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Îlot Maître is located in the heart of a 500-acre nature reserve protecting its reefs and lagoon. It can be easily reached from Nouméa, either for the day or by staying there, in the bungalows of the DoubleTree by Hilton Noumea Ilot Maitre. The extensive seagrass and coral reefs found around the islet allow great snorkeling, with easy green sea turtles, rays, sharks and reef fish sightings.

Gigas clam at Ilot Maitre
A small gigas clam noted on the reef.

How to get to Ilot Maitre snorkeling spot?

Îlot Maître is located in front of Nouméa, just 4km off the beach of Anse Vata. There are several options to get there. Two taxi boat companies make regular trips from Anse Vata beach to the islet all day (XPF 2000 pp., round trip).

Some Nouméa taxi boats also offer additional trips to the islet from different ports in Nouméa for XPF 2000 to 2500 pp., round trip. You can also choose to stay for one night or more on the islet, where the DoubleTree by Hilton Noumea Ilot Maitre (formerly L’Escapade Îlot Maître), a hotel with overwater bungalows, swimming pool and restaurant is located. Boat transfers for the resort’s guests leave from Port Moselle.

The hotel also offers a day pass including the boat trip and a buffet, available for XPF 7900 pp. during the week and XPF 9,900 pp. during the weekend.

Ilot Maitre snorkeling map, New Caledonia

Water entrance for snorkeling Ilot Maitre

You can get into the water from the different beaches of the islet, depending on the area you want to explore. If you are staying at the hotel in an overwater bungalow, you can also access the reef directly from it.

Aerial view of Ilot Maitre reef and bungalows
Aerial view of Ilot Maitre and its western reef, extending from the water bungalows.

Ilot Maitre snorkeling exploration tips

Îlot Maître is a 500-acre nature reserve. Several areas, featuring diverse marine ecosystems, can be snorkeled:

1 / The areas extending on each side of the pontoon (zones 1 and 3 on the map). Areas near the shore feature shallow seagrass beds (↕3-6ft/1-2m) visited by green sea turtles, and occasionally by whitetip sharks and cowtail stingrays. Beyond begins a coral reef where many reef fish can be spotted, including clownfish, angelfish and butterflyfish.

Whitetip reef shark at Ilot Maitre
A whitetip reef shark spotted over the shallow seagrass beds.

2 / The coral patch found in front of the pontoon (zone 2 on the map). This small reef is full of life and fish, but be careful and take a dive flag with you as it is located in a boat activity area.

3 / The extensive reef flat covered with seagrass extending to the east of the islet, on the side opposite the hotel (zone 4 on the map). Green sea turtles abound in this area, at very shallow depth (↕1-5ft/0.5-1.5m). Avoid entering this area when it’s windy, because of kite surfers.

Coral grouper at Ilot Maitre
Several species of groupers are found at reefs, including the leopard coralgrouper.

Restaurants and accommodation nearby

The DoubleTree by Hilton Noumea Ilot Maitre (formerly L’Escapade Îlot Maître), with its overwater bungalows, is the only accommodation on the island. It also offers a day pass including a return boat trip from Nouméa and a lunch for XPF 7900 pp. during the week and XPF 9,900 pp. during the weekend.

 

  • Level required Beginner
  • Maximum depth6ft on the reef flats, 2ft on the drop offs
  • Water entranceFrom sandy beaches
  • Visitor numbersMedium
  • Access costsFrom XPF 2000pp. (taxi boat from Nouméa)
  • Restaurants nearbyYes

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.