Wednesday, June 25, 2014

San Felipe, Mexico

Over the years, I traveled to many corners of Mexico, but one area I had never explored was Baja California, that particular part of Mexico which happens to be the closest to where I live. My friend spends part of each year in lovely San Felipe, so I was thrilled when I was able to schedule a trip down there to visit her and see what life is like south of the border. (I've posted some shots from our road trip from San Diego to her home in my two previous posts - San Diego and Roadtrip: San Diego to San Felipe.)

The drive along Highway 3 from Ensenada is very picturesque and passes through a variety of landscapes. Driving in Baja seems quite easy; however, I was warned that it is imperative to purchase adequate car insurance before setting foot across the border - note to self should I ever plan to drive my own vehicle down there. Luckily my friend chauffeured me around in her SUV.

San Felipe is a sleepy, little fishing town located on the Sea of Cortez. It serves as a hub for many of the expats who either live down there year round or spend part of the year there, like my friend. Unfortunately, the area has been suffering from the detrimental effects of our recession and the perceived opinion that Mexico is dangerous. It's a shame because it is a very pretty destination and for the most part seems quite safe for visitors. I think, though, that you'd want to avoid it during the hot, humid summer months. I was lucky to visit in April when the heat had not yet settled in and every day was gloriously pleasant.

Here are some shots from my visit...

Typical desert landscape near San Felipe...
Pete's Camp - a popular expat neighborhood...
Beach views in Pete's Camp...
You can rent palapas and park your vehicle and camp right on the beach...
Ripples formed by the morning breeze...
 Sand art...
  View looking back at Pete's Camp...

My friend's dog...
Some typical homes in the neighborhood...


Mexican tiles...
Chilling out at the local pool...




San Felipe and its beach as viewed from the shrine...

An abandoned restaurant...

Streets scenes along the Malecon...
Souvenirs for sale...

Building meets sea...
You can hire boats...
A popular night spot...

Mexican art...


A panga or Mexican fishing boat and an old truck on the beach...


This bridge takes you to a hill with a shrine and terrific views...


View looking inland around San Felipe...
A boat out of water...
The lighthouse...
Back at Pete's Camp...
Enjoying a desert sunset...
Sunrise on the morning of my departure...
Heading north on Highway 5 towards the border...
Taking a reststop...

I was very lucky to be able to make my flight from El Centro to Burbank. The border crossing took longer than we anticipated and then due to a glitch on Google Maps, which took us to the WRONG side of the airport, I made my flight with seconds to spare. (Note to self: don't always trust Google Maps). But unlike larger airports where it's virtually impossible to get through to an airline rep on site, I was able to contact the rep by cell and let her know that I was on my way. She relayed the message to the pilot who agreed to wait for me. Now that's customer service. Thanks Seaport Airlines!

View of the Salton Sea from the little plane...
Flying into Burbank...

San Felipe was fun to visit and my friend has made a nice life there for herself. The desert and sea landscape are very colorful and full of interesting places to explore. There's hiking, biking, ATVing, boating, fishing and restaurants to try and souvenirs to buy.

Unfortunately, it's not the easiest place to get to. Coming from the SF Bay Area, it's a good 16-hour drive, or you can fly into the small airport in El Centro and then either rent a car or if you know someone down there, they can pick you up. I've also heard that some people hook up for ridesharing through Craigslist. There are no direct flights, however. The airport in San Felipe used to have flights from California, but they have been suspended due to the decrease in tourism. Hopefully, things will pick up in the near future and San Felipe will once again become a thriving tourist destination.

5 comments:

Kay L. Davies said...

This is absolutely wonderful, Linnea. I love San Felipe. My parents spent winters there for close to 30 years. I don't remember exactly how many, and neither does my youngest brother, who grew up there.
Really, he was in kindergarten there and Grade 1. When he got to high school, however, he was told he couldn't disappear for six months out of the school year, so he stayed with me.
I love the shots from Pete's camp. Mom and Dad lived down the road in Playas del Sol, and the view from all of those campos is wonderful.
I see you stopped at La Ventana, a regular stop enroute for me, and for my parents.
I'm sorry the economy and the rumors of danger are so bad for the citizens of San Felipe. It wasn't a dangerous place when my family was there, and I still have friends with places there.
I'm thrilled to see photos of "the old home town" — lots of good memories!
K

John @ Sinbad and I on the Loose said...

It was a dream of mine to relocate to San Felipe after I retired, a dream that helped me get through those final years of servitude. I even looked at property to help stoke my dream. But alas, I am married and my wife did not share in my dream. Maybe it was for the best seeing how things in this world have taken a turn, I'll never know. Thank you stirring up good memories. That was amazing the service the airline extended to you. Unbelievable.

Spare Parts and Pics said...

Beautiful tour of the San Felipe area. Thanks, and an area I've always wanted to visit. I live in S CA and Baja has a strong pull... every time I see pics, I want to go! I used to go down every summer with buddies of mine. We would drive all the way down to Cabo and stop at points along the way. So much fun. Times have changed, and I'm a little more risk averse these days!!

Angela R Danielson said...

Linnea -

I am currently searching for Items of Interest with Pete's Camp, San Felipe Mexico Theme materials to use for my Photoshop Montage Project....when I came across your beautiful pictures. You have been to soooo many wonderful gorgeous places. Thank you very much for sharing with us and taking alongside you on your journeys.

I am very much interested in using one of the beachfront pic that looks out towards sea at an angle, capturing the mountain, umbrellas and low tide. However, I would need to get your permission (in writing) in order to use it for my project. I would be more than happy to send you a copy of my final creation using your picture, if you would like.

I apologize if I am not going about this the correct way. It is my first time asking.

Just to give you a little background....my brother's grandmother had a place their on the beachfront, if you go past the cantina and down the slope, make a right at the bottom and it was the one on the corner. We used to go down about 3-4 times a year which is why I choose to do my project on Pete's Camp.

I know this is short notice but my project is due in 1 1/2 weeks so if you could get back to me asap I would greatly appreciated.

Many Thanks Again.
Angelina

Linnea said...

Hi Angelina,
I hope you see my comment! Please help yourself to any photos from this post. Your project sounds interesting. Pete's Camp is a lovely little enclave in San Felipe and I really enjoyed my time there. Cheers!