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Located in southern Nouméa, Baie des Citrons is probably the most accessible shore snorkeling location in the city. Sea turtles, sea kraits and hundreds of species of tropical fish can be seen here, particularly around the coral reef bordering both ends of the beach. Don’t hesitate to pay it a visit if you stay for a day or two in Nouméa.

Hawksbill sea turtle in Lemons Bay, New Caledonia
Baie des Citrons offers good chances to swim with hawksbill sea turtles, often sighted just under the surface

How to get to Baie des Citrons snorkeling spot?

Baie des Citrons (Lemons Bay) is located in Noumea’s urban area, approximately 2.5km south of 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.

Baie des Citrons snorkeling map, New Caledonia

Water entrance for snorkeling Baie des Citrons

You can enter the water anywhere from the beach. Since the central part of the bay has not much sea life, we recommend you enter the water on the northern or the southern tip of the beach, closer to the reef areas.

Baie des Citrons snorkeling tips

All of the bay is worth exploring, but underwater life is at its most abundant along the reef areas extending on either side of the bay. The central part of the bay features sandy beds which are less interesting (↕3-15ft/1-5m).

Razorfish in Baie des Citrons, Noumea
A school of razorfish, photographed on the southern reef.

In the reef areas (particularly on the southern reef), coral is quite healthy, attracting a wide diversity 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 host fire clownfish, one of the most common anemonefish species in New Caledonia. Snappers, razorfish, octopuses and sea kraits are amongst the other species you will most probably encounter during your snorkeling.

Poison goby in Baie des Citrons, Noumea
Poison goby is frequently observed on the reef

In 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 or in the central part of the bay.

Restaurants and accommodation nearby

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.


  • Level required Beginner
  • Maximum depth20ft/6m
  • Water entranceEasy, from a sandy beach
  • LifeguardNo
  • Visitor numbersMedium
  • Access costsFree
  • 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.