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Topolobampo Basics

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Topolobampo is a small port town in the Mexican State of Sinaloa. Boasting a deep water harbor, the town sits at the terminus of the Chihuahua-Pacific Railroad, or ChePe, which passes through the scenic Copper Canyon. The population of Topolobampo is only around 6,500 people.

The economic importance of Topolobampo is dwarfed by its much larger neighboring city of Los Mochis, with a population of over 230,000 residents. Los Mochis is located in the "Valle del Fuerte," a principal agricultural area of Mexico. The irrigated farms grow an abundance of crops, including sugar, cotton, rice, flowers and mangos.

The Topolobampo/Los Mochis region enjoys an arid, almost desert-like climate, with average summer temperatures in the high 80s F (about 33° C). Total annual rainfall is less than 2 inches.

Topolobampo map


First Impressions


As you approach the small port of Topolobampo, you will see the wide strip of marshes stretching along the coast. With its hills, port and pretty offshore islands, Topolobampo sits in a setting that isn't so dissimilar to a Mediterranean port in Southern France or a Greek island. In truth, the town itself is pretty grungy. After Pemex built an oil storage complex in the port, the shrimp population fell off, along with the jobs for fishermen. One commentator avers that "Topolobampo is like a Cinderella without a Fairy Godmother."

Your ship will dock at the industrial pier in Topolobampo, and the day's excursions will proceed from the pier. Since your fellow passengers bound for the Copper Canyon trip will disembark at 4:30 or 5:00 am, your ship will be docking in port pretty early. You will be docked until midnight.

There is nothing of touristic interest in Topolobampo; it's much more interesting to spend some time in Los Mochis, a mere 15 miles away via a 4 lane highway. You can take a taxi or a bus from Topolobampo to Los Mochis. Even in Los Mochis, the few tourists in the area are usually either passing through to ride the Chepe or are hunters shooting birds in the marshes, as white dove hunting is a big deal in the area. The food in Los Mochis has a deserved reputation for being quite good.

The estuaries on the Sea of Cortez provide another escape from Topolobampo, especially for birders. The marshes provide a resting spot for migrating bird species traveling from North America to South America.

Church in Los Mochis
© Sinaloa, under cc-by-sa license

Time Zone


Topolobampo and Los Mochis are on Mountain Time, seven hours earlier than Greenwich Mean Time during standard time, or six hours during daylight savings time. Daylight savings time begins on the first Sunday of April, and ends on the last Sunday of October.


Language


Spanish is universally spoken in Topolobampo and Los Mochis; most of the shopkeepers catering to tourists also speak some variant of English.


Travel Advisory


The U. S. Department of State has issued this Travel Warning to inform U.S. citizens traveling to and living in Mexico about the security situation in Mexico.

"Since 2006, the Mexican government has engaged in an extensive effort to combat transnational criminal organizations (TCOs). The TCOs, meanwhile, have been engaged in a vicious struggle to control drug trafficking routes and other criminal activity...

"There is no evidence that U.S. tourists have been targeted by criminal elements due to their citizenship. Nonetheless, while in Mexico you should be aware of your surroundings at all times and exercise particular caution in unfamiliar areas..."


Dealing with Money in Topolobampo/Los Mochis


Currency

Mexican Peso

The Peso is Mexico's official currency, and uses the "$" sign to denote the peso amount. Each peso is made up of 100 centavos. Bills come in denominations of $20, $50, $100, $200, $500 and $1000 pesos. Coinage comes in denominations of 50 centavos, and $1, $2, $5 and $10 pesos.

Just be aware that larger notes (e.g., $500 Peso notes) are often difficult to change.

The current US Dollar/Mexican Peso exchange rate is as follows:

Banks and ATMs:

ATM machines can be found in downtown Los Mochis, in the business district. The following is a partial list of the ATMs in town:

  • Citibank: Downtown Los Mochis on Guillermo Prieto; also at the corner of Obregon and Antonio Rosales, Los Mochis. Citibank account holders are not charged an ATM transaction fee.

  • BBVA Bancomer: Gabriel Leyva #201 South, Los Mochis.

  • HSBC Mexico: At the branch at Gabriel Leyva 201 Norte, Los Mochis.

  • Banco Nacional de Mexico: At the branch at Guillermo Prieto and Hidalgo, Los Mochis.

See our Los Mochis ATM map for the locations of the above ATMs.

Using US Dollars in Topolobampo/Los Mochis

As US dollars are widely accepted in Topolobampo and Los Mochis, you don't have to change your dollars into pesos. If you're using dollars alone, make sure to bring smaller denominations to pay for incidentals and taxi rides.


Weather


The Topolobampo and Los Mochis area boasts an arid but pleasant climate, with warm, sunny days during most of the year. During the summer months, it can be hot and sultry during the day, but during the evening it cools down to the mid-70s F.

In Mexico, many regions have just two seasons: the Dry Season, or winter, and the Rainy Season, or summer. But in the Topolobampo/Los Mochis area, it barely rains at all, averaging less than 2 inches of rain per year.

The local winter runs from November through March, with daily highs in the comfortable mid-70s to low-80s F. By April, it gets pretty steamy, with daily highs approaching 100° F. The humidity, however, hovers around the 60-70% range from November through June, then kicks in during July through October.

Los Mochis Average Temperatures

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Avg High - F 76 78 82 87 92 97 98 97 95 92 84 77
Avg High - C 24 26 28 31 34 36 37 36 35 33 29 25
Avg Low - F 56 56 58 61 63 68 75 77 76 71 64 59
Avg Low - C 14 14 14 16 17 20 24 25 25 21 18 15

Los Mochis Average Precipitation

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Avg, Inches 0.9 0.2 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.4 1.9 3.3 3.3 1.9 0.3 0.6
Avg, mm 23 5 3 0 0 10 48 84 84 48 8 15

Keeping In Touch


Internet Cafes

There are a number of cyber cafes in Los Mochis; their rates are very reasonable. The following cyber cafe is recommended:

  • SysNet Cafe Internet, Rio Sinaloa # 284, Los Mochis. Open 10-10 daily; the cost is $15 pesos/hour; 5 computers are available.

See our Los Mochis Internet Cafes & Wi-Fi Hotspot Map for the locations of the above internet access points.

Cellular Phone & Data Services

Travelers with American cell phones should be aware that their carriers will add a variety of international roaming charges when their phones are used in Mexico. You can also buy a "Mexico plan" from your carrier; check with your carrier for the precise details.

Verizon

Cell service: Verizon's CDMA service in the Los Mochis/Topolobampo area is provided by local partner Iusacell.
Data services: Through partner Iusacell, Verizon offers EVDO coverage in the greater Los Mochis/Topolobampo area.
See details on Verizon's cell and data services pricing and coverage maps.

ATT Wireless

Cell service: AT&T's GSM service in the Los Mochis/Topolobampo area is provided by Telcel and Telefonica.
Data services: AT&T offers 3G service in the Los Mochis/Topolobampo area through its partners Telcel and Telefonica.
See details on AT&T's cell and data services coverage maps.

Sprint

Cell service: Sprint's CDMA service in the Los Mochis/Topolobampo area is provided by partner Iusacell, and with partners Telcel and Telefonica when using a quad-band GSM phone.
Data services: Through Iusacel, Sprint offers EVDO coverage in the Los Mochis/Topolobampo area. Sprint also offers 3G coverage in Los Mochis/Topolobampo when using a UMTS-capable device with an active SIM card and global plan.
See details on Sprint's cell and data services pricing and coverage maps.

T Mobile

Cell service: T-Mobile's GSM service is available in the Los Mochis/Topolobampo area through its partners Telefonica and Iusacell.
Data services: T-Mobile offers 2G service in the Los Mochis/Topolobampo area through its partners Telefonica and Iusacell.
See details on T-Mobile's cell and data services coverage maps.

Kindle Connectivity

In Topolobampo, you can download your Kindle 3G data through Telcel's EDGE/GPRS coverage in the area. Telcel's coverage in Los Mochis is 3G.

Internet Cafe

Samsung Galaxy S III

Local Events, Holidays & Festivals


Look for the following local festivals, holidays and events taking place in Topolobampo/Los Mochis for the remainder of 2014 and in 2015:

2014:

  • Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead), November 1 to 2. Celebrants build private altars to honor the deceased, using sugar skulls, flowers and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed.

  • Revolution Day, November 20. A national holiday celebrating the Mexican Revolution of 1910.

  • Fiesta de la Inmaculada (Feast of the Immaculate Conception), December 8. Marks the beginning of the Christmas celebration season.

  • Dia de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe (Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe), December 12. Commemorates the Virgin of Guadalupe, Mexico's patron saint.

  • Las Posadas, December 16 to 24. Commemorates the New Testament story of Joseph and Mary's search for shelter in Bethlehem. You'll see candlelight processions as celebrants stop at various nativity scenes.

  • Navidad (Christmas Day), December 25. A public and religious holiday celebrating the birth of Christ.

2015:

  • Ano Nuevo (New Year's Day), January 1. National holiday celebrated with dances and fiestas.

  • Dia de los Santos Reyes (Day of the Three Kings), January 6. A national holiday celebrating the New Testament story of the arrival of the three wise men who each brought a gift to the Christ child. It's the day that children receive gifts as well as shoes full of candy, and people buy a pastry called rosca de reyes.

  • Dia de la Constitucion (Constitution Day), February 5. Public holiday commemorating the signing of the Mexican Constitution of 1917. The day is usually marked by festivals and street celebrations.

  • Carnaval (Mardis Gras), February 12 to 17. Food, costume parades and art exhibits. The big party is the night of the 17th.

  • Birthday of Benito Juarez, March 21. A public holiday celebrating the birthday of Benito Juarez, who rose from humble origins to occupy the Presidency of the Republic in the second half of the 19th century.

  • Semana Santa (Holy Week), March 30 to April 5. The week before Easter is filled with celebrations in the area, with parades, music and staged performances held at the town square. Easter takes place on Sunday the 5th.

  • Primero de Mayo (Labor Day), May 1. A national holiday.

  • Cinco de Mayo, May 5. A Mexican holiday commemorating the Battle of Puebla in 1862, when the Mexican army defeated a French force twice its size just south of Mexico City. Not as big a deal in Mexico as it is in the US.

  • Mexican Independence Day, September 16. A celebration of Mexico's War of Independence against Spain. Look for the delivery of the "El Grito de Dolores," the official grunt that marks the day.

  • Dia de la Raza (Columbus Day), October 12. Dia de la Raza is how Mexico celebrates Columbus Day.

  • Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead), November 1 and 2. Celebrants build private altars to honor the deceased, using sugar skulls, flowers and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed.

  • Revolution Day, November 20. A national holiday celebrating the Mexican Revolution of 1910. Since the 20th falls on a Friday, Mexicans get the prior Monday, the 16th, off as a holiday.

  • Fiesta de la Inmaculada (Feast of the Immaculate Conception), December 8. Marks the beginning of the Christmas celebration season.

  • Dia de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe (Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe), December 11. Commemorates the Virgin of Guadalupe, Mexico's patron saint.

  • Navidad (Christmas Day), December 25. A public and religious holiday celebrating the birth of Christ.

Cruise Port Schedule


For the last several years, Topolobampo has been a boutique port for Holland American's 10-day Mexican Riviera and Sea of Cortez cruises from San Diego.

In 2014, Topolobampo is slated to host just 1,260 cruise ship passengers sailing on 1 ship--the Statendam, which is scheduled to arrive in December. For further information, see our Topolobampo Cruise Ship Schedule - 2014.

Copper canyon

Cruise Lines Making Port


The following cruise line will makes port in Topolobampo in 2014:

Holland America icon Holland America
Cruise Ship


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