WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO GO?
August through October. For specific water conditions and marine life encounters, please go to the individual destination page by using the drop down destination menu at the top of any page.
Most of our Guadalupe Itinerary passengers fly into San Diego International Airport (Airport Code SAN) and spend at least one night in San Diego, California. Airlines include American, United, Southwest Airlines, among most other Domestic Airlines.
Passengers who currently reside in Mexico may opt to travel to Tijuana (Airport Code TIJ) rather than San Diego. Options for airlines that fly into TIJ are: Aeromexico, Interjet, Volaris.
It is highly recommended you arrive in San Diego or Tijuana at least one day before your trip departure date to allow for unforeseen travel delays prior to your trip start with Pelagic Fleet such as airline cancellations and delays beyond our and your control.
WHAT TRAVEL DOCUMENTS DO I NEED FOR IMMIGRATION?
As of January 2016, all U.S. citizens require a valid passport for travel in and out of Mexico. You will be asked to fill out a tourist card upon entering the country and present this to the immigration officials in Mexico. For other nationalities, you should ask your airline or call the Mexican Consulate in your country. With so many recent changes to travel policies and requirements, these requirements are subject to change so check before you begin your travel plans. For our Guadalupe Trips you will arrive to San Diego, California and then escorted by our staff in an air conditioned coach to Ensenada, Mexico via Tijuana. Our staff will assist you with your tourist visa when crossing at the border in Tijuana but you must have a valid passport in your possession.
WHERE DO I GO WHEN I ARRIVE?
SAN DIEGO: We recommend guests stay at our Host Hotel in the downtown San Diego area, as this is where the luxury motor coach will pick all guests up in the morning of departure to assist with travel to Ensenada. Pelagic Fleet negotiates special rates at our Host Hotel and a website link will be provided to all guests where they can book at the negotiated rate until 30 days prior, when the rooms are released to the general public. We strongly recommend that you do not wait until the last minute to book your room, as this is high season for travel to San Diego.
Upon booking your Guadalupe Trip, you will be provided with a customized website link that you may use to book your room at the Host Hotel for your specific trip date at the Pelagic Fleet Rate.
TIJUANA: In Tijuana, our recommended hotel is the Hotel Real Inn. If you stay here, the luxury motor coach will simply pick you up after crossing the border, en route to Ensenada. There are no other pick-up locations in Tijuana, so if you stay somewhere else, you will need to make your way to the Hotel Real Inn for pick-up.
WHAT ABOUT INSURANCE?
Dive Insurance is mandatory for all trips to Socorro Islands and you will be asked to show proof of Insurance prior to the trip. On Guadalupe Island trips, Dive Insurance is required to dive in the submersible cage. For all travelers, we strongly recommend Travel Insurance. For your convenience, several options are provided here for you:
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WHAT CLOTHES SHOULD I BRING?
On all live-aboard dive trips, packed clothing should be kept to a minimum as cabin space is usually limited. You will be in your swimsuit most of the trip and shorts and t-shirts are the common dress. We ask that you appear at all meals in dry clothes, as all meals are sit-down in the main salon. At Guadalupe, daytime temps will be in the 70’s or 80’s and we can have cooler evenings here so one pair of sweat pants, and a Polartec, sweatshirt or sweater is a good idea. Be sure to bring a hat, sunglasses and plenty of sunscreen.
WHAT ABOUT SCUBA EQUIPMENT?
For the Guadalupe Island trips, you will be breathing from a surface supplied air source or hookah. Since you will not be using SCUBA, you do not need a SCUBA certification to join our Guadalupe Island trips and participate in the surface cage diving. This also means that you can invite your family and friends who want to join your adventures but are not SCUBA Certified! We only require SCUBA certification for guests who would like to go into the submersible cage. If this applies to you, be sure to bring your SCUBA Certification card or you will not be permitted in the submersible cage – NO exceptions!
WHAT DIVE GEAR WILL I NEED?
WHAT KIND OF WETSUIT WILL I NEED?
The water temp averages 65F-70F so be sure to pack your gloves, hood and booties plus either a 7mm full wetsuit or a drysuit. Guests rotate in and out of the shark cages every hour and you are not swimming at all so you might get chilly and should plan accordingly.
WHAT KIND OF MEALS AND BEVERAGES DO YOU SERVE ONBOARD?
We must be doing something right because we get consistent rave reviews for the gourmet cuisine aboard Vortex. Our menus vary and feature a combination of American and Mexican cuisine, using fresh, locally grown ingredients as much as possible. We offer a variety of cooked-to-order choices for breakfast and you can always count on fresh tropical fruit platters, icy cold fruit juice, yogurt, pastries, an assortment of cereals, teas and fresh-brewed and very strong, Mexican-style coffee. Vortex is one of the few luxury live-aboards that serves a three-course meal for lunch. Our’s always begins with a fresh, homemade soup (our chef, Tony, is famous for his soups!), followed by a main course and then a delicious dessert. After an afternoon snack and cocktails (watch out for the margaritas!), you’ll be ready for your relaxing dinner aboard Vortex. We begin with a fresh salad, then either chicken or fresh fish or beef, always a fresh vegetable or two followed by another decadent dessert. All beverages, including beer and wine with your meals, are included. Since alcohol and diving don’t mix, be prepared to snorkel for the remainder of the day if you choose to drink alcohol before dive ops have closed for the day. Our chef prepares delicious snacks in the mornings and afternoons and especially takes pride in his fresh, Mexican-style hot chocolate. We always have available fresh fruit, cold fruit juices, sodas, fresh-brewed coffee, and both hot tea and iced tea. We can easily accommodate any special requests such as food allergies, a vegetarian menu, heavy on the fresh salads, etc if you inform us of your needs at least two weeks before your trip. We understand that a live aboard experience is eat-sleep-and-dive and we do our very best to ensure that each of these experiences aboard Vortex is memorable for you.
WHAT ABOUT SMOKING?
Although we discourage smoking for reasons we’re all aware of at this point, we understand that some guests are still wrestling with it, so we allow smoking on the sundeck only. We ask that our smoking guests be considerate of our non-smoking guests. You’re outnumbered!
WHAT CHARGES WILL I BE RESPONSIBLE FOR DURING THE TRIP?
Vortex Guadalupe Island rate includes transportation via luxury motor coach to Ensenada. For passengers crossing the US / Mexico border through Customs, if you are planning to be in Mexico for 7 days or more, you will be required to pay a fee of $28 USD at the border (as of March, 2019). However, since our trips are 5 days, most of our guests will not be required to pay this fee; this would only apply if your itinerary involves disembarking and NOT returning to the US with the remainder of the group (for example driving down to Cabo San Lucas, or going on back-to-back Guadalupe trips!).
We sell Vortex t-shirts, caps and other mementos onboard which can be paid for in cash (USD or pesos) or credit card (which will be charged in pesos). Finally, should you wish to provide gratuity to our crew, it is appreciated and accepted, in cash only.
WHAT ABOUT TIPS?
While we feel that gratuity is a very personal decision and should reflect the level of service you receive, we are often asked to provide guidelines. Your Captain and Crew are extremely hardworking and committed to providing you the best service possible. Gratuity of 10-15% the published rate of your trip is customary and deeply appreciated, and is accepted in Cash only.
DOES VORTEX LIVEABOARD ACCEPTS CREDIT CARDS ON BOARD?
Yes, we accept credit cards on board: Visa, Mastercard, AMEX, and Discover Card. If you pay via credit card, please note it will be charged in the Mexican currency, Pesos.
WHAT IS THE CURRENT EXCHANGE RATE?
The general exchange rate for the U.S. Dollar to the Mexican peso varies greatly and is typically somewhere between 19.25 and 20.25. You may check online at one of the many currency exchange websites such as http://finance.yahoo.com/
WHAT IS THE ONBOARD VOLTAGE?
Onboard voltage is 110 AC, just like in the United States. We also have a number of 220 charging stations for our overseas guests.
WHAT ABOUT THE CROSSING?
The crossing from Ensenada, Mexico to Guadalupe Island is around 16-18 hours and the same advisory applies.
WHAT KIND OF COMMUNICATION SYSTEM DO YOU HAVE ONBOARD?
The Vortex communicates twice daily with either our Mexican home base or U.S. Office by Satellite Phone. Although we discourage conducting business while out on your Vortex expedition, we realize that sometimes it is necessary to communicate with your office or home. Guests are welcome to use our phone system and will be assisted by our captain. Your call will be charged at Satellite minute rates ranging from $4 – $5 U.S. dollars per minute. Remember our phone and email system is primarily for boat operations and emergency use. We encourage our guests to detach and enjoy this adventure of a lifetime by leaving your worries at home.
WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE TRIP?
WHAT CREW DO YOU HAVE ONBOARD?
Our crew is our strength and we consider them all family. The Vortex crew has worked together for many, many years and each crew member contributes something unique and necessary to your trip. We have a permanent crew of 10 that consists of captain, engineer, chef, cabin steward, 3 divemasters and 3 pangeros/ deckhands. We are exceptionally proud of the hardworking, talented and seamless crew aboard Vortex and we can assure you that their team effort will provide you with the most excellent service anywhere.
SHOULD I BRING A CAMERA
Yes! We strongly encourage our guests to bring a camera. We have amazing outdoor and indoor camera set up areas complete with. Our friends at the Underwater Photography Guide have some great recommendations for the best underwater cameras. If you need to purchase a new underwater camera, check out our friends at Bluewater Photo.