The SpaceThe setting of this home is right out of a dream. Of all the world's oceans, Jacques Cousteau favored the Sea of Cortez, calling it "The Aquarium of the World." His favorite body of water fills two walls of glass directly in front of this expansive home.
The photos say it all: Stunning views...empty white-sand beaches...ultra-clear skies. And the only sounds you're likely to hear are the gentle surf and ocean breezes.
There's really no other place like Baja California, The pristine land has changed little since Fernando Cortés first saw it in 1533. And every sunrise over the sea begins the day in spectacular fashion.
Our huge front room combines living, dining, and kitchen into one 700-square-foot space, with four sets of doors which open to a broad Spanish-style veranda. Spend the day reading in the lounge chairs, mixing a drink or two at the hand-carved bar, or walking on miles of secluded beach.
The kitchen area offers 20 feet of counter space, while a massive wooden dining table easily accommodates your entire group for memorable meals.
Each of the three spacious bedrooms features a queen bed, while the two bathrooms feature large showers. There's also a queen platform airbed for children or extra guests.
The town of San Felipe is completely safe and friendly -- and unlike a Cabo or Cancun, it offers an *authentic* Mexico experience.
(If anyone in your group has concerns about Baja, search the following for a great Lonely Planet article: "Are Americans Safer in Mexico than at Home?")
In Baja, wild nature is everywhere. The houses range from humble one-room shacks to desert palaces. As you can see in the photos, our home is nicer than average, yet still simple and casual, by design.
Despite the incomparable setting, this is still a Baja beach house -- not a designer bungalow on Nantucket.
Please note that the house is off the grid, with a solar electric system, a rooftop tank holding mountain spring water, plus a propane fridge, stove and water heater. Everything usually works just fine, but conservation has real meaning here, and there is always a measure of unpredictability when you go greener.
In short, if you require a concierge to run your holidays, can't stand a little dust from the desert, or would be horrified to light a candle if the lights go out, our beach house is not the ideal spot for you. This is a place for hearty living -- a place Steinbeck would have loved.
It takes only 5 to 10 minutes to travel from this isolated beachfront retreat to all the shopping, restaurants, nightclubs, and other attractions of North San Felipe and the Malecon.
Dining options range from casual to fine. Regardless of which you choose, you'll love the freshness, taste, and purity of San Felipe's seafood-focused cuisine. (Arid Baja has none of the "issues" of mainland Mexico.)
At your doorstep await unforgettable wilderness adventures, in untouched desert backcountry where mountains soar 10,000 feet over huge dry lakes.
The Sea of Cortez (also known as the Mar de Cortés and Vermilion Sea) offers kayaking, windsurfing, boating, fishing, and more.
And after sunset, clear air and virtually no ambient light ensure the finest skies left on this planet.
All just a 5 1/2-hour drive from Los Angeles...4 hours from San Diego.
* Mapping for Mexico is a bit difficult. You can enter "San Felipe, Baja California, Mexico" in the most popular mapping program, zoom out till you see El Dorado Ranch and Playa Hawaii north of San Felipe. Our home is on the beach in this area.
* Biologically speaking the Sea of Cortez is the richest body of water on the planet. This diverse sea supports more than 900 varieties of fish, and more than 2,000 species of marine invertebrates.
* The house features solar power, with battery reserves for the evenings, and there are additional independent solar lights. The refrigerator, kitchen stove, and water heater are fired by propane. Please note that the propane fridge is not as cold as a typical electric unit. It's a good idea to load items already cold from an ice chest.
* Spring water is trucked in, and stored in a 1,000-gallon tank. The first tanks of water and propane are included. If a water refill is required, you pay the $50. The cost of a propane refill is about $15.
* There is no AC, no landline, and no internet at the house. Disconnecting for awhile is a blessing, but if necessary, you can use high-speed internet at the Baja Highlands office in town, or at a local cafe.
* Note that Baja can be HOT, especially from mid-May to mid-September. In Summer, typical temperatures are 90s or low 100s during the day, and 70s to 80s at night.
* Pets are welcome.
* Please smoke on the veranda.
* Sheets are provided for the three beds. You should bring bath and beach towels, as well as your favorite toiletries, including paper.
* Basic kitchenware is provided. There are often extra paper towels, garbage bags, and dish soap, but bring some of your own, or buy it locally.
* There is a charcoal barbecue grill.
* A 600-square-foot garage with RV doors is available at modest cost with advance arrangements -- but there's plenty of easy parking outdoors on approx. 1 1/2 acres.
* If you have kids, please note that the bluff in front of the house is about 20 feet above the sand.
* The closest path to the beach is in the arroyo just south of the house. There is also a road to the beach which begins about 150 feet above the entrance to the property. Turn right at the first opportunity, then follow the road right/left as it winds down to the sand. The beach itself is fine sand, and deep in places. Motorcycles and ATVs are welcome. For four-wheeled vehicles, 4WD is essential.
* Kayaks and other small watercraft can be launched easily from the beach. Be aware of the tides! The Gulf of California has one of the largest tidal ranges in the world, and at low tide, the ocean recedes far from the beach for a few hours.
* PWCs and boats on trailers can also be launched from the beach. A 4WD tow vehicle is essential. Again, be aware of the tides.
* There is a wood-burning fireplace. In the unlikely event that you want to use this heat source (sometimes, in Winter), bring your own firewood, as you will find little/none in Baja.
* There are large supermarkets in central San Felipe (such as Calimax, on the main drag). You can get fresh food and everything else you might need at reasonable prices.
* Wheelchair access to the home is fairly easy. The showers are very large, but otherwise of standard design.
* It costs over $100 to get an off-grid home ready for each guest, so generally there is a three-night minimum. Of course you are free to pay for the three nights and enjoy the home for 2 3/4 days. ;)
* Snowbird? Looking for a long-term retreat? Low rates are available to quality candidates. Guest AccessVeranda, hammock, beach, sunsets...repeat. Other Things to Note1. Don’t worry about the troubles you may have read about, as the gang conflicts (equivalent to Mafia battles in the U.S.) have largely stopped, and there never was any of that in San Felipe or smaller Baja towns.
2. You should note that even at the height of the troubles, any foreigner has been safer in Mexico than in any U.S. city. A lot safer.
But don't take our word for it. Search the following Lonely Planet article on the web:
Are Americans safer in Mexico than at home?