Prior, we had written about how you can transport your pet via a Ferry from the Baja sliver of Mexico to its mainland and from that sprung this blog that'll tell you more about the TMC experience in general and what you'll need to know in preparation for the ferry.
REQUIRED DOCUMENTS FOR YOUR VEHICLE TO BE ON THE FERRY
First off, the moment you consider a ferry to cross into the Mexican mainland either via Baja Ferry or TMC, be sure to have your vehicle registration to prove ownership of your vehicle to be allowed to get the vehicle ''import permit.'' Yes, you'll need one to have your car legally on the mainland
What you'll also need to get the import permit is to also have your FMM TOURIST VISA, that same thing they give you whenever you fly internationally into any country. Technically, ONLY the person that the vehicle is registered under needs the FMM to get the import permit. You can get the FMM at the immigration office at any border entry point. It'll cost about $25 for each FMM since you're traversing by land instead of flying into the mainland. If you'd already driven far down into Baja, the other only place we know of that you can get the FMM form is in Cabo San Lucas.
sample FMM Tourist Visa we downloaded from Google images
The import permit costs $69usd plus a $400usd deposit and allows you up to 6 months stay on the mainland, of which you can extend/renew at the border. Ohhh, and the building you would need to go to to get the Import permit is called BANJERCITO. To receive the deposit back, you'll need to stop by any Banjercita office near any border entry point before crossing back into the US. Other than needing the import permit for the car to go on the ferry into the mainland, it is also a legal requirement along the way when the mainland authorities stop you at military checkpoints.
ABOUT THE TMC FERRY
TMC is a working ferry for the nation's business purposes transporting supplies and other cargo as opposed to the alternative BAJA FERRY that caters to the comfort of tourism so there won't be any sleeping cabins available and majority of the people on board are trucker men; fortunately nice people. There is a moderate size sitting room lounge with a TV that some people slumber in but most that we saw slept in their vehicle. Overall cleanliness is very acceptable especially given the liberty to bring your pet without w/out a kennel.
While on board, despite what people say, the inclusive Mexican meals were actually authentic and good.
The FERRY TICKET
The ferry company considers your type of vehicle and the number of passengers ''cargo'' so the weight/type of the vehicle will slightly impact the price of your ticket. All in all, it shouldn't cost you as much as the Baja Ferry alternative where you can't have your pet out of the kennel, assuming you're taking one like us. The trip was overnight and about 14-18 hours depending on loading efficiency. To check out the updated prices, you can visit their website at www.ferrytmc.com. Costed the 3 of us 4,747 pesos or roughly $250usd at that time.
When you're at the website and selecting your port of departure & arrival, keep in mind that LA PAZ translate to the word "PEACE" so select that option if you're going from or into La Paz. I feel quite retarded after realizing that but hey, who would think that Google Chrome would translate the name of a City in its English equivalent, something we soon realized Mexico does quite often.
We had used this website for planning purposes and due to uncertainties, such as the type of operator ticket we're supposed to get, we had decided to purchased the ticket at the port's ticket office instead. There are 2 ports over on the mainland you can select to arrive at: Mazatlan and Topolobampo. We considered taking the less expensive Topolo' port and drive a few hours along the coast southward to reach our intended Mazatlan destination but with some information from people saying that the route isn't that scenic and due to the cost of tolls along the road, you wouldn't save much anyway so we had waived that option and ferried straight into Mazatlan.
After sorting out your desired ferry schedule, plan to arrive at least 2 hours ahead to give yourself time to process the car paperwork and to purchase the ticket at a different building. It shouldn't take too long given that all the aforementioned paperwork are in order.
OUR unplanned EXPERIENCE
Needing and getting the FMM was something we had to learn the hard way. Since we had not gotten it at the border, we were told by almost everyone we got into contact with in La Paz that the only way to get it is at the border where we came from and we'd have to either drive back or catch a flight.
Being that our car was registered under Britt's name, only she needed the FMM for the import permit so we reluctantly bought her a quick round-day-trip flight to TJ. Shortly after that TJ trip, we later found out that YOU ACTUALLY CAN GET THE FMM @ CABO SAN LUCAS an hour drive south of La Paz like we've mentioned above! The cost is also $25USD at the CSL airport. Obviously, we were slightly annoyed when we later found out from a traveling friend that we had met on the 2nd day of this Mexico expedition but we soon got over it because these were all supposed to be a part of the experience as we had aimed to develop a more chill and 'everything is going to work out beautifully' mentally along our travels. Another thing to note is that because Mexico's communication infrastructure among all the governing offices were relatively outdated, the airports, port, and immigration employees are often limited to the information local to them.
a. After getting the import permit, the ferry ticket, and finally weighing in the car, we had an hour to kill so we parked at a random spot--you could no longer drive out of the port at that point--and walked across the street around the top corner for a Michelada.
b. Do request to be parked on the upper deck of the Ferry to avoid the intensely loud engine noise below. We've been told it'll help with the sleep factor.
c. Be prepared for a long trip and having pillows, if room permits, would be very helpful.
d. Meals have a time window so the kitchen will be closed if you don't get there on time. They'll let you know the time period that it'll be served.
e. TMC FERRY and BAJA FERRIES share the same port in case you didn't know and it's about a pleasant 20 minutes drive from the end of the malecon on the way towards its 2 most popular beaches, Balandra and El Tecolote.
16 hours of ferry time can be quite tiring
We hope this information have helped you plan for your travels and feel free to reach out if you have questions via the messages below, instagram (@ilovebad), or facebook (ilovebad organics). Have super fun in Mexico and try not to get stopped by the police so many times like we did; 6 times thus far to be exact!!
Daniel & Brittanny