Anse Chastanet is a renowned snorkeling spot off Saint Lucia’s west coast. As it is easily accessible from the shore and protected by a marine reserve, it is a must-do for every snorkeling lover coming to Saint Lucia. A wide variety of colorful fish typical of Caribbean coral reefs are to be seen, as well as schools of open-water fish, which find shelter at the border of the Marine Reserve.

French angelfish at Anse Chastanet
An intermediate phase French angelfish, noted below the cliffs in the reserve area (zone 3 on the map).

How to get to Anse Chastanet?

Anse Chastanet is located north of Soufriere bay. Car drivers can get to the beach taking a small road from Soufriere (1 mile). If you happen to stay at either Anse Chastanet Resort or Jade Mountain Resort, you already are in front of the spot. The reef can also be reached by boat. Day or half-day excursions leaving from Soufriere or Castries often stop here, they sometimes include some more stops at neighboring snorkeling spots. Anse Chastanet is also a popular mooring spot for catamarans cruising through the Lesser Antilles.

Anse Chastanet snorkeling map, St Lucia

Entering the water at Anse Chastanet for snorkeling

The safest entry point for exploring the Marine Reserve (zones 1 and 3) is off the steps at the end of the vessel landing jetty although entry can also be made from the beach, watching out for boats. The best entry point for the right-hand side of the bay (zones 2 and 4) is on the beach before the rocky outcrops start to appear.

Anse Chastanet snorkeling tips

Anse Chastanet is an enclosed bay with large cliffs to the south, a sandy beach in the center, and rocky outcrops to the north of the bay.  The area has particularly good examples of open water fish species, that gather off the edge of the Marine Reserve, as well as a healthy array of sponge, hard corals, and gorgonians.

Four eyes butterflyfish at Anse Chastanet
Foureye butterflyfish are pretty common in the seafans “forests”.

Several areas within the bay at Anse Chastanet are both safe and interesting to snorkel over. The two main areas of interest are the reserve area to the left (south) of the bay (1 & 3) and an area of rocky outcrops to the right, in the north of the bay (2 & 4). The center of the bay is composed of dense seagrass beds.

To the left of the bay the Marine Reserve area is marked out with buoys and floating rope. No boats are allowed in this area. In the shallow waters around the jetty (area 1 on the map) there are a variety of habitats, including isolated rock outcrops, covered in tube and barrel sponges, and surrounded by sand and seagrass.

Octopus and yellowhead wrasse
A yellowhead wrasse and an octopus, noted over reef surface in the reserve area.

Below the cliffs (area 3 on the map) the water is much deeper and open water fish may be observed shoaling at the boundary of the reserve area. At the base of the cliffs there are several caves, gullies and overhangs. Below the cliffs, a variety of corals, sponges, sea fans and urchins may be found.

On the right-hand side of the bay (area 2 on the map), the rocks are covered in a rich variety of sponges and sea fans, with numerous small fish species noted amongst them. The sea fans dominate the rocks further to the right of the bay, suggesting wave exposure is greater in this area, so take care when there is a swell.

School of fish at Anse Chastenet
Schools of silverfish find shelter in the rocky areas.

Interesting habitats, including the continuation of the rocky outcrops, with very dense growths of seawhips and searods can be found at the northern (right-hand) extent of the bay. These occur at their greatest density on the rocks below the large outcrop (zone 4 on the map). The whole of the bay supports a wide range of fish species, including some of which are found exclusively over the seagrass, particularly in the center of the bay.

Restaurants and accommodation nearby

Two hotels are set in Anse Chastanet: Anse Chastanet Resort and Jade Mountain Resort. Many other food and accommodation options can be found nearby, notably in Soufriere.

 

  • Level required Intermediary
  • Protected areaSoufriere Marine Management Area
  • Maximum depth10m on the drop off
  • Water entranceFrom a sandy beach (or from a boat, if you choosed the boat tour option)
  • Potential DangersCurrents
  • Visitor numbersMedium to high
  • Access costsFree (or snorkeling tour price)

MAP Spot

These spots are accessible to anyone with basic snorkeling skills, and feeling comfortable in the water and with his snorkeling gear. You will enter the water from the shore (beach, pontoon, ladder, rocks) or from a boat. The water height in the sea entrance area is reasonable, but you will not necessarily be within your depth. Moderate currents can occur in the area, even when the sea conditions are good. The distance to swim to reach the most interesting snorkeling areas of the spot does not exceed 200 meters.

This level only apply when the spot experiences optimal sea and/or weather conditions. It is not applicable if the sea and/or weather conditions deteriorate, in particular in the presence of rough sea, rain, strong wind, unusual current, large tides, waves and/or swell. You can find more details about the definition of our snorkeling levels on our snorkeling safety page.