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The Other Side of Baja

Seafood, the Sea of Cortez, and ancient cacti are the draw in San Felipe.


The San Felipe Marina Resort sans Spring Breakers—a breath of fresh air! | Photo By Archana Ram

After years spent as a Spring Break hotspot, time and a slower economy have transformed San Felipe, a seaside town located 245 miles south of San Diego, into a laid-back and affordable destination with a focus on the outdoors, thanks in large part to its location along the warm, turquoise waters of the Sea of Cortez. And with SeaPort Airlines’ recently launched direct flights from San Diego, getting there is suddenly much easier. (The planes are single-engine nine-seaters, which can be either fun or frightening, depending on the passenger.)

An ideal home base for exploring, the orange-hued San Felipe Marina Resort is situated on a private beach stocked with beach chairs, palapas, a volleyball net, and kayak rentals. For longer stays, try a six-day fishing tour with popular guide Tony Reyes, who organizes excursions that start in San Felipe and sail 250 miles south along the Baja coast. Looking for dry land pursuits? Head to the Valley of the Giants, an awe-inspiring 200-acre park just 9 miles from town that’s filled with enormous cacti, some of which are 2,000 years old.

Taqueria Adriana

All that calorie-burning is sure to build up an appetite. After a chilaquiles breakfast at the Marina Resort’s El Secreto restaurant, head to the malécon, San Felipe’s main drag filled with open-air restaurants and shops. The Sweet Spot, run by former San Diego Charger D’Andre White, specializes in Southern style barbecue, while Taqueria Adriana, a no-frills seafood stand rumored to have been the inspiration for Rubio’s, has been making fish tacos since 1988. For more foodie delights, mark your calendars for the town’s ceviche festival August 30.

Hotel rooms start at $172 per night

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