Baja Ferry Services & Routes
There are five ferry services that go from Baja to the Mexican mainland, two of which are operated by Baja Ferries. Another two are operated by TMC (Transportación Marítima de California), and the other is the the Santa Rosalia Ferry.
The Baja Ferry services & TMC both depart from La Paz. Both ferry companies provide services to Mazatlan and Topolobampo which is roughly 430km further north.
The cost of both services from La Paz are comparable when you take into consideration the additional driving time and fuel required to drive south from Topolobampo to Mazatlan.
*Note to take your vehicle to the mainland, you will require a temporary vehicle import permit which can be obtained near the border or in La Paz. More information can be found here.
- La Paz – Mazatlan 16 – 18 Hours (Baja Ferries)
- La Paz – Topolobampo 6- 7 Hours (Baja Ferries)
- Santa Rosalía – Guaymas 9.5 – 10 Hours
Baja Ferries – Ferry La Paz – Mazatlan
Ferries to Mazatlan depart La Paz at 5pm on Tuesday, Thursday & Sunday each week, and arrive around 16 – 18 hours later. The scheduled arrival time is 11am.
Ferries to La Paz depart Mazatlan at 4pm on Monday, Wednesday & Friday each week, and arrive around 16 – 18 hours later. The scheduled arrival time is 9am.
All services are overnight.
We were unable to purchase tickets for the Mazatlan service due to it being fully booked. We would recommend booking at least one week in advance.
Baja Ferries – Ferry La Paz – Topolobampo
Ferries to Topolobampo depart La Paz at 2:30pm on Monday & Friday, 11pm on Saturday each week, and arrive around 6-7 hours later. The scheduled arrival time is 8:30pm / 6am.
Ferries to La Paz depart Topolobampo at 11:59pm on Monday & Friday, 11pm on Sundays each week, and arrive around 6-7 hours later. The scheduled arrival time is 7am / 6am.
Some services are overnight.
TMC (Transportación Marítima de California)
This service is said to be a “Cargo Service” therefore you should expect a no frills service. Others that have used the service have said that there are toilets and showers, and in some instances they have been able to stay in the vehicle.
The TMC runs two services, (like Baja Ferries) La Paz – Mazatlan & La Paz – Topolobampo
Schedule for July 2014 below
TMC – Ferry La Paz – Mazatlan
TMC – Ferry La Paz – Topolobampo
Ferry Santa Rosalía to Guaymas
Ferries to Guaymas depart Santa Rosalía at 8pm on Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday each week, and will arrive around 16 – 20 hours later. The scheduled arrival time is 6am.
Ferries to Santa Rosalía depart Guaymas at 8:30am on Wednesday & Friday, 8pm on Sundays each week, and arrive around 16 – 20 hours later. The scheduled arrival time is 6pm / 6am.
*Please note that this service may be unreliable, you should check with the ferry operator before making any plans.
Baja Ferry Costs
TMC (Transportación Marítima de California) Costs
Santa Maria Ferry Costs
Buying Ferry Tickets
To reach the ticket office at the port you must go through security which may take a while, therefore we recommend going to the office in town.
What to expect
On arrival at the port, we first had to drive the vehicle through customs. They had a look over the car, checked our passports, tickets, vehicle registration and temporary import permit.
Once the officer had carried out his checks he asked us to press a button. The button will display a green or red light. If you get the green light you may continue. If you get the red light, they will search your vehicle.
Once we clear customs, we are instructed to drive on to a weigh bridge and pay 150 pesos for the service.
Only the driver is allowed to be in the vehicle while embarking or disembarking the ferry. Any passengers will have to enter through the pedestrian entrance. This requires going through security to have any hand luggage x-rayed. The officer may ask you to press a button which determines whether your hand luggage will be searched or not.
The ferry that we were on applied LIFO boarding policy (last in first out). We were on deck 2 and were unfortunately first in and the last ones off the ship. Try to get to the back of the queue if you can when boarding.
Food & Drink
Both Baja Ferries provide meals with the service (Matazlan two meals, Topolobampo one meal). The meals are standard Mexican fare served from a buffet.
We had the option of a meat, meat stew or a vegetarian dish, all served with rice, beans and flour tortilla. Drinks were not included but can be purchased (soft drinks 15 pesos).
The ferries also have a snack shop and a bar on board, which often has drinks promotions. Todays were buy one get one free on cocktails and beer.
Its tastes better than it looks J
Seating & Cabins
On the California Star, there are three seating areas, open seating in an air conditioned room (picture below) where they have live entertainment, the restaurant & assigned airline style seats in a TV area.
The cabins have four single beds and were clean, had air conditioning, power (European sockets), hot water showers and toilets.
In comparison to the ferry we took over the Caspian Sea to Turkmenistan, this was luxury J
*Note Please check the ferry operators websites for up to date ferry schedules and costs. The information was correct 22 July 2014