe by road from the north will have already been stopped at a roadblock before entering town. At both stops soldiers with automatic weapons will politely, if you can use the words "politely" and "automatic weapons" in the same sentence, search your vehicle for guns and/or drugs.
The soldiers at the southern checkpoint seem more laidback then their counterparts to the north. This is probably because they figure any contraband would have been discovered at the other stop and the heaviest weight you can buy in town are fireworks and beer. They probably also assume that anyone crazy enough to travel south from San Felipe will need their guns and/or drugs.
This may also explain the smiles when I told the soldiers that we intended to spend the day traveling to Puertecitos.
It could also have been because we were traveling in a Suzuki Alto with the ground clearance of a caterpillar.
Leaving the roadblock also means leaving much of what most Americans consider civilization behind. Soon even the Century Twenty-one and re/max signs disappear. Beach camp signs go from being written in English to English and Spanish to just Spanish, and the roadway goes from washboard to ridges even potato chip makers wouldn't attempt.
There is a small town along the way. Oddly, the road disintegrates at the city limits into a series of unregulated potholes. Not so oddly, the town boasts a doctor's office and as many automobile tire shops as you are likely to find on any block in Tijuana.
From there, it is undisturbed desert on your right, and on your left, in the distance, beach houses lined up solid for miles. No towns, no stores, no electrical service, no running water and no cable TV. And, in March when we were there, no people, no American seniors in dune buggies, and no drunken college students from Oregon. Just miles of quiet beach.
Every house along the beach has solar panels for electricity, huge black barrels on the roofs to store water and, of course, satellite dishes. But with the owners at home in California or Arizona, there is just quiet.
Does this paradise extend all the way to Puertecitos? We never found out. The road just goes from bad, to Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Maintenance worse, to "was that the muffler of our Suzuki in the rearview window?" About 50 kilometers from San Felipe we chose the deductible on our auto insurance over adventure and turned back. A fish taco and a beer beats changing tires in the Mexican sun any day. Still a good day and a good trip.
Written by El Gallo on 26 Aug, 2000
So if you are in San Felipe and DON'T like mindless partying, you haven't been reading my advice. We'll assume you have no objections to frivolity mixed with alcohol and that sunset finds you tan, toasty, and a little restless. Get dressed (or…Read More
So if you are in San Felipe and DON'T like mindless partying, you haven't been reading my advice. We'll assume you have no objections to frivolity mixed with alcohol and that sunset finds you tan, toasty, and a little restless. Get dressed (or undressed--it's almost impossible to 'dress down' for San Felipe) and get your ass downtown. Parties can erupt at random, but if you really want to live in an MTV Spring Break vid, pay the three bucks to get into Rockodile, right on the Malecon at the corner of Acapulco. This is THE place to boogie and sweat in these parts, with T-shirt sales almost rivaling Tussongs of Ensenada. You could get arrested for not having highly audible fun in here; they have a deck, pool table and even a volleyball court. Don't miss their high-octane house specialty drink (which is LED blue for some reason), the famed and dreaded 'Adios, Mother ****er'.
If you are a little older, more mature, wimpy, or non-brain-damaged, you might slip into the Miramar, over on Mar de Cortes for what we used to call 'Mar de Cortex'. This is where the old SF rats have hung for years, the oldest bar in town. No cover, and drinks - a lot cheaper than the Rockodile. Old hippie chic, and even a few pool tables.
San Felipe was started as a fishing village, but by now it is solidly and resolutely a Gringo Party Town. If you're seeking culture, serenity, or relief from the hustle-bustle of U.S. civilization, this is NOT the place. Located just five…Read More
San Felipe was started as a fishing village, but by now it is solidly and resolutely a Gringo Party Town. If you're seeking culture, serenity, or relief from the hustle-bustle of U.S. civilization, this is NOT the place. Located just five hours from San Diego and only a few more from Phoenix, it's an easy choice for weekend parties. You'd be out of your mind to come here on a three day weekend, unless your idea of life is a MTV video with geriatric implications.
Here's what people do:
--Shoot off fireworks. They are available everywhere, and not those wimpy 'safe-n-sane' kind either. They go off all night and in the morning you can swim in the paper scraps. Fourth of July here is sort of '1812 Overture In Hell'.
--Tear along the beach in specially made beach-tearing carts (with no mufflers). Or three wheeled ATV's. Or two wheelers--some of the bars allow people to just drive their bikes right inside. (Giving rise to the expression, 'And the bike you rode in on.')
--Get shit-faced drunk. You'd think these people had never seen beer or Tequila before.
--Blast around in motorboats. The beaches aren't so good for swimming (see 'Beaches: Huge or Nothing' entry) but if you get out in deep water you can water ski, jet ski, Cigarette, or just belch around in your deep-sea fishing rig.
--Shop. The shopping is sort of Gringo Super-Tacky, but there's plenty of places along the main street, which was somehow built facing away from the Sea, so there are booths out behind places, on the waterfront walk.
Sound like FUN??????
If so, go for it dewd. The weather is almost always sunny and warm, the water is wet, there's lots of fresh seafood, and you can always find a party..or it will find you. Close
There is a hot spring in San Felipe! And it's right on the beach! Trouble is, it's right IN the beach. This is one hot water spot that will probably never be exploited for a spa: the water bubbles up, scaldingly…Read More
There is a hot spring in San Felipe! And it's right on the beach! Trouble is, it's right IN the beach. This is one hot water spot that will probably never be exploited for a spa: the water bubbles up, scaldingly hot right under the sands of the beach. There is no way to enclose it, cap it, or pipe it. But you can mess around with it and might come up with a solution.
At the north end of the main city beach, right up against the rocks, you can see, if you poke around at low tide, where there is water seeping from the sand. Step in it and it's warm. Work you feet down a little and it's hot. If you find the source, where the main flow is bubbling up, you probably won't be able to put your foot more than six inches under the sand--it's just too hot. Of course, at high tide. all that hot water is wasted. But at low tide, you COULD dig a hole, run some channels, make pools...various feats of juvenile beach engineering that are highly recommended on their own merits. Maybe you'll be able to build a sand spa of your dreams before the tide rushes in and washes your castles away.
The beaches in San Felipe are unusual. They are either hundreds of yards wide, hard and flat...or about two feet of steeply banked, loose sand. You've probably guessed it has to do with tides. This is all a delta, just flat silt,…Read More
The beaches in San Felipe are unusual. They are either hundreds of yards wide, hard and flat...or about two feet of steeply banked, loose sand. You've probably guessed it has to do with tides. This is all a delta, just flat silt, so at high tide you can walk a quarter mile off shore and not be waist deep. Of course, this is ideal for shrimp, and you can get good shrimp in San Felipe--either in restaurants or bought fresh to cook yourself or take home (The most common item of baggage for tourists here is an ice chest.).
This means that at low tide, you can walk or run for miles along the sea, particularly to the south, past the fishing marina. And you will find shells and stuff. They have great sand dollars here, shaped like arrowheads. It would be a relaxing beachcomber spot, except there are constantly beach-buggies blasting by, driven by Baja 1000 wannabees who just might be too senile to see you if you are laying down sunning.
Because of the silt, the water is not clear, but murky. This is not really a spot for diving of any kind.
Be aware of the tides. You might walk miles down a firm flat beach, then find that you'll be walking back in a thin strip of sand, very tiring. But at least there won't be any beach buggies.
You might just join them--rent beach buggies or jet skis at Motel el Pescador at the main beach in town and go for it.
Written by rodopus on 26 Aug, 2008
San Felipe was originally a small fishing village, now it’s claim to fame seems to be as a party destination for Americans. Popular activities include charging around on the beaches at low tide on ATV’s and drinking oneself into a stupor in the evenings. Also…Read More
San Felipe was originally a small fishing village, now it’s claim to fame seems to be as a party destination for Americans. Popular activities include charging around on the beaches at low tide on ATV’s and drinking oneself into a stupor in the evenings. Also a very popular destination for off-roading by dirt bike, quad or ATV.Not much to do there except the aforementioned activities. Town itself is pretty run down as one would expect with a Mexican border party destination. Not particularly clean but have seen worse. There is a beach, bars and clubs, lots of the usual tacky tourist shops, giant cacti and some hot springs.Hotel accommodations are limited in choice and what there is, is overpriced. Popular however with Rv’s and camping – ie low budget stuff.Driving there from the U.S. is pretty straightforward although it did take about 1 ½ hours to cross the border into Mexico at Mexicali. Can’t believe that this is normal and probably was due to it being a Friday at about 6pm. Navigating through Mexicali is an adventure due to a lack of signage. If you get through without getting temporarily lost on your first attempt then regard yourself lucky. Road to San Felipe is in good condition and does not cause problems even at night. Traveling further south of San Felipe is more of an adventure as there are some major dips in the road, some with warning signs and some without. From the marks on the road a lot of people do not see these dips in the road in time. Be warned they will cause significant damage to the underneath of your vehicle.Glad we went to check this place out, but equally glad we only stayed only two nights. If you are not into hitting the bars or dirt biking maybe it’s not for you. Close
Written by rabbitgirl on 22 Jun, 2006
This drive is extremely easy. We started off in San Diego and took Route 188 through California and made a pit stop at Tecate, Mexico for a beer garden tour. Route 188 was curvy and time consuming but worth it for the beer tour. After…Read More
This drive is extremely easy. We started off in San Diego and took Route 188 through California and made a pit stop at Tecate, Mexico for a beer garden tour. Route 188 was curvy and time consuming but worth it for the beer tour. After that we continued to El Centro on Interstate 8 and then cruised through the Mexicali border crossing and took the 5 all the way to San Felipe. The 5 was an easy ride. It's pretty much straight the entire way down. At a couple points there were no lines in the road but for the most part the street was in good condition with very few bumps. An easy ride—definitely go and check out San Felipe! Close
As I said in the overview, this place is a great party area! Everything is pretty much located within walking distance so you can set yourself up for the night and then head off for a little adventure. We walked all around and stopped at…Read More
As I said in the overview, this place is a great party area! Everything is pretty much located within walking distance so you can set yourself up for the night and then head off for a little adventure. We walked all around and stopped at places we thought looked cool. Everyone there is very friendly and we happened upon a local bar where we were the only "gringos" to be seen. We had a great time and met some really nice people there. We ended up hanging out with some of the people far into the night at different places. We also hit up a pool hall and a dance club. Unfortunately I do not remember the particular names of the different places but if you walk around you will find the places most attractive to you. Great party scene down here and I would definitely go back! Great place to take out-of-town guests as well!! Close