South of San Felipe , the coastal road deteriorates, though it is paved as far as Puertecitos  (85 km south of San Felipe). Construction had commenced in early 2009 to pave the road beyond Puertecitos; however, only the first few kilometers were under way at press time, and in the meantime, the old dirt road was in terrible shape.
There is no gas until Punta Willard/Alfonsina, so fill up your tank before leaving town, and bring some fuel to spare. Watch for vados (drainage dips) and potholes along the way. Accommodations are primitive camps, and supplies are few and far between.
Fifteen kilometers south of San Felipe, on the way to Puertecitos, photographers and naturalists will enjoy the chance to view the world’s tallest cactus species up close. The Pachycereus, or cardón, grows to heights of more than 18 meters and can weigh up to 12 tons. Many live to be hundreds of years old.
Besides the namesake giants, the park holds ocotillo, paloverde, cholla, and many other cacti. Desert fauna includes mountain quail, eagles, owls, coyotes, roadrunners, and buzzards. Daytime temperatures will climb above 100°F in summer and to about 50°F in winter. Bring your own water for hiking the trails.
Look for a turnoff near Km. 14 on the west side of the highway and follow the unpaved road about 200 meters to the park entrance. The closest place to camp is Playa Punta Estrella (Km 13., Carr. San Felipe-Puertecitos, tel. 686/565-2784, US$10), with palapas, flush toilets, and hot showers but no hookups. Soft sand could pose a problem for RVs here. The campground is 1.6 kilometers east of the highway.
For guided hikes in the Valle de los Gigantes, contact Rupestres (cell tel. 686/158-9921, explorandobajacalifornia [at] hotmail [dot] com).
About 16 kilometers south of San Felipe, a dirt road turn-off leads one kilometer east to a lagoon and white-sand beach with a small community of gringo homes. You can swim or kayak here, as long as you bring your own gear. The area is also known as Shell Island, which refers to a spit of land that’s only accessible at low tide. Beachcombers will delight in the possibilities for collecting shells.
Rancho Percebú (Km. 16, Carr. San Felipe-Puertecitos, tel. 686/577-1259, open year-round, US$10) has campsites, palapas, restrooms, and hot showers. There is also a restaurant/bar at the camp. The friendly Lopez family has run the ranch for several decades and counting. The campground is four kilometers east of the highway.
Continuing south, the coastline presents a series of beaches, most with primitive campos that charge US$5–10 a night, depending on the season and the facilities they offer. Playa Destiny (Km. 71–72, Carr. San Felipe-Puertecitos, no tel., US$15) has toilets, cold showers, grills, and picnic tables.
Playa Escondida (Km. 85–86, Carr. San Felipe-Puertecitos, no tel., US$10) occupies a white-sand cove. Outhouses and cold showers are about it for amenities, but there are fishing pangas for hire.