Méli, Eka & Tikla exploring the island of Hispaniola

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A Haitian, a Basque and their Mexican puppy
Overlanded half of the Panamerican Highway from Panama to Alaska for 16 months
Now exploring the Caribbean island of Hispaniola

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How to cross by ferry from Mainland Mexico to Baja California.

[Versión en español AQUÍ]

In today’s post we’d like to tell you guys about the process of crossing from Mainland Mexico to Baja California by ferry.

Nowadays, there are two ferry companies that cross from Mainland Mexico to Baja California: Baja Ferries and TMC.

Both companies operate in the cities of Mazatlán and Topolobampo on Mainland and in the city of La Paz in Baja. The Northern route (Topolobampo) is somewhat cheaper and shorter than the Southern one (Mazatlán).

Since the port in Mazatlán was in maintenance, ferries weren’t leaving as often as usual so we had to drive North to Topolobampo.

Both companies cover the distance that separate Topolobampo and La Paz in the same amount of time (about 8 hours), but there are considerable differences:

  • The first option, Baja Ferries, besides being more expensive for being a passenger ferry with cabins, doesn’t allow pets on board with passengers. These have to stay alone inside the vehicle, although they allow people to go down and visit them from time to time (every 8 hours – which we though was too long!)
  • On the other hand there’s TMC: it’s a cargo ferry that’s a lot more cheaper, that allows boarding with a camper and that even allows sleeping in it during the trip. They also allow pets and these can walk with their owners on the superior deck which is open air.

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For us the choice was clear: we crossed the Gulf of California with TMC and we had a great experience.

We called two days before to book a spot in the night ferry. Even though they’re usually full, they told us that sometimes, trucks don’t show up and so spots can free-up at the last minute.

The next afternoon, we then went to the terminal to ask if they had a few spots left and after weighing us and taking our camper’s measurements, they allowed us to board and cross to La Paz.

Here’s a breakdown of what we had to pay:

  • Weighing services: $53.17 MXN (2.76 US$).
  • TMC rate (passenger car, vehicle up to 6 meters long with a main driver, plus extra passanger): $2415 MXN + $954 MXN (total 175.11 US$).
  • TOTAL: $3422.17 MXN (177.86 US$).

We had to wait for a few hours before they started boarding the trucks onto the ferry. We talked to the supervisor to see if he could let us park on the superior deck in order for us to feel less overwhelmed and to walk Tikla comfortably.

Finally, we left at around 9 PM, they made us board with the camper and park with the rest of the trucks.

There was a lot of noise on board, a few trucks were idling during the night because they were refrigerated and this was in addition to the ship that was very very noisy. However, to be able to sleep in our own bed and to have Tikla with us made a HUGE difference.

Furthermore, the price included a yummy Mexican dinner, served by a very nice staff. They also had a break room with sofas and hot-water showers.

The next day, and after a surprisingly good night’s sleep, we woke up already near the coast of La Paz, with amazing views.

Baja California was waiting for us.


Episode 33. The End.

Officer: - Are you telling me that you bought this truck in Texas, after driving from Panama to Mexico with another truck which broke down, you met a German guy who lives in San Miguel de Allende, and he kindly took you in his car to the border, you sold your car in Texas, bought another, returned to Mexico, and from there you went to Alaska?

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