Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Beach Paradise At Last!

All good things come to those who wait!

After 4 noisy, dusty nights parked next to the sand dune of racing ATVs and dune buggies, the hoard of race fans went home.  We were finally rewarded with our pick of the best of the 2 best beachfront campsites in all of San Felipe!  It didn't take more than a few minutes for Hans, Ursula, and I to decide to extend our stay here an extra week.

Now, we'd finally get to discover some real San Felipe living!

Our campground, Club de Pesca, is about 1 mile south of downtown San Felipe, but along the beach, it's even closer.  As our first beach day ended, we started hearing banda music coming from the malecon....lots and lots of banda music!  This called for a walk up the beach to check things out!

Apparently, the tradition in San Felipe is for the locals to have a fiesta on the Sunday night the big San Felipe 250 race crowds go home (celebrating their town returning back to normal perhaps?).  Who knows.  But we were about the only Gringos there, and it was a fun night!

There were bandas playing on the beach...

and bandas on the malecon...

This little video gives you a good sense of the sounds and sights of the evening:

Even a caballero and his horse were out enjoying the party!

Our subsequent lazy days on the beach soon fell into a daily Margaritaville rhythm.  Days started early with gorgeous sunrises like this one to enjoy:

Morning would often bring a few hours of kayaking up and down the bay.

Off to town!

Of course, every kayak trip needs a selfie!

Posing in front of San Felipe's lighthouse and it's Lady of Guadalupe monument

After a few hours, tired arms were always happy to see their little Winnie home!

Mid-day would usually call for a walk into town with Hans and Ursula to test out "yet another" fish taco restaurant.  Our favorite turned out to be El Guero.  Great fish and shrimp tacos for just over $1 a piece, terrific limonada, and a nice view of the Sea and malecon.  Can't beat that!

Afterwards, we'd walk off lunch with a little "window shopping" (perusing the tourist trinkets for sale up and down the sidewalks).

Lots of "good deals" on leftover race t-shirts

"Lady, you need a little drum or guitar for your tiny RV home?"
The malecon was a never-ending source of entertainment.

 One day after lunch, we decided to hike up the hill to the Lady of Guadalupe monument.  Ursula loves to climb hills!

Time for some photos at the top!
The views from the hilltop were quite spectacular!

Nice close look at the Lighthouse and north bay

A grand vista of the San Felipe malecon
 The town's main boat launch is just below the Lady Guadalupe at the base of the hill, so we had a prime view of all the fishing pangas coming and going.  The tide is quite extreme at San Felipe (some 20 feet of difference between high and low tide!).  So watching these crazy truck drivers back their boat trailers WAY out into the rapidly diminishing sea waters was a drama we'd never witnessed before.

One truck had to go so far into the water to get his panga that we thought for sure he'd stall his truck and be carried out to sea!  Here's the thrilling video of his rescue attempt:

Lady Guadalupe must have been smiling on them this day!

The panga on the right (in the video) was not so lucky.  The tide receded before their truck/trailer could get them out.  So, they had no other option but to unhitch the trailer and transfer their huge load of fish into the back of the pickup (not just once, but twice!) to rush their catch to the fish market before it spoiled.

Some leftover fish went to the townspeople who had rushed down to the boat to help the fishermen unload it.  Not a bad payment for a half-hour's work!

Back at our campo, afternoons would call for a little siesta time in my recliner to sit and watch the world go by.

One day, I watched a pair of common mergansers swim by...

Another day, it was this panga pulling his inflatable banana boat and a giant sombrero!

A few afternoons found this group of Mexican rowers with their coach motoring along beside them in his pontoon boat barking out "motivation" via his megaphone.  Mexican rowing team practicing for the Summer Olympics perhaps?

There was never a dull boat out in the sea.  This schooner came by one day loaded to the brim with tourists... 

This Mexican Navy ship was a frequent sight--  

We later learned that it's mission is to patrol and stop illegal poachers of totoaba fish (whose dried swim bladders are a delicacy in China fetching over $10,000 per kg).  The poachers use gillnets which are inadvertently killing the highly endangered vaquita porpoise (less than 100 vaquitas remain in the northern Sea of Cortez).  Mexico banned gillnets in this area of the sea last year in hopes of saving the vaquita from extinction.

Perhaps my favorite sight of all was this catamaran.  You don't see this out your front RV windshield very often!

Only one afternoon during our stay was cloudy and stormy.  But afterwards, it brought the most wonderful "golden hour" lighting to our beach (which, at low tide, is quite a lot of beach!):

To compare, here's what our beach looks like at high tide (see that watermark in the sand?  Wouldn't want to camp here if it were any higher!):

When the sun would get low on the horizon behind us, it was time to circle the chairs around a tiny camp table, have our "sundowners", share some appetizers or a dinner together, maybe take an evening stroll along the beach, and watch the sunset's colors continuous change our view of the sea.

Such a hard life being retired!

For those of you who have never tried RVing in Mexico and are looking for an easy introduction, San Felipe's seaside paradise awaits you just 2 hours south of El Centro, California.  Give it a try!


  1. Awesome post on village of San Felipe. I just returned last week, the tides under the new moon are even more dramatic. It'll always be one of our favorite getaway destinations and you certainly have found a way to capture the local flavor. Thanks Lynne!

    1. Thanks Jeff-- I hope to boondock at your beach casa next time I visit!

  2. You have been having a wonderful time, thanks for sharing with us.

    1. You're welcome! San Felipe was certainly the highlight of our trip to Baja this year!

  3. I would def go there its wonderful!

  4. What a grand adventure. We are also camping at the beach, but in Oregon. We are camp hosts at a state park. Our weather is not quite as nice, but the sights are just as beautiful!

    1. Sounds like a fun gig. I loved the OR coast when I was there in '08. Hoping to get back this summer if the RVing stars align!

  5. Love San Felipe, the first place we Rved in Mexico. Is where you stayed still dry camping? Great photos of the area.

    1. Nope, we had full hookups on a concrete slab, and even had free wifi! All for the ridiculously low price of $21/night (thanks to strong USD exchange rate)!

  6. What nice views! Perfect perch from your View at the shore. Lovely. Thank you, Lynne.

  7. Ahhhhh, living the dream! Living the dream! Thanks for sharing so we can dream too! :)

  8. We are here now in San Felipe enjoying some Baja. Sending some positive vibes your way. Salud!

    1. So jealous Scott! I've been having some serious Baja fish taco cravings lately! Enjoy San Felipe and your time in Baja!


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