The biggest coral reef found within the Caribbean’s Lesser Antilles is called Guadeloupe. Famous for its beautiful sub-marine life, this French island archipelago is made up of seven individual islands. Each of these boasts incredible places for snorkeling that so impressed legendary French filmmaker Jacques Cousteau that he spent much time here doing his underwater research. Guadeloupe snorkeling spots boast an abundance of fantastic places where you can hope to swim with sharks, snorkel with sea turtles or take in rocky coves covered by sea fans, so keep reading to learn what beaches you should add to your itinerary!
Table of Contents
If you come to this island for snorkeling in Guadeloupe expedition and you miss out on the boat trip to the Petite Terre islets, then you have not properly experienced this magical French Caribbean playground.
The reef that lies between Terre de Haut and Terre de Bas is designated and protected as a marine reserve whose shallow channel makes it possible for you to observe green sea turtles, spot eagle rays and swim with dozens of little lemon sharks and barracudas, so if you are looking for the best Guadeloupe snorkeling spots, make sure to come here. The majority of day trips out to Petite Terre depart from the Grande Terre southern coast at Saint-Francois.
Plage du Souffleur
When you are looking where to snorkel in Guadeloupe, you should not forget about Plage du Souffleur on Grande Terre and near the town of Port Louis that lies north of the town. While the beach is not overrun with swaying palms, there are some that approach the water in a number of spots.
Here on this beach you can take in the sun or snorkel in the waters sheltered from the waves year-round. Facilities are sparse (meaning neither toilets nor showers exist here) but the lovely location does boast picnic tables. The seabed here where you will snorkel is comprised of both stones and sand making for an interesting underwater variety.
Plage des Raisins Clairs
Plage des Raisins Clairs is a magnificent beach that also lies near the town center of Saint Francois in Grande Terre. One find around the Tuesday night market, shops, diving centers, golf, the marina, and the pier that offers ferries headed to the sister islands of Guadeloupe. Without question it is a worthwhile choice for good snorkeling in Guadeloupe.
The beach is especially popular with locals and tourists alike for its shade and sheltered swimming, however from time to time, sargassum can be a problem. Venders can be seen scaling the trees here to bring down coconuts from time to time. It all combines for an entertaining and magical beach experience.
Plage de Sainte Anne
One of the most beloved beaches on Guadeloupe turns out to be Plage de Sainte Anne. This pretty town itself is especially rocking with energy both day and night with fantastic restaurants and cafes around, but swimming and snorkeling Guadeloupe Sainte Anne is also superb.
The beach at Plage de Sainte Anne divides neatly into three parts courtesy of the rocky jetties. Close to the first jetty is the ideal spot to enter the snorkeling trail. The best places to explore the sea life here are bounded between the barrier reef and the beach. This area includes grassy and sandy sea beds that make up for their lack of coral with a surprising abundance of sub-marine life.
Snorkeling away off the beach will bring you over a sandy sea floor that alternates between rocks and coral patches. Here you can take in all of the beauty of grunt and jewel damselfish that dart from one rock to the next coral.
Several sea urchins have colonized the little coral as well (therefore if you don’t use snorkel fins make sure to wear beach shoes). Besides this, be prepared to take in the colorful tropical four-eye butterflyfish and Atlantic blue tang. You should also come across queen conch shells that are all too common out here.
Tip: there aren’t huge resorts but lovely apartments nearby. Villa Clara that lies just 100m from Plage de Sainte Anne!
Plage de Bois Jolan
Also in the locality of Sainte-Anne lies Plage de Bois Jolan. This impressive expanse of sand constantly elicits praise from visitors who rave about its clear and calm waters, beautiful setting, and lack of overcrowding in this pretty Guadeloupe snorkeling spot.
The shallow and sheltered waters are ideal for families with little children and the shade helps you to pass a cooler and more comfortable day after you have finished your snorkeling expedition. When you work up a noble appetite after the exertion, a range of different food carts await you along the beach’s perimeter. This beach is also standout for having more than ample parking, something not commonly seen in the beaches of Guadeloupe.
Plage de Malendure
No Guadeloupe snorkeling trip would be complete without a visit to the Basse Terre island west coast since here lies one of the greatest spots to go snorkeling in Guadeloupe, Plage de Malendure that is just about a 10-minute car drive to the north of Bouillante.
This black sandy beach is most famed for being the best spot on the islands to swim alongside the green sea turtles. They keep coming back to eat from the ample meadows of bay seagrass found here. From Plage de Malendure it is easy to get to the Cousteau underwater reserve too near Pigeon Islands.
If looking for the best Guadeloupe snorkeling places, you should not miss out on taking a boat ride out to the Pigeon Islands. These two little islets lie off the coast of Malendure. They are famed for being the site of the Jacques Cousteau Reserve and are justifiably the most renowned in all of Guadeloupe.
Surrounding these little islets you will be treated to a veritable feast for the senses on any snorkeling expedition. This includes regular and common sightings of turtles, barracudas, tropical coral reef fish, and elkhorn coral in the perfectly clear waters here, and also the statue of the famous French explorer resting in these waters.
Plage de Petite Anse
Found along the Guadeloupe northwest coast on Basse Terre is Plage de Petite Anse. The beach stretches for about 100 yards (meters) with its boundaries of lush vegetation and rocks, then finally it opens out to a little sheltered cove that features turquoise colored water and excellent snorkeling.
Since many fish call this cove home and often sea turtles come to rest into this sheltered bay, Petite Anse it is among the best places to go snorkeling in Guadeloupe. Swim towards the left and right rocky edges of the beach!
Tip: check out the Paradise Bay villas and bungalows if you are looking for accommodation near this beach!
Leroux beach on Basse Terre is a bit difficult to find, but those who seek out fantastic snorkeling shouldn’t miss out coming here. It is just 1.55 km far from Plage de Petite Anse and the road to the beach goes from the Au Bon Accueil restaurant where you find a small parking next to the road.
This sandy beach is bordered by rocks on the sides, the waves are usually light and the water is very clear. Snorkeling is the best on the left and you might see here sea snakes too!
Anse Mire lies only a little to the north of Terre de Haut village on Terre-de-Haut. This tiny cove within the Baie des Saintes proves to be among the most stunning bays in all of the Caribbean Sea.
Snorkeling the shallow coral reefs here means getting to take in the moray eels, bluehead wrasse, trunkfish, and the shipwreck of the Lynndy that is a mere 100 meters off of the beautiful beach. A great advantage to the location of Anse Mire is its close proximity to the pier at Terre-de-Haut, so it is easy to get to.
Tip: our accommodation tip here is: Kazajany Apartments
Pain de Sucre Beach
About 50 minutes walking from the Terre-de-Haut port, the small beach of Pain de Sucre is perfect for those who love discovering less-touristy places.
The beach may be smaller but it makes up for its diminutive size with enormous coconut palm trees lining the beach and its tropical reef that has been covered by sponges and sea fans. There are literally hundreds of individual kinds of Caribbean fish living here just waiting to be seen, however it is recommended for advanced snorkelers only since the water is deeper.
Tip: if you are considering staying near this dreamy location, Villa Le Sucrier is what you need to check out!
Anse à Dos
When visiting Terre-de-Haut, make sure to go to the nearby Terre-de-Bas island too that is known to be among the top Guadeloupe snorkeling sites.
The island is only 9 km2 in size with a few villages on it. The center is Grande-Anse and Petite-Anse, but if you are interested in exploring the undersea life, we recommend going to the other side, to Anse à Dos. On the left of this small quiet cove the water is crystal clear and cliffs are covered with colorful corals!
A beach whose name La Désirade means “the Forgotten” is famed for being one of the oldest islands in all of the Lesser Antilles. It explains why it is a veritable geological nature reserve. Both a simple calmness and peacefulness pervade this forgotten spot that is memorable for anyone who comes to enjoy island’s natural beauty on land and under the waves too.
The sand is powder white-colored while the beaches and bays here are well protected and sheltered thanks to the expansive coral reefs that also make this island a fantastic place to try snorkeling in Guadeloupe. A mere rock’s throw from the beach are the unspoiled Petite-Terre Islands that have similarly achieved the status of natural reserve from the island and government of France and are also worth to visit!
Tip: On La Désirade, accommodations are limited to Grande Anse. Our favorite is Hotel Oasis!
Îlet du Gosier
Îlet du Gosier is another of those ubiquitous charming islets of Guadeloupe. This one fronts the Gosier area of Datcha Beach. Getting here requires the use of a shuttle from the Tabarin Beach. You could also rent a kayak to come out or even swim.
The range of tropical fish to be seen here is staggering. It includes Orphies, sergeant major, and demoiselle to name a few of the thousands of colorful Caribbean fish. There is also a charm-oozing lighthouse on the islet plus it’s classic golden colored sand. The Conservatoire du Littoral has guaranteed its special environmental status and protection since the year 2003.
Inspired? Pin it!