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Malendure Beach, on the west coast of Guadeloupe, faces the Pigeon Islands. This is a public beach with unusual dark gray sand. 

Located on the west coast of Basse-Terre near Bouillante, the waters here are very popular both snorkelers and scuba divers. 

Although its seabed, which is mainly made up of seagrass, is not very spectacular, it is the perfect spot in Guadeloupe for snorkeling with sea turtles.

Malendure, Guadeloupe.
Malendure Beach, Guadeloupe.

How to get to the Malendure snorkeling spot

Malendure Beach is located in Basse-Terre, on the west coast of the island. From Pointe-à-Pitre, take the N1 then the D23 roads (Route de la Traversée) to get to the beach. Once you reach the coast, follow the N2 south for a few miles.

The beach is well sign-posted and can be seen from the main road, a few miles before you arrive at Bouillante. It takes about 45 minutes by car (25 miles) from Pointe-à-Pitre when the traffic is light.

Malendure snorkeling map, Guadeloupe

Water entrance for snorkeling Malendure

You can enter the water anywhere along the beach. But to get closer to the best snorkeling areas (zones 1 and 2 on the map) and to avoid the boat-anchoring area, walk north up the beach 100 yards or so (to the right when you are facing the sea).

This spot is generally not exposed to waves or currents, but stay alert and leave the water if conditions deteriorate.

Malendure snorkeling tips and recommendations

There are three main recommended snorkeling areas in Malendure: the seagrass beds where the turtles are found (zone 1 on the map), the reef extending along the northern shore of the bay (zone 2 on the map), and a rock/coral reef found south of the jetty (zone 3).

Green sea turtle in Malendure
Green sea turtles abound in the bay’s seagrass beds.

The seagrass meadows, covering the central part of the bay, are huge. The seabed is relatively poor and there is not much of interest. Instead, concentrate on finding the green sea turtles.

Don’t linger in the first thirty yards from the beach. The sea bed is sandy and the water is not very clear (↕0-7ft). Only after this area, which is anywhere from 100 – 600 feet from the beach, the water level is highest (↕7-12ft). Here the  seagrass is the thickest and the green turtles can generally be found.

By crisscrossing the area, you should not have to wait too long before seeing them. It is not unusual to come across groups of two or three, feeding on the seagrass.

Spotted scorpionfish in Malendure
Sea turtles are not the only creatures to live in seagrass meadows. Here, a spotted scorpionfish well camouflaged on the seabed.

As always with turtles, please respect the rules of observation: don’t chase them, don’t hold on to their shells, don’t touch them, and leave them enough room when they come up to the surface to breathe.

Although the seagrass area is not rich in fish, you may still come across sharksuckers, scorpionfish, flying gurnards, and occasional barracudas. The buoy anchors also provide small areas of sea life that are interesting to explore.

A Caribbean cushion sea star in Malendure.
A Caribbean cushion sea star in Malendure.

After observing the turtles, have a look at the reef areas found on the northern side of the bay (zone 2 on the map). On the reef, the rock screes are covered with sea fans and coral, hosting diverse and interesting sea life. Schools of blue tang, yellow goatfish, French angelfish, trumpetfish and reef squid can also be seen in this area.

Right south of the jetty (zone 3 on the map), you will also find good snorkeling along the rocky shore, partially covered with small coral heads. This area is visited by huge schools of sardines, as well as by good-sized tarpons.

Trumpetfish in sea fans in Malendure
A trumpetfish hides in the sea fans found in Malendure reef areas.

Restaurants and accommodation nearby

On the beach you will find a wide range of bars and restaurants fitting every budget. The Bouillante tourist office and many companies organize tours to the Pigeon Islands (Cousteau Reserve), which are also nearby.

 

  • Level required Intermediate
  • Protected areaParc National de la Guadeloupe
  • Maximum depth15ft/4.5m
  • Water entranceEasy, from a sandy beach
  • Potential DangersBoats
  • LifeguardNo
  • Visitor numbersMedium
  • Access costsFree
  • Restaurants nearbyYes
  • Public toilets & showersYes

MAP Spot

Sea turtles watching in Malendure

snorkeling-turtle

Green sea turtles are a familiar sight in Malendure. In order to be a responsible snorkeler, be sure to respect the following rules when observing them:

  1. Do not attempt to touch or ride sea turtles
  2. Stay a distance of 15ft from sea turtles
  3. Do not chase a turtle that is swimming away
  4. Avoid sudden movements and allow sea turtles plenty of space when they come up to the surface to breathe

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.