Cala d’Orzu is a wild and pristine bay located along Corsica’s south western coast, between the cities of Ajaccio and Propriano. Its white sand beach lined with scrub leads to an inviting bay with quiet, transparent waters that make perfect conditions for snorkeling. Colorful wrasse, sea bream, salema and blennies can all be observed underwater. Lucky ones will even spot a common stingray crawling on the seabed.

Stingray at Cala d'Orzu

How to get there?

Cala d’Orzu is a wild creek in southwestern Corsica, midway between Ajaccio and Propriano. It is a popular weekend destination for locals. It can be reached either by boat or by car.

Boats are the most enjoyable means of transportation to the spot. Several companies based in Ajaccio offer day trips to the beach and boat rental (with or without crew). A few paillotes (restaurants set in huts) set in Cala d’Orzu beach also offer boat transfer from Ajaccio to the beach and return.

However, most visitors drive to Cala d’Orzu. From Ajaccio (1-hour drive), first head to Porticcio, before taking first D55, then D155 towards Serra-di-Ferro. About 500m after the hamlet called Acqua-Doria, a sign on your right indicates the road winding down to Cala d’Orzu. From this point, directions are given to different paillotes settled along the beach. Each paillote has its own private access through the scrub. Be careful as roads down to the huts are very steep, with multiple bumps and sharp turns. Parking next to the beach is free.

Cala d'Orzu snorkeling map, Corsica

Water entrance

The water entrance points depend on the area you want to explore. Head to the paillotte Chez Eric if you want to explore the northern area (zone 1 on the map). Enter the water next to the rocks located at the southern extremity of the main beach, about 100m from the paillote Chez Francis, if you prefer to explore the southern area (zone 2 on the map).

Exploration

The snorkeling area encompasses all the shallow parts of Cala d’Orzu. Altogether, they set up an area covering about 550 m on both sides of the bay.

The rocky seabed located in the northern area (zone 1, in front of paillote Chez Eric) is perfect for beginners. At the opposite side of the beach, the southern area (zone 2) boasts more varied environments (rocks, drop-offs, posidonia meadows…) and more intense sea life. This is the best snorkeling area in Cala d’Orzu.

Peacock wrasse at Cala d'Orzu

Indeed, water is crystal-clear and seabeds are gorgeous in the southern area. From posidonia meadows so shallow they almost touch the water surface to underwater cliffs abruptly dropping onto the sand (↕3-4 m), snorkelers discover new waterscapes with each fin stroke. Peacock wrasses weaving their way through posidonia, ornate wrasses, Mediterranean rainbow wrasses fiercely defending their territory and schools of salema feeding on the rocks can all be observed during a single exploration. Common two-banded sea breams, saddled sea breams, black-faced blennies and small cuttlefish are also commonplace in the bay.

School of salema at Cala d'Orzu

If the two areas shown on the map are the most suitable for snorkeling practice in Cala d’Orzu, you can also take a look on the sandy seabed located in front of paillote Chez Francis. Small common stingrays (↕4-6 m), a pretty rare sight in Corsica, are sometimes present there.

Mind the numerous boats mooring in Cala d’Orzu, especially during summer and weekends. Always remain visible from outside the water.

Restaurants and accommodation

Despite its isolation, Cala d’Orzu hosts a few restaurants. Two paillotes (local name for beach restaurants), Chez Eric and Chez Francis, and a pizzeria are set by the beach. The only other option is to bring your own food and have a picnic on the beach.

 

  • Level required Beginner
  • Maximum depth15ft/5m
  • Water entranceFrom a sandy beach
  • LifeguardNo
  • Visitor numbersLow to medium
  • Access costsFree
  • Restaurants nearbyYes
  • Public toilets & showersNo

MAP Spot

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.