The cool salty water from the Sea of Cortez gently overflows into the rocky pools of steaming spring water at the Puertecitos hot springs.
The rising tide fills the hot spring pools with enough cold water to make them the perfect temperature to soak in and enjoy the stunning views of the rocky coastline, pelicans, and dolphins swimming by.
Puertecitos is an off grid residential community with mostly vacation homes that is well known for its hot springs and makes for the perfect day trip from San Felipe, Mexico.
The Puertecitos hot springs are unique because they are nestled amongst the rocks along the coast of the Gulf of California.
The sea’s high tides flush out the pools and fresh hot spring water fills them up again as the tide lowers.
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How to Get to Puertecitos Hot Springs
The closest international airport is Tijuana International Airport (TIJ). Find a cheap flight and a book a low-priced rental car, then drive a little over 5 hours from Tijuana to Puertecitos via Mexicali and Highway 5. Just make sure to check in to your hotel in the nearby town of San Felipe first.
Most people visit Puertecitos as either a day trip from San Felipe or as a stop on their Baja California road trip.
Directions to Puertecitos
The Puertecitos hot springs are just over an hour’s drive south of San Felipe and about 3.5 hours from the U.S./Mexico border in Mexicali.
Take Mexico’s paved Highway 5 south until you reach the signs for the left hand turn into the gated residential community of Puertecitos, Baja California.
Turn left at the gate after the Pemex gas station. An attendant will come out to take your payment and give you access.
Drive slowly through the residential community and follow the signs until you reach the hot springs.
Park near the arch and walk down the cement path to the hot spring pools by the sea.
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Best Time to Visit Puertecitos, Mexico
The weather in Puertecitos is best in the winter when the average high is in the low 60s F and cool enough to soak in the hot springs.
The average summer high in Puertecitos is a hot and humid 90 degrees Fahrenheit and would be too hot to comfortably enjoy the pools.
When is the Perfect Time to Visit the Puertecitos Hot Springs?
For the best Puertecitos hot springs experience, time your arrival for high tide.
That way you can start your soak at the highest pools and follow the lowering tide slowly down to the bottom pool, jumping into the next ones when the water is cool enough.
Check the Puertecitos Hot Springs tide chart before you visit.
Where to Stay in Puertecitos
Puertecitos is the perfect spot to stay if you’re on a Baja California camping trip. But there aren’t many hotel options in this small residential community.
The Puertecitos campground is located on beautiful Playa Puertecitos, about a 10 minute walk north of the hot springs.
Camping in Puertecitos costs $600 pesos ($30 USD) per car as of early 2022, and includes access to the hot springs from 7 am to 2 pm the next day.
Every campsite has a grill, a tank of non-potable water, shade, electrical outlets for small devices, a light, and a picnic table.
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The campground amenities include flushing toilets (bring your own toilet paper), water for bucket showers in private stalls, and trash cans.
There are no hookups and no wifi at this campground, making it ideal for tent camping and off grid capable campers. Electricity and lights are powered by a generator that’s turned on from sunset until 10 pm.
The campground is within the boundaries of the gated residential community and the gate closes at 10 pm for added security.
Hotels near Puertecitos Hot Springs
The nearest hotels to Puertecitos are in San Felipe. It’s a small beach town about an hour’s drive north, making Puertecitos hot springs the perfect day trip from San Felipe.
Read Next: Top 9 Best Things to Do in San Felipe
Stella del Mar Hotel has beachfront bungalows that are walking distance from the restaurants on the malecón. There’s everything you need onsite, including palapas on the beach and live music and delicious food at their beachfront restaurant and bar, Matilde.
Know Before You Go to Puertecitos Hot Springs
There’s not much in Puertecitos, Baja California and it’s more of a residential area, not a town.
There are vacation homes, two mercados (stores), and a taqueria (a taco stand). There’s no cell service and no banks or ATMs.
There is a Pemex gas station in town, but it’s sometimes out of fuel.
The store at the entrance to town (Mercado Las Palmas) is the only one that sells beer and the one up the hill north of town (Mercado Puertecitos) has wifi for a fee.
Puertecitos Hot Springs Description
The hot springs in Puertecitos are located inside of a private community of seasonally-occupied vacation homes. It kind of feels like a ghost town, but it’s not.
Rumor has it that the current land owner’s father discovered the springs in the 1950s. They used dynamite to form the deeper pools and some cement to form the pools and pathways.
There are a handful of pools to relax in and some of them also have baby fishes swimming in them!
The hot springs are located in the rocks along the shoreline beneath some of the houses. There is a small parking lot, trash cans, and a paved walkway for easy access to the pools.
Some visitors have been turned off by the continually increasing entrance fee to the hot springs. But it’s well worth the $30 USD per car camping fee for access to these unique hot springs.
Especially when compared to other hot springs in the area, like the Cañon de Guadalupe hot springs, where they charge at least $40 and up to over $100 USD for two people.
Things to Do in Puertecitos
Go for a Dip in the Puertecitos Hot Springs
The best thing to do in Puertecitos! A day pass to the hot springs costs $500 pesos ($25 USD) per car.
The hot springs are open for day use from 7 am to 7 pm, but for $100 pesos more (total of $30 USD) you can camp overnight and soak in the springs until 2 pm the next day.
Be careful because if there isn’t enough sea water mixed in, the hot spring pools can get scalding hot.
Always test the water before entering to avoid getting burned.
Enjoy a Palapa on Playa Puertecitos
The beach in Puertecitos is in a small cove and the sandy shore is lined with palapas. Palapas are shade structures with palm leaf roofs that you’ll see throughout Baja California.
This beach has gentle lapping waves that make it perfect for relaxing, but the extreme tide changes also make it ideal for exploring the sea floor that’s exposed when the tide is low.
Take a Self-Guided Tour of the Sculptures
Part-time resident sculptor, Sergey Gornushkin, is the principal artist at Puertecito’s Pez Gallery.
You can find a number of his impressive sculptures scattered throughout Puertecitos and end your walking tour at the gallery to purchase your own marine-inspired art.
Sunset at the Boat Ramp
Sunsets are especially stunning at the boat ramp in town. Grab a drink and join the pelicans waiting for another awesome Sea of Cortez sunset.
Grab a Cold Cerveza at Cowpatty
This colorful loncheria is the perfect spot to grab lunch and a cold cerveza before a long soak in the hot springs.
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Final Thoughts: Puertecitos Hot Springs
We didn’t know what to expect when we drove into Puertecitos, but we were happily surprised by some of the most unique hot springs we’ve ever soaked in!
It’s definitely a worthwhile stop along Baja’s recently paved and increasingly popular highway 5.
Looking for more things to do in Baja California? Check out these posts:
- 12 Fun Things to Do in Tijuana
- Classic Baja California Road Trip: 10-Day Itinerary
- How to Go Gray Whale Watching in Baja
- The Ultimate Guide to Bahia de los Angeles
- Baja California Safety
Have you been to Puertecitos, Mexico? What are your favorite hot springs in Baja? Tell us in the comments below!