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PUERTECITOS   (GPS coordinates 30'92 N ~ 114'70 W)   is the end of the more ways than one! Yes, this is where the blacktop from SAN FELIPE stops (actually just 8 miles south of town) and the rough dirt road south to GONZAGA BAY starts as the Baja traveler heads into more remote sections of the Peninsula. However this is also where conventional thinking stops and almost anything goes. Puertecitos is an interesting place and a bit difficult to describe. "Long on character" would be a good start!


This eclectic collection of mostly north American vacationers and ex-patriots is unlike any other town in Baja. For that matter, it is unlike any other town on the planet Earth. As the town gradually continues to grow north and south of town, the area seems to be taking on some form of normalcy, although the core of the town seems intent on staying "out there".

Although the bay has been a stopping point on the Sea of Cortez for hundreds of years, the area was first permanently settled in 1949 by Rafael Orozco. His daughter Clara still resides in the village, carrying on her father's tradition of hosting weary travelers at the hotel and campground on the bay. Carlos Fiesta ran out of gas and landed on the small airstrip in mid-town a few years and back Clara was very helpful in his quest for fuel.

There are over a hundred homes and mobile homes here, most lying on a low hill which overlook the Sea of Cortez on the east side and the inner bay of Puertecitos on the west side. This bay is gorgeous at high tide and less so at low tide. Despite all of the homes scattered around town only about 20 gringo families live here full time. Others fly or drive in for short periods of time.

If there are any street or road signs missing from your home town you may very well find them here, nailed artistically to the side of someone's house. An no, that boat on top of that house at the south end of town (the "Norma E") did not float up there during an unusually high tide. Somebody actually put it up there!

There are many other interesting things to be viewed as one drives around Puertecitos. If someone is manning the guard house heading up to the main residential area (rare) you may have to pay a small fee to gain access to this part of town. You can consider this fee your small donation to help the local economy, whatever that might be.

The seaside Hot Springs at the bottom of the bluffs on the south east side of town are the perfect place to soak after a hard day of exploring Baja.

Puertecitos shares the same arid climate as SAN FELIPE. An average of only 2 inches of rain falls here per year. And there are times when the area goes years without any rain!

There is a welding and machine shop just east of the main part of town, "Taller Panama". Panama himself (Jay Denewith) is a mechanic that can probably fix whatever you can break. His services might come in handy to put your vehicle back together after the shake, rattle and roll of the road from GONZAGA BAY. If you are headed further south, Puertecitos is your last chance to buy much of anything before Rancho Grande Market in Gonzaga Bay. As you enter town, on the left side of the road, a small plywood-sided store sells some basic items but don't expect much.

The dirt airstip crammed in between the houses mid-village is actually functional, as Carlos Fiesta found out when the plane he was flying in ran out of fuel on a return trip from Punta San Francisquito (head winds). The dirt is a bit soft at the south end but the strip is fairly level and clear of obstructions. Pilots needing gasoline can taxi to the west and park on a cement ramp just southeast of the Pemex station, which is always closed. Gas is usually available in town from 55 gallon drums.

If you want to sneak down to the beach at the foot of the bay there is a short road that leads to the beach just past the closed Pemex station (hang left).

The road from San Felipe to Puertocitos has improved. Road crews were working on this stretch to the south and most of this blacktop is now in good shape all the way south 8 miles past town.

Almost any vehicle can make it to Puertecitos. Carlos Fiesta had made this run in an old Audi with no ground clearance, various Fords, and in 2005 in a old beat-to-death Buick with obsolutely no shocks. Vehicles with low clearance just need to take it slow.

Thinking about moving south of the border? Visit the web site of BAJA RELOCATION for a head's up for what awaits you.

If you would like to see what Puetecitos looks like FROM SPACE check it out!

Puertecitos was one of the coastal stops for Carlos Fiesta on his 2,200 mile SOLO BAJA CIRCUMNAVIGATION!

The Enchanted Islands south of Puertecitos offer raw nature and beauty few visitors are able to experience. Take an excursion and check it out.

To purchase a good map of the Baja Peninsula visit the web site of MEXICO MAPS.



The population of gringos to Mexicans in Puertecitos is about 50 / 50. Most of the gringos live on the hill just east of the highway that runs through town, up past the gate house. The gate house is usually unmanned and driving up througb the gringo neighborhood is quite interesting. The lack of services in town makes most gringos head further south to GONZAGA BAY or an hour north to SAN FELIPE.



As you slowly head into town totally amazed by the lack of continuity and planning that somehow fell together as a town, head for the bay at the south end of town. This is the perfect place to get out of your car and enjoy the view of the beautiful natural harbor and the Sea of Cortez. If you are lucky the restaurant that fronts the bay will be open. If so, pull up a chair, order a cold drink and relax.


CARLOS FIESTA'S HOT TIP: A natural hot springs on the east side of the residential hill is cooled to just the right temperature at higher tides as the incoming seas cool the boiling hot water down to perfect spa temperatures! This is a great place to relax those sore muscles and sip a cold one! Taking all of your trash when leaving is greatly appreciated by the locals.





It is obvious from the general looks of this seaside town that Puertecitos is not a 'beachy' community. The main harbor in town is does have a sandy beach, and when the weather is right this can be a nice place to relax.

Most of the better beaches are just north or south of town, accessible off the blacktop by decent dirt roads. Spectacular beaches await the Baja traveler further south in Gonzaga Bay.



There are many miles of beaches which start just north of town and head all the way up towards SAN FELIPE. They are all usually very quiet, local residents here enjoy the solitude.



    Located just a few miles north of Puerte, head east at the sign and take the dirt road to the Sea of Cortez.
    A small, quiet beach, perfect for doing nothing!



    Located about one mile north of town, head east at the small sign and take the dirt road to the beach.
    Another small, isolated beach where it is so quiet you can actually hear the hairs move on your arm.



    Located right in town in the harbor, on the innermost portion of the main bay.
    A decent sandy beach at high tide, the sea goes w-a-y out at low tide.




Organized camping is not big in Puertecitos, as this is not really a destination for most Baja travelers looking to camp out. With all of the camping available around and south of San Felipe, most visitors here are generally on their way to the great beaches of GONZAGA BAY, a few hours south.

This strip of coast is pretty desolate, and it is possible that certain camp areas might be abandoned from time to time, especially during the hottest months of summer.

There are two camping locations right in town on the main beach facing the bay. One is just east of the Puertecitos Hotel and the other is just 50 yards east next to the Puertecitos Restaurant. Both of these camping areas are just up from the sand and water, and at high tide the water laps just 20 feet from the camping areas.

Camping options north to south of town include:



    Located just north of town, head east at the sign.
    Basic camping on a quiet beach.



    Located right smack dab in town, next to the restaurant.
    14 spaces / concrete pads / toilets / restaurant / store / ramp / palapas.



    Located about 22 miles north of Puertecitos, east of the dirt road to the Sea of Cortez.
    Tents / toilets / family camping.



    Located approximately 16 miles north of town, go east at the sign on the highway.
    Tents / primitive camping / long beach.



    Located roughly 12 miles north of Puertecitos off of the blacktop and east.
    5 palapas / concrete pads / tents welcome.



    Located about 9 miles north of Puertecitos, head west at the small sign.
    Primitive camping.



    Approximately 5 miles north of town, east at the dirt road.
    Boat rentals / toilets / basic camping.



    Just north of town about 3 miles north of Puertecitos.
    Very private / tents welcome.



    Close to town, just north, about 2 miles north, then east at the dirt road.
    tents / pit toilets / small store sometimes open / small cove.



    Located one mile north of town, just east of the blacktop.
    Tents / pit toilets / cold showers / pangas for rent / nice beach.





The waters off of Puertecitos offer good fishing. There is a good launch ramp near the point, south east of the bay. Some of the locals own boats, and occasionally head out for half day excursions.

Organized fishing has not yet reached Puertecitos, but the Baja traveler can usually track down someone in town who will take them out for a few hours.

The Islas de las Encantadas (Enchanted Islands) south of Puertecitos is a good destination for a day excursion.

For more information on fishing in Baja drop by our extensive BAJA FISHING section or drop by our fishing section in our San Felipe directory.

For more information on obtaining the proper fishing documentation required for dipping your hook in Baja waters check with the professionals at MEXICO ADVISORY SERVICES.

Most of the fishing in the area is based out of San Felipe, just north of Puertecitos.



    Telephone 011-52 (686) 577-1120.
    Avenida Mar Bermejo #130, San Felipe, Baja California.
    Many year experience in tight lines in San Felipe!






    There is one small motel in Puertecitos, located right on the beach at the base of the bay, called Puertecitos Hotel. It offers 4 ocean front rooms (under $50) and 4 more rooms back from the beach behind the open-air courtyard. The hotel's exterior is not very well maintained but the rooms are somewhat tidy and definately spacious.

    This seaside village is mostly a collection of part-time 'permanents' (how's that for an oxymoron?) and does not offer most Baja travelers very much in the way of services.

    The only other accommodations in a 60 mile radius are the hotels in SAN FELIPE 48 miles to the north, and the 16 "new and improved" rooms at Alfonsina's in GONZAGA BAY to the south.

    The San Felipe options include:<


      Telephone 011-52 (686) 577-1328 * 011-52 (686) 577-1183.
      Calz. Chetumal and Avenida Mar de Cortez.
      The perfect San Felipe location, if you want to be right in the middle of all the action!
      Located in central San Felipe on Chetumal at Mar de Cortez, running right through to the waterfront at Paseo Malecon.
      Number of rooms: 12.
      Air conditioning / beach-view patio / parking / televisions / walk to beach-shopping-bars.
      The rear patio of this sleepy motel faces all the action in San Felipe! The fact that the hotel adjoins the wonderful Baja Mar Seafood Restaurant is the icing on the cake! Economy rates. Carlos Fiesta loves this little motel!
      Room number 5 is the largest, has 3 beds, an ocean view and a small kitchenette area for about $65.



      Telephone 011-52 (686) 577-1455.
      Toll free (800) 262-4500 * (800) 291-5397.
      Fax 011-52 (657) 7-1566.
      Km. 4.5 Carretera, San Felipe Aeropuerto, San Felipe, Baja California, Mexico.
      South of town 3 miles, on the beach!
      Number of rooms: 60.
      Rooms and 8 private villas.
      Hotel amenities: On the beach / 2 pools / beach palapas / grass area / deck / lighted tennis / fitness center / sauna / club house / restaurant / bar / market / private parking.
      Room amenities: Large rooms / private patios / air conditioning / kitchenettes / telephones / room service.
      Rooms are either on the ground floor (beachfront) or on the second floor (ocean view).
      The nicest place to stay in San Felipe...big rooms with huge views! Quiet atmosphere and a great beach.
      For a special getaway try Villa #138. This private bungalow sits right on the beach with no adjoining rooms, and features it's own private patio and sunken Jacuzzi. A great place for a margarita party!



      Telephone 011-52 (686) 577-1702 * 011-52 (686) 577-1548.
      Fax 011-52 (686) 577-1549 * 011-52 (686) 576-3991.
      Avenida Mar de Cortez, San Felipe, Baja California, Mexico.
      Located on the main beach at Mar de Cortez.
      Number of rooms: 140.
      Rooms and suites.
      On the beach / pool / swim up bar / air conditioning / satellite television / telephones / bar / volleyball / shops / huge oceanfront party deck / ocean front restaurant / private parking / market across the street.
      If you are looking for an above average hotel in a super convenient location to downtown action, this is it!



      Telephone 011-52 (686) 577-1055.
      Avenida Mar de Cortez, San Felipe, Baja California, Mexico.
      Located a half mile south of town.
      Reservations: Post Office Box 1227, Calexico, California, 92232.
      Number of rooms: 102.
      On the beach / pool / air conditioning / sports bar / barefoot bar / boat launch / palapas / restaurant / beauty shop / boutique / water sports rentals.
      Dining at the Beach Terrace Restaurant, and cocktails at the upstairs Taberna Bar.
      By San Felipe standards, this large hotel is on the upper end.



      Telephone 011-52 (686) 577-1303.
      Avenida Mar De Cortez #298, San Felipe, Baja California, Mexico.
      Post Office Box 298, San Felipe, Baja California, Mexico, 21850.
      U.S. address: Post Office Box 1916, Calexico, California, 92232.
      Located near the corner of Mar de Cortez at Manzanillo.
      Number of rooms: 40.
      Pool / air conditioning / satellite television / restaurant / bar / private parking / walk to beach.
      Economy hotel in good condition, just a short walk to the beach, walking distance to the downtown action.



      Telephone 011-52 (686) 577-1240.
      Avenida Mar de Cortez #142, San Felipe, Baja California, Mexico.
      Located in central San Felipe at the south end.
      Number of rooms: 33.
      Air conditioning / satellite television / kitchenettes / private balconies / laundry service / walk to beach.
      Upper economy class, central convenient location, secure parking.





    Of all of the 'claims to fame's' offered by Puertecitos (and, believe me, there are very few), the hot springs tend to be the one most Baja travelers enjoy the most. And for a good reason. After hours on end of sitting in a vehicle heading north or south through the Baja desert, the muscles can really tighten up and get sore.

    Relaxing in these natural springs at the water's edge can be a 'peak experience' that even Abraham Maslow would have appreciated.

    Caution! If the tide has been out for a while, the pools can get boiling hot, and soaking is not recommended until the incoming tides cool the water temperature.

    The Enchanted Islands south of Puertecitos offer raw nature and beauty few visitors are able to experience.




    Puertecitos offers most of the same water sports opportunities that many other Baja towns offer, as long as you bring your own toys and equipment. And the off road opportunities just outside town will test the endurance of any man or woman.

    Whether you head out over the land or sea, remember that mechanical breakdowns or equipment problems can be a very serious event, because of the extreme remoteness. It's always a good idea to let someone know where you are planning to go, and when you are planning to return.

    Two good web sites to review for RVer's who want to tour the Baja Peninsula in an escorted RV caravan include BAJA WINTERS and BAJA AND BACK RV TOURS.


    • DIVING

      Scuba diving activity is limited because of the lack of facilities providing air fills. The Enchanted Islands south of town offer interesting diving. Snorkeling around the rocks at the south and east end of the harbor can be fun at high tide. Be careful, the small fish near the rocks like to nibble on exposed toes.


    • KAYAK

      For the die hard kayak fans who did not put in at San Felipe, this is the last place to launch with access to a good road. The kayaking from here south to Gonzaga Bay and on to Bahia de los Angeles is some of the most beautiful and desolate available. Light kayaking from the harbor around the point and a bit south can be fun for a short excursion or picnic.


    • OFF ROAD

      Puertecitos is the end of the pavement. From here south, all the way down to Baja Highway One, nature offers a terrain unlike anywhere else on the Peninsula. The rocks on the graded roads can be v-e-r-y sharp, and shredding a tire is a common experience. Side routes off of the main road are just as bad, and the terrain is generally very steep. Conditions improve the as the road approaches Gonzaga Bay. The road becomes straighter, the rocks are not as razor sharp, and some degree of civilization kicks in as you near 'G' Bay.



      At high tide, launching in the harbor is easy. It's usually a port tack all the way out. Winds usually remain calm in the harbor, and pick up past the point. When the screaming northern winds drop by in Spring and Fall, wave hopping can be fun. Equipment breakdowns far from shore could be fatal.




    There are two restaurants in town. One is located right on the beach on the harbor in town called Puertecitos Restaurant. It is sometimes open and often closed.

    The Cow Pie Cafe is located just north of town about a mile on the west side of the road. It offers a small menu and cold drinks. Sorry, no cow pies.

    If you are real hungry and the restaurants happen to be closed, the small market is your only hope for snacks. The next restaurant south is Papa Fernandez Camp, 2 to 3 hours away, depending upon the road and the type of vehicle being driven.




    As time goes on the little market Las Palmas on the main road (east side) features a little bit bigger selection than the year before. Still, don't expect much. The next market south at Rancho Grande is called San Luis Market and is 60 miles away on the gravel road, offering a bigger selection of goods from tampons to tequila!

    Nick-nacks and patty-whacks are available in the small store area inside the Puertecitos Restaurant, just up from the main beach in town. It tends to be closed 90% of the time.

    Cold cervesa and light snacks are available at the Tecate store up on the small hill east of the main road.

    Visit the web site of JOHN RAMOS to review his unique and colorful Mexico art work.



      Entering town from the north, Abarotes Las Palmas is on the left hand side of the street, before the airport.
      The newest shopping location in town, with an increasingly larger selection of goods. Also selling beer and ice!



      Entering town from the north the Tecate store is on the left hand side of the street past the airport up the hill.
      Beer and a small selection of snacks.



      Located just up the beach from the main cove, inside the Puertecitos Restaurant.
      The kind of stuff for sale you really don't need.
      No wonder it's usually closed!




    The gasoline situation in Puertecitos is iffy. Sometimes they have it, sometimes they don't. If they do have it, the place to look would be the PEMEX station on the left side of town, as you enter from the north. Not that there will be any gas in the pumps, but there may be gas available in 50 gallon drums nearby at about $3.50 per gallon. The residual gasoline left in one's mouth after an adventure with the siphoning hose does wonders to remove that unwanted plaque from the teeth. We're still not sure what affect this has on gums. The price of gasoline here is generally higher than gas purchased in San Felipe.

    Two good web sites to review for RVer's who want to tour the Baja Peninsula in an escorted RV caravan include BAJA WINTERS and BAJA AND BACK RV TOURS.

    Puertecitos also has a dirt airstrip, but it's not for weekend pilots. It is located right in town, with mobile homes, fences, dogs and dune buggies on all sides. It would be advisable to inquire at the airport of entry in San Felipe about current landing conditions. The runway surface starts to get soft towards the very south end, but nothing you can't throttle through on taxi. A small dirt hill on the southwest end can be taxied up to get closer to the Pemax station, which is never open. Gas can be obtained from the Orozca family near the south end of the runway. They will also provide the form you need to fill out if you land here. There is no landing fee.




    This whole town is miscellaneous! Don't take my word for it, go check it out for yourself. If your not 100% satisfied that this is the strangest village in the Milky Way, Carlos Fiesta will buy you a margarita. Blended or on the rocks.


      Located just up from the beach behind the Puertecitos Restaurant.
      This is not only the smallest library in Baja, it is the smallest library in the world!
      A fun collection of paperbacks and some hard covers as well.
      Grab a book and head on down to the beach!


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      Puertecitos real estate is one-of-a-kind. It offers some of the most unique real estate in Baja. Home range from converted trailers, mobile homes, plywood dwellings, and a few dwellings are actually built with concrete and block. There are no real estate brokers in town, so most buyers and sellers seem to work out sales pretty much on their own.

      Thinking about moving south of the border? Visit the web site of BAJA RELOCATION for a head's up for what awaits you.


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