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Located in the southern neighborhoods of Nouméa, la Baie des Citrons is one of the most accessible snorkeling spots of New Caledonia. Sea turtles, sea snakes and hundreds of species of tropical fish can all be seen here, particularly at the coral reef bordering both ends of the beach. Don’t hesitate to pay it a visit if you stay in Nouméa.
La Baie des Citrons (Lemons Bay) is located in Noumea’s urban area, approximately 2.5km south to the city center. If you come by car, you’ll find parking spaces along the beach or in the nearby parking areas. This spot is also well served by public transportation. The Aquarium des Lagons is just a 150-meters walk from the south tip of the beach.
You can enter the water anywhere along the beach. Since the central part of the bay is the least interesting part to snorkel, we recommend you to enter the water on the northern or the southern tips of the beach, closer to the reef areas.
All the bay is worth exploring, but underwater life is at its most abundant along the reef areas extending on either sides of the bay. The central part of the bay is of less interest, mainly made up of sandy beds sprinkled with some coral bommies (↕3-15ft/1-5m).
In the reef areas (particularly on the southern reef), coral is quite healthy, attracting a wide variety of marine life. Crowds of green chromis can be seen over branching coral, while surgeonfish, parrotfish and butterflyfish come and go along the reef. Look for sea anemones: most of them are inhabited by fire clownfish, one of the most common anemonefish species in New Caledonia. Juvenile blue triggerfish and scorpionfish prefer the shelter of the rocky cavities, don’t hesitate to have a look in the shadows of the reef. Snappers, razorfish, octopuses and even sea snakes sliding on the seabed looking for a prey are amongst the other species you will most probably come across during your exploration.
In la Baie des Citrons, you will also have good chances to spot sea turtles, mainly hawksbill sea turtles. They can be seen either in the reef areas and in the central part of the bay. As always with sea turtles, respect the elementary rules of observation: don’t chase them, don’t hold on to their shells, don’t touch them, and stay at a reasonable distance when they come up to the surface to breathe.
La Baie des Citrons is one of Noumea’s most lively areas, including in the evening. You’ll find a wide range of accommodation, shops and food options all along the seafront.
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.
Marine reserve with shallow and healthy coral reef
Small reef and shallow seagrass meadows with sea turtles
Narrow fringing reef with coral and reef fish
Shallow natural pool with coral, clams and reef fish
Preserved shallow coral gardens with reef fish
Bay with coral bommies and reef fish
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