Free shore access
This spot have a free shore access: you can go snorkeling there freely and without having to book a tour or pay an entrance fee.
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Anse du Grand Cul-de-Sac is a beautiful lagoon located in the northeast of Saint-Barthelemy Island. The shallow and calm waters offer great visibility, making it one of the best spots to snorkel on the island. First, get ready to stumble upon green sea turtles wandering the seagrass meadows that stretch out from the beach before moving on to the vibrant coral reef.
The bay is located around 8km/15minutes from Gustavia in the northeast of Saint-Barthelemy. A parking lot is available near the beach (see map below).
We advise you to get into the water at the extreme west end of the beach (on the left when facing the sea), opposite the Sereno Hotel, so you would be closer to the reef and the area where sea turtles can be found.
From the beach, swim about 150m along the shore to reach the sea turtles area (see map below). Turtles can be seen just about anywhere in the bay, but this is the spot where you will have the best chance of encountering them.
In this area, the depth is shallow (↕3-10ft/1-3m). The turtles found here are green turtles, which come to feed and rest on the seagrass meadows. Do not touch them and give them enough space when they come up to the surface to breathe.
If you swim another hundred meters towards the barrier, you will reach the shallow reef areas. Although the corals are in variable condition (in some places very degraded), you will see many fish: blue tangs, wrasse, grunts, and butterflyfish are in particular very common.
Anse du Grand Cul-de-Sac is a popular anchorage for boaters. Use a diving flag if you go far from shore, and always keep an eye out for boats in the bay.
There are several resorts on the thin strip of land between the bay and the Grand Etang lagoon, including Le Barthélemy Hotel & Spa, Hotel Les Ondines Sur La Plage, and Hotel Sereno.
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.
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Snorkeling spots are part of a wild environment and their aspect can be significantly altered by weather, seasons, sea conditions, human impact and climate events (storms, hurricanes, seawater-warming episodes…). The consequences can be an alteration of the seabed (coral bleaching, coral destruction, and invasive seagrass), a poor underwater visibility, or a decrease of the sea life present in the area. Snorkeling Report makes every effort to ensure that all the information displayed on this website is accurate and up-to-date, but no guarantee is given that the underwater visibility and seabed aspect will be exactly as described on this page the day you will snorkel the spot. If you recently snorkeled this area and noticed some changes compared to the information contained on this page, please contact us.
The data contained in this website is for general information purposes only, and is not legal advice. It is intended to provide snorkelers with the information that will enable them to engage in safe and enjoyable snorkeling, and it is not meant as a substitute for swim level, physical condition, experience, or local knowledge. Remember that all marine activities, including snorkeling, are potentially dangerous, and that you enter the water at your own risk. You must take an individual weather, sea conditions and hazards assessment before entering the water. If snorkeling conditions are degraded, postpone your snorkeling or select an alternate site. Know and obey local laws and regulations, including regulated areas, protected species, wildlife interaction and dive flag laws.
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