San Felipe’s snowbird community is alive, well, and growing.  If you’re interested in why San Felipe could be your snowbird destination, read on.

Winter.  Beautiful to look at, wondrous to see, crazy-making when it lasts for 5 months or more.  Unless you live those months south of the border in San Felipe.

One option to beating winter is to escape to San Felipe.  Nestled up against the Sea of Cortez (also known as the Gulf of California), and surrounded by desert and mountains, this once small fishing village has become a thriving mecca for snowbirds.  It’s a place to look forward to making new friends and meeting old ones.  It is Mexico at its finest, just far south enough of the border to retain an authentic Mexican flavor, while staying close enough to the States in case of an emergency .   The people of San Felipe are gentle, fun-loving, warm people, who welcome visitors from other countries to share the pleasures of their home.  They are respectful of their visitors, and deserve respect in turn.  After all, it is their country, their town, and we are their guests.

These Before (Antes) and After (Despues) pictures illuminate the work being done to ensure that all visitors to San Felipe can enjoy the drive from the U.S.  The highway from the border town of Mexicali has been renovated to four lanes in most places to make your trip to San Felipe a more comfortable and safer ride.  It takes approximately two hours to make the trip, where you are greeted by the giant arches that herald the port of San Felipe proper, and tell you that you have reached the gateway to the Sea of Cortez.  

Being a snowbird in San Felipe offers the best of both worlds.  Enjoying its beaches can be calming and stress-free.  And, who doesn’t need less stress in their lives!  Beaches that are closer to town often include traveling vendors who share their offerings by coming to you.  They will always ask if you’re interested in their wares, but will quietly leave you alone if you’re not in the mood for buying.  However, you’ll discover that you often get a better deal from these vendors than those with established shops in town.  And, bartering is expected.  Beaches that are farther away from town are quiet and peaceful, allowing you the time to relax in the sun with a favorite book or beverage.  Holiday weekends may be the exception here, when the off-roaders spread their wings, and take to the sand.  

The ever-changing Sea of Cortez ranges in color from sea-foam green, to Mediterranean blue, to a beautiful silvery gray with just a touch of lavender, and provides spectacular views of distant mountains, bays, and, at times, water mammals.  

Yes, porpoises and sea lions abound, especially around a tall mass of rock known as The Island.  The Island is about five miles offshore, easily accessible by private boat or rented panga (the smaller fishing boats that not only are moored at the jetty, but can also be found pulled up on the beaches), their owners ready and waiting to take you fishing, or simply out for a ride.

Sometimes the Sea can become emotional.  At these times there are plenty of places to watch giant waves wash up on shore, or smash themselves against the rock walls and outcroppings.  The farther away from town you decide to explore, the more chance you have of picking up unique shells, such as sand dollars, left on the beach by the tremendous tides that are so popular they have their own calendar!  These are available at many shops in town, and show you exactly what time of the day or night is best for you to do what you plan, whether it be collecting shells, or walking through the gentle waves at the water’s edge.

The San Felipe marina, also known as The Jetty, is the hub of fishing boats and marine activity.  The stillness of this quiet morning belies the amount of activity that goes on during the busy fishing and shrimping seasons.  You’ll find an entire fishing community here, with stores, shops, and food vendors.  Some of the best homemade tamales can be found here.

June 1st is Marine Day, the day on which San Felipe celebrates its fishing heritage by offering rides on various fishing boats, and tours of the giant shrimping boats.  Here, a Navy boat rides alongside a group enjoying themselves on an outing in a fishing vessel.  The Navy actively keeps watch to ensure the safety of people at sea.

Water birds naturally live in harmony with the Sea.  Seagulls are plentiful, and can be fun to feed bits of bread or crackers.  Their call has been known as somewhere between the bark of a dog, and the meow of a cat by the author Tom Robbins.  Brown pelicans skim the surface of the Sea, looking for their next meal.  They seem to fly in formation, and have affectionately been called San Felipe’s Airforce.  Other birds make San Felipe their resting spot on their travels south for the winter, or north for the summer.  This can be a delight for birders, who may see species not otherwise viewed.

The San Felipe ‘Air Force’ flies in formation just on the other side of a sculler.  A group of pelicans gather on the rocks near the beach in San Felipe. 

A variety of clubs, bars, and restaurants are located both in town as well as on the outskirts, some even within the snowbird communities.  These communities are often self-sufficient, including laundry facilities, gas station, convenience store, and groceries  --  in short, everything you’d need to make your home away from home a restful, delightful experience.  

Seafood, including the more exotic octopus and squid, abounds in San Felipe restaurants.  Tantalize your tastebuds.  It doesn’t get any fresher!

Live entertainment and karaoke treat your musical side at many of the bars.  Labeled ‘sports bars’, they are very much open to both men and women.  There are also scheduled entertainments during Snowbird season, such as concerts, plays, and even operatic performances put on by the area universities.

A guitarist entertains a group on the patio of a hotel on the beach.

Tours to various places in the area, including cave paintings and the Guadalupe Valley (where many of the fruits and veggies sold in the markets are grown) are available.   There is a Welcome Back get-together every year in Oct. specifically for Snowbirds in order to meet new friends, and greet returning friends.  Road trips for the adventurous include Puertocitos, Gonzaga Bay and Ensenada.  Puertocitos is known for its hot springs.  Gonzaga Bay includes a restaurant, hotel, camping, and fishing.  Ensenada is home to La Bufadora, the blowhole, which thunderously shoots hundreds of gallons of water skyward at regular intervals.  It is on the western side of the peninsula, on the Pacific ocean, connected just north of San Felipe by a paved road that winds through mountains and the Guadalupe Valley.  It’s well worth the trip; just be sure not to take food with you to watch this spectacle.  Beyond a certain point, which is well marked, the seagulls get quite aggressive.

The hot springs at Puertocitos can be a day trip for those who would like to drive south of San Felipe for a bit of exploration.  

Just south of town is the Land of the Giants, where the great Saguaro grow in abundance.  Here you can see just how wondrously large these Saguaro can be.  To the left are ocotillo (pronounced o-co-tee-yo) trees.  These desert oddities bloom during the springtime, their red flowers shooting out from the tips of the branches like so many flames.

A view of the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the patron saint of Mexico, at sunrise.  The shrine itself can be reached via stairway up the mountain, which is flanked by desert plants and flowers.  It is a quiet, contemplative place, and many of its visitors leave flowers or candles.  

San Felipe at night.  It is well lit, safe, and both shops and restaurants are open late. 

All in all, San Felipe is a wondrous place to spend your winters.  It can be exciting, it can be restful.  That all depends on you.  However you choose to experience it, San Felipe can be your second home, a place you’ll love to enjoy on your own, or to invite friends to spend a weekend or a month, just to share its beauty and warmth. 

Amazing Palos Verde South El Dorado Ranch San Felipe Rental Home

House ID: Casa Welch

Enjoy this authentically local three bedroom 2 bath home in the Parlos Verdes South, Eldorado Ranch Resort community. You didn't come to Mexico to stay in a home that looks exactly like places you could stay in back home. You came to Mexico for a unique experience you can only get south of the border, and this home will be part of that authentic experience. The warm rich colors of the living room blend in with the light and airy tiles and color schemes of the kitchen. You won't feel like ....more->

Location: San Felipe, Baja California, Mexico

Bedrooms: 3 | Bathrooms: 2 | Sleeps: 7

  • Regular Rates: $130/nt
  • ~ Weekend Rate: $165/nt
  • Weekly Rate: $750/wk

Two bedroom Two bath getaway in San Felipe Baja Mexico

House ID: Condo 53-1

2 Bedroom 2 Bath Getaway Should you need to do laundry during an extended San Felipe vacation, there is a washer and dryer conveniently located in the laundry room, right by the the entrance. Throughout, the home is furnished in subdued tropical colors, all adding to the modern style feel. The total effect is one of being open yet welcoming. This unit sleep 6 guests; a king size bed in master bedroom, two twin beds in the guest room, plus 2 cots make for comfortable sleeping. Sit on the ba ....more->

Location: San Felipe, Baja California, Mexico

Bedrooms: 2 | Bathrooms: 2 | Sleeps: 6

  • Regular Rates: $110/nt
  • ~ Weekend Rate: $160/nt

San Felipe Mexico Vacation Home with New Decor and Upscale Amenities

House ID: Condo 57-4

New Decor and Upscale Amenities Follow the spiraling staircase to the 2nd floor of this dual living home and you will find two bedrooms. The first bedroom is the guest room. Between a full-size bed and two twins, this bedroom sleeps 4 guests and has a full bathroom. The second bedroom on the upper floor is the Master Bedroom with a king bed and casual balcony seating. For master bedroom occupants, there is plenty of storage including a walk-in closet with hangers. His and her sink, glass s ....more->

Location: San Felipe, Baja California, Mexico

Bedrooms: 3 | Bathrooms: 3.5 | Sleeps: 8

  • Regular Rates: $140/nt
  • ~ Weekend Rate: $180/nt

Fabulous 3-level San Felipe Beachfront Rental House With Sea and Mountain Views

House ID: Condo 68-2

Sea and Mountain View Beachfront Rental House This villa is fully furnished and features, high ceiling, travertine floors throughout the house, 2 king size bedrooms and a sky lounge on the 3rd floor. There is a bedroom on each floor. A master bedroom on the ground floor with king size bed sleeping 2 guests. The mattress is super comfy and duvet are European design. The master bedroom has a walk-in closet and full bathroom with his and her sink, shower and bathtub. A 2nd master bedroom o ....more->

Location: San Felipe, Baja California, Mexico

Bedrooms: 3 | Bathrooms: 2.5 | Sleeps: 8

  • Regular Rates: $150/nt
  • ~ Weekend Rate: $190/nt