Guadalupe Island: The Best Great White Shark Diving on the Planet

Great White Shark encounters at Guadalupe Island are nothing short of spectacular. It’s simply the best destination in the world to see lots of sharks on a consistent basis in beautiful aqua blue water with 125 foot or greater visibility. The bay that we dive in is almost always calm and the sheer number of sharks is amazing. On many dives, we see two or three Great Whites, although in July and August we have seen up to 12 sharks on one dive! Guadalupe is home to at least 242 individually identified Great Whites and we are not done counting!

“The SHARKS! WOW! After a few slow hours in the morning the first two days, the remaining dive time was non-stop action with sometimes as many as 4 sharks circling the cages and appearing from the blue from all angles. This trip is both an adrenaline rush and an experience of extreme beauty and awe.”

–Robert K., August 2017

Even though the voyage is relatively short, Guadalupe Island feels like you are at the edge of the earth, getting to experience something that very few people do. The coast of Guadalupe is 25 miles of rocky cliffs, but above this is dense forest, giving it the feel of an exotic, South Pacific destination. The world might see sharks as man-eating predators, but we feel very lucky to get to descend into the world of the Great White and meet them as they truly are.

What makes Guadalupe Island the best place on the planet to see Great White Sharks is not just the sheer number of animals but also the viewing conditions. While visibility does occasionally deteriorate, we usually enjoy 100–125 foot visibility. Sometimes 150 feet. The sea conditions in the bay are almost always calm and protected from swell. Water temperatures are temperate, and the surface weather is beautiful, and very similar to San Diego and southern California.

Wildlife Calendar

July and August features rowdy gangs of male sharks. Female great whites start showing up in October and November.

Water Temperatures & Visibility

Surface weather is similar to southern California climate. Very warm during the day, and chilly at night.

Where is Guadalupe?

Guadalupe Island is a remote island off the Pacific coasts of Baja California, Mexico. We depart from Ensenada.

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Guadalupe Photo & Video Gallery

Check out our Guadalupe galleries for more photos, and videos, and our blog for the stories!

Another great trip aboard the Nautilus Explorer. My previous experience on the Explorer was 2003 in Alaska, and this trip was exactly what I expected coming on board again, great trip.

Nov 2017

All of the crew were fantastic, particularly the captain, but each and every one of the staff was really terrific (the dive masters, the cook, the wait staff, and anyone else I may have left off). Everyone made such a concerted effort to get the sharks to come around, and seemed just as excited as the guest to see them!

Oct 2017

From the moment we stepped onto the ship, I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. From the boat, to our room, to the crew, the food, and the diving, I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. We were spoiled from the solicitous crew to 3 days of extraordinary diving. Every day was better than the last and more than a perfect 10! I couldn’t have asked for a better or more memorable trip. Thank you to each and everyone of the wonderful crew!!!!

Oct 2017

The entire crew was amazing! It was so impressive to watch each member of the crew fill so many different roles to make the experience fantastic. The knowledge, friendliness and overall experience the crew provides makes this trip top notch. Thank you to everyone who makes this type of trip possible.

Oct 2017

Food was fantastic! Sleeping quarters very comfortable, they thought of everything in the dive area–hot showers, baby shampoo for defog, Listerine dips for regulators and plenty of shelving for our photography equipment. Don’t know the chefs’ names but they are excellent. Really great trip and all very comfortable and professional.

Oct 2017

Sample Itinerary

marinas of ensenada lit up at night
Day 1 – Boarding Night

Welcome aboard! Our top priority tonight is to get you out diving with the great white sharks of Guadalupe Island as effortlessly and comfortably as possible. We will meet you wherever it’s most convenient, whether it be our hospitality suite in San Diego, or at Tijuana, or Ensenada. We can even arrange pickups at LAX. “Shredder” (named after one of our favourite great white sharks), our own luxury Volvo highway coach outfitted with a refreshment centre, loads of space and very comfortable seating, will whisk you down to Ensenada in 2.5 hours including clearing the border.

Our crew will be ready to greet you dockside in Ensenada with big smiles and trays of champagne.  Sailing from Ensenada, Mexico, rather than San Diego, California, reduces your ocean crossing time by 10 hours and our stabilized steel ships were designed to make for the smoothest possible crossing. You can expect to generally get underway around 11pm. Next stop: Guadalupe Island tomorrow evening, and in calm water by dinner time!

nautilus belle amie aerial photo
Day 2 – At Sea

Today we will be travelling and relaxing at sea. An orientation will be held in the morning, followed by a fire and boat safety drill. A drill? On holiday? Don’t worry, we will make it lots of fun and it is for your safety. As an ISM safety certified passenger vessel there are lots of requirements like this that we happily meet and comply with. Our Shark 101 presentation will be in the afternoon, and then you will have a chance to try out a shark cage on the back deck! Cocktail hour is at 7pm, although our guests often enjoy pre-dive cocktails well before that! Guests who have signed up for onboard WiFi will have all day to send photos home via email and WhatsApp. Guadalupe Island should appear over the horizon in the early evening, ensuring our guests have a calm night in the protected anchorage to relax and get a restful sleep before the next morning’s excitement of diving with our sharky friends first thing!

diver and great white shark watch each other separated by cage
Day 3 – Let the Sharking Begin

Our theory on how shark trips should operate is very simple. Have loads of large comfortable cages in the water (up to 5 cages on the Belle Amie). Open the cages for diving at dawn. Leave the cages open until dusk. Have lots of divemasters are in the water and on the dive deck to ensure an excellent diving experience for our guests. We provide virtually unlimited diving in our surface cages, and provide least three dives a day for certified dives in our submersible cages. We love doing Shark ID in the late afternoon, followed by cocktail hour and our famous (and delicious!) Mexican Taco Fiesta on the top deck.

great white shark swims towards camera as three divers observe
Day 4 – Rinse & Repeat

We will be opening the cages at dawn, and you can start diving as early or late as you want. One of the best things about the way we operate is that you can almost always jump into a surface cage and stay in as long as you want. The current record onboard stands at 31.5 hours in the cages over three days! Certified divers can make at least three dives a day in our deep-diving submersible cages, and there is often the chance to get an extra dive or two in these cages as well. We have a simple goal – we want you to make sure you can dive as much as you want, for as long as you want.

Many of our divers love warming up in the hot tub or on the dive deck showers between dives. And our water makers produce more than enough hot water for you to shower in your private ensuite cabin whenever you want. The only difference between using the hot tub or your private shower is that we feel more comfortable serving you snacks and drinks when you are in the hot tub!

Provided it is not too windy, “theatre under the stars” on the top deck will be on offer tonight. Steven Spielberg’s Jaws is always a favourite, followed closely by The Perfect Storm! Gazing up at the clear, starry Mexican sky from your comfortable lounger creates much more than a 5-star experience: it is a many-thousand star experience!

large great white shark re-enters the water after breaching
Day 5 – Oh No!

Today is our last day of sharking and we want to give you every possible second in the water at Guadalupe. Rather than leaving at noon like our competitors, we stay on site until 5pm before swinging the cages onboard and heading north. This means you get the maximum amount of time possible with your new toothy friends before heading home.

For dinner tonight we will serve Filet Mignon barbecued to order, with special dietary options always available, followed by our last Shark ID program. Shark ID helps the scientists we work with by providing them with incredibly valuable information on shark population, movements and developments. Our guests and crew have helped identify (and name!) many of the 242 individual Great White sharks identified in the bay that we dive in at Guadalupe Island. Conservation, research and regulation are all dependent on constant census and identification work. Your adventure with Nautilus matters. A portion of every charter fee goes to supporting science and conservation. We are excited to be launching our bespoke shark ID software in 2018, which uploads data in real time from our ships via our satellite system to a public domain shark ID database and sends automated email alerts to the scientists that we work with.

golden crepuscular rays shining down on the socorro islands
Day 6 – Return to Ensenada

Sadly your time onboard will come to a close when we arrive in Ensenada at 1:30pm. Before you disembark, we will ensure you get a copy of the trip highlights DVD that our crew has put together. “Shredder” will be ready to transport guests to either Tijuana or San Diego, while some of our divers will likely be extending their adventure with us into the Sea of Cortés by visiting Bahía de los Ángeles where 85 – 220 whale sharks gather every season, or may journey south with us for a 5-night dive getaway on our luxury yacht at the marine park of Cabo Pulmo.

It will be sad for us to say goodbye. Hopefully we will see you again very soon. Even though diving with Great Whites is a powerful, amazing, experience, we refuse to say it is “once in a lifetime,” –  many guests get hooked on white sharks and soon return for anther adventure. We have been lucky enough to have guests return as many as 17 times! We began by running two shark trips one September many years ago, and now, in 2018, we are offering 72 trips with 1,800+ guests joining us. We cannot wait to welcome you onboard so you can discover for yourself why these trips are so incredibly popular!

Dive safe! And always dive with a Nautilus LifeLine Marine Rescue GPS.