San Felipe is a beautiful town with small islands of the coast and unspoiled waters with outstanding fishing. Located by the Sea of Cortez only 130 miles from the Calexico-Mexicali border, San Felipe is a Mexican haven. This is a good choice if you are looking for a vacation or for a getaway full of serenity and relaxation. The beach is one of the highlights in San Felipe. The sea is warm and calm, making San Felipe an ideal getaway and a hidden Baja paradise only two hours south of the California border.

There are lots of fun things to do in San Felipe. Before San Felipe became popular as a tourist destination, it was known for fishing. Fishing expeditions are still readily available. Whether you chose to catch a boat in the morning by the Malecon or go out to Sea for a couple of days, all options are available. San Felipe’s entertainment hub is in downtown around the area referred to as the Malecon. The Malecon is a boardwalk along the waterfront with sports bars, karaoke bars, restaurants, clubs and shops. On weekend evenings, it’s common for several bands to compete along the boardwalk. This is very popular with locals, and visitors of course are welcome to join in. Oh, and if you feel the urge to dance to the band music…by all means go right ahead.

Another popular activity is cruising along the Malecon. Basically, you have cars slowly circling the 4 blocks, which make up the Malecon, jamming music and having a great time.  Don't be surprised to see folks sitting in the back of open pick-up trucks crusing around - it's legal here, no seat belt required.  And don’t miss the swap Saturdays at Cachanilla, it’s more of a hangout and is always very lively.

Although San Felipe has International Airport 6 miles South of town, this airport is primarily used for charter flights and private flights. In late 2014, Seaport Airlines started regular flights from San Diego to San Felipe.   Most visitors to San Felipe travel down by road via Highway 5. Driving to San Felipe from Mexicali, you will be driving south along the eastern coast of the Baja Peninsula. The road conditions from Mexicali to San Felipe are good and continuously improving. For the first 30 - 40 minutes from Mexicali, you have two lanes in both North and South directions; these then merge into single lanes in both directions. There is an ongoing effort to dualize the entire highway between Mexicali and San Felipe, by the time you are reading this write-up, you can expect more of the highway to have been dualized than the first 30 – 40 minutes.

In case of a breakdown, there are emergency service trucks from the tourism board, popularly referred to as green angels that patrol the highway to provide assistance when needed. You will not be charged for labor. With lots of Americans and Canadians living in San Felipe, many shops have sprung up to meet their needs.  In 2012, big chain stores Bodega Aurrera and Calimax stores arrived to completely change the shopping landscape.  With the arrival of this store, you can find anything you'd expect in a U.S chain store.

You will find all the basic services in San Felipe you expect to find in a town. Basic services such as gas stations, hospital, tire repair, banks and ATM machines, cyber cafes, grocery stores, etc, are abundant. Over the fifteen years, several developments have sprung up in San Felipe, the biggest of these being Eldorado Ranch. The homes in these developments are primarily owned by Americans and Canadians as vacation homes. Most of these homes are available for rent and makes San Felipe rentals, a bargain over hotels because of the amenities that comes along with the homes. Popular accommodation choices include the Eldorado Ranch condos or the La Ventana del Mar condos overlooking the Las Caras de Mexico golf course. Best prices can be found on mid-week rentals.  South of town, the is La Hacienda community.

There are two events in San Felipe where you will want to reserve your accommodation months in advance, this is for the annual Baja 250 race which is usually about the second weekend in March. The second event is Easter weekend, known locally as Semana Santa.

San Felipe weather is very enjoyable most of the year, however, July through September gets pretty hot. When visiting during the hot months, a plunge in the ever so close Sea of Cortez is always a welcome relief.
 

Attention History nerds… we mean History buffs:

San Felipe is a city full of culture, diversity and charm. It is a city with a story and a rich history. The story of San Felipe and the many leaders and explorers who made it what it is today is one everyone should know before they arrive. Knowing the hard work, sacrifice, courage and strength it took for the natives to make this island what it is today will make you appreciate San Felipe even more.

Initial Discovery of San Felipe

As you sit on the beach with your toes in the sand, imagine a large ship coming into view over the horizon. The tired and famished crew, lead by Hernan Cortes, is beyond relieved to spot land after a long and treacherous voyage. Hernan and his crew arrive at the peninsula of Baja California on May 5, 1535.

Four years later, Cortez assigned Captain Ulloa to navigate and document the coastline of what was then called the Southern Sea. In doing so, Ulloa discovered that the land was a peninsula, not an island as they had previously thought. The sea was renamed The Sea of Cortez.

The following year, Ulloa’s cartographer who he took with him on his previous voyage, Castillo, returned to the peninsula. He was not alone however, and brought with him, Don Hernando de Alarcón. The two of them were responsible for accurately mapping out the peninsula. It was during this project that the bay of San Felipe was discovered, and they named it Santa Catarina.

Unfortunetly for Ulloa, Castillo and Alarcon, they are usually not mentioned when the history of San Felipe is brought up. Their discoveries were overlooked and some say forgotten, until years later. In 1701, Father Eusebio Francisco Kino, an Italian evangelist, rediscovered the Baja California peninsula, but again there is not much documented about his voyage and discovery. More time slipped by, until Father Eusebio Francisco Kino, rediscovered the Baja California peninsula. He landed on the coast of San Felipe on July 15 1721, which is the saint day of San Felipe de Jesus.

 

Konsag Island

25 years later, Father Fernando Consag landed in San Felipe and named the bay San Felipe de Jesus, paying tribute to Ugarte and his findings years before. The large, rocky island located 45 minutes off of the coast of San Felipe was named Konsag Island, in honor of Ferbando Consag and his contributions to the maps and documentation regarding San Felipe and it’s surrounding areas.

In 1766, an explorer by the name of Wenceslaus Linck was the first person to arrive in San Felipe by land instead of sailing in by boat.

In 1772 the LT Governor of the Californias officially declared San Felipe a port and by 1794 ships were being sent to and from San Felipe with various form of cargo.

Dominicans Invade San Felipe

In 1770, the Dominicans attempted to come into San Felipe and convert the native people . Their plan was to take over San Felipe in order to further establish themselves in the north. The Yuma Indigenous weren’t crazy about this plan, and launched attacks on the religious group, targeting their supply trains and storage facilities.

Looking for Gold

In the middle 1800’s, explorers flocked to San Felipe, hoping to find gold. They were hopeful that San Felipe would turn into a prosperous gold mining town, but left disappointed, as the mines didn’t produce the gold they thought they would.

In 1904 a fishing camp was established in San Felipe, but it took many years for any further advancements to develop in San Felipe,

 

Transportation Routes Are Established

In the early 1900’s, Colonel Esteban Cantú Jiménez was determined to make some changes. He changed the capital from Ensenada to Mexicali, and also wanted to establish a transportation route from San Felipe to Mexicali. He began his journey to San Felipe in 1916, and after many failed attempts finally succeeded. He lead the way for the first road between the two cities to be completed. Funding was scarce after that, and again San Felipe was overlooked and did not make any advancements or improvements for many years.

In the 1920’s, San Felipe had a population of 100 people. General Abelardo L. Rodriguez organized development in San Felipe in the mid 1920’s, and the city of San Felipe was officially founded February 5, 1925.  Three years later the first school opened and a fishing society was born. The land stayed in the Rodriguez’s family name, and the vision was for San Felipe to be an international tourist destination.

San Felipe Sees Rapid Growth

In 1947 the main highway in San Felipe was started and the famous Hotel de Cortes opened it’s doors. The 1960’s was a growing time for San Felipe, as many luxury hotels were established. Lights shined brightly in 1963 when electricity was introduced to the island, and thirsty locals were happy about clean drinking water in 1967.

 

The 70’s meant the arrival of The Malecon, the airport, a sewage system and many other restaurants, bars and businesses in San Felipe.

From 1985-1986, the National Pen Company literally gave away land that is now known as El Dorado Ranch Resort, which became official when Pat Butler bought it in 1987.

 

In 1996, residents of San Felipe had the world at their fingertips, as the Internet made its debut in the city. San Felipe’s website, www.sanfelipe.com.mx, was established a year later. 1997 was a rough year for the people of San Felipe, as Hurricane Nora ripped through the little city, causing incredible damage. The roads were washed out and the recovery was slow and tedious. San Felipe doesn’t give up though, and bounced back stronger than ever. It was even featured in Time Magazine in 2001. That is a big step from being a city of 100 people just 80 years before.

 

San Felipe: 5 Star Tourist Destination

Now, San Felipe is a top tourist destination, a home away from home for over 25,000 people in the winter months. It has world-class fishing, some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet, and some of the most delicious seafood you’ll ever taste.

San Felipe is a strong and resilient town, that offers breath taking views and warm, sandy coastline for all visitors to enjoy.

Impress your friends and family with your knowledge of San Felipe history, and see how many of the famous explorers listed above you can spot while playing a round of golf on El Dorado Ranch!

Beautiful Three Bedroom San Felipe Golf Course Accommodation with BBQ Grill

House ID: Condo 26-3

Golf Course Accommodation with BBQ Grill The split-level design of the rental home and floor plan is unique to El Dorado Ranch. The front door entrance is at an elevation such that as you walk in the front door, you can go up a few stairs to the upper level, or down a few stairs to the lower level. The upper level features a living room with a flat screen TV and is delightfully decorated. The master bedroom and chef's kitchen are also on the upper level. The chef's kitchen opens up ....more->

Location: San Felipe, Baja California, Mexico

Bedrooms: 3 | Bathrooms: 3.5 | Sleeps: 8

  • Regular Rates: $140/night
  • Weekend Rate: $180/night


3-Bedroom Pool Side Rental with Internet

House ID: Condo 31-3

You will find the ultimate relaxation spot when you stay in this 3-bedroom, split-level, vacation rental condo in the gated resort of El Dorado Ranch, San Felipe. With one pool located right next to building, going for a swim requires only taking few steps. This end unit features two living rooms; one on each floor, high ceilings and a big kitchen which connects to an outdoor patio overlooking the 18-hole Las Caras de Mexico golf course. The downstairs living room with comfortable furniture ....more->

Location: San Felipe, Baja California, Mexico

Bedrooms: 3 | Bathrooms: 3.5 | Sleeps: 12

  • Regular Rates: $160/night
  • Weekend Rate: $200/night
  • Weekly Rate: $1100/week


Luxury San Felipe Mexico Vacation Rental Condo by the Golf Course

House ID: Condo 50-1

Luxury Vacation Condo by the Golf Course Comfortable sleeping for four guests is guaranteed courtesy of one king size bed in the master bedroom and one queen size bed in the guest room. The master bedroom has a separate shower and tub with his and her sink, while the second bedroom shares a bathroom with the living room. The living room sofa has a pull out bed for two additional guests. A fully equipped kitchen with wrap around granite counter tops, washer and dryer, flat screen TV and coz ....more->

Location: San Felipe, Baja California, Mexico

Bedrooms: 2 | Bathrooms: 2 | Sleeps: 6

  • Regular Rates: $100/night
  • Weekend Rate: $150/night


Nicely decorated San Felipe holiday rental condo with 2 car garage

House ID: Condo 54-3

This beachfront house features 3 bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms, and it is a very spacious place, which is highly recommended for visiting families. Once you enter the home, you’ll find a very Spanish-esque ambience surrounding you, with beautiful woodwork furniture, and a warm colored living room. It also features a full satellite flat screen, to enjoy your favorite shows while you rest in this welcoming environment.  Also, the first story features two of the bedrooms. Fully furnished ....more->

Location: San Felipe, Baja California, Mexico

Bedrooms: 3 | Bathrooms: 2.5 | Sleeps: 8

  • Regular Rates: $140/night
  • Weekend Rate: $180/night
  • Weekly Rate: $1100/week


Luxury 3-bedroom El Dorado Ranch San Felipe rental villa

House ID: Casa Luna

El Dorado San Felipe Casa Luna Interior This El dorado San Felipe rental villa is custom built - no details were speared. As one steps into the living area, you will notice and appreciate the open floor design which allows plenty of light. You and your family or guests will love taking advantage of all the different amenities, that comes with Casa Luna. From a 48" LCD TV with satellite TV hookup in the living room, plus DVD player - no need to miss your favorite shows. Next to the TV is ....more->

Location: San Felipe, Baja California, Mexico

Bedrooms: 3 | Bathrooms: 2 | Sleeps: 6

  • Regular Rates: $130/night
  • Weekend Rate: $170/night
  • Weekly Rate: $750/week


San Felipe Ultra Deluxe 3-Bedroom 3 Bath holiday rental villa with Sea Views

House ID: Condo 41-4

Ultra Deluxe 3-Bedroom 3 Bath with Sea Views The master bedroom and a guest room are on the upper level. The master bedroom features a generous size bedroom and bath plus walk-in closet. There are double doors in the master bedroom which, open up to a patio with beautiful views of the private beach and Sea of Cortez. The guest room on the upper level features two twin beds and a private bathroom. This home is a fantastic get-a-way for a small family or friends who want to relax and enjoy t ....more->

Location: San Felipe, Baja California, Mexico

Bedrooms: 3 | Bathrooms: 3.5 | Sleeps: 6

  • Regular Rates: $130/night
  • Weekend Rate: $170/night


Beachfront Vacation Rental Condo in San Felipe Baja California Mexico

House ID: Condo 72-2

2 Couples Vacation Rental This is a two level unit, with dual master suite bedrooms, one on each floor. Four guests are comfortably accommodated. This is a great rental for a small family, or 2 couples vacationing together. There are two bathrooms as well, one on each floor. The upstairs master suite has a bonus patio with seating. No expense was spared while furnishing this vacation rental. The cozy living-room furniture, wooden dining room table and chairs, plus bedroom furniture are all ....more->

Location: San Felipe, Baja California, Mexico

Bedrooms: 2 | Bathrooms: 2 | Sleeps: 4

  • Regular Rates: $150/night
  • Weekend Rate: $190/night


San Felipe's finest vacation rental accommodation

House ID: Condo 17-3

Finest Vacation Rental Accommodation The villa comes fully air conditioned throughout with a family room with TVDVD, a dining area with cozy bench, kitchen with island, three bedrooms and three bathrooms. This San Felipe villa accommodates eight guests comfortably and has been professionally designed and decorated for the most discerning guest who wants something special. Total living space is 1955 square feet. The master bedroom, on second floor, comes with American King bed. Master bedro ....more->

Location: San Felipe, Baja California, Mexico

Bedrooms: 3 | Bathrooms: 3 | Sleeps: 7

  • Regular Rates: $140/night
  • Weekend Rate: $180/night


San Felipe Vacation Sanctuary by the Sea of Cortez

House ID: Condo 74-4

San Felipe Beach Front Rental Condo in El Dorado Ranch San Felipe beachfront condo Interior This accommodation has the plan 4 design of the famous San Felipe beach front rental condos. The main entrance is located by the side of the building. The entrance easily impresses with decorative sand stones around the main door all the way up to the roof. As you walk in the front door, you are greeted by travertine floors, a nice open floor plan with high ceilings and single casement french window ....more->

Location: San Felipe, Baja California, Mexico

Bedrooms: 3 | Bathrooms: 3.5 | Sleeps: 8

  • Regular Rates: $170/night
  • Weekend Rate: $220/night
  • Weekly Rate: $1200/week


Poolside San Felipe Rental Condo for 6 Guests with Satellite TV

House ID: Condo 31-2

Poolside Condo for 6 Guests with Satellite TV  Looking out the front of the condo and you have an unobstructed view of San Felipe's only 18 hole, golf course - located in El Dorado Ranch.. Imagine yourself chilling with a drink in hand and watching the golfers give their best shot - you get to rate them for free. Inside this 2-level condo, you will find a bedroom on each floor. Master bedroom is on the 2nd floor, this comes with a king bed and private bathroom with separate bathtu ....more->

Location: San Felipe, Baja California, Mexico

Bedrooms: 2 | Bathrooms: 2 | Sleeps: 6

  • Regular Rates: $130/night
  • Weekend Rate: $160/night