Malendure Beach, on the west coast of Guadeloupe, faces the Îlets Pigeon. Although the sea bed, which is mainly made up of sea grass, is not very spectacular, it is an ideal place to observe turtles, and green turtles in particular. There are many of them, and are the spot’s main attraction.

How to get there?

Malendure Beach is in Basse-Terre, on the west coast of the island. From Pointe-à-Pitre, take the N1 then the D23 roads (Route de la Traversée). Once you reach the coast, follow the N2 south for a few miles. The beach is well signposted and can be seen from the main road, a few miles before you arrive at Bouillante. It takes about 45 minutes by car (25 miles/40 km) from Pointe-à-Pitre when the traffic is light.

Malendure snorkeling map, Guadeloupe

Water entrance

You can enter the water anywhere along the beach. But to get closer to the best snorkeling spots and to avoid the boat-anchoring area, walk north up the beach 100m or so (to the right when you are facing the sea). Get into the water from the beach in front of the area of rocks. This spot is not generally subject to waves or currents, but stay alert and leave the water if conditions deteriorate.

French angelfish at Malendure beach, Guadeloupe

Exploration

The area to explore, covering all the bay, is enormous. The sea bed is relatively poor, and there is little interest in visiting it all. Concentrate on finding the sea turtles. Don’t linger in the first thirty metres from the beach. The sea bed is sandy, uninhabited and the water not very clear (↕0-7ft/0-2m).

Only after this area (100-600ft/30-200m from the beach), where the water level is highest (↕7-12ft/2-4m) and the sea grass thickest, can the green turtles generally be found. By criss-crossing the area, you should not have to wait too long before seeing them. It is not unusual to come across groups of two or three, feeding on the sea grass.

Snorkeling with green sea turtles, Malendure beach

As always with turtles, you should respect the elementary rules of observation: don’t chase after them, don’t hold on to their shells, don’t touch them, and leave them enough room when they come up to the surface to breathe.

Although the sea bed is not rich in fish, you will still come across some small jacks, damselfish and other relatively common species. The buoy anchors also provide small areas of sea life that are interesting to explore.

Snorkeling at Malendure, Guadeloupe

Restaurants and accommodation

On the beach, you will find a wide range of bars and restaurants for every budget. The Bouillante tourist office and many companies organise excursions to the Îlets Pigeon (Cousteau Reserve), which are also nearby.

Species you may spot while snorkeling Malendure
COMMON NAME SCIENTIFIC NAME ABUNDANCE FISHBASE WIKIPEDIA
Green sea turtle Chelonia mydas  
French angelfish Pomacanthus paru  
Sergeant major Abudefduf saxatilis  
Scissortail damselfish Chromis atrilobata  
Queen triggerfish Balistes vetula  
Bar jack Carangoides ruber  

 

  • Level required Intermediary
  • Protected areaParc National de la Guadeloupe
  • Maximum depth15ft/4.5m
  • Water entranceEasy, from a sandy beach
  • Potential DangersBoats
  • LifeguardNo
  • Visitor numbersMedium
  • Access costsFree
  • Restaurants nearbyYes
  • Public toilets & showersYes

MAP Spot

Update: after hurricane Maria hit Guadeloupe in September 2017, the seagrass meadows of Malendure Beach have been seriously deteriorated, and the turtles are now rarer than before in the bay

Sea turtle watching in Malendure

snorkeling-turtle

Sea turtles are a very familiar sight in Malendure Beach. 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

These spots are accessible to anyone with basic snorkeling skills, and feeling comfortable in the water and with his snorkeling gear. You will enter the water from the shore (beach, pontoon, ladder, rocks) or from a boat. The water height in the sea entrance area is reasonable, but you will not necessarily be within your depth. Moderate currents can occur in the area, even when the sea conditions are good. The distance to swim to reach the most interesting snorkeling areas of the spot does not exceed 200 meters.

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.