Mauritius, one of the most beautiful lagoons in the Indian Ocean

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.

Blue Bay Beach
Blue Bay is considered the best snorkeling spot in Mauritius. In this picture, a view of the bay from the public beach.

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.

Hawksbill sea turtle in Pereybere Beach
If you are looking for a location with good chances of spotting sea turtles, then head to Pereybere, near Grand Baie. Here, a hawksbill sea turtle.

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.

School of whitespotted surgeonfish in Trou aux Biches
A school of pretty uncommon whitespotted surgeonfish in Trou aux Biches.

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.

Aerial view of Flat and Gabriel Island
The shallow channel that splits Flat Island and Gabriel Island is a great location for snorkeling.

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.

Coral reef at Flat and Gabriel
Reef life in the channel separating Flat and Gabriel islands.

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.

Scrawled butterflyfish in Blue Bay
A beautiful scrawled butterflyfish in Blue Bay.

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.

Coral reef in Blue Bay
With its healthy coral reefs and abundant sea life, Blue Bay Marine Park is considered the best snorkeling spot on the island.

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.

Mauritian clownfish at the Anemone Garden
Mahebourg Bay is a great spot if you dream to encounter the Mauritian clownfish, endemic to Mauritius and Réunion.

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.

Bellemare Beach Lagoon
Aerial view of Belle Mare lagoon, on Mauritius’ northeastern coast.

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.

Coral reef and damselfish at Ile aux Benitiers
The shallow reef near Ile aux Benitiers.

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.

Le Morne Lagoon
Le Morne Lagoon, with the very famous Morne Brabant mountain in the distance.

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.

School of goatfish in Flic en Flac
A school of yellowfin goatfish in Flic en Flac.

What will I see when snorkeling in Mauritius?

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.

Snowflake moray in Flic en Flac
Encounter with a snowflake moray in Flic en Flac.

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.

Green sea turtle in Trou aux Biches
A green sea turtle in Trou aux Biches.

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.

Red-cheek wrasse in Pereybere
The red-cheek wrasse is an unmissable fish in Mauritius. Here, in Pereybere.

What is the best season to snorkel in Mauritius?

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.

Coral reef at Ile aux Benitiers
The coral reef at Ile aux Benitiers.

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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