Tourists drawn to San Felipe by the thousands to celebrate Memorial Day weekend their way

May 24, 2001|By ARTURO BOJORQUEZ, Staff Writer

SAN FELIPE — While most Americans will, or should, spend this weekend remembering soldiers who have fallen in combat, others will travel south to the beach.

Shorts and tiny bikinis, sunglasses, tank tops and sun block will be the official uniform of San Felipe visitors.

San Felipe, 130 miles south of Calexico in Baja California, will have several thousand visitors over the weekend, mainly from Yuma and Imperial Valley.

"In fact this is one of the most important celebrations we have," says Guillermo López Hernández, executive director of COTUCO, the San Felipe bureau of tourism and conventions.

The weekend ranks only behind Holy Week, the San Felipe 250 race and spring break for the number of visitors, he said.


According to López, this little town's 25 hotels and resorts will be at capacity, which could mean up to 50,000 people in its rooms.

According to the Mexicali police department (in charge of San Felipe's police protection), the number of visitors reaches only 30,000 Memorial Day weekends.

López said one of the newest attractions of this tourist destination is a couple hang gliders brought in three months ago.

Other attractions are banana boats, jet skis and three-wheel motorcycles.

Besides lying on the beach, visitors can spend the weekend at several other spots.

One can take a tour by Valle de los Gigantes, which is a field full of 75-foot tall cacti, go deep-sea fishing, have a refreshing bath in the thermal waters of Puertecitos (south of San Felipe) or go to Laguna Percebú. And there are always the scores of shops, restaurants and night spots.

The fun of people who will spend their weekend here isn't shared by the 50 police officers of this port city.

The number No. 1 category for apprehensions over such weekends is street fights.

"Most of the time, guys from Arizona fight with the ones from California, or vice versa," said Felipe Guicho, a spokesman with the Mexicali police department.

Guicho says such brawls are usually prompted by the consumption of beer.

"In second place of apprehensions we have drunken persons on public ways," said Guicho.

Still, the department won't have more officers assigned to secure San Felipe over the weekend.


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Staff Writer Arturo Bojorquez can be reached at 337-3451.

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