To the east and south-west of the island, the lagoon, with a total surface area of 115mi² (300 km²), is at its most extensive. In some places, it measures over 1 mile in width.

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

The quality of the sea bed and the coral (and therefore the richness of the underwater life) varies greatly from a spot to another. The coral is well protected in some protected areas (especially the Blue Bay Marine Park) and beyond the barrier reef (in snorkeling spots accessible by boat), but is generally damaged near the beaches and in the lagoon. In the seascapes of broken or bleached coral, sometimes over large areas, the underwater life is less rich and less spectacular. There are still some good surprises, however, as in the Trou-aux-Biches or Pereybere lagoons, for example, both freely accessible from public beaches. Mauritius is home to around 430 different underwater species.

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, myrichthys maculosus; right, a vagabond butterflyfish, chaetodon vagabundus).

As long as you choose your spots well, Mauritius can offer great snorkeling experiences. While beginners will be happy with the spots that can be accessed from the beach, more experienced snorkelers will opt to take a boat to visit the most spectacular areas. The channel between Flat and Gabriel islands, some 10 kilometers north of Mauritius, is one of the best day tour snorkeling options.

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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