San Felipe’s Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe

No trip to San Felipe is complete without spending time along the malecón (boardwalk), which is the heart of this Sea of Cortez fishing village. The malecón runs along Playa San Felipe where the pangas are beached when they’re not out on the water. Little taco stands, restaurants, and bars line the other side of the street.

Located on the northern end of the malecón is one of most prominent landmarks of San Felipe, the Shrine of the Virgin Guadalupe. Situated at the top of a small mountain that juts out into the water, the shrine boasts impressive views of both the Sea of Cortez and of San Felipe. It’s an impressive attraction for both religious and non-religious visitors.

Catholics believe that the Virgin of Guadalupe (the Virgin Mary) appeared on a mountain top in Mainland Mexico to a man named Juan Diego in the year 1531. It’s because of this original apparition on a mountaintop that San Felipe’s Shrine of Guadalupe was built on top of the small mountain.

The shrine was built in 1948 by a woman named Josefa Alvarez. Before this time, San Felipe didn’t have a church, so the Alvarez family would have a ceremony at their home for the Virgin of Gudalupe on December 12th (the day of the Virgin of Guadalupe) and afterwards, the image of the virgin was taken to the top of the mountain where the shrine stands today. It was redesigned in 1972.

To get to the shrine from the malecón, walk north across the bridge where you’ll see the San Felipe faro (lighthouse) and the shrine right next to it. You have to climb a lot of stairs (over 100) to get to the top, but the views from the top make the trek worthwhile.

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