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Malendure Beach, on the west coast of Guadeloupe, faces the Pigeon Islands. Although the sea bed, which is mainly made up of seagrass, is not very spectacular, it is the perfect spot in Guadeloupe for snorkeling with sea turtles.

French angelfish at Malendure beach, Guadeloupe
Juvenile French angelfish (Pomacanthus paru) can sometimes be spotted in Malendure seagrass beds.

How to get to 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). Once you reach the coast, follow the N2 south for a few miles.

The beach is well signposted 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/40 km) 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 100m 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).

Snorkeling with green sea turtles, Malendure beach
Although they are less abundant as before in Malendure Beach, green sea turtles are now back in the bay seagrass meadows.

The seagrass meadows, covering all the central part of the bay, is huge. The sea bed is relatively poor, and there is little interest in visiting it all. Concentrate on finding the green sea turtles.

Don’t linger in the first thirty meters from the beach. The sea bed is sandy, uninhabited and the water is not very clear (↕0-7ft/0-2m). Only after this area (100-600ft/30-200m from the beach), where the water level is highest (↕7-12ft/2-4m) and the seagrass thickest, can the green turtles 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.

Barracuda in Malendure
A great barracuda photographed above the meadows.

As always with turtles, please respect the elementary 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 will still come across some bar jacks, damselfish, sharksuckers, and sometimes barracudas. The buoy anchors also provide small areas of sea life that are interesting to explore.

Snorkeling at Malendure, Guadeloupe
Buoys anchors shelters many juvenile fish.

After observing the turtles, you can go 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 notably be seen in this area.

Banc de chirurgiens bleus à Malendure
A mixt school of blue tang and ocean surgeonfish encountered on the reef.

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.

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


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 at a distance (15ft/5m) from sea turtles
  3. Do not chase a turtle swimming away
  4. Avoid sudden movement 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.