Malendure Beach, on the west coast of Guadeloupe, faces the Îlets Pigeon. Although the sea bed, which is mainly made up of sea grass, is not very spectacular, it is an ideal place to observe turtles, and green turtles in particular. There are many of them, and are the spot’s main attraction.
Malendure Beach is 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.
You can enter the water anywhere along the beach. But to get closer to the best snorkeling spots and to avoid the boat-anchoring area, walk north up the beach 100m or so (to the right when you are facing the sea). Get into the water from the beach in front of the area of rocks. This spot is not generally subject to waves or currents, but stay alert and leave the water if conditions deteriorate.
The area to explore, covering all the bay, is enormous. The sea bed is relatively poor, and there is little interest in visiting it all. Concentrate on finding the sea turtles. Don’t linger in the first thirty metres from the beach. The sea bed is sandy, uninhabited and the water 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 sea grass thickest, can the green turtles generally be found. By criss-crossing 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 sea grass.
As always with turtles, you should respect the elementary rules of observation: don’t chase after 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 sea bed is not rich in fish, you will still come across some small jacks, damselfish and other relatively common species. The buoy anchors also provide small areas of sea life that are interesting to explore.
On the beach, you will find a wide range of bars and restaurants for every budget. The Bouillante tourist office and many companies organise excursions to the Îlets Pigeon (Cousteau Reserve), which are also nearby.
Update: after hurricane Maria hit Guadeloupe in September 2017, the seagrass meadows of Malendure Beach have been seriously deteriorated, and the turtles are now rarer than before in the bay
Sea turtles are a very familiar sight in Malendure Beach. In order to be a responsible snorkeler, be sure to respect the following rules when observing them:
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.
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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.