This past weekend, the folks at the Baja California Secretary of Tourism were nice enough to whisk us down to San Felipe for the annual Shrimp Festival. Accompanying us on this adventure were fellow bloggers from 52 Perfect Days, Cuvee Corner and My Burning Kitchen.
San Felipe is a small fishing town about two hours drive south of the US/Mexico border. To get there, we crossed over from San Diego into Tijuana and drove east past Tecate, over the Rumorosa mountain pass into Mexicali, and down to San Felipe. If we were doing the drive ourselves, we would probably go out on Interstate 8 to El Centro and cross at the Calexico/Mexicali border. The distance is about the same either way, but I8 has the distinct advantage of having Alpine Beer Company on the way...
Speaking of beer, we were relaxing with one and enjoying the warm, sunny afternoon within minutes of our arrival:
The festival was set up along the Malecón - San Felipe's coastal boardwalk - with a stage in the center, and vendors stretching out both sides.
The first evening, we were invited to a six course dinner at the Hacienda Coral Restaurant, the highlights of which were a clam ceviche tlacoyo and a stingray cake in a black bean sauce. Unfortunately the lighting was too low to get good pictures of the food.
The next day we headed a few miles south of town to the "Valley of the Giants" - so named for its giant cacti.
And giant they were:
The huge Cardón cacti are relatives of the Saguaro. In 1992, one was airlifted to Seville, Spain to represent Mexico at the World's Fair.
We also stopped in at the marina:
Most of the larger shrimp boats were out fishing, but some smaller day boats were unloading their nets, and there was no shortage of fresh shrimp for sale.
Both lunches we had in San Felipe consisted of communal seafood "Parrilladas" - an assortment of grilled fish and shellfish. This one, at Mariscos La Vaquita, was particularly nice - shrimp, clams, several kinds of fish (one stuffed with squid), and their version of tacos gobernadores.
Overall, it was a great weekend. Getting across the border made it seem like much more of a getaway than you would normally get from just a few days.
We will definitely be back to San Felipe.