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Special Alert!

Following a period of confusion and inactivity, regular ferry service has been reinstituted between La Paz and Topolobampo, and Santa Rosalia and Guaymas. The La Paz are now operated by the "Baja Ferries" company. They have a website at

For the Santa Rosalia - Guaymas route visit:

Note that this website places glamor ahead of information, and will be a slow download over a phone line connection. The information is in Spanish -- as of July 2003 there is no English version of the pages.

Special thanks to Stephanie Jackter for passing on the current information from a Baja Ferries brochure (July 2003).

The La Paz <--> Mazatlan route appears to be still run by Sematur twice a week. Check with a Sematur office for times.

The high-speed passenger ferry which operated for about one year (starting in May of 2002) is out of service due to engine damage. It's not clear if the ship will reenter service across the Gulf of California. (July 2002)

With all the chages taking place on the ferry routes, I'll be doing a majoy modification of this page - but it will be early August 2003 before I have a chance to complete things. Please check the Message Board for any recent reports.

Information from a Baja Ferries brochure FAXed to me by Tom Stafford in late August, 2003:

Santa Rosalía -- Guaymas

Departs: Santa Rosalía -- Sunday, Tuesday, Friday at 22:00

Departs: Guaymas -- Monday, Thursday, Saturday at 22:00

Class One-way Round-trip
Adult410 pesos780 pesos
Child 3-11205 pesos390 pesos
Child under 3No charge
Auto/Pickup less than 5.4 meters 2,000 pesos  
Double rear axles less than 7 meters 4,620 pesos  
7 to 10 meters 6,400 pesos  
10 to 20 meters 12,670 pesos  
Motorcycles 1,350 pesos  

Phone Nos. (calling from the U.S., replace the "01" with "011-52"):
Guaymas: 01 (622) 222-8486 (From Mexico)

Santa Rosalía: 01 (615) 152-2200 (From Mexico)

Page Contents
Baja California Information Pages
Ferry Information
Mainland Mexico <--> Baja California

    General Comments

The ferry operation went "private" in 1989. After years of the government running the system at a great loss, private interests have purchased the system and are trying to run it at a profit. This has meant a large increase in prices, and the discontinuation of some routes. However, it hopefully also means that the system will run more efficiently for the user. The ferries should be running on time and the personnel should be more helpful (if all works as it should). The system operates under the name "Grupo Sematur".

The best way to book passage on the ferry system is via a Mexican travel agent. I have been on most of the ferries, but only once did I make a reservation (Easter week and I was pulling a trailer to La Paz). The reservation was made through a travel agency in Los Mochis, the large city near Topolobampo. Sorry, but I don't recall the name of the agency. On the morning of the sailing a travel agent met me at the dock with all necessary tickets. Excellent service! The cost will be slightly higher, but it is really worth it.

The only problem we had at that time was that my wife (Marilyn) had to change her plans to go along and a friend from La Paz rode south with me. The ferry people would not honor a passenger ticket made out to "Marilyn ..." but carried by a man (Juan). Our solution was to change "Marilyn" to "Marilyno" on the tickets and we had no further problem. Moral: Be careful of any changes in the people on the trip and those listed on the tickets.

We once were taking the ferry from Cabo San Lucas to Puerto Vallerta on the mainland and were unable to book a "cabin" (the crossing was 18 hours). There were available "tourist cabin" accommodations: four people to a room with the sexes being separated. My wife did not want to travel in a cabin with three strangers and so we were planning on going salon class (sit-up). A friend explained what to do: buy a tourist cabin for four people and the two of us use it by ourselves. It worked like a charm, and the additional cost was minimal (to show how low the costs used to be, in 1983 we paid for 2 people, 1 motorcycle, 4 bunks in a tourist cabin: $16US total).

Link to the Baja Ferries Website

Link to the Sematur Website

Ferry to:

Baja Ferries:

  Ship in
High-speed Passenger
Ferry (May 2002):

  Photo 1

  Photo 2

  Photo 3

    Addresses and Phone Numbers

For Baja Ferries:

  Isabel la Catolica and Navarro
  (about one block from the McDonalds on 5 de Febrero)
  La Paz, BCS 23000
  Voice: (612) 125-7444, 125-7443, 128-6822
  Toll-free within Mexico: 01-800-122-1414
  FAX:   (612) 125-7533

  Instalaciones API y Muelle de Contenedores,
  CP 81370, Topolobampo, Sinaloa
  (20 minutes from Los Mochis)
  Voice: (668) 862-1004
  FAX:   (668) 985-0471

Calls made from the US should be preceded by:

    ^   ^
    ^   ^^ Mexico Code
    ^^^^^^ International Code (from the U.S.)

There is a web page for the Sematur ferry service which provides some information, but not all most travelers would like to have. This situation may improve with time. The page may be found at:

There is a form for making reservations on the web site, but I've had no report from anyone using it.

    Passenger Classes

For the Sematur boats:

  Salon:     Reclining seats
  Turista:   Roomette with four bunks and washbasin
             (rooms are assigned to all males or all females)
  Cabina:    Two bunks and bath
  Especial:  Two beds, lounge and bath

    Cargo Information

Some boats are loaded "in the front and out the back" (or the reverse) - this type of vessel is sometimes referred to as a "RORO" - Roll On / Roll Off. This makes it easy to load the larger vehicles. Some of the boats have a loading platform only at the back of the boat - this requires that, at least, larger vehicles be backed either on or off the boat.


Santa Rosalia: The ferry dock is located in the city.

La Paz: The ferry docks are located at Pichilingue, about 10 miles north of the city.

Guaymas: The ferry docks are located just south of the city center.

Topolobampo: The ferry dock is located just west of the small town of Topolobampo. The major city nearby is Los Mochis.

Mazatlán: ???? (This is the one ferry I have not taken.)

    Services and Schedule

Information provided by Stephanie Jackter - July '03 (all prices are in pesos):

  Topolobampo <--> La Paz

    Time of crossing: 5 hours

    Tourist Class (comfortable seats):  580

    Children (3 to 11):  290

    Cabin (1 to 4 people):  710

    All passengers must purchase a Tourist Class ticket. The
    cost of a cabin is over and above that of a basic ticket.

    Autos and pickup (under 5.40 meters):   870 one way
                                           1600 round trip

    Autos with trailers (under 9 meters):  3,280

    Autos and pickups with trailers (between 9 meters and 17 meters):

    The price includes a meal at the buffet.

  Santa Rosalia <--> Guaymas
    Tourist Class: 410 one way
                   780 round trip

    Children (3 to 11):  205 each way

    Auto (under 5 meters):  2000 (includes ticket for driver)
    Per extra meter, add 635

From an old Sematur brochure obtained (October '95):

  Mazatlán <--> La Paz

    Time of crossing:  18 hours

    Passenger classes:
      La Paz <-> Mazatlán  Wed:     Salon only
                           Others:  All classes
      Mazatlán <-> La Paz  Thu:     Salon only
                           Others:  All classes

    Vehicle classes:
      La Paz <-> Mazatlán  Wed:     Cargo trucks
                           Others:  All classes
      Mazatlán <-> La Paz  Thu:     Cargo trucks
                           Others:  All classes

      Lv La Paz    Daily  1500
      Ar Mazatlán         0900

      Lv Mazatlán  Daily  1500 
      Ar La Paz           0900


(Passenger fares - November '98; Vehicle fares - February '97)


  1. All prices are given in pesos.
  2. All lengths are in meters.
  3. The prices for motorhomes correspond, I believe, to the prices listed for "camiones" (trucks) in the brochure.
  4. Prices are for one-way travel. There is no discount for round-trip travel.
  5. Children under 2 travel free, and those between 2 and 12 travel at half-price.
  6. Pregnant women are not allowed to travel on the ferries.
Class La Paz
La Paz
Sta. Rosalia
to 5m1694.951035.951191.70
5 to 6.5m2203.201343.501548.15
Auto with trailer
to 9m3049.551860.002140.70
9m to 17m5753.953504.054034.40
Truck (Motorhome)
to 10m3484.502158.562314.6
10m to 13m4528.852804.353005.20
13m to 15m5223.753232.203468.30
15m to 19m6613.654096.704390.70


Contents Page: Copyright 1995-2011 Fred T. Metcalf