One of Mexico's most unique and stunning islands is the remote Guadalupe Island out in the Pacific Ocean. It is a small volcanic island around 150 miles off Mexico's Baja California western coast.

One of the main attractions to this remote Mexican island is cage diving to see magnificent great white sharks face to face (or face to rows of razor-shape teeth). It is considered one of the best places in the world for shark cage diving.

What To Know About Mexico's Remote Guadalupe Island

Guadalupe Island is known in Spanish as "Isla Guadalupe" and is part of Mexico's Baja California State. The island itself is mostly arid and has very little water. In 2005 Guadalupe Island (together with the surrounding waters) was declared a biosphere reserve.

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  • Designated: Biosphere Reserve
  • Administration: Part Of Mexico's Baja Calfornia

Guadalupe Island is rugged and is made up of two shield volcanoes that formed on a (now extinct) mid-ocean ridge. The island is uninhabited except for a small group of scientists, seasonal fishermen, and some military personnel.

  • Population: 150 (All Scientists, Military Personnel Operating A Weather Station, And Seasonal Fishermen)
  • Campo Oeste: A Small Community of Abalone and Lobster Fishermen - Made Up of 15 Buildings

As it is now protected in a biosphere reserve, everyone seeking to visit needs special permission in the form of a permit from the Mexican government.

Size:

  • Length: 35 Km or 22 Miles Long
  • Width: 9.5 Km or 6 Miles Wide
  • Area: 244 km2 (94 sq miles)

During the 18th and 19th centuries, Guadalupe Island was a major destination for Russian and American sealers. The Guadalupe fur seal was nearly hunted to extinction. At one point there were only a few dozen left but now they have recovered to around 10,000 is considered of least concern.

The northern elephant seal was also hunted to near extinction on the island and was thought to have been extinct by 1884. But a remnant population managed to survive and come back from the brink.

The island's vegetation was also devastated by a massive population of goats. But these have now been eliminated.

Related: Did Someone Say 'Jaws?' Here's How To Have The Scariest Time Of Your Life Cage-Diving With Great Whites

Why Guadalupe Island is Famous For Cage Shark Diving

Guadalupe Island is famous for diving and is thought to be one of the best places (or even the best) in the world to get up close and personal to the Pacific's magnificent great white sharks.

"Great white shark encounters at Guadalupe Island are nothing short of spectacular. It’s simply the best destination in the world for calm clear water and consistently high probability of multiple shark encounters per day."

Nautilus Dive Adventures

The sharks and other marine life thrive off a rich ecosystem surrounding the islands. The movement of a cool and nutrient-rich water current creates large amounts of phytoplankton. These are the base of the food chain that attractions the great white sharks and other animals.

Guadalupe is an important location for studying and monitoring great white sharks. Around 366 individual great whites are identified in their researcher's database.

So many of these fearsome creatures visit the island, that sightings are virtually guaranteed. The waters are around the island are clear with great visibility that typically ranges between 25 and 40 meters or 100 – 150 feet.

  • Visibility: Between 25 and 40 Meters (100 – 150 Feet)

Related: Family Faces Backlash Over Dropping Two Kids Into A Shark Cage

Shark Cage Diving Expeditions To Guadalupe

One can book a rememberable shark cage diving adventure with Nautilus Liveaboards.

"We have seen up to nine great whites at once circling the cages."

Guadalupe Great White Sharks

Shark diving expeditions take a minimum of 5 days. Two of these days are spent just getting there and back from Ensenada in Baja California. That leaves 3 full days of cage diving and seeing the stunning great white sharks up close.

  • From Baja California: Around 241 Kilometers or 130 Nautical Miles
  • From Ensenada: Around 400 Kilometers of 200 Nautical Miles

It is very isolated and can only be reached by liveaboard with the sea crossing taking around 24 hours one way. These depart from Ensenada in Mexico.

  • When to go: July to November
  • Average air temp: 23°C – 26°C
  • Average water temp: 20°C – 22°C

On these expeditions, one can dive when one want's for as long as one wants. One will be able to descend down in the submersible deep dive cages to where the sharks naturally congregate.

Dives go down by up to 30 feet and no one needs to use chum at depth as the sharks are already there. Without chum, the great white sharks are more relaxed and are more curious about the divers. This means they also get much closer to the cages.

Imagine a great white staring at you from 50 feet away and then swimming up for a closer look.

Next: Diving With Sharks: Here Are The Best Places For The Ultimate Underwater Thrill