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 March 12, 2023
Anse Legoff, on the north coast of Ile Royale, is considered the best snorkeling spot in French Guiana. Even if the visibility is highly variable (and often nearly zero), it offers a sheltered environment and great opportunities for spotting underwater life. Spadefish, porkfish, snappers and even turtles visit its shallow rocky beds.
Ile Royale is the largest of the Iles du Salut, a small archipelago located about 14 kilometers off Kourou. Famous for their historic sites, they are one of the most popular tourist sites in French Guiana. Several tour agencies in Kourou offer daily catamaran tours to the islands, and in particular Ile Royale, the most visited. It is also possible to spend the night on Ile Royale, at the Auberge des Iles. The boat trip between Kourou and the islands takes about 1 hour, and the sea is often rough.
The snorkeling area is found on the north shore of Ile Royale, facing Ile du Diable. It is easily reached on foot from other sides of the island. Underwater visibility, like everywhere in French Guiana, is very low: between 0.5 and 2 meters on the rare good days, and zero (impossible to snorkel) the rest of the time.
Water entrance is from the rocky stairs on the old jetty (see map). If you would rather snorkel in Bain des Bagnards, get into the water from the rocks that border the basin.
Ile Royale snorkeling area includes the most sheltered parts of Anse Legoff, which stretches between Bain des Bagnards and the old jetty (see map above). When it is not too crowded, is also possible to snorkel inside Bain des Bagnards, a natural pool sheltered by a rock barrier.
The cove’s seabed (zone 1 on the map) features large black rocks, often covered with small algae. Despite an ideal water temperature, don’t expect to find any coral there, as they cannot survive in these sediment-laden waters.
You will see many fish around the rocks, including numerous juvenile dog snappers, Bermuda chub, and very pretty pretty (both adults and juveniles, with very different patterns).
Snorkeling the cove, you’ll be likely to encounter Atlantic spadefish, a spectacular disk-shaped fish that can be as large as 30 inches/75 centimeters. Quite inquisitive, they are often seen swimming in small schools around snorkelers.
Green sea turtles are regular visitors to the cove, where they enjoy calm and sheltered waters.
Do not swim too far from the shore as the currents can be strong and dangerous. Children and beginners can try snorkeling in Bain des Bagnards (zone 2 on the map). Although very shallow, it is home to lots of small fish, and the water is calmer there than outside the basin.
The Auberge des Iles is the only restaurant and accommodation on Ile Royale. Offering a breathtaking view of the Iles du Salut, in particular Ile du Diable, it is located about 200 m on foot from the cove.
These spots are only recommended to good swimmers, in good physical conditions, and with excellent snorkeling skills. These spots can experience currents, moderate waves, important depths, tight or narrow passages, or tricky water entrance, and can be located near hazardous areas (channels, boat traffic, strong currents…). The distance to swim to reach the most interesting snorkeling areas can be important - up to 500 meters. The “advanced” category includes drift snorkeling (transported by currents) and snorkeling off the coast.
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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