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Ferrying to Mainland Mexico from La Paz, Baja California Sur

In order to cross into mainland Mexico, you will need to ferry across the Gulf of California into one of two cities from La Paz: Topolobampo and Mazatlan.  We chose to ferry to Topolobampo, the shortest ferry ride (6 hours), to save money on our tickets.  The ferry station is located at Playa Pichilingue, which is a short drive up the coastline from central La Paz.  I recommend allowing ample time to purchase your Temporary Vehicle Importation permit and tickets.  When you approach the station, I recommend the following:

Park outside of the main parking lot on the street (its free parking as is just as close)
– Walk to the ticket counter on the right to purchase a Temporary Vehicle Importation permit.  Make sure to have your passport and COPIES of your Tourist Card, passport, license, and vehicle registration in hand (around 400 pesos – about $31).  You also need a credit card (in the vehicle owner’s name) to pay for the permit.  They do not accept cash.
– After you purchase your Temporary Vehicle Importation permit, you can now walk into the station and purchase your ferry tickets. (1,065 pesos per person – about $82, and 200 peso per pet – about $15).

You must be ready at the station by 1pm to drive your vehicle onto the ferry, and the ferry leaves at 3pm.
Read more information at www.bajaferries.com

TIPS: 1) The people who drive their vehicles on the ferry get first dibs on seating.  Nick and I separated for this process – he drove in, and I waited in line to board with Domino.  If we do this process again, we’ll all drive in together and avoid waiting in line.   2) When you board the ferry, head for the bar and get a seat along the window.  You can lay down (even though there is a sign requesting passengers not to lay down), TVs  and music are on for entertainment, and the restaurant is right next door.   3) Bringing your pup?  I was worried about the conditions of the pets’ quarters, but fortunately it was in the air conditioned area of the ferry and close enough to check in on Domino now and again.  The pet area is simply a few crates tucked under a stairwell.  Had I known, I would have brought a blanket / something soft for him to sleep on and a bone.  I did bring a small bowl, which came in handy for water.

The ferry experience was above and beyond my expectations.  There is a full bar with a seating area and TVs, a restaurant, an indoor seating area, ample room to rest outside to look out on the water, and even a small arcade “corner”.  The ferry was clean, the staff was professional and organized, and the food was tasty.  Although the first movie would not have been my primary choice to show while riding a massive boat (we watched Titanic with Spanish subtitles), the air conditioning, a chance to veg and watch TV, and a full bar was a mini-vacation from our camping and driving routine!

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