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Last updated on April 10, 2021
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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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