Hotels, Rentals, and Camping
Given its proximity to the U.S. border, San Felipe has historically had pricier accommodations than similar Baja fishing towns. Outside of the peak months (Nov.–Apr.), though, prices may be as much as 30 percent lower. Rates shown here do not include 12 percent hotel tax or 10 percent service charge, unless specified.
Repeat guests continue to report satisfactory stays with the clean, friendly, and safe Chapala (Av. Mar de Cortés 142, tel. 686/577-1240, US$60). It’s a no-frills place, but you can’t beat the price. A short walk from the beach, Motel El Capitán (Av. Mar de Cortés 298, tel./fax 686/577-1303, toll-free U.S. tel. 866/540-7370, www.motelcapitan.com, US$50–60) has 45 clean rooms on two levels surrounding a parking lot and pool. Amenities include air-conditioning and TV.
Two blocks from the beach, La Hacienda de la Langosta Roja (Red Lobster, Calz. Chetumal 125, tel. 686/577-0483 or 800/967-0005, www.sanfelipelodging.com, US$50–60) is now managed by the El Dorado Ranch. The 39 rooms in this pink two-story building were recently refurnished, but they still feel a little Motel 6. Amenities include air-conditioning and satellite TV with 15 channels. Ask for a room in the front building.
Next to Bandodos’ Net, Hotel El Cortez (Av. Mar de Cortés, tel. 686/577-1055 or 686/577-1056, hotelcortez1 [at] prodigy [dot] net [dot] mx, US$85) has 112 basic rooms facing the beach. Take a look at one before you commit. The facilities here are in much better shape than the rooms themselves, which need an overhaul and more thorough day-to-day maintenance. The hotel has a swimming pool, boat launch, laundry facilities, palapas, and the Barefoot Bar. Its 112 rustic rooms come with air-conditioning, TVs, and phones.
The Caribe Motel (Av. Mar de Cortés at Calle Ensenada, across from the Costa Azul, US$40–80) opened in 2008 with 15 rooms. Those on the front side have decks and cost more. The motel is designed in a courtyard style, with two levels. Guestrooms are upstairs and off-street, plus there is secure parking below (each spot gets its own light). Vinyl curtains and tile floors make for harsh acoustics, but the rooms are large and come with cable TV and air-conditioning. Hot-water issues were still being worked out when we visited.
San Felipe Marina Resort and Spa (Km. 4.5, Carr. San Felipe-Puertecitos, tel. 686/577-1569 or 800/025-6925, toll-free U.S. tel. 800/291-5397, www.sanfelipemarina.net, US$130–150), has been renovated with new paint and fixtures. It’s located farther south off Avenida Camino del Sur and has rooms with kitchenettes decorated in bright colors and simple furnishings, but it’s not a resort in the five-star sense. Rooms are well worn, and amenities include only TV with limited channels and phones. Wi-Fi, for an extra charge, works from the lobby only. On the premises are two swimming pools (indoor and outdoor, not heated in winter), tennis courts, a restaurant/bar, and spa that still doesn’t seem to offer any treatments. Service is inconsistent—sometimes attentive and others times sorely lacking. The beach is the best part about a stay here.
Overlooking the sea on the road to Puertecitos, Las Casitas Beach and Tennis Resort (Km. 1.6, Carr. San Felipe-Puertecitos, tel. 686/577-1195 or 686/187-9422, toll-free U.S. tel. 877/270-2272, www.lascasitas.com.mx, US$110–130) has air-conditioned bungalows and studios with king-size beds and private decks.
New in 2009, Playa del Paraíso (Misión de Loreto 130, tel. 686/577 0822, toll-free U.S. tel. 888/647-5292, www.playadelparaiso.com, studio US$90–140, one-bedroom US$195) offers high-end condo-style accommodations in a new real estate development on the beach north of town. The property has an infinity pool and 200 units (some privately owned, others offered as hotel rooms) ranging from US$90 for a studio to US$400 for a three-bedroom condo.
Condominiums Playa Bonita (U.S. tel. 626/967-8977, www.sanfelipebeachcondos.com, US$60–125) has eight one-bedroom units on the beach and an adjoining RV park.
North of town, the gated El Dorado Ranch (tel. 686/576-0402, toll-free U.S. tel. 877/787-2624, www.eldoradoranch.com) development often has vacation rentals available in different sizes and at varying price points. Residents and guests may use community’s tennis club, restaurant/bar, palapas, heated pool, and hot tub.
The new La Ventana del Mar (toll-free U.S. tel. 877/787-2624, www.laventanadelmar.com, US$130–230 per night) has several two- and three-bedroom units complete and available for rent.
Camping and RV Parks
Condo developments have taken over some of San Felipe’s largest campgrounds in recent years. More than 20 campgrounds remain, but of these, few, if any, are designed with big rigs in mind. Amenities are often lacking, and you’ll have to battle the permanent and monthly renters to get a spot. In summer the parks that are located along the beach north of Punta San Felipe tend to stay cooler than those on Bahía San Felipe. A signature feature of the nicer San Felipe campgrounds are the palapa structures that provide a shady kitchen area underneath and a lookout deck on top. You can park your small RV under the structure or larger ones beside it.
Playa Bonita RV Park (tel. 686/577-1215, U.S. tel. 626/967-8977, www.playabonitaresort.com/rv/index.html, US$22–40 for full hookups) and Ruben’s RV Trailer Park (Av. Golfo de California 703, tel. 686/577-1442, US$20, full hookups only) both offer this type of palapa for their guests.
North of town, past the El Dorado resort, Big RV’s Camp (Km. 174–175, Mexico 5, U.S. tel. 760/427-6469, US$10–15 per night) can accommodate big rigs with full hookups. Pete’s Camp (Km. 178, Mexico 5, U.S. tel. 951/694-6704, www.petescamp.com) has 79 sites, but no hookups, for US$15.
Playa del Sol (Km. 182.5, Mexico 5, tel. 686/576-0292, US$10–15) has palapa-shaded tents and RV sites that overlook the beach. Limited amenities include the proximity to El Sol restaurant (Playa del Sol, Km 182.5, Mexico 5, tel. 686/576-0292, Wed.–Sun., mains US$5–10), which serves Mexican staples for lunch and dinner.
Budget camping options nearby include Marco’s (Av. Golfo de California 788, off Av. Mar de Caribe, tel. 686/577-1875 or -1842) and Vista del Mar (Av. Mar de Cortés 601, tel. 686/577-1252) at US$10–15 per vehicle. The tradeoff is you won’t be on the beach.
South of town, long-favored Campo San Felipe (Av. Mar de Cortés 301, tel. 686/577-1012, www.camposanfelipe.com, US$15–20) has 34 full-hookup sites, and Internet access, too. Playa de Laura RV Park (Av. Mar de Cortés 333, tel. 686/577-1128) offers just the basics, but it’s still a popular place. Rates are about US$10 for tents, US$16–30 for RVs, depending on how close you are to the beach.
At the far south end of town, Club de Pesca RV and Trailer Park (Av. Mar de Cortés, tel. 686/577-1180, fax 686/577-1888, clubdepescasf [at] yahoo [dot] com, US$15–20) is removed from much of the action in San Felipe but close enough that you can walk to the shops and restaurants. It has 54 spots, many of them reserved for permanent residents. Call ahead.
© Nikki Goth Itoi from Moon Baja, 9th Edition