One of the most beautiful lagoons in the Indian Ocean, but corals are in poor condition overall

Unlike neighboring Réunion Island, Mauritius is almost entirely bordered by lagoons. To the east and south-west of the island, the lagoons are immense, reaching over 1km wide. You can  snorkel almost anywhere along the coast of the island, but the quality of the seabed and corals varies greatly.

Very well preserved in certain protected areas and beyond the coral reef (on certain small islands and reefs accessible by boat), the corals, on the other hand, are generally unhealthy near the beaches and inside the lagoon. In these landscapes of broken or bleached corals, sometimes over large areas, underwater life is less rich and less spectacular.

Snorkeling in Blue Bay
With its healthy coral reefs and abounding sea life, Blue Bay Marine Park is considered as the best snorkeling spot on the island (left, a tiger snake eel; right, a vagabond butterflyfish).

The Blue Bay Marine Park, near Mahébourg, is considered the best snorkeling spot in Mauritius. This vast protected area is home to superb coral gardens, where you can see a multitude of reef fish, and often sea turtles.

The Blue Bay reef is, however, undergoing rapid changes, between episodes of bleaching and pollution. If part of the Marine Park is freely accessible from Blue Bay beach, we recommend that you book a boat trip to reach the most beautiful reefs accompanied by a guide.

If you are staying near Mahébourg, it is also possible to snorkel on the small reef of Mahébourg Bay, famous for its colonies of Mauritian clownfish.

Mauritian clownfish in a sea anemone
Mahebourg Bay is a great spot if you dream to encounter the Mauritian clownfish, endemic to Mauritius and Réunion.

The Grand Baie region, in the north-west of the island, is home to many snorkeling spots for all levels of skill. The lagoons of Trou-aux-Biches and Pereybere, both accessible free of charge from public beaches, are particularly worth a visit.

If the corals are damaged near the shore, experienced snorkelers can fin to the coral reef and discover lush underwater life. Green turtles and hawksbill turtles are often seen near the passes.

Snorkeling at Trou aux Biches lagoon
Hosting colorful reef fish (left, yellow longnose butterflyfish), Trou aux Biches is one of the best lagoons in Mauritius for snorkeling. There, lucky ones can also spot sea turtles (right, a hawksbill sea turtle).

It is also from Grand Baie that tours to the islets in the north of the island depart. They allow you to reach pretty snorkeling spots by boat, especially those of Flat Island and Gabriel Island (where you can explore the shallow channel that separates the two islands) or Coin de Mire.

Other famous snorkeling locations on the west coast of Mauritius include Pointe aux Piments beach, Cap Malheureux, Flic en Flac beach, Île aux Bénitiers, and Le Morne Lagoon.

Vue aérienne îlot Gabriel
The shallow channel that splits Flat Island and Gabriel Island is a great location for snorkeling.

While snorkeling in the lagoons of Mauritius, one can spot a wide variety of reef fish, such as angelfish (especially the superb emperor angelfish), butterflyfish, sergeants majors, surgeonfish, triggerfish, and parrotfish.

The Mauritian clownfish is rarer but is found on a few very specific spots. In total, the lagoons of Mauritius are home to around 430 species of tropical fish, many of which are very easy to see.

 

 

Encounters with rays or sea turtles are, on the other hand, rarer in Mauritius, even if they can be seen randomly on most spots on the island.

When to go snorkeling in Mauritius

You can take to the water all through the year in Mauritius, but weather conditions vary. The east coast, which contains the largest lagoon (and the famous Blue Bay Marine Park), is also the area that is most exposed to wind, particularly during the southern winter (June to August).

In this purely tropical climate, the water temperature is on average 82°F (28 °C) in summer and 70°F (21°C) in winter. Even though the water temperature is ideal all through the year, the summer months are considered to be the best time for snorkeling.

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