FAQs

Do I need a Mexican visa and if so, how do I obtain one? Mexican law states: If you sign a contract, rent a house, buy a house, or lease property (i.e., campos), you are no longer a “tourist” and therefore, are required to apply for an immigrant visa (The Mexican equivalent of the US’ “Green Card”). Here’s detailed information on obtaining the visa, as well as other immigration documents, and look in our Business pages for Visa Services.

What is the weather like in San Felipe? The weather varies, but it is generally pleasant during the day throughout most of the winter – with temperatures dropping into the low 50’s in the evening. Spring is very nice but also quite short – 70’s to 80’s F during the days and 60’s F in the evenings. Summers are hot and humid around 90-100 F with 50-60% RH and there is relatively little change at night. Water temperatures in the summer reach around 90 F. Late August and September are the most likely times for us to get a significant rainfall as this is when the Pacific hurricane season is in full swing. In general we have several days warning of any major storm coming to the region so that planning your trip during this time is still quite easy. At any time of the year it can become very windy, often with very strong breezes that last for a day or two. Here’s a look at our current weather

Can I fly into San Felipe? If so, which airlines? Yes, you can fly on a commercial carrier (Seaport Airlines) between San Diego and San Felipe. More info on our Flying Page.

What is the fishing like in San Felipe? Fishing out in a boat or on a fishing tour can be excellent down here. Here’s a look at the Tony Reyes’ Fishing Reports. Fishing from the shore is poor – you may catch a few stingrays. Don’t forget to buy a license if you fish from a boat (not needed for shore fishing).

What is there to do, once I get to San Felipe? There are plenty of things to do here to keep you busy. During the winter is an ideal time to go out and explore the deserts. We recommend a 4 wheel drive vehicle and a GPS for navigation. Be back in town before dusk! There are wonderful fossil beds and abandoned mines to see as well as waterfalls and pools for swimming at the base of the mountains to our west. The basic route to get there is to take the road to the west from the Mexicali highway next to the San Felipe Storage Company building. It is signposted “Colonia Morelia”. Allow one hour for the trip out to the foothills; take plenty of water and have a picnic. Note that the terrain on the way to the foothills can be very dusty – you will likely be crossing dry lake beds and the surface is a very fine silt. The best vehicles for crossing such ground are the local dune buggies. If you have a heavy SUV be very cautious and carry a spade and some matting in case you get stuck. In the summer, you will want to stay very close to the sea and take it easy. A windsurfer or Hobie can be a wonderful way to relax for a day and many people bring down Skidoos and small boats. There is a free launch ramp on the south side of the harbor. Kite-surfing is becoming very popular – the best season for this is November through March when we have strong northerly winds. You can find other things to do by looking at a fishing charter or rent an ATV. Note that shopping is very limited – unless you like buying T-shirts or pottery. Take a look at our Things To Do page for more info.

I’m looking for a place to stay while visiting San Felipe. Can you recommend a place?  We always recommend our advertisers, for obvious reasons. However, if you know of a place and would like our personal critique, we can do that. There’s a wide variety of bed and breakfasts, hotels and motels, campgrounds and resorts – just check HERE . Bear in mind that San Felipe is all about the beach and the Sea of Cortez. In general, the closer to the beach that you are, the more satisfying your vacation will be.

Can you recommend a good restaurant? We are loaded with great places to eat. Whether it be a pastry from one of our local bakeries or a five course meal at one of our fine restaurants – we have it. Do you like fish tacos? They were invented in San Felipe. More info on our Dining Out page.

I want to fly into San Diego and rent a car to drive to Mexico. Many major car rental companies will not allow you to take their vehicles into Mexico and doing so without permission can result in major problems if you get involved in an accident or are stopped by the police. Samller, local rental agencies will permit you to take their cars across the border though you will have to buy insurance to cover any loss. We suggest you try  California-Baja Rent-a-car.

Are passports required to visit San Felipe? Passports and visas are not required by the Mexican authorities to enter Mexico and travel to San Felipe. However, for visitors driving across the border, passports or a passport card to re-enter the USA is required as of June 2009. See our Getting Here page for the latest info on what documents and identification is acceptable for re-entering the United States.

My family and I are planning to drive from Las Vegas to San Felipe along with our 25′ fishing boat. My question is,  can you help us is finding a suitable mooring or slip for our boat. SINGLAIR, the government development agency responsible for the “Escalera nautica” project has now installed a boat dock and a marina in San Felipe. Yachts up to 60 feet in length can be accommodated. You can find details and make bookings at the FONATUR website here. Allow around $16 dollars/night for a 35 foot boat to be birthed in San Felipe, $11/night for a 25 foot boat. You will need all your papers (ownership, proof of insurance, tourist visa) to present at the harbor masters office to be able to moor the boat.

My husband and I will be visiting your city this summer and would like to spend several days fishing. We would like to hire a panga and would greatly appreciate any information you could give us on how to do this. It is quite possible to hire a panga and a fisherman guide. If you stroll to the north end of the Malecon, opposite Rosita’s restaurant, you will find many fishermen that will take you out for a day trip. It is best to arrange a day ahead. You can negotiate a price based upon how many in your party and how far you wish to go. Rates go from about $50 per person for local trips around the bay (minimum 2 persons), or about $250 for a day trip to the Konsag rock, about 20 miles out in the Gulf. Food and beverages can also be provided. You should also buy a fishing license, around $15/week per person. If you are staying in a beachfront hotel or condominium, you can have your panguero bring the boat directly to your beach to pick you up. If you are adventurous fishermen and want a unique experience, you might also consider going out on a 3- 6 day charter ( for example on one of Tony Reyes boats ) These tours are very popular and whole families will occasionally go on such trips which cruise down to the Midriff islands about 100 miles south of San Felipe. The crew looks after you very well.

My husband and I are trying to find an R.V. Resort, we have 6 motorhomes coming with us. We would like it on the beach, can you help us with some information? Your options are very limited now that most of the campos are being converted to real estate developments.  You can see the available options on this page.

is it a good idea to bring my jet-ski to San Felipe for a few days in December? Short answer: No. Jet-skis are quite the thing, especially in summer when the water is warm (around 90 degrees). If you like cool (60 degree) water and occasional wind-blown waves you will be in Paradise in December. If you are in town, then you can launch from the El Cortez Hotel boat ramp or the ramp at the south end of the harbor. Don’t forget to buy Mexican auto insurance that covers the trailer and jet-ski. Check our Business Pages for Mexican Insurance options.

We are traveling from California to San Felipe, staying at El Dorado Ranch in December. I will be crossing the boarder at Mexicali with a small dog. We have a rabies vaccination certificate for the dog. Do we need anything more to bring the dog into Mexico and then back to the US? Do we need to stop somewhere when crossing the boarder into Mexico and show the papers for the dog? No. You have everything you need. It is very unusual to be asked to produce these papers but definitely good to have them with you.

We have a casa in San Felipe and visit 3-4 times per year. Is there a permit that can be purchased for special lane crossing at the border? If so, do you know the cost, and the procedure to purchase this permit or pass? – If you cross on a daily basis it is probably worth applying for a SENTRI pass. For 3-4 times per year you might have less aggravation just planning your border crossings – for example 11 a.m. on Wednesday mornings. If you are a frequent crosser look here for details of the SENTRI program.

Can you tell me where Campo Ocotillo is located in relation to San Felipe? – it is about 7 miles north of the Arches on the east side of the Mexicali road.

I am coming down with 7 friends and we were wondering if we should just bring American Cash with us or if we should bring Pesos down. We will pay our hotel by credit card (I assume this is acceptable) but do the smaller local merchants accept American or do they prefer pesos? We are from Canada so would like to know prior to leaving here what is best. It would be cheaper for us to change currencies once versus twice. – U.S. Dollars are accepted everywhere in San Felipe (except for paying the electricity bills). Merchants are glad to get your dollars. Also be sure to check with your hotel that they take credit cards. Some small places do not.

We are staying in Yuma and would like to visit San Felipe for a couple of days. Can I cross at San Luis or Algodones and get there without any bad roads or trouble ? – Yes. The roads are reasonably good but confusingly signposted if you take the Algodones route. Los Algodones is attractive mainly for its pharmacies and optical stores. If you cross at San Luis, You will get straight on Route 2 – the road to Mexicali. Then look for a sign “Libramiento a Mexicali- Tijuana” this is the new toll road that goes from San Luis to Tijuana and skirts Mexicali. It is well worth taking this route. It will cross the highway 5 to San Felipe just south of Mexicali and you will be able to avoid the traffic of the capital city.

updated Jan 2015