Sea of Cortez Boat Tours
The Sea of Cortez, also known as the Gulf of California, is the body of water that separates the Baja California Peninsula from the Mexico mainland. The gulf is believed by many to have opened up 5.3 million years ago, redirecting the flow of the Colorado River. Today, the Sea of Cortez provides a rich and varied ecosystem, and welcomes migratory species such as the humpback and grey whales, and endangered sea animals, such as the very rarely seen vaquita (little cow), which is currently the focus of preservation efforts by the World Wildlife Foundations and other organizations. Short or long boat tours or kayak tours can be taken along the coast, including to Konsag Island, a guano-covered island rock visible from the shoreline.
Charter and Sport Fishing on the Sea of Cortez
At the northern end of the the gulf, San Felipe has more than 50 miles of shoreline to explore, much of it relatively desolate, and a vast expanse of open sea where anglers can practice their skills at surf fishing, charter and sport fishing and even panga fishing.
From late November through March is the best time of year to fish. Fishing licenses are required for boat fishing (not shore fishing) and are checked by the local warden. Fishing licenses are sold in the Port Captain’s office at the local marina.
San Felipe Beach Activities
ATVs zip on beaches and dunes, and seashell-hunting along many of the pristine sandy beaches is a popular pastime, as are kayaking (bring your own kayak) and taking the banana boats that can be accessed at different locations. During shrimp season, it is not uncommon for small pangas to run up on local beaches, chock-full of wriggling, large pink shrimp that are sold for a shrimp of a price. Wind-surfing, Hobies, Skidoos, and the famous Banana Boat are all possible off the beaches and in the warm waters of San Felipe.
San Felipe Off-roading and off-road racing
Off-roading is a major pastime in San Felipe and rentals and guided tours are available for those who want to experience the San Felipe desert up close. To help wanna-be SCORE racers safely experience the thrill of adventure racing in the desert, there are companies like San Felipe Off Road to help fulfill the fantasy!
San Felipe Ultralighting
Almost no matter where you are in San Felipe, you will see Ralf Sertkol gliding high overhead, taking patrons for a ride of a lifetime over the aquamarine waters of the Sea of Cortez.
San Felipe Camping
Tent camping, RV camping and fish camps are traditional in this area and there are dozens of locations. Pete’s Camp is renowned amongst the expatriate set, being on the beach just north of town, and with its own little restaurant. Here, you can rent cottages or find hook-ups. Tent camping is popular at many of the highway pull-off locations leading right off the main highway, both north and south of town.
San Felipe Golf
Established in 2004, “Las Caras de Mexico” (The Faces of Mexico), is an 18-hole, waterfront links course located in the La Ventana del Mar beach and golf resort, part of El Dorado Ranch, at kilometer 177 on the main Highway 5. This links-style course offers broad vistas, and utilizes a grass called Seashore paspalum (SeaDwarf®) that thrives on lower water usage and higher saline content in the water.
San Felipe Hiking
There are many opportunities for hiking in the San Felipe area, usually requiring off-road access. Berrendo Canyon is about 50 miles from San Felipe, and offers tranquility and interesting vegetation (dwarf palms, and the famous Baja Blue Fan Palm). In the nearby mountains of Parque Nacional Sierra de San Pedro Martir, there are lots of hiking and rock climbing areas for all levels of skills. A word to the wise: If you are thinking of hiking remote areas, be sure to pack water and also think about checking in with someone about where you will be heading.
San Felipe Day Trips
Unlike many regions, day trips from San Felipe are time – and driving – intensive, usually involving some off-roading. Examples of some of these include a jaunt to the Valley of the Giants, located about 15 kilometers south of town, where you can see gigiantic cardon cactus or a journey to the Sierra San Pedro de Martir mountains, the tallest in Baja.
San Felipe Festivals
For a town that has so few residents, San Felipe has a steady roster of festivals that periodically beef up the town’s population. For more information about Carnaval, the Shrimp Festival, the Blues & Arts Fiesta, and more, visit the events guide at Baja.com.
Well, you might not want to participate but you can certainly cheer them on. San Felipe is considered one of the most popular strategic places for off-road races in both the American and Mexican series. These include racing events such as Baja 250 and San Felipe 250, the former a spin-off from the Baja 1000 and the latter similar to SCORE’s Baja Series by hosted by CODE, an off-road racing organization based in Mexicali.