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Mexico Ferry Travel: Getting from Guaymas to Baja and Back

Since our car was in Puerto Escondido in Baja and we and Loomba-Loomba were in San Carlos on the mainland, we decided to make an adventure out of getting the car over to the mainland and do a Copper Canyon trip on the way back to Guaymas. This involved two different ferry trips, a bus, lots of driving, and a train.

Ferry travel is not cheap or easy in Mexico.  We arrived at the 8PM ferry  (Guaymas – Santa Rosalia) on Saturday May 27th at 6PM, as required.  There had been some pretty strong northerlies for a few days and the ferry isn’t very big so we asked if it was definitely going to sail. They said yes so our friend, Ray, who had given us a ride from San Carlos, left.  At 7:45 they decided the weather was too bad to go – next ferry would be Monday (maybe). We took a taxi back to the boat and decided to wait until Tuesday the 29th.

This time we had Ray ( who speaks fluent Spanish) call and make a reservation in a cabin for us for Tuesday.  We arrived at 6PM. They had our reservation and we had a whole cabin to ourselves. The ferry left late, but it was a calm ride and we slept most of the way.  

Loading the ferry in Guaymas.
Our Cabin.
When we arrived at 7:30 am in Santa Rosalia we thought we were probably too late for the bus to Puerto Escondio, but the bus was late so we were on our way to PE about 20 minutes after the ferry landed. 
Santa Rosalia.
We arrived at the PE stop about noon and hiked the mile from the highway to PE (it was 100 degrees). We picked up the car  and headed to La Paz. With a lunch stop in Constitution we arrived at Casa Buena in La Paz (a great, reasonably priced place to stay) about 5:15 on the 30th. Time for a dip in the pool and dinner at Rancho Viejo.
Lunch stop in Constitution
Driving into La Paz
Pool at Casa Buena
Community Room at Casa Buena.
Garden at Casa Buena.
Our balcony at Casa Buena.
     The next day  (31st) we needed to take care of getting our ferry tickets and a Temporary Import Permit for the car (not needed in Baja or the state of Sonora, but we were taking the ferry to Topolabompo in the state of Sinaloa).  The ferry dock is in Pichilingue – about 30 minutes from La Paz.  Our plan was to take the Saturday  (June 2) ferry because it was a night ferry which would put us into Topolobompo in the morning and then we would drive to El Fuerte where we would catch the Copper Canyon train.  As it turned out the schedule changed on June 2nd and there would no longer be a night ferry.  We bought the tickets anyway and got the TIP all in one place – it was quite easy. 

Now we had a few days to hang out in La Paz, visit friends who were still there, and relax. It was a fun 3 days.
New Jacques Cousteau sculpture on the La Paz Malecon.

We got to the ferry at 10:30AM and it was supposed to leave at 1PM. It didn’t leave until 3PM and we arrived in Topolabompo about 11:30PM. By the time we found a hotel in Los Mochis it was 12:30. We drove to El Fuerte the next morning.
The Baja ferries are bigger than the Washington State Ferries.

Surrounded by trucks.
The long hall on the ferry.

Outside deck with trucks below.

Driving on this ferry was quite an experience – nothing like the WSF system. It is mostly big trucks and hardly any cars. The trucks are very close together and they squeeze the cars in the gaps (picture parallel parking).  To get to the upper deck and back to the car you literally have to crawl under the trucks and over the chains that are holding them in place.  Once we got upstairs it was quite nice. We were assigned seats in an air-conditioned salon where movies were continually playing – most were dubbed AND subtitled in Spanish (good way to improve our Spanish). There were nice outside decks and a restaurant.  It was actually quite pleasant.

So that’s our ferry adventure. Next blog entry will be our Copper Canyon adventure


  1. san carlos taxi drivers are friendly and willing to converse with you concerning something thus you will always have somebody to speak along your journey.


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