If you travelling from La Paz to Los Mochis, the likelihood is that, as we were, you will be going there to take the train into the Copper Canyon. In this guide, we’ll cover the first part of that journey and tell you everything you need to know to get from La Paz in Baja California to Los Mochis on the mainland by Baja ferry.
How To Book Baja Ferries
The Baja ferry schedule from La Paz to Topolobampo leaves every weekday at 2.30pm and at 11pm on Saturdays. The journey takes around 6 or 7 hours, we arrived from the Topolobampo ferry at around 8.20pm on a 2.30pm crossing.
You can just turn up at the La Paz ferry port on the day and by a ticket, but in our opinion it’s best to know you have a ticket before you set off on your journey to the Baja ferries terminal. Plus it’s really easy to do using Baja ferries online booking system. It is in Spanish but it’s simple enough to work out if you don’t know Spanish by just using google translate.
Just make sure you have cookies turned on in your browser, mine were turned off and I had to turn them on before the site would let me proceed to the payment section. There’s no need to book them too far in advance, we only actually booked ours the night before. There’s also a Baja ferry ticket office in the centre of La Paz on Allende 1025 which is open Mon-Fri 8am- 5pm and until 2pm on a Saturday.
There are different price options for whether you are travelling as a foot passenger or in a vehicle and also whether you want a cabin for the journey. At the time of writing the price for a standard adult ticket without a cabin on the ferry from La Paz to Topolobampo is $1,290MXN (£50.70GBP/$67.48USD). You check up to date prices and book tickets online here.
There are airports in both La Paz and Los Mochis so if you need to do the journey more quickly that is also an option for this route. Check prices for flights to Los Mochis here.
How To Get To La Paz Ferry Port
It’s approximately a half hour journey from the centre of La Paz to Baja ferry port. Our awesome Airbnb hosts actually gave us a lift, but there are a number of ways to get there. To take an Uber to La Paz ferry port it will cost around $150-215MXN (£6-8GBP/$8-11USD) or you can take a straight forward taxi but those will, same as anywhere, be more expensive than an Uber.
There are also buses that run from downtown, past La Paz ferry port and down to Balandra and Pichilengue beaches. They leave from the the point where Av. Independencia meets the Malecon 5 or 6 times a day between 10am-5pm. Check with the place you are staying for up to date times. The cost is around $60-80MXN (£2-3GBP/$3-4USD) per person.
There are security checks to go through before you board the ferry from La Paz to Topolobampo so make sure you arrive at least an hour, more if you can, before the departure time. If you have booked your tickets online, you’ll need to head to the ticket point in the Baja ferry terminal with the email you’ll be sent so they can print your tickets for you.
La Paz To Topolobampo Ferry
After you’ve gone through security, you’ll join a queue to check your bags. We just followed what everyone else was doing but in hindsight wish we’d asked if we could just take all our bags on with us because it takes forever to collect them at the other end. Okay not forever, but we were waiting for about 45 minutes and the ferry wasn’t very busy.
Included in your ticket price (we’re not aware there is the option to opt out) is a meal. On the day we travelled by ferry from La Paz to Topolobampo there were options of Marlin, Chuleta or Picadillo accompanied with tortillas, a drink and a desert. There wasn’t a vegetarian option that we saw so if you don’t eat meat or fish you may need to take something.
Again we just followed what everyone else was doing and ate as soon as we bordered the ferry in La Paz. We’re not sure exactly how long the restaurant is open but it was closed a couple of hours later. Also if you suffer from travel sickness like me it’s a good idea to eat before the ferry starts moving. And take travel sickness pills - despite being a big ferry the crossing was a pretty choppy. If you don’t have any, you can easily pick them up at any pharmacy - the Mexican brand is called Dramamine.
If you haven’t booked a cabin (which I’m not sure why you would during the day) there are two main areas to sit, in a bar and lounge area. The lounge is just rows of seats, the bar is more entertaining. The day we crossed on the Topolobampo ferry there was a live band in the bar and all the Mexican guys were just knocking back the Tecate.
And when I say entertaining, think more Phoenix Nights vibes than Saturday Night Fever. The band was terrible and there was zero atmosphere but it was all rather amusing in a depressingly tragic kind of way. You can go outside onto the upper decks to get some air if the excitement gets too much for you. Beers are $25MXN (£1GBP/$1.30USD) each. There isn’t any wifi.
Topolobampo to Los Mochis
Unless you are travelling overnight on the Saturday, the Topolobampo ferry will get in pretty late - plus add on more time if you have checked your bags. Keep the ticket that they give you when you check them in safe by the way because you are going to need this to collect them at the other end. By the time we’d disembarked and collected our bags it was nearly 10pm.
There is Uber operating in this area of Mexico but there are very few cars because it is so new and none were available for us so we had to take a regular taxi instead. The prices are fixed though at $250MXN (£10GBP/£13USB) to the centre of Los Mochis and $300MXN (£12GBP/$16USD) to the Los Mochis train station. Our journey to near Los Mochis train station took around 40 minutes but there were road works so it would usually be more like 30 minutes probably.
Make sure you have the map for the area downloaded from Maps.Me and have the address of your accommodation. Our driver did actually speak some English but that isn’t typical around these parts. You’re not on the Baja anymore!
Side note, our taxi driver also said he couldn’t see the address we were showing him on the map and we had to write it down on a notepad in large letters him for him. He then proceeded to nearly drive into a central reservation so yeah, although I’m sure this also isn’t typical, try to choose a taxi with a driver who can actually see where he is going!
Where To Stay in Los Mochis
If you are only planning on staying in Los Mochis that night to take the Copper Canyon train at 6am the next morning, you can actually just kip in Los Mochis train station. It’s clean and there’s a security guard, some plug sockets and toilets. We were staying a couple of days so opted to stay as close to the station as possible for the day that we were taking the train.
The Airbnb place we stayed at was just a few hundred meters from the Chepe train station and the hosts were amazing. They cooked for us, practiced Spanish with us and gave us lots of useful information. The private room with ensuite bathroom was £18 per night and slept four people. If you haven’t already got an Airbnb account use this link for a £20 discount and check it out here.
What To Do in Los Mochis
What the Lonely Planet guide book says about Los Mochis is that ‘there are no real sights to savour unless you count an excess of sleazy bars’, which isn’t true or fair. It’s just a very normal working class Mexican town that clearly isn’t set up for tourists. Walking around you get the feeling people who live there don’t see many tourists, but it’s not surprising with many arriving off the Baja ferry after 10pm solely to hop on the 6am train to the Copper Canyon the next morning.
We spent a couple of days there to get ahead on some work before we headed into the Copper Canyon region and found a fair few things to occupy your time with. There’s a lively market on Alvero Obregon that has some excellent ceviche stalls, the botanical gardens are beautiful and you can also make a trip to a beach which we didn’t do but were told is around 20-30 minutes out of town by bus.
So if you do decide to stay more than one night in Los Mochis there is some stuff to do and the people are really friendly and welcoming. If you are travelling into the Copper Canyon by train from Los Mochis you can find our guide to that here *soon.
If you found this post useful or have any further helpful information to add for other travellers making this route please leave us a comment. Also if you have any further questions about this journey that we haven’t answered, let us know and we will do our best to help.