What are the best snorkeling locations in Seychelles?

Seychelles archipelago is made up of over 115 islands and islets emerging from the Indian Ocean. Each island has its own specificities and features, but they all have something in common: pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and vibrant marine life.

A snorkeler observes a hawksbill sea turtle in Anse Patate
Close encounter with a hawksbill sea turtle in Anse Patate, in La Digue. This island is one of the best places in the world to snorkel with this creature.

Most visitors to Seychelles head to the granite islands of Mahe, Praslin, and La Digue. These islands are easy to access and boast a preserved and abundant reef life. But Seychelles hides many other treasures: Bird, Fregate, Poivre, Denis, and the Atoll of Aldabra, which are among the remotest islands in the archipelago, are all world-class snorkeling locations. Ready for a tour of the best snorkeling spots in Seychelles? Let’s go!

The best snorkeling spots in Mahe

Mahe is the largest island in Seychelles. It hosts Seychelles’ capital city, Victoria, as well as its international airport, making it the gateway to the archipelago. With more than 68 miles of coastline, it is home to many snorkeling spots, mainly found on its leeward coast (west coast).

Semicircle angelfish at Anse Soleil, Mahe
A semicircle angelfish at Anse Soleil, Mahe.

There’s no shore snorkeling in Victoria, but the city is the starting point for boat trips to St Anne Marine Park. Located just off the capital, it features healthy coral reefs and seagrass beds, as well as an abundance of manta rays from April to December.

If most visitors choose to visit St Anne on day trips, it is also possible to stay on 3 of the 6 islands of the Marine Park: at Club Med Seychelles on St Anne, at Cerf Island Resort on Cerf Island, and at JA Enchanted Island Resort on Round Island.

A manta ray in St Anne Marine Park.
A manta ray in St Anne Marine Park.

If you are looking for a shore access location near Victoria, then Beau Vallon Beach, on the opposite side of the island, is the closest option (10 minutes drive). The site is not spectacular, but does have decent snorkeling.

A bit farther, Cap Ternay, at the western tip of Mahe, is home to two famous spots, both protected by marine parks: Port Launay and Baie Ternay. They are often considered the most beautiful on the island, although their coral reefs are in variable conditions.

Fairyland Beach, Mahe
Fairyland Beach, in Anse Royale.

Cap Lazare, on the southwestern coast of the island, offers a wide choice of snorkeling locations. Fringing reefs, home to vibrant coral reefs, run all along the coastline between Anse Boileau and Pointe du Sud, making it easily accessible for all skill levels to explore underwater life. From north to south, try Anse Soleil, Baie Lazare, Petite Anse (which is accessed via the Four Season Resort Seychelles), or Anse Takamaka.

The southeast coast of Mahe, edged by shallow lagoons, also offers some good options. Anse Forbans and, north of Anse Royale, Fairyland Beach, are the most recommended.

Aerial view of Anse Lazio, Praslin
Aerial view of Anse Lazio, which has snorkeling on the rocks found at both ends of the beach.

The best snorkeling spots in Praslin

Praslin is the second-largest island in Seychelles. Compared to the neighboring islands of Mahe and La Digue, it has a limited number of snorkeling locations. Its seabed is also poorer in corals and mostly features sandy, grassy and rocky marine environments. Most of Praslin’s snorkeling spots are found along the north coast of the island.

Anse Lazio, located at the northern tip of Praslin, is often listed as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. At this not-to-be-missed stopover on any visit to the island, you can snorkel in the rocky areas that border both sides of the beach.

A red-knobbed starfish in Anse Volbert, Praslin
A red-knobbed starfish in Anse Volbert’s seagrass beds.

Heading back south, the coast has two snorkeling areas that are filled with coral reefs and abundant sea life: Anse Boudin and Anse Petite Cour, which is accessed via the Domaine de la Réserve. You’ll then reach Anse Volbert, the main village on the island. It is fringed by an extensive reef flat covered with seagrass meadows, where red-knobbed sea stars and juvenile hawksbill sea turtles are frequently seen.

Aerial view of St Pierre island, Praslin
Aerial view of St Pierre Island, off Praslin.

It is also possible to snorkel on each side of the cape which closes Baie de St Anne, at the eastern tip of Praslin: Anse La Blague, on the north side, and Anse La Farine, on the south side. Located just one kilometer off Anse Volbert, St Pierre Island is popular with day trippers. The granite rocks that border this small rocky island have almost no coral, but loads of colorful fish call the area home.

Among the other islands surrounding Praslin are Curieuse, where visitors come to observe the giant land tortoises that live on the beach. Cousine is another location, but access to this area is reserved for guests of the Cousine Island Resort.

A shoal of powder blue tang in Coco Island
A massif shoal of exquisite powder blue tang in Coco Island.

The best snorkeling spots in La Digue

La Digue and its neighboring islands, with their preserved coral reefs and abundance of sea turtles, are a must for any snorkeling enthusiast on a trip to Seychelles.

Most spots for snorkeling in La Digue lie along the leeward island’s western coast. Well-sheltered, most of the time it offers calm seas with no waves. You can find decent snorkeling in Anse La Réunion or in front of Domaine de l’Orangeraie, Anse Severe, just a half-mile from the jetty, is considered the closest good snorkeling spot to the village. Here, you can explore both the reef flat facing the beach and the outer reef.

Aerial view of La Digue island, Seychelles
Aerial view of the northern tip of La Digue. Left to the rocky point, Anse Patate. Right to the rocky point, Anse Severe, and La Passe village in the distance.

Continuing for about 500 yards towards the north, you’ll get to Anse Patate, another very beautiful spot. Here you will enter the water from a small beach surrounded by granite boulders.

If you want a more secluded location, then Anse Caiman, a nature haven, should be your top pick. From Anse Patate, bike less than 2 miles to reach the end of the road, where you can explore an underwater world made of huge granite boulders immersed in a crystal-clear sea. This is probably the best spot in La Digue to snorkel with hawksbill turtles.

A hawksbill sea turtle in Anse Caiman, La Digue
Sea life at Anse Caiman.

To the south of the village, Anse Source d’Argent is a must for any visitor to La Digue. With its dazzling white sands, massive granite boulders and palm trees, it is often described as the most photographed beach in the world. The shallow lagoon bordering the beach is not spectacular, but it is called home by large orbicular batfish and occasional sea turtles.

Encounter with an orbicular batfish at Anse Source d'Argent
Anse Source d’Argent lagoon is inhabited by large, inquisitive orbicular batfish.

The east coast of La Digue, while home to beautiful beaches, such as Grand Anse, Petite Anse and Anse Coco, is too dangerous for swimming and snorkeling due to the swell and currents.

It is also in La Digue that you will find some of the best day trips in Seychelles. About 2 and a half miles northeast of La Digue, Coco Island, a small islet surrounded by coral reefs, has long been a must for snorkeling in the area. Unfortunately, its corals are in less good condition in the present day.

School of convict tang in Coco Island
A school of convict tang in Coco Island.

Most trips to Coco also stop at Felicite Island‘s fringing reef, where hawksbill turtles and spotted eagle rays are easy to see. It is also possible to stay on Felicite, at the Six Senses Zil Pasyon.

Further north, the islands of Grande Soeur , which can only be visited on weekends, unless you are staying at the Château de Feuilles, in Praslin, and Petite Soeur are both home to lively and colorful sea beds. Marianne, in the west of the archipelago, is also worth a detour, but its access is a bit more difficult.

A snorkeler observes a hawksbill sea turtle in Grande Soeur, Seychelles
A snorkeler observes a hawksbill sea turtle in Grande Soeur.

The best snorkeling spots in the northern islands: Denis & Bird

Denis Island and Bird Island are the northernmost islands in Seychelles and the only two coral cays of the granitic bank of the archipelago. These sanctuaries, where thousands of sea birds come to nest each year, are unique in the world.

Skunk clownfish in Denis Island
Skunk clownfish community in Denis Island.

Bird Island and Denis Island are coral cays surrounded by white sand beaches. From the shallow lagoons, on the eastern side of the islands, to the shallow seagrass and coral areas on their western side, Bird and Denis offer a wide variety of marine environments.

Their waters are home to outstanding marine life, including very tame hawksbill sea turtles, juvenile blacktip reef sharks, manta rays, spotted eagle rays, as well as a diversity of reef fish (angelfish, triggerfish, butterflyfish, anemonefish…).

A manta ray in Denis Island
Visiting manta rays are sometimes seen in Denis.

The best snorkeling spots on the Outer Islands of Seychelles

Many islands, known as the Outer Islands or Coralline Seychelles, are found south of the shallow Seychelles bank: the Amirantes Group (29 coral islands: among them Desroches, Poivre, and Alphonse), the Farquhar Group (13 coral islands), the Aldabra Group (67 coral islands), as well as Coetivi and Plate.

These islands are much less visited than the Granitic. Except for the resort islands, such as Alphonse, most of the islands can only be visited with a specific permit, with your own boat or during expedition-style cruises. Among the most renowned snorkeling locations in these islands are Passe Dubois in Aldabra, and the western shores of Assumption Island.

Snorkeler over a coral reef at Anse Severe, La Digue island
A snorkeler over Anse Severe’s coral reef, in La Digue.

What can I see while snorkeling in Seychelles?

Seychelles, which has over 50% of its territory protected by National Parks or nature reserves, is a haven for sea life. Snorkelers will explore a diversity of marine environments including shallow lagoons, extensive seagrass beds, narrow fringing reefs, as well as areas featuring huge immersed granite boulders.

A spotted eagle ray in Felicite, Seychelles
A spotted eagle ray in Felicite.

When you snorkel in Seychelles, you have the chance to explore alongside a wide range of fish species including several species of angelfish (such as the very common emperor angelfish and the semicircle angelfish) surgeonfish, snappers, humphead parrotfish, wrasse, sweetlips and damselfish. Anemonefish sightings are however very rare in the archipelago unless you reach the coral islands such as Denis.

School of Bengale snappers at Coco Island
A school of Bengale snappers at Coco Island.

The sheltered rocky bays of the granitic islands attract many hawksbill sea turtles with which you will enjoy swimming at shallow depths. La Digue and its neighboring islands (in particular Coco, Felicite and Grande Soeur) are probably some of the best places in the world to see them. The spotted eagle ray is another flagship species of Seychelles, quite easy to see both on the reef flats and on the drop-offs.

What is the best time of the year to snorkel in Seychelles?

With its tropical climate, Seychelles is a year-round snorkeling destination, enjoying average water temperatures of 82°F/28°C. From October to March, rains are more frequent (with a peak in January), and the humidity and temperatures are at their highest (+/-86°F/30°C). From April to September there is a cooler and dryer period, but it can be windier (+/-75°F/24°C).

The west coast of La Digue
Shores of La Digue western coast.

As the wind is an important parameter for snorkeling, bear in mind that the prevailing wind is north-westerly from October to March and south-easterly from April to September. The granite islands of the archipelago, including the main islands of Mahe, Praslin and La Digue, are not in the path of cyclones, unlike remote islands like Aldabra and the Farquhar islands.

Where to spot them?

Discover on which snorkeling spots you are most likely to see your favorite species