Guadalupe Island, Mexico

Great White Sharks

September 4 - 9, 2021
Cost: $3,800 - $5,250
Leader: Scott Davis
Group Size: 24
Days: 6

Safari Overview

Sail to Guadalupe Island for an unparalleled in-water experience with one of the world’s most respected and enigmatic predators: the great white shark. Guadalupe Island is located in the Pacific Ocean off Mexico’s Baja Peninsula. With its clear blue water, subtropical temperatures, and an abundance of Great Whites, the protected waters surrounding Guadalupe Island is one of the absolute best places to observe and photograph these awe-inspiring animals. Depending on your comfort and skill level, watch sharks from the specially designed surface cages (no SCUBA certification necessary!) or take the plunge in the submersible deep-water cage for the ultimate experience 30ft below the surface. We welcome anyone interested in sharks regardless of diving experience. Scott Davis is the perfect leader for this unique adventure, having a background in marine biology and decades of field experience in photography.


  • Get up close and personal with the revered predator of the sea – the great white shark.
  • If you are SCUBA certified, spend time in the deep-water cages observing sharks from a unique perspective.
  • Spend the week aboard the luxury vessel, Nautilus Explorer, with gourmet cuisine, and lavish accommodations.

Itinerary Updated: March 2020

Ship Info FAQ Print Trip
Date Description Lodge Meals
Sep 4 Arrive in San Diego and travel by private bus to board the ship in Ensenada, Mexico. On board the Nautilus Explorer
Sep 5 Sail to Guadalupe Island. On board the Nautilus Explorer B, L, D
Sep 6 - 8 Spend three full days in the water with great white sharks. On board the Nautilus Explorer B, L, D
Sep 9 Sail back to Ensenada, Mexico, and travel by private bus to San Diego Airport. B, L

Our Trip Leaders

Scott Davis

Scott is a professional photographer specializing in wildlife, nature, and travel. Originally trained as a wildlife and marine biologist, his research and photo assignments took him to the far corners of the globe. National Geographic, BBC, Animal Planet, and renowned magazines have used his photography. His patience for teaching and love of capturing the essence of his subjects make him one of our most popular tour leaders."Scott is a pro- and an all around great human. His well-rounded knowledge base is quite valuable. And, even though I opted not to get into the intricacies of photography I could see how generously he shared his knowledge with others." -Jim Schafer, 2020

Detailed Itinerary

A glimpse into our journey

Fly to San Diego and travel to Ensenada, Mexico

Sep 4

Cheesemans' Ecology Safaris supports the World Cetacean Alliance

Arrive in San Diego. Transfer to the Best Western Plus Island Palms Hotel and Marina for a welcome reception with drinks and snacks. If you would like to arrive earlier, we can arrange your overnight at the Best Western Plus Island Palms Hotel and Marina. After the reception, you will travel by private bus to the dock in Ensenada, Mexico to board the Nautilus Explorer.

Arrive at Guadalupe Island

Sep 5

Easy access to dive skiffs from the rear deck on the Nautilus Explorer

Sail to Guadalupe Island and arrive around dinnertime. You can spend time on the deck searching for sea birds such as cormorants, boobies, and auklets along with occasional pods of dolphins or enjoy the ride indoors in the lounge or library.

Guadalupe Island is a volcanic island with a rugged landscape located 180mi off the west coast of the Baja Peninsula and about 250mi southwest of Ensenada. It consists of two ancient overlapping shield volcanoes, the largest, Mount Augusta, rises to about 4,250ft in the north and the smaller, El Picacho, about 3,200ft in the south. The small island measures about 22mi by 6mi with a coastline of rocky bluffs and dense forest above.

Cage diving with great white sharks

Sep 6 - 8

Great White Shark cage
© Bea Metzger

Spend three full days with great white sharks in your choice of surface cages or 30ft submersible cages. Cages are open from 6:30am to dusk, so you have the freedom to spend the day in the cages for as much or little time as you like. You can expect between 125ft and 150ft of water visibility enabling you to see sharks approach from beyond the anchor line through the clear, cobalt blue water. In the evenings after dinner, you can scan the shark identification catalogs to try to ID sharks you swam with that day.

Guadalupe is considered one of the best spots in the world to see great white sharks, possibly because of its large population of pinnipeds. Many island or marine species that live near Guadalupe also frequent the Channel Islands. Guadalupe was the last refuge for the northern elephant seal and the Guadalupe fur seal in the 1890s. The island has been a pinniped sanctuary since 1975.

Sail back to Ensenada, Mexico and transfer to San Diego

Sep 9

Hot tub on the Nautilus Explorer

You’ll spend most of the day at sea en route back to the mainland. Keep your eyes peeled for seabirds, bow riding dolphins, and maybe some whales. You’ll arrive in the Ensenada port in the afternoon and a private bus will transfer you back to San Diego airport or to the hotel if you are extending your stay.

Guadalupe Island, Mexico

Sail this Pacific island to swim with one of the world’s most respected and enigmatic predators: the great white shark.

29.048718, -118.264529

Ship Information

Nautilus Explorer

The 25-passenger 116ft Nautilus Explorer is the world's first and only fully SOLAS certified dive boat. This beautiful tough small ship carries the same certificates as the largest cruise ships in the world. She has a steel hull and superstructure, sea stabilizers, and sails at 12 knots maximum service speed. Equipped with two submersible cages and two surface cages, all with easy entry ladders, 12 passengers can be in the water at a time.

More Information
Nautilus Explorer ship with Cheesemans' Ecology Safaris

Cost & Payments

Costs (in US$)

Type Description Cost Per Person
Triple Stateroom Triple occupancy, two lower twin-sized beds and one upper twin-sized bed, porthole, air conditioning, and private bath. On Lower Deck. (Stateroom H) $3,800
Double Stateroom Double occupancy with two twin-sized beds, porthole window, air conditioning, and private bath. On Lower Deck. (Staterooms C, D, E, F, G, and J) $4,100
Superior Suite Double occupancy, picture window, air conditioning, wardrobe, and private bath. The Rosario and Nautilus can have one quasi-king-sized bed or two full-sized beds, and doors that open directly outside. The Dofleini has one queen-sized bed and a TV. On Upper Deck. (Dofleini, Rosario, Nautilus) $4,625
Single Stateroom Single occupancy with one full-sized bed, porthole window, air conditioning, and private bath. On Lower Deck. (Staterooms A and B) $5,125
Premium Suite Double occupancy with one queen-sized bed or two twin-sized beds, separate lounge with convertible futon, picture windows, air conditioning, desk, wardrobe, two TVs, and private bath with full bathtub. On Upper Deck. (Emerald) $5,250

Costs are per person depending on cabin type, single, double, or triple occupancy, not including airfare. See Included and Not Included sections for more details.

We reserve the right to charge for cost increases that occur between when we set tour prices and the date of travel, for example, changes due to the cost of lodging and transportation. If you are a single traveler and you desire, we will find a roommate for you. If we cannot find you a roommate, we will not charge you a single supplement. Single rooms are subject to availability.

Please note that we cannot guarantee a specific cabin number. If changes occur, we will do everything in our power to assign a cabin of equal or greater value as the cabin type specified in your reservation. Deck plan, cabin arrangements, and cabin amenities are subject to change by ship operator.

Payment Schedule

Payment Due Date Amount Per Person
Deposit Due now to reserve your space $1,000
Second September 15, 2020 $1,500
Final April 1, 2021 Remaining balance

Payments will be due based on the schedule above. All reservations require a deposit to confirm reservation of your space. For reservations made after a due date, all past payments will be due with registration. By sending your initial deposit, you agree to accept our payment schedule and cancellation policy as a contract. If payments are still outstanding two weeks after the due date, your space may be forfeited.


Refunds are given depending on the time left before departure according to the following table. The cancellation fee of $300 per person can be applied toward another tour if reserved within six months of the cancelled trip’s departure date. Cancellations are non-transferrable. Consider purchasing trip cancellation insurance that could reimburse your trip costs in the event of your cancellation.

Dates Forfeited Amount per Person
On or before January 31, 2021 $300
February 1 to February 28, 2021 10% of tour cost
March 1 to March 31, 2021 40% of tour cost
On or after April 1, 2021 100% of tour cost


  • All leaders, transport, park entry fees, and permits for all activities unless described as optional.
  • Meals from breakfast on September 5 through lunch on September 9.
  • Welcome reception with light snacks and drinks at the Best Western Plus Island Palms Hotel and Marina on September 4.
  • Group transfer from the hotel to the Nautilus Explorer on September 4 and group transfer from the Nautilus Explorer to the San Diego Airport (or Best Western Plus Island Palms Hotel and Marina) on September 9.
  • Five nights aboard the Nautilus Explorer.
  • Non-alcoholic beverages while aboard the Nautilus Explorer.
  • Port fee of $65 per person.
  • DVD of photos and videos taken by crew while on board.
  • Trip Materials – information about flights, packing, entry and departure requirements, airport transfers, gratuities, etc.

Not Included

  • All airfare, airport and departure taxes, and excess baggage fees.
  • Passport and visa fees.
  • Transfers from the San Diego Airport to the Best Western Plus Island Palms Hotel and Marina on September 4.
  • We can arrange extra hotel nights for an extra cost.
  • Gratuities – tipping is, of course, discretionary, however we suggest budgeting about $200 to $300 total per participant for the ship crew.
  • Rental gear (wetsuit, mask, booties, and diving gear). We will send you more details about rentals in the Trip Materials.
  • Dive insurance, but it is required for you to purchase. For more information see our travel insurance webpage.
  • Trip cancellation insurance. For more information see our travel insurance webpage.
  • Items of a personal nature such as laundry, telephone calls, medical costs or hospitalization, room service, alcoholic beverages, items not on the regular menu, etc. If you have special dietary needs, please indicate them on your Reservation Form.


September air temperatures range from 60–80°F (15–26°C) during the day and can drop to 45–55°F (7–12°C) at night. Water temperatures average 72°F (22°C). September is the tail end of the dry season for the Pacific Coast.

Fitness Level

Minimal fitness is required to join this shark safari, but your fitness and in-water ability enrich the experience. Getting in the water is not required; we’ve shared this safari with travelers who had wonderful experiences shark watching from the ship. To get the most out of this safari you should be comfortable in the water and getting in and out of the water via a ladder. We recommend you spend time swimming at a pool or similar before your trip to make sure you are comfortable in water. If you would like to use the 30ft deep sea cages, you must be SCUBA certified.


Airfare is not included in trip costs. Detailed logistical information and the contact information for our recommended flight-ticketing agent are included in the Trip Materials we will send you. Pleaselet us know if you are arriving earlier or staying later as we are happy to assist you with any extra overnights that you might want to arrange.

Flights you (or a travel agent) book: Arrive in San Diego, California (SAN) no later than 5:00pm on September 4. Depart from San Diego, California (SAN) after 9:00pm on September 9.


What are the shark cages like?

The Nautilus Explorer has four shark cages. Two cages are submersible to 30ft and two remain at the surface. In both the submersible and surface cages, you will use a hookah breathing system with air coming directly from the boat’s compressor. Do not worry if you have never used hookah systems before, because we will demonstrate its use and a divemaster will be with you in the cage at all times.

Do I have to be SCUBA certified for this safari?

You do not need a SCUBA certification to enjoy lots of time with the sharks in the surface cages. If you are SCUBA certified, you can also use the submersible cages. If you are not certified, and want to use the submersible cages, you should get SCUBA certified before this safari. The best resources to find SCUBA certification courses near you are the two largest diving certification programs: PADI and NAUI

Is cage viewing safe for the sharks and people?

Our goal is to keep our guests safe and also to protect our growing shark population. To that end, we teach and ask for responsible shark interactions that do not impact or change the behavior of these magnificent animals. We do not use oil, chum or blood. A piece of tuna, wrapped in a burlap sack, is all the sharks need to know we have arrived. We do not feed the sharks at any time. Conservation efforts continue at night when we kick back in the salon and identify who we spent the day with. And should you discover that you hung out with a great white shark not yet catalogued, yes, the naming rights are all yours.



Don’t let a fear of seasickness scare you away! For all but the most sensitive, seasickness is rarely a problem in this region. It’s a good idea to bring medication if you get seasick or are unsure, but you may find that you do not need it after a couple days once you have your “sea legs.” Even those who have experienced seasickness reported that the incredible wildlife and overall experience were well worth the temporary discomfort. Read our online suggestions for coping with seasickness and contact us if you have any concerns.



  • Non-smoking policy: We have a strict non-smoking policy. Smoking is not permitted at any time or any place during our tours.
  • Maximum time in nature: We try to spend as much time in nature as possible, sometimes resulting in long days but giving you a more in-depth experience.
  • Itinerary route: The itinerary route, stops, and plans are subject to change by unforeseen circumstances beyond our control, such as weather or road conditions.
  • Additional forms: For some of our tours, you may be asked to fill out additional forms (e.g., medical questionnaire).
  • Medical conditions and travel risks: Travel to remote places is exciting, but it is important to understand and accept the risks, both medical and logistical. Minor medical problems can usually be treated, but because we are often far from medical facilities, there can be no expectation for immediate medical treatment or evacuation, even in cases of trauma. Anyone with health problems needing close medical supervision should not consider going on this tour. Bring enough medication for the duration of the trip for any chronic medical needs, since pharmacies are usually not available. When you send your deposit and signed Reservation/Release Form, you certify to us that you do not knowingly have any physical or other conditions that would create a risk for yourself or for other trip participants.
  • Use of drones/UAVs on tours: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), AKA drones, are not suitable for use on most Cheesemans’ Ecology expeditions due to logistical constraints and in many cases, local and national laws or regulations. In some cases, such as on our polar voyages, we operate under environmental regulations that ban the use of recreational drones. Do not bring a drone on safari without contacting us first.