Mazatlan

It’s been three weeks touring Baja, time to go to mainland Mexico. It’s a couple of hours drive from Los Barriles up to La Paz. I figure I will do the paperwork to import the Land Cruiser into Mexico and see about a ferry ticket to Mazatlan. The ferry runs Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday, today is Tuesday so if I can get a ticket for tonight’s ferry I am off otherwise will be spending another couple of days in La Paz.

The import office is right at the ferry terminal, which is convenient. Unlike most countries, in Mexico you don’t have to import your vehicle at the border if you are going to Baja so I’ve put it off until now. It costs $59US for the import plus a $300US deposit on a credit card which I will get back when leaving Mexico, and I get an official sticker for my windshield and some new paperwork.

They won’t sell my a ticket until I go through customs, a brief search of my stuff then on to the scale where they weigh and measure the Land Cruiser, giving me a receipt I can use to buy a ticket. Finally at the ticket office, stuck in line for a long time. There are two guys ahead of me from California towing a boat on a trailer and there’s something wrong with their paperwork. They speak even less Spanish than me so it takes awhile. The ferry ticket is $160US for me and the Land Cruiser, and I decide to splurge an extra $40US for a cabin instead of a seat. The ferry take 13 hours to Mazatlan overnight, leaving at 8pm and arriving at 9am. Since it starts boarding at 5pm and probably wont’t deboard until at 10am or so that’s a lot of time to spend just sitting in a chair.

When it’s time to board I drive in the back of the ferry, following and endless line of trucks and cars up to the second level.

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then back up the length of the ferry and squeeze into a spot at the back

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The cabin is very nice, a room with 4 beds (2 are foldup beds on the wall) bathroom with shower, plus a little TV room at the front. They offered me a DVD at reception but I didn’t feel like watching Despicable Me in Spanish.

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The ferry leaves at 8pm on schedule, it’s a fairly smooth ride just a little bit of rolling. Next morning at 9am we are nowhere near Mazatlan though.

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Finally around 10am the ferry pulls very slowly into the port. It takes awhile before they call for people on the second deck to go down to their cars, around 11am I drive out of the ferry and into Mazatlan. Not much of a customs checks here, he just checks my new paperwork against the VIN on the Land Cruiser and waves me on.

I stay the night at Hotel Llerma in the historic center of Mazatlan. It’s very basic, just a room with one light bulb and a powerful ceiling fan. Rustic bathroom and no glass or screen on the window, just bars. The shower is hot and the room is clean though. Secure parking in the courtyard below.

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Walked around Mazatlan in the afternoon, this is a much more typical Mexican city than those in Baja. Lots of good food.

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Sitting on the waterfront taking in the view, a double decker tourist bus pulls up in front of me and the tour guide puts chunks of fish on spits and calls in the giant frigate birds for a snack. They swoop down and grab the fish, stick and all. The guide is braver than the tourists, he holds the stick in his teeth while the tourists hold it in their hands as high as they can go.

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