That is the Question
I was a little confused about how the dogs were to be transported on the ferry. I had done (I thought) extensive research while in the US so I’d know what the process would be but during my travels I’d heard contradicting information. One account told me the dogs can stay in the camper during the passage… no problem. The other source told me that the dogs have to go into a kennel. This gave me the impression that the kennels were large wire setups. The other thing was concerned about was the trip’s duration. One route is from La Paz to Mazatlan with a passage of 16-20 hours depending upon the weather and the other to Topolobampo , about 200 miles north of Mazatlan, but only takes 8-10 hours.
So, I drove to the ferry terminal (which is up a typically windy steep road) about 20 miles from La Paz. It is a bustling industrial place with no signs indicating where to go or labeling any of the buildings, gates or alleys. Hesitantly I pull into the fenced yard and look for a place to park the camper. On a side note, the camper is incredibly difficult to back up or parallel park so I make a point of parking somewhere that I can pull through and god for bid I have to back my way out of an alley. As I sat there trying to decide what to do a guard approached and asked (in Spanish of course) what I needed. He directs me to the parking area and pointed out the BajaFerry ticket office. Thankfully there was just enough space in the lot for the camper to squeeze through. The queue was short and soon I was able to ask the ticket agent about my biggest concern: how are dogs were to be transported, “Can they stay in the truck with me?” Her face twists and she said, “Oh no. the dogs must be in their own ‘casa’. And No they can’t be left in the truck and no we don’t provide casas and you must buy one for each dog. A horrible vision flashed through my mind of one of the dogs breaks out during the trip and trying to find me. She then told me that I need to get the car measured and weighted before I could buy the ticket. I was stunned. How was I going to do this? If I bought three crates could I really leave the dogs unattended somewhere on the ferry for 8-10 hours? My heart sunk. I decided to go back to La Paz and think it over.
That evening I chatted with one of my ‘neighbors’ and they told me that there was another ferry system! The reason I had conflicting information was because there were actually two ferry companies. The one I wanted was a commercial freighting ferry where you can stay in your vehicle during the voyage. The icing on the cake was that it’s a lot cheaper because you’re not paying for the conveniences of a commuter ship; lobby seating, dining hall or the chance to buy a sleeping berth… it’s bare bones.
So my plans changed. I’d drive to the ferry terminal the next morning, get the ticket for the following Sunday which would give me a week to go south. Since there’s a free camping beach near the ferry terminal I’d stay there for the day and head south on Monday. Perfect!