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Tiny Islas Pelonas are located just a few minutes by boat from the famous seaside resorts of Playas del Coco and Playa Hermosa. Their rocky coasts bathed by the Pacific Ocean shelter shallow reefs on which a fine diversity of fish species, some of which very colorful, can be easily seen. Lucky ones (or those with sharp eyes) will even meet a hawksbill sea turtle or a Pacific seahorse.

Hawksbill sea turtle at Islas Pelonas
Hawksbill sea turtles are sometimes spotted around the Pelonas.

How to go snorkeling at Islas Pelonas

Pelonas Islands are located about 1km from Punta Cacique, the small peninsula separating Playas del Coco and Playa Hermosa. Numerous operators offer snorkeling tours from both seaside resorts to the islands.

Those boat tours generally include other snorkeling stops, for example at Calzon de Pobre or La Penca. These two small beaches are located along Punta Cacique’s coasts, where snorkeling is also great – it is also possible to reach these spots by car/hiking).

Islas Pelonas snorkeling map

Water entrance for snorkeling Islas Pelonas

Enter the water from your boat.

Islas Pelonas reefs snorkeling exploration

There are several snorkel areas around Pelonas Islands, but excursion boats most often stop at the rocky reef extending off the smallest island’s southern point. There are several shallow, sheltered areas here, making it a perfect location for snorkeling exploration.

Pacific seahorse at Islas Pelonas
Pacific seahorses are frequent in the coral areas, but they remain difficult to spot, as they are very well camouflaged.

The seabed is uneven and rocky, with flat areas covered with small hard corals (↕1-5m). Numerous sea urchins, mollusks and a few chocolate starfish are set on the rocks.

A nice diversity of fish species can also be seen on this spot, including Cortez rainbow wrasse, sometimes going by in large groups, giant hawkfish, generally set on rocks looking for their next prey, sergeant majors, or giant damselfish.

Razor surgeonfish, porcupinefish and pufferfish also appreciate those shallow reefs. If lucky, you will even meet a hawksbill sea turtle (which is quite common off the Islands’ coasts) or a Pacific seahorse safely hidden amongst corals.

Giant hawkfish at Islas Pelonas
A giant hawkfish on Islas Pelonas rocky beds.

Pelonas Islands are a good option for snorkelers when underwater visibility is bad off the mainland coastline. Water generally is much clearer here.

Restaurants and accommodation nearby

The islands are a wild place where boats generally do not moor. Some tours include a lunch meal and/or snacks and beverages: ask for information when booking.


  • Level required Intermediate
  • Maximum depth16ft/5m
  • Water entranceFrom a boat
  • Visitor numbersMedium
  • Access costsSnorkeling tour price

MAP Spot

These spots are accessible to anyone with basic snorkeling skills, and feeling comfortable in the water and with his snorkeling gear. You will enter the water from the shore (beach, pontoon, ladder, rocks) or from a boat. The water height in the sea entrance area is reasonable, but you will not necessarily be within your depth. Moderate currents can occur in the area, even when the sea conditions are good. The distance to swim to reach the most interesting snorkeling areas of the spot does not exceed 200 meters.

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.