Imagine a pool of blue crystalline water, bordered by white sand and surrounded by majestic pine trees … La Piscine Naturelle (The Natural Pool) is an enchanting basin of sea water. “Carved” in the coral, it is a small underwater paradise, protected by a barrier of rocks from the tumult of the ocean. Put on your mask and go discover this open-air aquarium, where you swim in the middle of a myriad of tropical fish.
The Natural Pool is located in Oro Bay, on the northeastern coast of the Isle of Pines. Several options are available to you for joining the site.
If you have a vehicle, the most direct route is to follow the direction to Oro Bay (well indicated) until you reach the end of the road, where there is a small parking area. Pay the entrance fee (CFP200, less than 2 euro per person) at the hut, and then walk down the paved road (10 minutes) until you reach the channel. From there, cross the channel (at low tide the channel is dry, while at high tide, you will have water up to the knee), and follow the small path made in the forest to reach the pool (20 minutes). The pool is indicated by blue signs. Note that it is also possible to reach the parking with shuttle services (confirm with your accommodation).
If you are staying at Le Meridien hotel, you can go to the Natural Pool along the beach of Oro Bay to its northern tip. Then head up the “Sandy River”, another channel leading to the pool (35 minutes). This option is recommended only at low tide.
A last option for joining the spot is booking a combined excursion of Upi Bay and Oro Bay, which is very popular on the island. After crossing Upi Bay aboard a traditional Melanesian outrigger, you can then be dropped off a trail that will take you to the natural pool in about 40 minutes. All island accommodations offer this excursion. The cost is around CFP4000 Francs per person (transport and entrance fees included).
Place yourself in the water at the edge of the “pool” near the corals, which can be easily seen through the surface from the edge.
The Natural Pool is a “small” snorkeling spot. The desired area to explore covers the part of the pool that remains in low tide waters (see map above), which measures at most about 50 meters wide. At high tide, the water zone extends to the rest of the sandy areas (including the channels). In these areas, the seabed, however, is not a point of interest for snorkelers.
Putting yourself in the water by the pool, we never know what kind of treasures lay hidden deeper. This small quiet area, sheltered from the hustle and bustle of the ocean, is a haven for underwater life. In 3-4 meters of water, we can find ourselves in the middle of hundreds of colorful fish which swim fearlessly around the snorkelers. Coral heads (still considered to be in good condition, given after the large number of visitors to the site and its small surface) border the basin. Hundreds of giant clams are set at the bottom, tight against each other, exposing their fluorescent coats to the rays of the sun. If you or your children dream of seeing clownfish, you are in the right place. Dozens of sea anemones are affixed to the reef, hosting two species of clownfish (the Fire clownfish and Great Barrier anemonefish). They are simply too good to miss, present from 1 meter of depth. Huge pufferfish, as well as many lionfish, enjoy the carved coral caverns. Banks of red mullet rest at the bottom, resting on the sand.
The Natural Pool is an extraordinary spot, both for its setting and the density of observable species in such a small space. Remember to be attentive to other snorkelers as the site can become very busy. Be careful also to not venture too far into the small channel between the pool and the open sea- when the tide goes down, an outgoing current forms as the pool “empties” into the sea.
Restaurant Le Kou-gny, located on the beach at Oro Bay, is about a 20-minute walk from the pool.
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.