Does anyone live on Guadalupe Island? Things to know before you travel

guadalupe island shark cage diving

Does Anyone Live on Guadalupe Island? Things to Know

We get a lot of questions about Guadalupe Island when shark divers book with us to go cage diving with great white sharks here. One of them is about the local residents at Guadalupe.

The 2010 census recorded a population of 213 people on the island. Currently it has fewer than 150 permanent residents. Guadalupe is part of Ensenada delegación, one of the 24 delegaciones or subdivisions of Ensenada Municipality of the Mexican state of Baja California. Ensenada delegación and Chapultepec delegación together form the city of Ensenada, the municipal seat of the namesake municipality. The postal code of Guadalupe Island is 22997.

West Camp Guadalupe Island

Campo Oeste (“West Camp”, also called Campo Tepeyac, with 15 buildings) is a small community of abalone and lobster fishermen, located on the western coast, specifically on the north side of West Anchorage, a bay that provides protection from the strong winds and swells that whip the islands during winter. Generators provide electricity, and a military vessel brings 30,000 liters of fresh water. The number of fishermen varies annually depending on the fishing season. Ten months of the year the 30 families of the fishing cooperative “Abuloneros and Langosteros of Guadalupe Island” are present.

Fishing Camps Across Guadalupe Island

Additional temporary fishing camps are Campo Norte (“North Camp”, four buildings), Campo Lima (Campo Corrals) (one building) and Arroyitos (four buildings). An abandoned fishing community, Campo Este (“East Camp”), is located near a cove on the eastern shore. At the southern tip, on Melpómene Cove, there is a weather station staffed by a detachment from the Mexican Ministry of the Navy. The site is called Campamento Sur (“South Encampment”).

Campo Bosque was established as a temporary camp in 1999 in the cypress forest in the north. The camp houses members of the Cooperative Farming Society “Francisco Javier Maytorena, S.C. of R.L.” and removes goats from the island and sells them in the State of Sonora, with permission of Secretariat of the Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) and the support of the Secretariat of the Navy.

The Guadalupe Island Airport

Campo Pista is located at the small airport, near the center of the island (29°01′24.04″N 118°16′21.75″W, elevation:592 m, direction:05/23). Airport Isla Guadalupe (ICAO Code MMGD) has a 1,200-metre-long (3,900 ft) runway. At the end of the runway near threshold 5 is the wreckage of a Lockheed Model 18 Lodestar, which overshot the runway during landing. A North American B-25J-30/32 Mitchell, BMM-3501 (c/n 44-86712), bomber wrecked on the opposite end of the runway, after suffering serious damage in trying to take-off overloaded (29°01′36.10″N 118°16′2.98″W). Based on historical Google Earth imagery, this B-25 wreckage appears to have been removed from the location between October 2005 and June 2006.

Because Guadalupe Island is located within a biosphere reserve, anyone visiting the island must obtain a permit from the Mexican government; this means the communities on the island are closed towns.