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Denis Island is probably the most famous resort island in Seychelles. This natural sanctuary, planted with coconut, takamaka and casuarina trees, is close to being paradise. The island is surrounded by pristine waters and vibrant coral reefs where sea turtles, reef sharks and eagle rays abound. Denis Island is a location that will bring you wonderful snorkeling adventures.

Snorkeler swimming with a hawksbill sea turtle in Denis Island
Hawksbill turtles are easy sightings in Denis Island.

How to get to the Denis Island snorkeling spot

To visit this out-of-the-world paradise, you have to be a guest of the Denis Private Island resort. Daily 30-minute flights connect Mahé with Denis Island, located 37 miles north of the main island and 31 miles east of Bird Island. If you are visiting Seychelles with your own boat, you could moor near the reef once you have obtained authorization from the resort.

Denis Island Seychelles snorkeling map

Water entrance for snorkeling Denis Island

Enter the water from the sandy beach, in front of the area you want to explore. The water entrance at Belle Etoile is tide-dependent: it is only accessible at high tide. The rest of the time the reef flat is too shallow to be snorkeled.

Denis Island snorkeling tips

You can snorkel almost all around the island, which is circled by a coral reef. However, there are three spots that are recommended.

Oriental sweetlips in Denis Island
The oriental sweetlips is one of the most beautiful fish inhabiting Seychelles reefs.

1. The House Reef

The House Reef, extending in front of the resort, is the best snorkeling location on the island. It shelters the healthiest coral patches in Denis, which feature hard corals including branching, finger and porous coral (↕6-20ft/2-5m).

A diversity of reef fish, including damselfish, butterflyfish, surgeonfish, triggerfish and anemonefish, call the House Reef home. You will also most likely encounter hawksbill turtles in the shallows facing the beach.

Skunk anemonefish in Denis Island
Denis Island is one of the rare locations in Seychelles where skunk clownfish can be observed at snorkeling depths.

2. Bois Blanc

In front of Bois Blanc beach, on the west side of the island, you will find open coral and seagrass areas. You can also anticipate an encounter with hawksbill sea turtles.  These turtles come to feed and rest on the seagrass all year round and to lay their eggs on the beach from November to February.

Spotted eagle rays and juvenile blacktip reef sharks can also be seen very easily in this area, but tend to be more difficult to get close to.

Blacktip reef shark in Denis Island
A small blacktip shark in Denis Island.

3. Belle Etoile

Belle Etoile has access to the lagoon fringing the east side of the island. Its shallow (↕6ft/2m), crystal-clear waters, are ideal for beginners. However, the seabed is pretty poor here: some seagrass beds, coral debris, and almost no living coral. The main attractions in Belle Etoile are its many green sea turtles. Eagle rays, blacktip sharks and, more rarely, the tawny nurse shark are also frequent visitors to the lagoon.

Around the island, the sea is generally calm, with no waves. If the sea gets rougher, choose the most sheltered side.

Restaurants and accommodation on Denis Island

The only accommodation on the island is the Denis Private Island Eco-Retreat.


  • Level required Beginner
  • Maximum depth+6m/20ft
  • Water entranceEasy, from sandy beaches
  • LifeguardNo
  • Visitor numbersLow
  • Access costsPrivate Island
  • Restaurants nearbyYes
  • Public toilets & showersYes

MAP Spot

Sea turtle watching in Denis Island


Sea turtles are a very familiar sight around Denis Island. In order to be a responsible snorkeler, be sure to respect the following rules when observing them:

  1. Do not attempt to touch or ride sea turtles
  2. Stay at a distance (6 to 10ft) from sea turtles
  3. Do not chase a turtle that is swimming away
  4. Avoid sudden movements and allow sea turtles plenty of space when they come up to the surface to breathe

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.