Anse Caiman is one of the best shore snorkeling spots to see sea turtles in La Digue. Its seabed, mainly made of granite rocks and coral patches, is also home to colorful fish species as emperor angelfish, bluespotted grouper and palette surgeonfish. This small cove located on the wild northeastern shore of the island is rather hard to access, and due to the relatively high depth in the area, is not recommended for beginners.

Coral reef at Anse Caiman, La Digue Island

How to get there?

Anse Caiman is located on the east coast of la Digue, some 3.5km from the main pier. It is a remote spot, with no direct road access. To reach this spot, you first have to rent a bike and head to Anse Fourmis, which is at the very end of the coastal road running along the northern side of the island. Park your bike at the end of the road. At this point, you are at approximately 400 meters from Anse Caiman. You then have two options to reach it:

  1. Option 1: Enter the water at Anse Fourmis beach, and snorkel along the shore for about 400m. This is by far the best option if you are an advanced snorkeler, and if the sea conditions are good. On the way to Anse Caiman, the seabed is not spectacular (mainly made of coral fragments), but with good chances of spotting eagle rays.
  2. Option 2: Walk on the small path departing from Anse Fourmis. The path is in the bush, not marked, and sometimes you will need to climb along the rocks, making it a tricky -and not so recommended- way to reach the site.

Anse Caiman snorkeling map, La Digue, Seychelles

Water entrance

Enter the water from the sandy beach of Anse Fourmis, reach the outer side of the reef, and swim south for 400 meters (on the right side when you are facing the sea) to Anse Caiman. Only enter the water if there is no surf. If you choose the hiking option, enter the water from the rocks bordering the cove.

Exploration

The area to explore covers the edge of the cove, which is made of huge granite blocks immersed in 12 to 20ft of water (4 to 6 meters). This underwater scape, with ray of lights of the sun breaking through the deep blue sea, is an amazing subject for photographers.

Snorkeling with hawksbill sea turtles at Anse Caiman, Seychelles

Anse Caiman is renowned for snorkeling with hawksbill sea turtles. It is common to see 2 or 3 sea turtles resting at the foot of the granite rocks, or slowly swimming around them. Most of the sea turtles are quite timorous, and are not easy to get close too, contrary to the turtles you can encounter at Coco IslandFelicite Island or Grande Soeur, more used to snorkelers. If you wait a little, you will probably see them coming up to the surface to breathe.

Palette surgeonfish at Anse Caiman, Seychelles

In some places, you will also find some patches of healthy hard corals. Among the dozens of species of reef fish that you could see around it are the oriental sweetlips, the goldbar wrasse, the clown surgeonfish, and groups of impressive orbicular batfish. Shoals of blue tang, (or palette tang, the fish who inspired the absent-minded Dory in Finding Nemo’s movie), are often seen swimming along the slopes of the reef.

Restaurants and accommodation

Anse Caiman is a remote and completely natural site, with no water supply nor restaurant. Along the road to the village, you will find some huts where you can get fresh fruit juices or snacks. Take water with you.

Species you may spot while snorkeling Anse Caiman
COMMON NAME SCIENTIFIC NAME ABUNDANCE FISHBASE WIKIPEDIA
Hawksbill sea turtle Eretmochelys imbricata  
Emperor angelfish Pomacanthus imperator  
Semicircle angelfish Pomacanthus semicirculatus  
Powder blue tang Acanthurus leucosternon  
Lined surgeonfish Acanthurus lineatus  
Palette surgeonfish Paracanthurus hepatus  
Indo-Pacific sergeant Abudefduf vaigiensis  
Scissortail sergeant Abudefduf sexfasciatus  
Black-sided hawkfish Paracirrhites forsteri  
Goldbar wrasse Thalassoma hebraicum  
Bluestreak cleaner wrasse Labroides dimidiatus  
Elegant unicornfish Naso elegans  
Bluespine unicornfish Naso unicornis  
Smallspotted dart Trachinotus baillonii  
Indian Ocean oriental sweetlips Plectorhinchus vittatus  
Bluespotted grouper Cephalopholis argus  
Black triggerfish Melichthys niger  
Blackback butterflyfish Chaetodon melannotus  
Threadfin butterflyfish Chaetodon auriga  
Orbicular batfish Platax orbicularis  
  • Level required Advanced
  • Maximum depth20ft/7m
  • Water entranceA bit tricky, from a rocky shore
  • Potential DangersUsual precautions
  • LifeguardNo
  • Visitor numbersLow
  • Access costsFree
  • Restaurants nearbyNo
  • Public toilets & showersNo

MAP Spot

Sea turtle watching in La Digue Island

snorkeling-hawksbill

Hawksbill sea turtles are a familiar sight in La Digue and its neighboring islands. In order to be a responsible snorkeler, be sure to respect the following rules when observing them:

  1. Do not attempt to touch or ride sea turtles
  2. Stay at a distance (6 to 10ft) from sea turtles
  3. Do not chase a turtle swimming away
  4. Avoid sudden movement and allow sea turtles plenty of space when they come up to the surface to breathe

On La Digue main island, Anse Patates (free shore access) is another excellent snorkeling spot to encounter sea turtles.

These spots are only recommended to good swimmers, in good physical conditions, and with excellent snorkeling skills. These spots can experience currents, moderate waves, important depths, tight or narrow passages, or tricky water entrance, and can be located near hazardous areas (channels, boat traffic, strong currents…). The distance to swim to reach the most interesting snorkeling areas can be important - up to 500 meters. The “advanced” category includes drift snorkeling (transported by currents) and snorkeling off the coast.

This level only apply when the spot experiences optimal sea and/or weather conditions. It is not applicable if the sea and/or weather conditions deteriorate, in particular in the presence of rough sea, rain, strong wind, unusual current, large tides, waves and/or swell.You can find more details about the definition of our snorkeling levels on our snorkeling safety page.