Topolobampo 25° 31.227′ N
109° 12.001′ W
We were impressed by the scenic beauty of Topolobampo. It is raw and relatively untouched compared to other spots on the coast of Sinaloa. We sailed there after departing Altata in
the early morning. Altata is about 60 miles south of Topo. During the late evening we were hit by a fairly powerful chubasco and had a great sail down while flying nothing more than
our staysail until wind died down. We arrived to Topo at sunrise the next morning. We were hugging the coast and were lucky enough to cross over the sand bar at high tide just a mile or so west of Punta Copas and thus avoided having to enter the bay via the well marked shipping channel and saving perhaps 8 miles of motoring. The channel entrance is well marked with lighted buoy’s and the sand bars are easily visible during the day. If you are coming from the south and catch a high tide you can cut the over the sand bar. If you are not sure then best to enter via the well marked channel. The GPS coordinate above marks the first set of green and red buoys to enter the channel.
Punta Copas:The beautiful beach and sand dunes at Punta Copas on the southern flank of the bay is well worth a stop. This beach is
completely isolated from vehicular traffic and it shows. There is great shell collecting and beach combing to be had here at this wonderful spot. So close to Topolobampo and just a few miles from the very touristy beach of Maviri, north side of channel, but a world apart in every other aspect. If you paddle or hike any of the inland estuaries and beaches next to punta copas you can often times here the ATV’s from the beach at Marivi. Often your foot prints will be the only ones to grace this beautiful beach for days even weeks perhaps. The day we arrived we noticed some horses enjoying the beach by wadding in the cooling down waters that will be encountered around end of September or beginning of October.
Light house at Cerro Partida: A simple and fast hike. You will need to kayak or dingy to the concrete dock that makes the pathway to the light
house. The path way has been recently re conditioned with brand new concrete so hiking to the top only takes a few minutes and gives you a fantastic view or the surrounding land marks. The name Cerro Partida stems from the way the mountain looks from a western to southwestern perspective. It actually looks like someone cut the mountain in half with a knife hence the name Partida. From the top of the light house looking due east you will see the estuary were the famous dolphin Pechocho has lived for the last 20 years.
Pechocho the solitary dolphin: So the story goes that Pechocho’s mother sought refuge in this protected estuary during a tropical storm and the dolphin was born here. For reasons that are unexplained or unclear to myself the dolphin never left this small estuary and has lived here all his life. I wonder if Pechocho’s mother died here at the estuary and he simply never had the desire to swim out of it. The opening to this laguna if very restricted as you can see by the custom google map above and I can not hellp but wonder why the dolphin has never let this spot. Anyway I spend three different days within the laguna observing and filming this dolphin. The video will be out shortly and embedded on this page. Suffice to say it was a wonderful experience by my children to be so close to a truly wild animal. There is no doubt in my mind that he loved playing with the kids. He was especially animated as we swam with him and jumped out of the water several times around us. Once actually coming down partially on my head. I can say that having a 500 pound plus dolphin landing on your head is not an especially wonderful experience but I can hardly blame Pechocho!!
The Marina Topolobampo Palmira was completed around 2008 and is owned by the same company
that runs Marina Plamira in La Paz. The marina has a courtesy dingy dock for landing with no charge what so ever so landing’s are simple and fast with good security for your dingy or kayak. They have a small overpriced marine chandlery at their office were they also sell cheap beer and other supplies. We found the manager to be a bit inept and the staff to be slightly confused over what the price of a slip might be. We
happened to be in Topo at the end of September of 2012 while tropical storm Norman was passing through and decided to take a night at the Marina just to be sure. We were initially told one night for our 36 foot trimaran would be around 850 pesos. Later the price dropped to 400 pesos when we actually booked the night. The bathrooms were adequate yet the sky lights in both the mens and women’s bathrooms leaked. We never used the showers. We found the general staff of the marina to be friendly and helpful. I decided to get a few extra gallons of diesel from the very close pemex gas station and the staff lent me their dolly to ferry the fuel. There is a water purification plant right in front of the Marina so purchasing bottled water was very fast and easy.
Just down the road from the Marina is a brand new Santa Fe express supermarket and a Similares pharmacy. So basic provisioning is relatively simple and easy. With the marina so close to town it costs only 30 pesos to take a taxi back to the marina from the supermarket. Los Mochis is only a 20 minute bus ride away so if you find yourself in need of something more special then just the basics you can hop on the bus to Los Mochis. Their is also a local bus that will take you to the touristy beach of Marvir. We did not make it to Maviri last time we were there but suffice to say that here you will find several beach palapas serving the usual fare of local seafood. Hike up to the church or scenic overview for wonderful views of the bay and commercial port.
The baja ferry arrives from La Paz each day sometime around sunset and then departs for La Paz after unloading and subsequently reloading Baja bound passengers.