Sandollar: A Stretch of San Felipe Heaven

Text by Noreen Kompanik

We love everything about Mexico. So when we heard about a sleepy Baja beach town where time practically stands still and total relaxation is the game, we were totally in

Located on the Eastern side of the Baja Peninsula, San Felipe is a throwback to days when Mexican coastal towns were mere quaint fishing villages and life was easygoing and carefree. We’d heard about the destination from friends who’d visited several times and we jumped at the chance to check it out ourselves. A four hour drive from San Diego or 6-hours from Phoenix makes it a perfect long weekend destination.

As we approached the gated entrance to our idyllic weekend hideaway, Sandollar Beach Resort, we were captivated by the sparkling tourmaline waters of Sea of Cortez and long stretch of white sandy beach fronting the resort.

John and Claire Trinkle purchased the property in the early 90s and built the vacation rental boutique resort on a piece of land with stunning ocean views. The resort was named for the sand dollars that wash up on the beach at low tide. John chose San Felipe to build his boutique resort because as a child, he fondly remembers camping on these Baja beaches with his family. Those warm unforgettable memories led him to the decision to purchase the land. The stars all seemed to align and Sandollar became a reality John and Claire could now share with friends, family, and visitors coming to San Felipe for peace and relaxation.

Each of Sandollar’s condos and villas are fully furnished with beach, nautical, desert, and golf themes all reflecting the environs of the area. What this means for guests is no matter how small or large your vacation Needs, Sandollar can accommodate for the perfect vacation experience.

We couldn’t have been more comfortable in the El Presidente, a single story, spacious 2800-square foot all-tiled oceanfront villa that can sleep 10 guests. With three bedrooms, two full baths, kitchen, dining room, and living room, the villa is perfect for a family or friends gathering. Cozy and comfortably decorated celebrating the bright colors of Mexico and the sea, it’s the perfect place to chill and celebrate the slower paced Baja, Mexico lifestyle.

If the villa wasn’t lovely enough, stepping outside is the real showstopper. Three private patios surround the villa, one with a full bar area, the others with stunning ocean views. Guests can grill their

fresh catches on the outdoor barbeque, and then choose to eat from a variety of outdoor tables including a thatched-roof palapa overlooking the Sea of Cortez. Because the resort is located only five minutes south of the heart of the town, it’s easy to get to a grocery store to stock up or enjoy all there is to do and see in San Felipe.

Several convenience stores are located just a few blocks away. Also overlooking the Sea of Cortez is an irresistible swing to relax, take in the palm-tree views while gentle waves kiss the sand below. It’s escapism at its best here at Sandollar and we loved the thatched roofs and tropical laid-back, warm feel of the property.

A sparkling outdoor pool overlooking the ocean features a statue of Poseidon and waterfall. Walls are beautifully hand-painted with colorful murals celebrating the ocean and its magical sea life. A separate spacious infinity-edge hot tub is a great place to relax and unwind. A separate game room and work out room are located off the pool area.

The white-sand beach fronting the property is ideal for swimming. The water here is shallow for a long way out and wave action is pretty calm. At low tide, beachcombers love collecting shells and sand dollars deposited on the sand.

It’s important to note, there are two high and low tides each day with an impressive 65-foot tide change that exposes over ½ mile of beach. For those into sunbathing, lounge chairs and umbrellas are available. Surfboards, kayaks and a large inflatable Zodiac are complimentary and available on site for those seeking more water adventure. Golf enthusiasts love the 18-hole Las Caras de Mexico (Faces of Mexico) course located just minutes away with its unparalleled views of the Sea of Cortez and San Felipe mountains.

Sunsets from Sandollar are downright spectacular. As darkness falls, the lights of the charming town sparkle in the distance. With no street lightst to compete, star gazing is an incredible experience. James Carroll once said “There are times when we stop. We sit still…we listen and breezes from a whole other world begin to whisper.”

That’s the experience of a stay at Sandollar where the sunshine, waves and breezes just seem to carry every day cares away. Buena Vida. Life is good. Of note: according to VRBO, there are 212 vacation rentals listed in San Felipe.
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Noreen Kompanik

Noreen Kompanik is a freelance travel writer and photographer based in San Diego, California and a retired nurse. Traveling with her husband, children and grandchildren is her favorite pastime. Her articles include inspirational writing, sustainable healthy living, family travel, history, wine and food. Her favorite place to be is on a beach somewhere. Noreen is a member of the International Travel Writers and Photographer’s Association, International Food and Wine Travel Writers Association, and San Diego Press Club. Her published articles can be found on her website

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