There are alot of things that you can do on the beach. We rented the banana boats. I remember doing it when I was younger and I had so much fun. The kids were dying to do it so I said ok. I didnt remember how exhausting it was holding on to that thing. I felt like I got a full upper body work out.
We got thrown off about three times which is all part of the fun. They supplied the lifevests and took good care of us.
The cost of this ride was about $4.
Horse back riding on the Beach
The kids wanted to go horse back riding so I waited for the sun to go down alittle to do this activity. I expected the guy to charge about 7 to 10 dollars for about 40 to 50 minutes. He told another person $15 for an hour. Then i heard him tell another Mexican tourist 4 dollars so i had it in my mind that that was what i was going to pay too. So when he said 10 dollars i said no how about $4 and he finally agreed to it. After about half an hour i was done. Get me off the horse!
The kids had fun but there were so many people on the beach that it was alittle stressful. On one occassion my daughters horse wouldnt move to the right and kept on going straight right into the people on the beach but there was one little kid who didnt move and almost got trampled. He was literally inbetwwen the legs of the horse. it was a miracle that he didnt get stepped on.
After that I said OK, thats enough i want to get off.
Enjoy the beach
In the morning the tide is out as far as a mile in certain places. As the morning goes on the tide comes in and the water activities begin. Later in the evening the water oes out again.
This part of the Sea of Cortez is the perfect place for kids to go swimming. There really arent any waves in the summer which is good and bad. Its good because i know the kids will be safe but the water gets so warm that you dont get too much relief from the heat.
There is a strong scent of fish in the early mornings but you do get used to it and soon you wont even realize its there.
Many times the water in the ocean will be better than the water in your pool at your hotel. The pool water gets even warmer and will feel like bath water. The ocean water is pretty clean and you will see people out in the ocean til very late, even after the sun goes down.
Another thing you will notice in San Felipe is that they do cater to familes. There are your groups of singles, young people having a good time but there are alot families that come to San Felipe as well. The tourist arent only the ones that come from across the border. There are alot of Mexican toursit in San Felipe too.
Take a Walk on the Malecon
The malecon is the boardwalk or beach promenade. Theres people from early morning to late at night here. Theres street performers, street vendors, locals checking out the tourist, tourist checking out the locals.
During the day, people stroll the malecon, look for a place to eat, looking to buy stuff. At night the people are ready to check out the party.
During the summer when the weather is extremely hot (about 98 to 100 at night) you can see some of the locals drinking beer at night while they sit on the malecon wall. I really dont recommend the tourist to do this as the police might stop you for drinking in public.
Well I tried to get in here but everything was locked up. So I did the next best thing. I climbed the hill to the shrine of La Virgen de Guadalupe and I took some awesome pictures of the lighthouse and panoramic views of San Felipe.
This is a working light house and at night you can see it working.
Capilla de la Virgen de Guadalupe
I decided it check out this local shrine on top of the hill. Everyone thought I was crazy because it was 117 degrees outside and how in the heck am i going to hike up the hill. Just walking around the town for half a block left us soaked in sweat.
Luckily it wasnt so bad. first of all there are stairs which make it alot easier to climb, second of all it was slightly cooler as you went up, either that or i was delirious already.
And third of all the view was said to be the best. You can see the ocean, the malecon, and the entire town from this place.
I thought, this would be great for pictures.
La Virgen de Guadalupe is Mexicos patron saint. And being that most Mexicans are Catholic its no surprise to see La Virgen here too.
From this shrine you can get a great view of the Light house too.
Watch the tide & stingrays
Many people enjoy watching the tides and walking along the beach when it happens and actually, San Felipe is known for it's extreme tidal changes. If the tide goes out, it goes reeaally out.
Here's a link for tide calendars
During low tide you might wanna watch for stingrays. They are common in the Sea of Cortez. One of our salesmen down there told us that there's such a thing like the "stingray shuffle". It's basically shuffling your feet while walking forward in the water or walk heavy on the sand during low tide, to avoid being stung by those who may just lay on the bottom and are covered by sand. This will reduce the likelihood that you accidentally step on a buried stingray by giving it a chance to escape.
Photo: Low tide - you can barely see the waterline on the horizon. And at that time the tide was already coming back, so it was actually out even further.
The Sea of Cortez contains some of the finest fishing in the world and boasts an estimated 800 varieties of identified fish. Marine biologists suggest nearly four times that many. The majority of the varieties are found close to the shores.
San Felipe has always been a fishing village due to the abundance of ocean resources. Not only are "game fish" regularly caught, but shell fish such as lobster, crabs, and shrimp are also a big part of the local diet. And, you'll definitely want to sample some of these recipes while you're visiting the San Felipe.
Fishing is available by boat or shore. Sea Bass (Grouper), Triggerfish, and Snapper are typically caught "bottom fishing." Trolling is also a popular means of fishing and as you venture down the coast of the Baja, schools of tuna, yellowtail, dorado (aka: mahi mahi, dolphin fish), and billfish such as Marlin, are often taking by such means. The Sea of Cortez has historically been an extremely productive habitat and fishing is deeply rooted into the history of San Felipe.
Upcoming events in San Felipe
The following events are from a calendar that we got from the tourism office.
Baja Score 250: March 10-12 - offroading race with trucks, motorcycles, buggies etc
CODE Off Road San Felipe race : April 21-23
4th Annual Chili Cook Off, Club de Pesca : May 6
IV Sport Fishing Tournament: May 7
Dia de la Marina Nacional. (Marine Day in Mexico): June 1 - Fiesta begins at the Vaquita sculpture on the Malecon. There will be a Fiesta Queen elected, with cockfights, fireworks and celebrations.
TECATE SCORE BAJA 500 Ensenada-S.F. : June 2-4
Valley of the Giants
A few miles outside of San Felipe is an area called "Valley of the Giants" or "El Valle de los Gigantes". It got it's name from the huge Cardon cacti growing there between 33 and 56 feet!
The website below shows you some photos of these huge cacti:
A little town with potential
San Felipe is traditionally a fishing town but in the past few years tourism began to play a bigger role and it is now also a popular community for American and Canadian retirees as well as other people who look for a vacation or permanent home for their families in Mexico where the cost of living is lower. That's one reason why you will see many new home developments.
San Felipe is also a popular spot for the "snowbirds". You will find many Americans and Canadians who drive to the town with their RV's and mobile homes, to spend the winter here ... trying to get away from the cold in many parts of the U.S. and Canada.
San Felipe is a small fishing town and we came because of work. There is a beautiful white sand beach. The water is clear blue and very calm. If you like swimming and fishing, this will be the perfect place.
It's a necessity to keep the wayer as clean as possible because shrimp-fishing is the traditional way how people here earn their living.
San Felipe is a small fishing village (or used to be), and most activities happen along the beach. It has very relaxed atmosphere. The beach is long and the sand is soft. When the village is not filled with tourists, local children play sand here. However, the water is too muddy to dip into.
At the northern tip of the malecon, there's a small bluff. Walk up to the Virgin of Guadlupe Shrine at the top, and get the 360-degree view. To the north there is a lighthouse, as seen in photo. To the south you can see the whole village and the beach. To the east it's the Sea of Cortez.
Before I visited San Felipe I never heard of the term "malecon". I think it means beach promenade, or the major street along the beach. And San Felipe has one.
There are many bars and clubs along San Felipe's malecon. From their huge signs and fancy decor I can imagine how wild the beer-drinking crowd can be in spring break time. My visit was in early February, and it was quiet. Behind the fascade the big TV was still showing ESPN, but no Mexicans seemed to care, just waiting for the tourists.
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