Casuarina-fringed beaches, gin-clear sea and blue sky... welcome to Mauritius! Blessed with an extensive lagoon, abundant marine life, and dramatic topography, Mauritius is a good destination for snorkelers of all experience levels. Despite important signs of declining reef health, the island's shore waters allow for observing colorful tropical fish, sea turtles, rays and dolphins.
Mauritius has a variety of good snorkeling spots where you can explore beautiful reefs to encounter colorful tropical fish and other marine species such as sea turtles, rays, and dolphins. Most spots for snorkeling in Mauritius lie inside the calm lagoons surrounding the island, but nice snorkeling is also found in specific locations on the outer reef and the offshore islands.
However, Mauritius coral reefs are in a variable state; some sites feature healthy coral and some others badly damaged seabed covered with debris. Here, we’ll share the best Mauritius snorkel spots based on the region so you can start planning your underwater adventure!
Snorkeling in Grand Baie and the northwestern coast of Mauritius
Some of the best shore snorkeling in Mauritius can be found in the Grand Baie area, a famous and bustling town of northern Mauritius. This region of the island offers plentiful snorkel spots to choose from, all featuring a diversity of tropical fish.
Just 3 kilometers north of Grand Baie pier is Pereybere Beach, a soft-sand beach nestled in a small bay. Not only does its reef offer a wide variety of reef fish to see (including the Mauritian clownfish, endemic to Mauritius and Reunion), but it is also the best location on the island for sea turtles encounters.
Both the green sea turtle and the hawksbill sea turtle visit Pereybere shore waters, sometimes very close to the beach. A bit further north, you will reach Bain Boeuf Beach and Cap Malheureux, two other locations where decent snorkeling is found.
The coastline extending south of Grand Baie, between Mont Choisy and Balaclava, has a variety of snorkeling locations. Lined by a shallow lagoon, its casuarina-fringed beaches provide great underwater adventures.
From north to south, the most recommended locations are Mont Choisy, Trou aux Biches, Pointe aux Piments, and Balaclava. Trou aux Biches is probably the best among them as in addition to healthy branching coral and common reef fish, lucky snorkelers might also be able to spot sea turtles.
Snorkeling in Mauritius Northern Islands
Off the northern tip of Mauritius lie six uninhabited islands, most of them surrounded by coral reefs. Relatively pristine, they boast some of the healthiest seabeds in Mauritius.
The most visited are Flat Island and Gabriel Island, where you can snorkel the shallow channel that separates the two islands. Stingrays, angelfish, butterflyfish and moray eels are common sightings at this location. The nature reserve of the island of Coin de Mire, fringed by coral ridges gently sloping out into the crystal-clear Indian Ocean, is the closest to the main island.
In general, you’ll need to book a day boat tour from Grand Baie to access these off-shore snorkeling spots, sometimes combined in a “three islands” speedboat tour. Round Island and Serpent Island, the northernmost islands of the archipelago, are rarely visited due to the absence of coral reefs around them, and also because landing is not permitted to protect the sea birds nestling on the islands.
Snorkeling Blue Bay, Mahebourg and the East Coast of Mauritius
On the southeastern coast of the island, Blue Bay Marine Park is considered the best snorkeling spot in Mauritius. This marine park is very popular, thanks to clear, protected waters and an abundance of marine life.
It is home to vibrant coral gardens that include branching coral, table coral and giant brain coral which attract hundreds of species of reef fish. If some small areas of the marine park can be snorkeled from shore, the most beautiful locations are only reached with boat tours.
Just north of Blue Bay is Mahebourg, an important seaside village on the east coast of Mauritius. It borders a large, emerald lagoon that shelters great, although not very visited, snorkeling spots. The Anemone Garden, in particular, is worth a visit, as it is probably the best location to snorkel with Mauritian clownfish around the island.
Other popular snorkeling spots in Mahebourg lagoon are Trou Moutou and Courant Zaigrettes. All these locations can be snorkeled with short boat tours organized by Mahebourg local operators.
Several decent short snorkeling spots are found along the northeastern coast of Mauritius, bordered by a shallow lagoon. The most recommended, from north to south, are the eastern tip of Roches Noires lagoon, Poste Lafayette Beach, Belle Mare Beach and Palmar Beach.
If picture-postcard Ile aux Cerfs, famous for its white sandy beaches and its turquoise lagoons, is one of the main attractions of Mauritius’s east coast, it is not really suitable for snorkeling. However, most day tours combine a visit to the island with snorkeling on Trou d’Eau Douce coral barrier.
Snorkeling in Le Morne and the West Coast of Mauritius
The south and southwestern shores of the island offer some of the best locations in Mauritius for snorkeling, particularly in the areas surrounding UNESCO-listed Morne Brabant, a majestic basaltic mountain surrounded by a lagoon.
Ile aux Benitiers, a large island located in Le Morne Lagoon, is very popular with day-trippers. Many snorkel boats bring their guests here to enjoy nice corals, reef fish, and snorkeling in the blue with pods of spinner dolphins and bottlenose dolphins.
If you are more into shore snorkeling, then La Prairie Beach and Le Morne Beach (especially the area in front of LUX Le Morne) are the best options.
Located on the southwestern coast, just past Riviere Noire, Flic en Flac Beach is one of the best shore access spots in Mauritius. While you’re here, you’ll have a high chance to spot triggerfish, butterflyfish, parrotfish, damselfish and surgeonfish. Eagle rays are known to occasionally frequent the area as well.
Mauritius reefs support a vast diversity of marine life, including many hard and soft corals, sponges, sea fans and invertebrates. More than 700 species of fish species call Mauritian reefs home, including the emperor angelfish, trumpetfish, several species of butterflyfish and surgeonfish, damselfish and triggerfish. Near the beaches, clouds of sergeant majors will surely greet you during your first few breaths.
The island also allows to discover some unique species which are range-restricted Mascarene endemics, such as the Mauritian anemonefish. This iconic species can be spotted in very specific locations, including the Anemone Garden in Mahébourg and Pereybere Beach near Grand Baie.
Mauritius has a few locations where encounters with sea turtles (both green sea turtles and hawksbill sea turtles) are frequent. The best chances for sea turtles sightings are in Pereybere, but Trou aux Biches and Blue Bay are good locations to try too. As you make your way across the flats, keep an eye out for eagle rays and stingrays, which are occasionally seen in the shallows.
Mauritius is a year-round snorkeling destination, but the best time is during southern summer, from October to April. This season offers sunnier weather and warmer temperature, as well as less wind than the rest of the year. The months of January and February, however, are subject to shower rains and occasional cyclones.
In this purely tropical climate, the water temperature is up to 70°F/21°C in winter and 82°F/28 °C in summer, with a peak in March. The eastern coasts of Mauritius are less regularly snorkeled due to swell activity, though in the summer it’s usually calm.
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Frequent sightings in Pereybere and Trou aux Biches.
Regularly sighted in Trou-aux-Biches and Pereybere but also occasionally in Blue Bay.
The best spot to see them is the Anemone Garden, also present in Pereybere.
Common in all spots, including the sandy beds close to the beach.
Patch reef with anemonefish
National Park with coral gardens and vibrant marine life
Level: Free shore access Resort nearby
Shallow lagoon and reef drop off with turtles and colorful fish
Level: Free shore access
Shallow reef with a decent variety of fish
Coral reef bordering a small uninhabited island
Shallow lagoon with reef fish and stingrays
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