When Is the Best Time
The great white sharks arrive sometime in July and usually depart by late November. Under normal circumstances you’ll never fail to see them during that time. It’s because of the really high shark concentration at Guadalupe Island. It is not uncommon to have more than one shark around the cages on some days. However, there are slight variations to what you can see:
The first male and smaller female sharks show up in July. That’s why most tour operators start their trips by the end of July. The last trips are usually offered mid-November, end of November. However between July and mid-September you will ‘only’ see the male sharks or smaller female ones. By the end of September the first huge mature female sharks (18 ft) start showing up. By mid-October the numbers of sharks go down slightly. However, the chance of encountering those spectacular female sharks is at its highest during October/November.
Weather and Water Temperature
Very warm during the day and cooler at night. Summer clothing should be fine. Bring a sweater, pants and a windbreaker/rain jacket. From July to November the average daytime temperature ranges between 73 and 78° F (23-26° C). It’s slightly cooler in November. The ocean is at its calmest during these months. But still, keep in mind that the weather can get rougher on the way forth and back. The water temperature ranges between 72° F (22° C) in August/September and 68° F (20° C) in October/November. A 5mm – 7mm wetsuit with a hood is recommended.
Crowds are not an issue, as only few operators are heading to this island. But still, book well in advance if possible. The shark diving trips to Guadalupe Island became more popular in the recent years.
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Where and Tips
“Incredibly majestic, curious and absolutely mesmerizing!” Up close shark viewing in a cage in beautiful clear blue water with 125 – 150 foot visibility! Guadalupe Island is the world’s top destination for great white shark encounters. This small volcanic uninhabited island is located in the Pacific 240 km(150 miles) off the west coast of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula. It outperforms South Africa as well as Australia in terms of shark concentration and watching conditions. Our frequently asked questions:
How long is the trip? Liveaboards usually run 5 day expeditions with 3 days of diving. The dive time depends on the tour operator.
Are there hotels? No hotel or other accommodations, it’s an uninhabited island. A liveaboard is the only option.
Can I get seasick? At the island it’s very calm. On the way forth or back on the open ocean, the weather can get rough. A ‘patch’ is recommended.
Do I need to be scuba certified? It’s not required. You’ll be given quick and easy lessons on the basics of scuba diving on the way to the island. However, if you want the full experience and go down in a submersible cage instead of a ‘surface cage’, you need need to be a certified diver: Nautilus Overview
Is there other ocean life? Besides the sharks, seal can be found along the island's coastline along with other fascinating sightings: dolphins, turtles, sea elephants, schools of tuna and rare beaked whales. Even on the days travelling back on forth there are often stunning sightings: Dolphins surfing the bow waves of the vessel, humpback, pilot, grey and blue whales as well as an abundance of seabirds.
Recommended Tour Operators
- Nautilus Explorer: Great crew, very helpful, friendly with a lot of experience. The boat is spacious and the food is good as well. However, some complain about not food allergies being ignored. Just ask in advance!
- SDX Shark Diving Experts: Also super nice and attentive crew, very skilled. Clean and comfortable vessel. Almost every guest loved the food as well.
- Horizon Charters: A+++. Outstanding experience from the first contact until the end of the trip. Excellent crew, super friendly, extremely helpful and knowledgable. Wonderful food (actually the best we had). Big plus: They price match!
Review by user (place creator) Leif: "The marine wildlife is amazing. Diving without a cage is not recommended. Here you have the chance to see the big white real close with brilliant visibility. On the island you have the chance to see sea elephants as well as sea lions. Booked with Nautilus Explorer"
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