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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Last updated on September 8, 2023
In the heart of the Caribbean archipelago, Martinique is one of the Windward islands in the Lesser Antilles group. The village of Anses d’Arlet is located on the southwest tip of the island.
Many divers and snorkelers come to Anses d’Arlet to snorkel the top-sites of Anse Noire and Anse Dufour.
You can also have great snorkeling from the village, on the rocky and grassy areas lying about 50 to 200 yards from the main beach. Here you will find surprisingly fishy areas, and encounter green sea turtles which visit the bay to feed on the seagrass beds.
The village of Les Anses d’Arlet is located on the southwest coast of the island. From Fort-de-France, take the A1 to the airport, then the N5 south for a few miles. Turn right on D7, following the signs to Anses d’Arlet.
The village is well sign-posted. There are many spaces to park in the village, near the beach. It takes about 40 minutes by car to reach Anses d’Arlet (20mi) from Fort-de-France when the traffic is light.
The water entrance point depends on the area you want to explore. Go just north of the pontoon (on your right when we are facing the sea) if you want to explore the small rocky patch (area 1 on the map). Or go at the north end/south end of the beach for snorkeling along the rocky coast (zones 2 and 3 on the map).
There are three recommended snorkeling areas in Anses d’Arlet:
1. The small rocky reef near the pontoon (zone 1 on the map). It is a perfect snorkeling location for beginners and kids, as it is shallow (↕1-3yds) and close to the beach.
This reef features a snorkel trail, called “Sentier Sous-Marin Lakay”, made up of four information buoys. Many fish find shelter in the rocks, such as bluehead wrasse, blue tangs, and the abundant sergeant major. Beyond the reef you’ll find seagrass beds (↕3-5yds), in which green sea turtles are frequently seen.
2. The reef which fringes the northern coast of the bay (zone 2 on the map). It is mainly made of rocky scree, covered in places with corals, gorgonians and sponges. Along the reef, you may spot a great diversity of fish, such as French angelfish, peacock flounder and squirrelfish.
It is not unusual to find small moray eels (most commonly the spotted moray) or snake eels (notably the sharptail eel) hiding in the rock cavities. At the foot of the reef, there are deep seagrass beds which cover almost the entire bay. Here is where green sea turtles and flying gurnards are pretty easy to spot. Advanced snorkelers can follow the rocky shore far beyond the area marked on the map above.
3. The reef which fringes the southern coast of the bay (zone 3 on the map). This area has more or less the same profile as the northern area but is less visited. It features a mix of rocks and corals with a diversity of reef fish.
Be very careful around the many small boats that anchor in the bay. If you go out of marked or shallow areas (for example if you explore the seagrass in the center of the bay), take your diving flag.
You will find in the village of Les Anse d’Arlet a large choice of shops, restaurants, snacks and accommodation.
Green sea turtles are a familiar sight at Anse d’Arlet. In order to be a responsible snorkeler, be sure to respect the following rules when observing them:
These snorkeling spots are accessible to beginners and kids. You will enter the water gradually from a beach, or in a less than 3ft. deep area. The sea is generally calm, shallow, with almost no waves or currents. These spots are usually located in marked and/or monitored swimming areas. It is not necessary to swim long distances to discover the sea life.
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.
One of the best spots in Martinique! You can also spot Caribbean Reef Squid in the meadows.
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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.
Sheltered cove with seagrass meadows and sea turtles
Free shore access
Free shore access
Small islet bordered with rocks and coral reefs
Shallow cove with rocks, coral, sponges and tropical fish
Rocky point bordered by a shallow coral reef
1902 wreck fragments with reef fish and occasional sea turtles