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San Felipe FAQs


Where is San Felipe located in Baja?
San Felipe is about 125 miles south of the international border between Calexico, California and Mexicali, Baja California.  It is 236 miles from San Diego, and 374 miles from Pheonix. From the western coast of Baja, a scenic trip from Ensenada on Highway 3 and then cutting south on Mexico Highway 5 brings visitors to the town.  Marking the way are the dramatic craggy peaks of Sierra San Pedro Martir, the tallest mountains in Baja.

What phone numbers should I call in an emergency?

  • Tourism Department – 078
  • Legal Assistance – 061
  • Police – 060

What is the best way to get to San Felipe?
Most visitors arrive in this isolated town by car, SUV or RV, although there is a small international airport for private charters.  Arriving on either Highway 3 from the west (Ensenada) or from Mexico Highway 5 from the north (Mexicali), there is a military checkpoint where the two highways merge.  This is a routine stop, generally taking just a few minutes.  From this point, it is only another 15-20 minutes south, before you begin arriving at various camps and hotels, Pemex gas stations and restaurants on the outskirts of town.

What does it cost to visit San Felipe?
San Felipe is one of Baja’s most reasonable beach towns.  With everything from camping, to motels and hotels, there are accommodations for every budget.  Food is inexpensive, particularly in grocery stores and specialty markets (for fish, beef, tortillas, etc.).  It would be easy for a couple to have a nice weekend in San Felipe, with two nights accommodation and lunch and dinner on both days, for $300-$400.

What does it cost to live in San Felipe?
The cost of living in this town is affordable…far more so than the cost of living in the United States, or even on the northern Pacific Coast of Baja.  That is driven, to some degree, by the fact that San Felipe has a smaller selection of stores (no CostCos, for instance) and residents buy local, seasonal ingredients, thereby keeping costs down.  Real estate is more affordable, as well, and it is always a huge benefit that property taxes are in the  low hundreds, not the thousands.

What is the climate like in San Felipe?
The fact that the population surges in late October and then plunges in early May is a clue that San Felipe experiences dynamic temperature change.  From October, the days are generally mellow and warm and the nights cool.  There can be rain and some chill in the midst of winter, but typically San Felipe is an ideal retreat for ‘snowbirds’ — those from the wintry northern climates in the US and Canada — for six to seven months of the year.  May through September are hot, sometimes very hot, and sometimes humid.  But no matter what time of year, there is always the beautiful Sea of Cortez that glimmers and shines, beckoning visitors.

What kind of accommodations are there in San Felipe?
From famous Pete’s Fishing Camp, to RV camps, to motels, hotels and even new-construction vacation rentals, everything is available in San Felipe.  It is not the place where you’ll find five-star luxury spas and resorts, but it is the kind of area where family-friendly lodgings abound.  For more information, visit our Stay–San Felipe overview.

What foods should I try in the region?
San Felipe, on the Sea of Cortez, is famous for its seafood and most specially its blue shrimp, which comes into season in the fall (find out more about the Shrimp Festival in November by visiting our Attend–San Felipe section.  Along the city’s malecon, there are numerous restaurants where you can sample basic regional fare, from lobsters and fish to tacos, rice and beans.

Where should I buy groceries in San Felipe?
There are many grocery stores, convenience stores and markets throughout the San Felipe area.

How do I make phone calls or use the internet in San Felipe?
Public pay phones are available thoughout town. You can purchase a phone card (available at most pharmacies, gas stations and stores in denominations of $50 and $100 pesos). The instructions on the phones are easy to follow and this is the cheapest way to phone the States or Canada. San Felipe phone numbers consist of 7 digits (686 + phone number). To call the US or Canada, diall 001+area code and number.  You can also use your cell phone by contacting your cellular carrier in advance and setting up a plan.  You can also go to one of the cellular companies in San Felipe and they will provide you will a Mexican phone number for a nominal fee.

Does San Felipe have internet acces?
Some vacation rental facilities and hotels have wifi and there are several internet cafes in town.

Are there ATMs in town and what kind of currency should I use in San Felipe?
Yes.  The banks have ATMs, as does the Pemex station that is right at the town’s entry area. All ATMs dispense in pesos.  You can use American dollars or Mexican pesos in town; just be aware of the current exchange rates when you do so.

Do I need to speak Spanish in order to communciate?
It is helpful to speak some Spanish, but almost everyone speaks a little English. If not, and you need help, someone almost always comes forth in a restaurant, store, or wherever you might be, to help out. You will find the people to be very helpful and very friendly.

What about drugs and alcohol?
You must be 18 years of age or older, to consume alcohol. It is against the law to drink alcohol on the
streets. Driving while drinking is also against the law. Using drugs is a criminal offense.

What should I do if I am lost or have any kind of a problem?
If you have any issues, you should dial 078, the Tourist Assistance Hotline which operates 24/7. It is similar to 911 in the U.S.,  except that you will be assisted with whatever need you have.

What are the most popular activities in San Felipe?
Perhaps the most popular thing to do is stroll the malecon that fronts the beautiful Sea of Cortez and is lined, on the opposite side, with restaurants.  There is a golf course just outside of town, and San Felipe is host to many fishing charters.  Hiking in the desert or nearby mountains, or ATV-ing and off-roading, are also major San Felipe past-times.