In the 1950’s, Gorgonio (Papa) Fernandez established a small fishing camp along the Sea of Cortez and after it was up and running, packed his family into a small rowboat and moved to the fishing camp from their home in Loreto. He named the fishing camp. This fishing camp has become a welcomed stop for traveler’s navigating the dirt tracks that lead south along the Sea of Cortez from San Felipe.   The location also goes by the names Punta Willard, Bahia Willard, Bahia San Luis Gonzaga, Papa Fernández Landing and Papa Fernández Resort.

Papa Fernandez offers a lot of activities and amenities for families and travelers passing through. There is a family run restaurant that is open all year and places to camp and launch your boat. You could spend all day here and still not do everything this tucked away resort has to offer. You can go hiking, off-roading, swimming, sail-boarding, sport fishing, snorkeling and so much more! It’s never very crowded and the staff here goes above and beyond to make sure everyone who passes through feels as welcomed as Papa would have made them feel. Getting to Papa Fernandez is about a 3 hour drive from El Dorado Ranch Resort. For a mile by mile breakdown of what to expect on this exciting road trip, see our article about visitng Gonzaga Bay

The Restaurant

Restaurant Papa Fernandez knows what hot, hungry and tired travelers want: Good food, friendly service and reasonable prices. They also know that when in Mexico, alongside the gorgeous bay, people want to eat something authentic to the area. With each bite, you’ll experience the true flavors and aromas of original Mexican cuisine. Just as if you were coming to Papa’s for dinner, the meals here are all home made and made from scratch, so the food is absolutely worth the wait. Some of the specialties include homemade tortillas and chiles rellenos, stuffed with cheese and batter friend. (Calories don’t count on vacation! And you can always stop by the gym if you’re feeling guilty.) If you’ve had a successful fishing day, you’re more than welcome to bring your fresh catch and have it prepared as you wish. Beer by the bottle and soda by the cans are sold here, and you’re always welcome to bring your own as well. The feel of this place is very laid back and casual, it caters to the travelers who have been on the road and are looking for a great place to stop, stretch their legs and experience great food with great views. You can eat inside or outside, but make sure you head inside to see the vintage photo of John Wayne and Papa Fernandez, taken right outside of the restaurant! This restaurant is open seven days a week, all year round. Since the family lives right next door, the hours are flexible, but doors are usually open from dawn to dusk, and well into the evening. Prices are very reasonable, ranging from $6-14 per plate. Dollars and pesos are accepted. There is a large parking lot for self-parking, and you won’t have a problem finding a spot. If no one is in the restaurant, go around the building and make some noise. Those friendly, helpful ladies will come and take care of you. 

Here is a overview of some of the things you’ll find on the menu:

Papa Fernandez Restaurant Menu


◦Ranch Style Eggs

◦Eggs scrambled with Mexican sausage

◦Eggs scrambled with shredded

◦Eggs and ham any style

◦Shrimp Omelet

•Lunch / Dinner






◦Combination Plate

◦Shrimp Ranchero

◦Shrimp Garlic and Garlic

◦Fried Shrimp


Weather At Papa Fernandez

Depending on when you plan to visit Papa Fernandez, the weather can vary. During the winter the night time temps can drop down to the 40’s, so bring a blanket and sweatshirt, but head outside when the moon rises for some breath taking stargazing opportunities. The staff on the resort can even give you literature and helpful tips about exactly where to look and what you’re looking for. Nighttime in the summer can range from the 70s-90s, so stargaze from the pool! Sea surface temperatures range from 65 degrees in January to 75 degrees in July. You can expect winds from the northwest if you come November through May, with very strong gusts in the winter.

Fishing at Papa Fernandez

The waters around Papa Fernandez are home to many different species of fish, making it a great place for sport fishing. Cast your line out into the waters and reel it in with dorado, halibut, corvina, Mexican lookdown, bronze striped grunt, Cortez grunt, sculpin, sierra, yellowtail tuna, ribera bass, spotted bass, triggerfish, and needlefish at the other end!

Papa Fernandez is Famous!

If you’ve never seen the movie Tracing Cowboys, you should make a point to rent it before you head to San Felipe. The movie is shot at Papa Fernandez, and features the staff and family members as actual cast members, not just extras! The photography if the Sea of Cortez is breathtaking and will make you even more excited to visit!

“When we planned our trip to San Felipe, we didn’t even know about Papa Fernandez. As we were at dinner one night, one of the other customers was talking about what an action packed day they had, and we couldn’t help but ask them about it. They told us about the exciting drive out there, about the huge cactus plants and the bumpy roads. We had to try it out, and we were so glad we did! We really felt like we were experiencing Mexico in a totally different way! The staff at Papa Fernandez was so friendly, and even made us dinner when the restaurant was closed! We fished and swam and enjoyed the open and NOT CROWDED beaches. If you don’t mind a bit of a drive, you have to check this place out. It’s a nice break from the noise and action of San Felipe. Papa’s is a slow paced, quiet and relaxing vacation from your exciting and fast paced San Felipe vacation."


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Location: San Felipe, Baja California, Mexico

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